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All You Need Is Kill
Hiroshi Sakurazaka
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The Lies of Locke Lamora  - Scott Lynch This book. This book. Where do I even begin? I absolutely loved this book. It completely blew my mind. I would rank it in my top five novels, probably. There are just so many things to love about The Lies of Locke Lamora-- the meticulous worldbuilding, the magic and thievery, the unpredictable and intricate plot that kept me at the edge of my seat, all the cleverness and snark and humour, and a cast of unforgettable characters that were surprisingly easy to connect with despite their rather unusual upbringing and lifestyle.

I also love the fact that the protagonists are not your typical attractive male leads-- Locke is described as having a face that is so average it is utterly forgettable and is also physically quite weak, while Jean is fat and implied to be rather ugly. They are con men who rely on their wits and that doesn't work out for them all the time, even if they are brilliant. Their plans sometimes fail, and we get to see that, which is refreshingly realistic-- not everything works out in real life, and even protagonists aren't infallible. In fact, some really awful things happen to them in the book. The story doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of life, and it gives the whole setting a gritty, realistic feel.

Along with the darker moments, there are also lighter ones, and the book is surprisingly funny at times. I also wasn't expecting the truly heartbreaking scenes that broke me apart. The story is so full of adventure and wit and emotion, and on top of all that, Scott Lynch has such a wonderful way with language-- the whole book is written superbly. This is truly a novel of the highest caliber and I cannot recommend it enough.