Book Review: ‘Best Served Cold’, by Joe Abercrombie

A very good, entertaining read. It’s been coming up on five years since I read The First Law trilogy, and I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to get back to Joe Abercrombie’s writing. While I’m always slightly sceptical about the amount of worldbuilding which can be fit into a standalone book, the way in which Abercrombie manages it is nothing short of artful, revealing the world a little part at a time. While he is aided by the fact that his books are all set in the same world, the level of detail is breath-taking.The style of writing as well makes it very easy and fun to read, with interesting characters.

In terms of content, I do always enjoy –as non-sensical as it might sound- fantasy which does not emphasise magic, as it is all too easy nowadays to find books with poorly thought-out systems. The plot develops very quickly, in the potentially predictable arc of a classic story of revenge. The setbacks encountered are entertaining and unpredictable however, and there is no shying away from maiming main characters – something which, in the least morbid way possible, I also tend to enjoy in books.

In short, I would certainly recommend Best Served Cold, and am looking forward to starting on The Heroes. I cannot believe I’ve managed to read so many other authors without reading Joe Abercrombie again, and it will not be another five years before I read another of his books.

‘Best Served Cold’ by Joe Abercrombie is a standalone.

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A return to education

Having graduated at the start of the summer with a 2:1 in history, I’ve been forced to watch as many of my friends have gone off in their own ways in search of gainful employment. My summer has meanwhile been spent writing, and playing rugby league for the local amateur side, the Outlaws, with the pressure of finding employment alleviated by my impending MA course, starting in September.

The various other graduates I’ve met up with since the end of the year have all had a good idea of what they want to do with their lives. Many had already secured jobs -the majority starting in the autumn- while the rest were engaged in fairly intense job searches, all with a clear and specific idea of what they were looking for.

What I realised (if I hadn’t before) was that I didn’t have a clue what I was aiming to do with my life. As such, in the past few weeks in particular, I have been giving it some serious thought. The list I have come up with is still painfully short, but also has an unhelpfully wide range.

I was glad therefore, when the uni rugby league club began their preseason mid-way through September, distracting me from any more long-term goals.