Monday, November 30, 2009

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie (review)

Title: Best Served Cold
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Illustrator: N/A
Kindle Locations: 12,024(about 640 pages)
Genre: Fiction
Dewey Decimal: F Abe
ISBN: 978-0-316-07908-2
Cost: $9.99 on Kindle
He gave vent to a breathless squeak, spun, slipped on his bare foot, began to limp back to the crack that had so mauled him on their first acquaintance. He wedged one leg through, whimpered at a stab of agony as he accidentally squashed his fruits against a plank.
Not many authors have the "fruits" to say "fruits" in their books. Abercrombie not only has the fruits to say the word, his are big enough to say it often. When I started reading Abercrombie's The First Law series, I was impressed. Greatly. He had a fantastic spin on fantasy and gave it a certain flavor or grit that left you feeling like you were a part of the action. Something I love as a reader.

So when word of his next stand-alone novel was due out, I was excited. After all, his first series was good enough for me to pass along to a close friend, something I rarely do. And Abercrombie does not disappoint in this installment.

We see a few of the same characters from The First Law series, but you get a feel that reading that series is not a prerequisite. You easily attach yourself to the characters, you easily follow the action, and frankly, you don't want this book to end.

And that would be one of the few pain points I had. The book is insanely long. It could have easily been split into a duology, but I think there is a trend for longer books, so I was not surprised by the length. Add to that a few, minor spots that move a little slowly and you want to put the book down. I think that was twice for me. Beyond that I wanted to devour this book everytime I picked it up.

In fact, this book is easily the second-best book I have read all year (you will need to read another post to see what was better).
It had taken him an hour and a half, by Friendly’s calculation, to make ready. Twelve passes of the razor against the sharpening strap. Thirty-one movements to trim away the stubble. One tiny nick left under his jaw. Thirteen tugs of the tweezers to purge the nose hairs. Forty-five buttons done up. Four pairs of hooks and eyes. Eighteen straps to tighten and buckles to fasten.
The best part for me was Friendly. And as a whole, he is the spirit of Abercrombie's skill and flavor. I mean, how often do you get a compulsive-counter in a fantasy book? And one that is a skilled killer? He was awesome. And at times I saw myself in him*, which upped the ante even more while reading. He saw numbers in everything and had a dry wit that kept me laughing and wanting more.

And, to top things off, Abercrombie did a great job of putting a little spin on me at the end. Just when I thought I had the story locked up, here comes an unexpected twist in the plot. I will leave it at that and recommend you go out and either buy, borrow, or check out this book. It will be worth your time.

* When I say I saw myself in Friendly, I mean the obsessive-compulsive counting part, not the killing part. No need to call the cops.

No comments: