Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Genuinely mystified by the bad reviews.
on 23 October 2013
Maybe it's because my life is an endless cycle of going to work and looking after small children, so I need some escapism. Maybe it's because I read this whilst struggling through Robert Jordan's Eye of the World. Or maybe it's because I found the story so gripping that I spent half term largely ignoring aforesaid small children, so I could immerse myself in the vaguely skewed version of earth as we know it; but I loved Best Served Cold.
Wy only 4 stars then? Well, partly because I never give top marks and party because...
What went well:
Non-stop action, with no interminable descriptions of travelling (Yes, Jordan, I mean you).
A group of misfit characters with few or no redeeming qualities.
HIghly enjoyable battles. I generally hate battle scenes almost much as descriptive passages, but Abercrombie manages them well - especially in the Heroes, but that's another story.
Strong female characters - keeping firmly away from the virgin/mother/whore thing; although by dint of the society Abercrombie creates, whores do tend to be the career move of the unfortunate.
Interesting take on the relationship between Shivers and Monza.
Development of Cosca. I liked him more here than in The Trilogy.
The vaguely episodic nature of the revenge.
Even better if:
There was more of Vitari, who actually emerged as the most interesting character, I found. Although perhaps that was because I'd met her before.
The Northmen could be a little more clearly delineated; Shivers came across as a little Nine-fingers-lite at times. And what's with the big softies falling in love at the drop of a pair of knickers? Can't they separate sex and emotions, or something?
In my first review (which Amazon ate), I commented that too many of the women seem 'feisty', rather than developed, but the more I've thought about it, the more I've decided I was wrong. Others have commented that Murcatto is a bit 2D, but then, if you've spent your entire life fighting battles and looting, not to mention trying to retain your status amongst a bunch of untrustworthy men, I'm not really sure how much personality you're going to have. I actually found her growing uncertainty - especially around her brother - quite interesting.
To those who said there was too much swearing: is it bad that I barely noticed it?
The complaints about it being derivative of other revenge films etc. Well, yes. But then there's a reason revenge drama has been popular throughout the ages. Equally, nothing good ever happens to anyone in a revenge drama. Shades of Hamlet, I guess in the idea of duty vs morality (but no lengthy soliloquies here) and I suppose, if you wanted to, you could even find echoes of 'Tis Pity she's a Whore with the ultra-violence and incest,not to mention Kill Bill and a thousand other permutations. Nothing innocent about our Monz though, and I like her all the more for it.
A fair few people complaining about lack of likeable characters puzzles me. That, surely is just down to personal taste. You don't need likeable characters to make a good story, or at least a story you enjoy: Jane Eyre, The Great Gatsby, The Secret History, Brave New World; not a single likeable character amongst them, but great books. The Octonauts? Great characters, I love them all, but they don't linger in my head all week.