Tuesday, August 18, 2009

[Lisa’s Take] Best Served Cold – Joe Abercrombie

Oh, Joe. Joe, Joe, Joe. Why must you try me? Is it because I initially tore into The Blade Itself so badly? I apologized for that, you know, and in my review of Before They Are Hanged I recounted all the ways in which you had remedied my gripes and turned out to be a pretty darn good author after all.

So tell me – why! Why, oh, why must you persist in writing out all your sound effects in text? Haven’t I impressed upon you how distressing, disturbing, and laughable it is to be trying to take your story seriously only to have it broken up by “HUUUUUUUUURGH!” or “slap, slap went his skin, grunt grunt went the barbarian”? While the later does conjure up some highly amusing parallels with the kids book “Pat the Bunny,” it also serves as a detriment to the tone of the story.

*cough* Sorry, I think I’m done with that little segue. You have to understand quite how hard I’ve ranted about Joe’s Sound Effects (tm) in the past. Anyway: Best Served Cold! A story of betrayal and revenge, also known as “Joe picks his favorite secondary characters from The First Law Trilogy and plays dress up with them!” And a damn fine job he does at it, too – Best Served Cold blasts The First Law out of the water in terms of awesome. The plot is much tighter and more polished, the character flaws much more realistic and understated, and the pacing and scope of the story are just spot-on.

I will disclaim my endorsement with the following: know what you’re getting into with this book. If you read The First Law, you have a good idea: really graphic violence, really graphic language, and really graphic sex. No, really. Take all of the fantasy books that you’ve read and munge them up together, then add about 10 degrees of raunchy and you’ll have a good idea of how NC-17 Best Served Cold is. Definitely not for the faint of heart – I don’t exaggerate when I say that the opening chapter made me green around the gills. I do appreciate that Joe is as visceral in his sex as he is in his violence; way to even up the score across the board, buddy!

Anyway, I don’t have a lot more to add to this silly little ramble. I quite liked Best Served Cold, and Joe Abercrombie is now solidly on my list of authors whose books I will pick up no questions asked. I would like to see his next book try out a new setting, just for variety, but no huge hurry there. Just try to keep the sound effects to a minimum next time, eh?

1 comment:

Alec said...

I thought the sound effects were fun. Beats the traditional "and he inserted is X into her Y". Also, the next book will be in the same world. I am pretty sure he posted quite a bit about it on his blog.