Best Served Cold - Joe Abercrombie 3.5 stars. I liked it! But I'm rounding down however to show that I didn't like it as much as The First Law trilogy. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I knew that right away. First of all, I dove in knowing it was going to be tale of revenge, given the title and all, but I realized not long after I started the book that the story itself wasn't going to go that much farther beyond that concept.

That said, it did give the book a clear direction. I may have enjoyed the story more in The First Law for its intricacy, but I can still appreciate a straightforward tale of vengeance every once in a while. Probably won't come as a surprise to anyone that in many instances, Best Served Cold reminded me of the Kill Bill movies -- a woman is betrayed by the man she admires and loves, he murders the only family she knows, and she sets off to take revenge on him and all of his cronies.

This novel started out very strong, but I have to admit I felt it lost its steam somewhat towards the end. Maybe by then I was starting to get tired of the violence and killing. I don't have any problems with reading about war, blood and gore, but too much of it can get a bit tedious. By the time the final epic climatic battle rolled around, I was sad to realize that I was already all worn out. Thus the ending became a little less special in my eyes.

So it might not have the most elegant plotline, but after meeting all the main players, I just knew that it was going to be the relationships between the characters, and not the story, that will make this novel shine for me. Joe Abercrombie has a knack for writing the most bizarre characters. But as strange as they are, I somehow still manage to connect to them -- probably because I find them all so fascinating. That may be the only reason, since most of Abercrombie's characters are always so flawed, crooked and lacking in redeeming qualities!

And speaking of characters, I was happy to see some familiar names I'd gotten to know from The First Law books. They were all supporting characters in that trilogy, and it's nice to see a couple of them like Shivers or Cosca take center stage in this novel. Knowing this, I'd probably recommend readers who are interested into checking out Joe Abercrombie's stuff to start at The Blade Itself and work through the other two books before diving into Best Served Cold. This book is a standalone novel on its own, but I feel the extra knowledge into the background and history of the world and people will make the reading experience more enjoyable.