The Lies of Locke Lamora
What I liked best about the book was the setting. It takes place in Camorr, which is sort of a magical-technological version of Venice. The humans of the city are squatting on the ruins of some ancient, super-advanced civilization that went extinct under suspicious circumstances. The society’s somewhere in the Renaissance, but some alchemical Edison lit the city up with cheap, clean-burning magical light. Way cool.
Our main characters are Locke Lamora and his gang of con men. Conning the wealthy of Camorr out of huge sums of money isn’t strictly allowed by the thieves’ guild’s big boss, but Locke and company do it anyway. As Locke sets up for his next big sting, the book looks like it’s going to be a romp, like an Italian The Wrong Trousers. Then the plan goes more and more wrong. The book ends about as far from comedy as you can get.