Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Served Cold

Best Served Cold by  Joe Abercrombie was recommended by someone. I forget who. I don't know if they thought it was good or if they thought I'd like it. There's no way I would have picked up this book without someone telling me about it first.

Not that it's a bad book. It's got a strong female main character. There are plenty of interesting minor characters. The story is quite simple and if you recognize the title as a quote from Shakespeare then you know that the main theme of the book is betrayal and revenge. Meh. I guess everyone has to have something to live for. This book is like a bastard child of A League of  Extraordinary Gentlemen and Kill Bill.

Monza and her brother Benna are mercenaries. They're very good at their job. So good that their employer decides to kill them to stop them from taking him out. Benna dies in the first chapter. Monza survives the attack and sets on a course of revenge. Seven men were involved in the room when Benna died and those seven men have to die.

Monza picks up a motley crew including a poisoner and his young female apprentice and a mass murderer someone has let out of "Safety" (Prison). This character, Friendly, is the first OCD character I've ever seen in a fantasy book. He counts everything. He has spent most of his life institutionalized. The world is very confusing. Numbers always make sense. All together Monza collects six people to join her on her bloody quest. There many betrayals both big and small along the way.

Once the seven start dying Monza's former employer sends an assassin to kill her before she can get to him. There is a lot of blood and violence in this book. Revenge is a bloody business. In places the story becomes a comedy of errors. The lucky breaks are a little too lucky. The book went on too long for my taste.  I found myself skimming all the passages with fighting in them.

The ending is a bit of a surprise. The real reason Benna died is just sad. Just goes to show that you should never assume anything.  

I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it either. I'm told that if you like Abercrombie's other books you will like this one. If you decided to read it come back and let me know what you think.