Tag Archives: book

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

best-served-cold-us-pbBest Served Cold is the 4th book set in the world of the First Law. Books 1 to 3 were a trilogy and were brilliant. Best Served Cold is a standalone novel set in a part of the world called Styria and is also brilliant.

Here is the synopsis:

Monza Murcatto is mercenary who leads an army of mercenaries called the 1000 swords. There have been 19 years of warfare on the continent and Monza and her brother Benna are great at what they do. A little too great in fact, and their employer, Duke Orso, grows concerned that they might try and take over. So he has them both stabbed a lot and thrown off a balcony and down a cliff. Unfortunately for the seven people involved in this literal backstabbing party, Benna dies but Monza lives. So she sets out to get revenge. It is basically a fantasy version of Kill Bill.

Everything I like and slightly dislike about Abercrombie is present in Best Served Cold. What I like far outweighs what I don’t.

What I like: It is exciting, well written and violent, with superb characters. Some of these characters are from (or at least mentioned) in the First Law trilogy, some are new. It doesn’t really matter though. They all have pretty satisfying story arcs and are believable. The story is told in shifting third person POV and not one of them are dull. To alleviate the often brutal happenings in the book, there is quite a lot of Abercrombie’s dark humour. While each revenge is a bit episodic, there is a satisfying arc to the whole tale. Also each episode is great – like a series of incredibly violent capers.

What I didn’t like: It is all pretty bleak, which isn’t a bad thing I guess, but don’t read Game of Thrones then this or you might get a bit down. There is a lot humour though, so it is lifted somewhat. Most of the characters have a pretty shit time of it, which I suppose is to be expected, but I hoped for a slightly happier arc for some of them.

On the whole though, I bloody loved Best Served Cold. It is probably not quite as good as the First Law trilogy, but if you enjoyed that, you will like this.

In summary then – GREAT BOOK. I LOVED IT. BUY!

The Forge of God by Greg Bear

The Forge of God by Greg Bear

The Forge of God is an acknowledged ‘classic’ of the science fiction genre. It tells the story of aliens arriving and they have a spectacularly miserable message.

The story begins with scientists noticing that Jupiter’s moon Europa has suddenly disappeared. Then three geologists in Death Valley find a dying alien who says, ‘I’m sorry I have some bad news.’ Apparently the Earth is doomed, DOOMED! Meanwhile in Australia some other aliens arrive and say that everything is great, let’s have a BBQ (the latter part isn’t true but that’s what Australians would probably do if they heard this news). What the balls is going on?

The Forge of God starts superbly. It grabs you and makes you eager to find out what is happening and how things will work out. Unfortunately, in my reasonably humble opinion, it then slows down and becomes a trifle plodding. Which is a shame. There are a few intriguing moments but generally I just wanted stuff to happen. Thankfully, at the end, stuff then happens in a BIG way.

The Forge of God has one of the most memorable endings ever. I can’t tell you about it without giving away a huge chunk of the novel but it is awe inspiring, beautifully written, and shocking. I can still remember all the scenes in vivid detail and I have read six other books in the month since reading it (I’ve been on holiday and they were mostly quite short, I’m not boasting).

So there you go. A great start and a great end with a mostly slow centre. Would I recommend The Forge of God to you? Yes. It is worth it for the end alone. Plus there is a sequel that is supposed to be pretty good and you can’t very well read that first. Hell, you might even enjoy the middle and I just have a short attention span. It is also a classic and you should always read classics. Enjoy.