E-book, 664 Pages
Adult/ Grimdark/ Fantasy
By: Joe Abercrombie
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 1/2
“That was the difference between a hero and a villain, a soldier and a murderer, a victory and a crime. Which side of a river you called home.”
I was hesitant to start this book because in general, I am not a big fan of companion novels. I enjoyed The First Law trilogy last year and did not know what the author could add to the world. I was so wrong! And I just picked this on a whim without even reading the synopsis which made it an even more pleasant read. In my opinion, the less you know about this book, the more you will enjoy it.
I absolutely loved the writing, I actually liked this more than the original trilogy! As I mentioned in my reviews of the original trilogy, the books in that one felt like a long story divided into 3 books and you need to read all three to get the story. This one is a standalone, it is a complete story and you don’t need to read anything else to enjoy it. I think it can be read without reading the original trilogy but it will lose some of its charm so I still recommend reading it after.
The prose was great, Abercrombie certainly lives up to his title as Lord Grimdark because I felt that it was a dark story, from the writing to the characters to the world building. I can’t explain it but the way my brain processed it and the way I imagined it just screamed “GRIMDARK”. Also there were a ton of quotes that I loved and highlighted.
And like all the best novels, it does focus on characters and there were all kind of character. The story is a story of vengeance and our main character wants to gather her own crew to get her revenge and I am a big fan of this trope. I like seeing how the crew gathers and how the dynamics are formed and this was perfect in that regard. What I also liked was the humor throughout the story which kind of made it lighter.
“You were a hero round these parts. That’s what they call you when you kill so many people the word murderer falls short.”
Most of the characters are morally gray and it is one of the best novels that handles that. I did not if I should root for the characters or wish that they die. All of the characters have two sides and we are introduced to both. The characters were also unique in that each had an identifying characteristic, like one was obsessed with numbers and counting things would literally give him an erection but not actual sex. One had a drinking problem, one is a master poisoner and one is trying to be a better man. And we see this translated into the writing which is something I loved and thought was very genius!
The world-building is good and as I mentioned above, the darkness was something palpable in the story from poverty to corruption to betrayals. Even sex is sometimes pictured as something filthy! The story takes place in more than one city and there are mentions of places and people we know from the original series but still the story added much to both the world and characters.
The pacing is kind of slow but I did not get bored for one second. The story also is a long one, the book I read was almost 700 Pages so it needs some patience but I can assure you that you won’t be bored with it.
“One cannot grow without pain. One cannot improve without it. Suffering drives us to achieve great things.”
Summary: Best Served Cold proved me wrong because I enjoyed it more than the original trilogy. The writing and characters were the perfect mix of humor and darkness *Chef kiss*. The plot is very enjoyable although a bit slow. I loved the hell out of this one and now I am so excited to continue the rest of the novels set in this world.