Below is a review on the novel Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie, a stand alone novel based in the in The First Law world.
I’ve raved about Joe Abercrombie before. He’s a fantastic modern writer, full of wit and originality. After working my way through his The First Law trilogy, it was time to pick up his next novel Best Served Cold. Best Served Cold loosely follows on from the original trilogy, now following a mixture of original secondary characters, as well as some completely new ones. However, rather than set the story in the Union, the North, or the Gurkish Empire, we instead follow the internal wars of Styria – the very same country that came to the rescue of the Union in The Last Argument of Kings.
It actually took me a chapter or two to get into this novel. This is no disrespect to the story, but instead down to an overwhelming set of new characters and locations which I had to get my head around. However, with an explosive start, and a arguably better and more exciting location for the story to be set in, it didn’t take me long to get stuck into this novel.
The story revolves around Monzcarro Mercatto, an army general to a mercenaries army, and her bloody path to revenge. With seven targets to kill, before she has her revenge, the story revolves around her struggles and toils – as well as conscious at times – before she can finally get peace. She is also support by the original secondary character’s of Caul Shivers and Nicomo Cosca. I think this is a great move, as both fantastically grow into rich and intriguing characters - which you don’t get a chance to see in the original trilogy.
Like Abercrombie’s other novels, Best Served Cold ticks over well before exploding with unexpected twists and turns near the end. His stories always remind me of a Hollywood blockbuster, with gripping scenes that genuinely immerse the reader into. Unlike some other readers out there, I would controversially say that Best Served Cold is better than the original First Law trilogy. A tall ask, but I think it manages it!