Archive for February, 2011

“Springtime in Styria. And that means war.”

The general Monza Murcato was the most feared mercenary in Grand Duke Orso’s employ. Her fame and popularity were making the Grand Duke uneasy. When Monza and her brother met the Grand Duke and his closest circle of people they were betrayed, stabbed, their bones crushed and thrown off the Duke’s balcony. However, Monza survived and swore vengeance upon the seven men who were in the room when she was betrayed.

To help in her vengeance, Monza hired a mercenary barbarian who wanted to be a honest man, a treacherous poisoner and his apprentice, a mass murderer obsessed with numbers, an unpredictable ex-general with drinking problems, and a retired torturer.

The story of Best Served Cold has many similarities with The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas. The main character was in her moment of success when she was betrayed by a group of people whom she trusted. When they thought they had gotten rid of her, she comes back, richer and focused on taking revenge. However, Best Served Cold falls short in comparison with Dumas’ work; mainly for the lack of the suspense Duma’s writing creates even if the reader already knows the story. The ending of Best Served Cold can also be a bit disappointing. The details are well treated, but in general it seems rushed in the easy way – it does not stand the comparison with wonderful ending of The Count of Monte Cristo (in content and in style).

What makes Best Served Cold special are the characters. Each character, ally or enemy, is vividly described and attracts the reader’s sympathy for all his/hers psychotic and amoral features. The past of each character is slowly disclosed throughout the book, which turns them progressively more interesting.

As it claims to have “splatterpunk” influences, many scenes with stabbing, violence, torture and lots of blood can be found in Best Served Cold, and there is not the feeling that the main characters are being spared of the worse treatments. However, after the shock of the first violent scenes, the bloody aspect is also mixed with a huge load of dark humor.


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