Aug 302013

Best Served ColdBest Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie

Synopsis: A Grimdark Count-of-Monte-Cristo style revenge story.

Brief Book Review: What a difference a skilled writer can make. I can’t help but compare books I’m reading to one’s I’ve just finished, and the difference in quality and craftsmanship between this and Mira Grant’s Blackout slapped me in the face on page one. This is an author who effortlessly draws you into a richly detailed world with robust characters and a tried-and-true plot structure. Once you (quickly) realize that each of the seven revenge murders will involve an elaborate setup and then explore how it goes wrong you fear that this will get tired and repetitive fast. It never does. The book keeps you hooked, and it’s an enthralling read. A word of caution – the violence is relentless. This isn’t a horror or torture-porn (which I will not watch or read), but it is bloody and doesn’t pull any punches. I reached my annual limit of unrelenting death about 2/3rds of the way through, and still had hundreds of bodies to go through before the end. However that only contributes to the story and its exploration of the senseless nature of violence. This book is fantastic. Highly Recommended.

Book Club Review: There is a treasure-trove of discussion in these pages. There are so many highly memorable scenes and lines that people will be bringing up their favorite moments for quite a while. The two main characters start with very different moralities, and as the book unfolds their views slowly switch in magnificent parallel character arcs. The exploration of a world without order makes for strong talking points, especially the contrast of Cosca and Friendly. These two characters act as foils, one pragmatically accepting the world as it is and riding atop the chaos, the other rebelling against the anarchy in a unique sort of optimism. The choices made, the twists, the downward spirals – they all contribute to a great churning discussion. There’s even a few minor things to dislike, for the nit-pickers in the group. :) Highly Recommended.

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