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Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

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A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

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Cold Days by Jim Butcher

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Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

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Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
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REVIEW | Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit)

Best Served Cold has to be the most anticipated Fantasy read this year. As soon as I got my greedy hands on it I just had to start. All the fervor over the cover design doesn't matter in the end. It is the pages between the cover that counts and that is truly entertaining.

Abercrombie is building on the world he started with The First Law Trilogy although centering it on parts not visited prior, namely and it related nations. Yet it differs from First Law in that it is a much more personal story. He does include a couple minor characters from First Law although they grow much from what they start as. As the title suggests revenge is the driving force. Monza Murcatto is Grand Duke Orso's most trusted general who has won him many battles, but now he feels she has become to popular and will try to usurp him. Orso has Monza's brother Benna killed and nearly her as well in an incredibly detailed account of her literal fall from his graces.

After Monza heals (partially) she begins gathering a group to help get revenge upon those who killed her brother. Abercrombie has done a superb job creating another stellar cast of characters you just love to hate and hate to love along with the most gritty action that could be wanted. Surprisingly, I found the most redeemable character in Friendly, who is a cold blooded killer with an utter fascination for numbers. Although unlike most of the other characters he is very straight forward with his dealings and is perhaps left the most untwisted in the end. Abercrombie still manages a fine balance of well realized characters, believable dialogue with a detailed world while also masterly offering twists and turns to the plot and characters.
Abercrombie has been known to do some vile things to and with his characters and he certainly rides the edge just enough not to turn most readers off with some of his characters predilections most notably involving Monza and her brother's past as well as a certain Duke's sexual interests. Having said that this is definitely not a book for the prudish or squeamish. Overall, I found the style and format very similar to Lynch's The Lies of Locke Lamora. It is very much a series of capers; however the goals don't involve money, but rather killing. Only the characters aren't lovable rogues (except Cosca) like in TLoLL, but rather some of the most notorious murderers and back-stabbers in the world. Have no doubts that Abercrombie is still cruel to his characters. If anything he does worse to them here than in First Law. There are no happy endings in an Abercrombie book and there never should be.

Best Served Cold is meant as a standalone and newcomers will definitely find it open enough without having read prior volumes yet fans of First Law will be reward for their knowledge of the world and appreciate the little things and some surprise appearances from other characters. I give Best Served Cold 9 out of 10 Hats. Abercrombie has left a few holes open and secrets unrevealed that are sure to pop up in his next novel of the First Law world and I'll be there for it. Abercrombie has once again proven why he is an award-winning author.

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REVIEW | Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes


SKelly said...


I am so psyched that there is more First Law to read and that it was reviewed so favorably (though I wouldn't expect less than that from Abercrombie at this point).

- Skells

Anonymous said...

Nice. I can't wait...