So, first I read the prologue. That hooked me nicely. Shades of Mieville's Perdido Street Station, as the story is also very much about the city it's set in, but without the sense of too much gratuitous grime. Also, there's a single protagonist,
The protagonist isn't especially likable. But, he is larger than life. Not just a thief, but a superb thief. Not just a superb thief, at age 6, but one whose schemes keep getting out of hand.
The first chapter almost lost me. So, we're setting up for a grand con game, some twenty years later. And the scene is an alley, where we're waiting for Things to Happen.
Cut to earlier that day, part of the set up, lots of slow description.
Back to the alley. Still nothing. What can the matter be?
Cut to earlier that day.
Repeat once or twice more, in a clear maneuver to Build the Tension. Trouble is, I'm bored. Get to the con game, already. Stop padding.
Once the con game finally began in earnest, I was interested again. And, the first interlude cleared up the mystery left by the prologue. Cool.
The second chapter continued the con game. I like it -- but. Basically, there's two ways one can do this sort of story, a con game set in a fantasy world the author created.
One way is to introduce the elements of the world as you're introducing the relevant part of the con. This is what Lynch is doing. It's not a bad way to do things. But, it does mean that the author really can just make anything up on the fly.
Well, okay, not anything. And, while Lynch is a little slower with description than I'd like, he's doing world creation, and I expect he's being careful and consistent.
But, in my arrogant opinion, the second way to do this would be so much cooler. That's to introduce all of the elements well before they come into play, without the reader recognizing the Checkhovian Guns until they are duly fired. This is much trickier, especially as one has to keep the reader's attention, so stuff has to be happening at the same time. But, for just that reason, it's great when an author can do it.
Now, it's possible this will turn out to be what's been going on. I'm at the next installment of Child Locke's story, and I suspect the interweaving is Meaningful.
It's just that saying, "And then, the con man showed his marks a cask of wine that said '559' on it, and they were so astonished that Slapstick Things happened" followed by "Now, here is why this cask with that year on it is so significant" is far less impressive than subtly introducing the concept of the Special Wine early on so that when the cask is shown, the reader is as impressed as the marks.