Joe Abercrombie – Best served cold

For my reviews I do not plan to stick to certain rules. I will add them as I like, even if I have read the book a while back.

First one up is Best served cold, written by Joe Abercrombie in 2009. The story takes places in the same world as The First Law trilogy and even contains a few side characters from those books. The events take place a number of years after the previous books. It remains somewhat vague how long. For now it is a standalone story where the major elements of the other story play a minor role.

Like the title suggests, this is a story about revenge. I wouldn’t spoil much if I would say it really much is mainly about revenge. The story is fairly straightforward in that sense. Clearly it’s about the twists and turns the journey makes and not about how things will end, although Abercrombie does manage to put in some decent surprises. Compared to his previous novels it has few hidden layers, but one does not always need such to have an enjoyable read. Even so, for me the hidden layers add some depth to the plot so that I cannot rate the book as to the same level as the those of The First Law.

Abercrombie writes gritty fantasy. It’s bloody, hard and rough and not always that nice, giving the story a touch of reality. I don’t mind gritty fantasy but sometimes I felt it was a bit too much.  In his main cast he brings together a varied collection of characters. Most get the chance to shine, but some remain somewhat flat. Of course one cannot take too much attention to everyone as the book would be getting quite large, but it leaves little to consider, especially with the bad guys, for whom one won’t care too much. This all is caused by a large set of main characters and a large set of villains. I’ve read others books with many characters and although Abercombie handles it all very well, it does leave the story lacking a bit on some points. Quite above average and a fine read, but nothing special.

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