Lots of Reviews

February 21st, 2013

No sane writer takes individual amazon reviews too seriously.  After all, you do get some strange ones.

Of course, most writers are far from entirely sane.  But the general pattern is often interesting, even to the mostly rational, and there’s an interesting pattern to amazon reviews of Red Country both in the US and the UK, namely that aside from The Blade Itself, which as my first you’d expect to get most attention, it’s already my most reviewed book.

In the UK, The Blade Itself has 184 reviews, Before They are Hanged 66, Last Argument of Kings 82, Best Served Cold 86, The Heroes 83, and Red Country has just racked up its 100th review.

In the US, The Blade Itself has 393, Before They are Hanged 147, Last Argument of Kings 170, Best Served Cold 166, The Heroes 152, and Red Country 177.

In both US and UK, Best Served Cold is my worst rated book, on average (I know, I really like it too, but hey, your mileage may vary).  But in the UK, Red Country is tied with the Blade Itself in fourth position.  In the US, Red Country is my best rated book, with not a single one star review (that’s not an invitation).

What is the meaning of all this?

I’ve no idea.

But I’m fully prepared to obsessively monitor the situation.

Posted in reviews by Joe Abercrombie on February 21st, 2013.

91 comments so far

  • What I found weird was that every single review on Amazon, when Red Country came out kept being given thumbs down by almost half the people reading them for the first week or so. Even when they were well written, informative, and non spoilery. I don’t know if anyone else noticed that?

  • DepressedRat says:

    Lovely review of the blade itself.

  • Sidney Harbour-Bridge says:

    Joe, I suspect Americans might be more culturally inclined to enjoy Red Country given the Western feel.

    Personally BSC is one of my favourites too, but hey horses for courses.

    I also think that The Heroes (which is another favourite) is more, well, British in it’s bleakness and cynicism. Americans like a bit more hope, which RC has.

    I wonder if your American publisher will pick up on this and ask you to make your books a bit sunnier so they shift more units in Wal-Mart? After all, you *do* have kids to put through college and I wouldn’t blame you!

  • bobbby says:

    So people like the Blade Itself and A Red Country ? Hmm….. Maybe they just like Logen Ninefingers a lot ? (and were disappointed he wasnt in BSC)

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Man, some weird stuff goes on with the up and down votes. But there’s some funny old people on amazon. I’ve had some bad reviews that, looking at the other stuff reviewed by the user in question, I’m totally sure were sockpuppets of authors. No one you’d know, but people who obviously made a habit of setting up shells to five star themselves and one star fantasy authors in general.

    Depressed Rat,
    It’s a humdinger, no?

    It may be that you’re right, though I would have thought in advance that Americans would be pricklier about the appropriative aspects of a British person writing a weird mixture of western and fantasy. It seems not.

    In my experience, publishers very rarely try and manipulate a writer’s output in that way.

    Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that. They like Before They are Hanged a lot more than the Blade Itself, in general, but I suspect part of that is you get bad reviews for the Blade Itself from people who despised the whole vibe and therefore never picked up the next one. By subsequent books in the trilogy they’ve mostly been weeded out. Although you then get some for Last Argument of Kings who hated the ending. And you get a fair few for Red Country in the UK who really didn’t like it. He’s lost it! Worst book! Etc.

  • Ah, Joe, the perils of Amazon reviews. Whether it’s a cultural thing or not, there are two basic drivers among those who review stuff on Amazon… those’ll be love and hate.

    My books tend to attract 4/5 stars or 1 star, so that’s my evidence. I also suspect some negative reviews are there thorugh jealousy. Nowt you can do about it.

    Obsessively monitoring Amazon reviews is, I believe, a core facet of an author’s life. I love reading them, basking in the good ‘uns and nurturing righteous indignation at the bad ones (and I’ve had some corkers).

    But do you repond? Dangerous territory. I have once, and not about a review itself but about what was effectively a personal attack when the reviewer had confused what my characters say and think with me. Twat.

    Remember, whenever you get a confusingly bad review, check out your sales figures, relax and smile to yourself…

  • Smoochie says:

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics.

    Plus, you know all the one-star reviews you get are George RR Martin überfans, jealous of your ascendancy and your [wonderful] ability to publish a book more than once a decade 🙂

  • Niko says:

    Quite often, after looking through the reviews, I find that I have nothing to add that hasn’t been said in one of the other reviews. If there aren’t any, or I actively disagree with a review that hasn’t already been refuted, I add one.


  • Smoochie says:

    Oh, and here’s Charlie Stross on Amazon reviews.

    His theory is that a book with lots of 1 and 5 star reviews is a lot better than one with lots of 3 and 4 star reviews, even if the average rating is lower. Worth a read.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    James Barclay,
    Responding to amazon? That way true madness lies…

    Actually, the vast majority of one star reviews of The Blade Itself say something along the lines of, ‘shit compared to Martin’ ‘No Game of Thrones’ or whatever.

  • Andrea Paventi says:

    Best served cold is in my opinion your best.
    Actually I haven’t finished yet Red Country, but the former has:
    1) interesting characters
    2) intense relationships among them
    3) beautiful background. Do you know a sci-fi writer called Vance? Styria is as fascinating as Vance Durdane with an Middle age Italy flavor .

    Your trilogy is compelling and its end …. Oh my…. Never read in my life a so cynical ending. Excruciating! But it’s your first work and even though fascinating it lacks the style, the concision of my favourite.

    The heroes I didn’t like.

    Sorry for misspelling and grammar mistakes. I’m Italian. None of your works have been translated in Italian yet – I don’t care – BTW choose with care the translator …. I appreciated the work they did translating in Italian Susanne Clark novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel. I found Italian translation even better than original version.

    Go Joe. U r now my best author. … After iain M. banks Consider Phlebas.

  • You are correct, Joe and I’d never respond to a review as, good or terrible, people can say what they like even if they’re sock-puppets and have no moral fibre or self-respect whatever.

    But in this case, a line was crossed and I will always defend myself against comments of a personal (and erroneus) nature.

    Love those one star reviews that compare you to books that are nothing like yours whatever. I mean, they may as well give you one star because you don’t write like Barbara Cartland.

  • Danny says:

    Red country-the return of the bloody nine…can’t remember when I’ve buzzed so much reading! Just bought my dad it for Christmas…took everything I have not tell him Logens back, keep it up joe…you set the standards in fantasy Sir.

  • Paolo says:

    Shame on you Joe, you are gonna have an army of mad fat girls outside your house soon!

    Jokes apart, when I’m looking at reviews on Amazon, I tend to avoid both the 1 and 5 stars reviews, extremes are usually driven more by sentiment (or stupidity) rather than good critisism.

  • Dave Bradley says:

    Hi Joe. Not sure if you’ve seen this site before. It always tickles me:
    It’s a place that demonstrates just how demented Amazon reviews can be.
    All the best, Dave

  • Mike says:

    I read the review you linked in the post Joe. Y U h8 fat girls?!

    Amazon reviews are a subjective thing, Best Served Cold is the book I most enjoyed reading, The Heroes is the one I didn’t enjoy as much as the rest but it would be a 4 and a half star review.

    Many people on the information supernetway are strange in their reviews, it is either “Not Excellent” (1 star) or “Excellent” (5 stars) and that kind of review system carries on to Trip Advisor where restaurants like The Fat Duck get 5 star reviews with “Very Tasty” and 1 star reviews saying “Not Very Tasty” – to even begin to ponder what goes on in the minds of Amazon one star reviewers for even a moment is like staring into the abyss of the damned.

  • Roger says:

    It’s a shame that BSC receives so love. I’d say it’s the best of the standalones. Lovely.

  • Paolo says:

    I wanted to add that I agree with Andrea about translations in Italian, choose the translator with care should you ever be able to publish your books in our country. Should you strike a deal about it, please let us know through your blog!

  • Nimrod Daniel says:

    Usually I don’t pay much attention to Amazon reviews/ratings. …
    Judging by my Goodreads friends – you’re a great author 🙂

    Regarding the girl’s review – If the girl got insulted by a sentence from your book that’s probably indicates that she has a low self-esteem, and get easily offended.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Andrea and Paolo,
    Ironic, but The Heroes is already out in Italian, from Gargoyle, and the trilogy will be following soon, I believe. Hard to choose the translator, if you don’t speak the language. You really have to trust to the publisher.

    Strangely, reviews of BSC in the UK have got a lot better recently. It was down to a 3.5 star average at one point, which is not good. But it’s now up to 4. Go figure…

  • Sword1001 says:

    I’d rather produce something that a minority LOVED, than something the majority thought was okay.

  • Patrick says:

    I can’t wait to read Red Country! I also think I have a somewhat different opinion than most. My absolute favourite is The Heroes, then the trilogy and then BSC. I’m not sure why, I’m no analyst.

  • The Dude says:

    Having read that amazon review, I have to admit she has some great poits. If such a well rounded, nice and truly honorable character like Jezal is your way to humiliate obese people, well then I’m outraged! Had it ever been an obnoxious little shit with such thoughts…

    Reading amazon reviews does seem like a mad thing to do though. I wonder if Scott Lynch ever reads his. I don’t know what triggers his anxiety attacks, but it sure wouldn’t help my social anxiety attacks, even with mostly good reviews, and the odd crazy ramblings of a self declared fat spanish chick, to keep me amused.

    Also, I’m reading BSC now, but so far Before They are Hanged is my favorite. And I think thats really strong, because the middle parts aint something I useually love. Well done!

  • Nimrod Daniel says:

    Joe, all of your books are rated above 4/5 on Goodreads, and it’s the most reliable place over the net, due to the fact that there’s a huge amount of readers who review and rate books.

  • Luke Scull says:

    Yeah, Goodreads is more reliable. Amazon has far too much sock puppetry going on. Generally, if an author has a lot more reviews than seems likely for their profile/sales figures, and they’re mostly 5-star ratings from folk who haven’t reviewed anything else, you know something weird is up. There’s a particularly notorious self-published fantasy author who is infamous for gaming the Amazon system, but I’m not going to name him here…

  • bobbby says:

    Joe, just to be fair , I am sure lots of new (and old) authors get 1 star reviews because “Its so bad compared to Joe Abercrombie”.

  • Nick LaRock says:

    I do believe that a lot of the buzz surrounding Red Country comes from the fact that so many people have read your trilogy and the following books and are only just now realizing what an incredibly diverse author you are. Your ability to present so many perspectives in one story speaks to this. You have an appeal that reaches beyond fantasy, western, viking saga, or Martin fans because you know how to write a good damn story that’ll wrap it all into a neat little package that tells you, when its all over, to just sit and wait for more. While your cynical exploration of tropes and archetypes may be lost on some, there are many who appreciate your brazen representation of Howard-style fantasy because it is very much grounded in modern thought. There’s no real need to say it, fellow, but you have it. I look forward to reading your future works (or as I think of them, Joe Abercrombie’s long serial), and chomp at the opportunity to share your current works with my peers. Thanks for that much, at least!

  • Luke Scull says:

    I got a 5-star review just the other day saying “in comparison to Abercrombie the book comes off worse”, so I know *exactly* how it feels…

  • Doug says:

    Some of our favorite amazon reviews are for the three wife moon t-shirt.

  • Krauser says:

    I love all your books about the same until Red country, you got me into reading fantasy again after a decade long break reading only nonfiction. The problem with Red country for me was the cheesy western visuals that kept appearing in my head. Killed the mood some for me.

    However those western associations might be the very reason for the success of Red country in the US. Might have made it more relatable over there on some cultural level

  • Chevi77 says:

    Starting from the point that it has to be really weird to get your work reviewed by people at random, I think the review system in Amazon has to be taken as it is, maybe as sort of a guide if you are undecided. But I think I never read a review of your novels, and still got them all (some twice in my Kindle)
    On the whole, I think your best stand alone novel has been The Heroes, although I think the really challenging one must have been BSC, is a mammoth of a story that had to be difficult to squeeze into just one book. Besides that, A Red Country I found really interesting, for the same reasons as The Heroes, as you were treading into unexplored areas with a very high level of success (in my opinion). We could say they have been more “experimental”?
    Then on the other side, regarding the trilogy, my favourite is Before They Are Hanged. But if you ask me to choose your better book, it could take me a while to make a decision, which cannot be such a bad thing….
    Anyway, I can see that it can be interesting to see the reviews of your books and analyze why they have such patterns.

  • Andrea Paventi says:

    Tx Joe
    I am going to buy ‘The Blade Itself” (Translated “Il richiamo delle spade”; literally “swords call”)
    That’s strange… Actually I believed you, authors, had some voice in choosing translators.
    For instance the very title of your novel is not exactly the same … You told blade, not swords. Probably is not important, but if this is the way it works….

  • Krauser says:

    Sorry for the divided post but I forgot I wasn´t done, am one of those writers not entirely sane.

    The reason for Best served cold doing worse than the others is probably because of its overall darker mood not because of poor plot or writing. The dark mood is as it should be however, it is after all a revenge story.

  • bobbby says:

    @ Andrea :
    You have to be realistic about these things

  • Chevi77 says:


    The same happens in spanish, it is translated as “The Voice of Swords”. I guess it is difficult to do a direct translation, as in spanish the direct translation wouldn’t have as much weight. The word for blade in spanish is the same as for leaf or page, and it could lead to confusion.
    And taking into account the conversation regarding swords and their voice between Bayaz and Logen when the mage arms the northman in his library cellar, I don’t think of it as a problem for a title.

  • TylerKF says:

    My personal favorite was Best Served Cold. I think it’s the book that requires the least knowledge of Circle of the World’s backstory compared to the others. Even though Red Country was intended as a standalone, it used characters (Shivers, Ninefingers), and plot points (the Maker’s sword, Valint and Balk) that were explained in the original trilogy and other standlones, fairly often. As for why Red Country got higher reviews in the U.S., I would assume it’s because of America’s taste for old-school Westerns. They’re more familiar with the tropes and conventions of that genre than the rest of the world, so they would probably be more open to a fantasy adaptation of the Western genre.

  • Iangr says:

    Joe, since we are talking statistics,it might be interesting to see the percentage of your books by country or language.
    What is the penetration elsewhere (except UK and US)?

    I am guessing that as you become more and more well known and more of your books are translated into other languages,your international fan hords are swelling…

  • Luke says:

    Thanks for posting that review link, I had a really good laugh reading through the comments. I have yet to read A Red Country, as I am re-reading all of the Wheel of Time books before I read the final book in that series.
    Of all the “fantasy” (god i hate that genre description)authors, there are only three that i really like -outside of Tolkien, of course- Robert Jordan, George Martin, and you. BSC was one of the most refreshing books I’ve read in a long time, which led me to read your trilogy, and then The Heroes,which maybe suffered from my now rather high expectations, but is still an entertaining read. I really hope for more of Monza at some time in the future.
    As far as reviews go, bear in mind there’s no accounting for taste.
    Keep up the great work, I’m really looking forward to reading the large body of work you will no doubt contribute over your career, and watching your development as an author.

  • Martel says:

    In general, I’d say ‘Fuck it’ with regard to Amazon reviews. I realize you’re likely concerned about them to the extent that they influence purchasing decisions–and who could blame you–but in the end your books will sell what they sell on their own merit. You’re much more likely to move units based on things like “Goodreads” where friends tell friends to read a book because it rocked. In other words, a quality warm-market review is worth a lot more than anonymous tripe. I am an American living in Europe. I’ve read all of your books and I liked each one. In some cases, I loved them–The Blade Itself and The Heroes and to some extent Red Country. I thought the “Western feel” of RC was good fun but it didn’t appeal to my subconscious identity as a cowboy. Bottom line: Amazon reviews are like discussion boards in American newspapers on a gun policy story; written by idiots for idiots. You’ll get a lot more bang for your buck persuading readers to share their reviews on things like “Goodreads” and the like. Thanks for your stories and especially your characters. You’re one of the best writers out there today whatever half-wits on Amazon might say.

  • darby says:

    i started with BSC- i had been listening to two of my friends rave about your books, and while i trust their judgement, i wanted to get a taste of your style before committing to a trilogy (i was told that you didn’t *have* to read the trilogy first to “get” BSC, so it looked like a good place to start) i was immediately hooked, and have all of your books with no regrets. i fact, i annoy my friends by constantly recommending them. i like that they all have a different style… Logen is DEFINITELY my favourite character.

    can’t please everyone. to paraphrase my dad: “opinions are like assholes, everyone has them, and most of them stink”

    oh, and many MANY thanks to Dave for turning me on to Least Helpful– that is hilarious!

  • Aidan says:

    I’ll never understand why Best Served Cold is your lowest rated book. I thought it was by far the best yet (though I’m yet to read Red Country; got it for xmas but finishing GRRM books first).

  • Justin Lancon says:

    I suppose I’m a pretty big fanboy, because I’ve really enjoyed everything you’ve written.

    I started with The Heroes, because that book blew up here in the states for a few weeks when it came out. It was a fantastic introduction to the world, and even though I could tell I wasn’t seeing everything, I was still pretty enthralled.

    On the strength of that book, I eventually bought and read (in order) BSC, the FLS, and finally Red Country just a week or so ago. Now I have an itch to re-read heroes with my new knowledge of Shivers, Bremer Dan Gorst, Dow, and the various Union guys.

    Maybe it’s the weird order I read them in, but I think Heroes will always be my favorite. I’ve always loved military sci-fi, and military fantasy was a new thing entirely to me. I loved its bleakness, its attention to detail, and its realistic treatment of the psychology of battle on both sides.

    Anyway, I lost my point – not enough coffee this morning. Looking forward to the next one. 🙂

  • janusz says:

    Andrea is right about translators. Red Country was just published in Poland and its very poorly translated.
    I’m no translator myself, my English only decent enough to read and enjoy, but there is no western feel in Red Country Polish translation (I have English version of RC, and loved that style). Major sin -they translated Shy South as one would call a young horse in Poland -technically correct, but awkward. It might diminish the character to Polish reader.
    Another thing -no one published The Last Argument of Kings, while The Blade Itself and Before They Are Hanged were on the market some few years ago.

    Anyway – I loved Red Country, read it twice already. It surpasses The Heroes which I thought was not possible

  • Adam A. says:

    You didn’t mention all the reviews on Goodreads.

  • Paolo says:

    Thanks for the news, The Heroes just got recently published (at the end of October) in Italian, and hopefully the translation will be good. Even tho I’m pretty sure I’ll stick to the original language, it’s finally a good chance for friends to enjoy your works.
    Btw, should I read one of those “awesome” reviews in Italian on Amazon Italy about your books, I’ll make sure to send you the translation!

  • Slogra says:

    I’m with Andrea, Mike, Tyler, and Aidan. Best Served Cold is easily your tightest writing. I would say Last Argument is my favorite, but it’s kind of like Return of the King; it’s a satisfying ending that relies on the books earlier in its trilogy to really get that impact.

    Oddly enough, the elements of your books that I crave – the ending to Last Argument and all of BSC – are extremely dark and cynical. (Thanks Joe for reminding me about how dark my soul is.) I think I just enjoy seeing how far people will fall. It’s why I also love watching Breaking Bad so much.

  • Nine Fingered Discount says:

    Mr Abercrombie, Not since David Gemmell Created Waylander and Druss have I found Characters to be so damn believable. Your ability to show people with all the foibles and sordid secrets struggling through life makes all your books a must read. I finished Red country in three days and all the nods to your past works and your journey into a new frontier was one of your best works to date. My signed copy of Red country now sits proudly next to the battered and worn copies of all Gemmells work with plenty of gaps next to it waiting for your future works. And fuck the Martin loving haters sitting in their damp bedsits googling pictures of vaginas dreaming of the day they will get to see one up close. Long live Lamb!

  • Tim says:

    TFL trilogy has become my favorite fantasy series of all time! I even got my reluctant wife hooked on them and she is reading BSC now. I however am stuck in a predicament. I commute 3 to 4 hours a day and live off of audiobooks. I just don’t have time to read. After listening to Steven Pacey I just can’t bring myself to purchase the Michael Page versions of BSC and The Heroes on Audible. I have purchased Red County but keep holding off listening to it, in hopes that I can find someway of buying the the other versions so I can enjoy them in order and not miss out on something. Are there any references to the other books that I would not get?

    As for how good your books are Joe, GRRM had been my favorite current fantasy author but after listening to your books (as well as GRRM’s) numerous times now, I have to say that you have taken the top spot on my list! I think you are both very talented but you claim the top spot mainly because I love the sense of humor you possess and exhibit in your books and you finish your stories!!! I will keep spreading the word and hope that TFL gets it’s own HBO series one day!

  • Tony Robson says:

    But what is your favourite Joe? Personally, The Heroes is by far my all time favourite fantasy book out of probably 500+ reads ;).

  • Michael f says:

    I was led to the first law trilogy by an amazon forum where I asked people to recommend adult fantasy fiction. I read some right crap too mind you. What I loved about joe’s stuff is the fact that the characters are all corruptible and that obviously the most powerful guy on the planet is not going to be like gandalf. The first law actually put me right off mainstream fantasy like lotr. It makes Tolkien’s stuff look like childish, pathetic nonsense. Nice one.

  • Hammer says:

    Well, Red Country had a very American West feel to it which would seem a good bet why it is so popular in the U.S.

    Maybe you could answer a question for me as well? Did you draw heavily on the Deadwood theme for the setting of the second half of the book? I felt like the setting and the fight between the two legends in the arena(trying to avoid big spoilers) had a very Dan Doherty against Hearst’s man sort of feel.

    The First Law series never fails to entertain! Thanks for that.

  • ColinJ says:

    That Amazon review made my day. I LOL-ed heartily.

    And phooey on anyone who doesn’t like BEST SERVED COLD. They don’t know what’s good for them.

  • Willie Dawson says:

    Hi Joe
    Interesting thing … Best Served Cold is my favourite of your books – does this make me weird???
    The ‘bank job’ part in it was brilliant, maybe your next standalone should be a heist book. Just an idea. I know your busy for the next decade or so. However, if your going to bow to the wishes of just one fan – why not me???
    On a more serious note – love your work!
    By the way, get over to Ireland sometime, would love to see you in person.
    All the best

  • Angie says:

    I don’t know why Best Served Cold doesn’t get more love. That was my favorite of your books, although I enjoyed them all. And I did write a 5 star review for Red Country.

    And I’m maybe a bit overweight these days, but that amazon review you linked had me rolling my eyes so hard they just about fell out.

  • Count Spatula says:

    Wow, it’s interesting that the Americans like Red Country more than us UKians… I really wonder why that is…

    I love Best Served Cold the most too. People are such strange creatures.

  • Kirk says:

    I prefer the blade itself ( trilogy )to your other books also enjoyed the Heroes more than Red Country, as i said before wasnt happy with Shivers and Lamb (cop out too strong a criticism) lack of closure. And in Heroes you killed one of my faves (Black Dow) off but still enjoyed it. Best Served Cold started really good but i felt it sagged a wee bit. I wonder how much negative reviews affect your writing plans for the future ?

  • Jourdan McNamara says:

    I LOVE EVERYTHING YOU WRITE!!!!! don’t stop


  • Hammer says:

    Kirk…. **Some Spoilers for R.C.**

    Your critic of the Shivers/Lamb relationship is not agreeable, I found it refreshing to have something other then a brawl to the death to settle things. I also think Shivers really didn’t desire to kill Lamb as much as it was a excuse to extradite himself from his old life and troubles and used Lamb as a vessel to poor his anger into. In the end when he sees Lamb’s adopted family and recognizing the dichotomy in his fellow Northmen he lets it go….

    I actually feared that it would be another fight to the death which truly gets redundant for a reader who wants to see some versatility in his characters and the author. Adverse to your opinion it would be a cop out just to dust one of them in the end.

    Cheers to Joe for adding depth.

  • Hammer says:


  • Richard says:

    Oh no, Joe’s point about sockpuppets has sent me off on a tangent that could become a tragic new way of wasting time:
    – go to Amazon
    – Select all 1 star reviews (or any star for that matter)
    – Pick a reviewer, then select ‘see all my reviews’
    – Unscientifically extrapolate lifestyle through purchase history

    One of your detractors has lightbulb fetish issues…

  • SgtPluck says:

    Best Served Cold was the best I’ve read so far (I haven’t yet read The Heroes of Red Country…..but they are on my shelf, honest), but frankly, it did drag on a bit. For a simple revenge thing, I reckon you could have lost 100 pages and still have a great story. However, it’s not a deal-breaker, it was still pretty fricking good.

  • EdC says:

    I noticed this review for red country the other day,
    These sentences are particularly prominent, “I saw just before coming to write this review that there is now another author’s name on the cover along with Abercrombie’s. If that person is the cause of all this I hope they never collaborate again. It was a disaster.”
    Time for the truth Joe, who actually wrote Red Country? The people need to know! That bastard “Sunday Times bestseller” seems to be collaborating on a lot of books recently.

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Dave Senior drew the map. I’ve no idea why they’ve credited him as a co-author. It’s certainly not on the cover (well, the map is, but not his name).

  • Chris says:

    Joe, fear not, I enjoyed Best Served Cold enormously.

  • EdC says:

    I’m assuming the person who wrote the review has real trouble with the whole concept of reading, hence finding a random name listed somewhere in the book and reaching the conclusion that they co-authored the book.

  • Dennis Rydgren says:

    If you ask me about Best Served Cold, it is a four amongst fivers. I was almost sade to report this to my much Abercrombie loving friends, I even wrote half a page explaining my views. In short I can only say that you reached such a high level of competence in writing that you get down graded by your own high standard. I’m sorry, you are good at this, that is my benchmark.

    +Friendly made it a 4+ 🙂

  • Brian Turner says:

    “Best Served Cold” is the book I always recommend people start with. 🙂

  • Simon says:

    Best Served Cold is my favorite too

    But it’s like choosing a favorite pet I love them all really.

  • JenMo says:

    I just finished Red Country two hours ago. That book perhaps had more heart than the rest makes it stand out. And Lamb…. Can’t wait to see where that ol’ coward pops up next. Loved it, thanks Joe.

  • Weedypants says:

    The message:

    In the UK we like fiction about real people. That’s people who can be capable of promiscuity and violence and still be sympathetic.

    In the US they have this big thing with religion (I could say more about that – my degree, 15 back, was half Theology). Suddenly if you sleep around and you kill people (in an unheroic way) you’re just BAD, hardly a “person” at all. (Apologies to Americans, I know this is huge generalisation – spelt with an “s”, hurrah – territory).

    The Red Country, being “tame” in Abercrombie terms, naturally appeals to the Yanks. A limy Brit myself, I naturally err towards Best Served Cold and The Heroes. Give me more moral ambiguity, show me more characters who (much like me, maybe even more so than me) can be shitty and scared and very occasionally brave and all in all very human.


  • SwindonNick says:

    Do you read every review on Amazon and do you have a view on how the standards differ from ‘professional’ reviews?

  • Eric Sean says:

    I really enjoyed Red Country but after reading the 1 and 2 star reviews I’ve changed my mind. I reckons most on here will do likewise, if they’ve a modicum of sense.

  • jeffgoopy says:

    Loved best served cold. If you’re going onto Amazon to read reviews, I suggest look at the veet reviews, hilarious.

  • Brian Goren says:

    Best Served Cold is by far your best book. Most people couldn’t handle Not reading about Logan or Glokta. I say to them “Eat a Big Fat Turd you Scum” Some of the Darkest Shit I ever read was in that book, keep them coming. Damn Pastries!!!

  • AntMac says:

    What is truely amusing about the mindset of that review, is the hypocrisy it reveals. Hypocrisy is the worst fault of the human race imho, and while men a guilty of it also, women certainly have the inside running.

    What woman would not pour scorn and hatred on a fat, unfit man who aspired to date a model?. Which of them would criticise the model for saying “She couldn’t afford to be seen walking with a fat guy on her arm. It could ruin her reputation”. Yet every woman in the world would scream and rant to hear a male who had restrained his appetite, and exercised, saying he didn’t want to be seen walking with a fat moll.

  • Rowan says:

    WOW!!!! I just checked out the Subterranean Press website and saw the new cover for “The Heroes”and it is Bad To the Bone!! I would say it is my favorite cover for Joe’s work by far and it happens to be my favorite book of his as well… You guys gotta check it out, fantastic!

  • John B says:

    Its 12.36 am, I am in bed, and I have just spent the last 36 minutes reading lots of 1 star reviews of various Abercrombie books. Oh God.

  • Setsubeast says:

    Best Served Cold was excellent, and I loved that the protagonist was a woman. It was a definite shift in tone though (not nearly as much snarkiness as in previous books), and I wonder if fans found that jarring.

    I LOVE the way Shivers developed over the course of the series, and I really sympathized with Gorst. I miss Logan the most. Characters that wish for something better amidst the shit and awfulness that they deal with are really relatable. Their frustrations ring true.

  • Kirk says:

    To Hammer,
    Not sure i recommended a “fight to the death” for Shivers and Lamb, i just wanted more closure. as it is theres little to stop Shivers coming back for a dust up next week once the mood takes him. As for the adopted family i would suggest that their involvement in Lamb/Logens tale is over the bloody nine has been let loose again and isnt the blood letting and vicious put downs what we ( as readers ) love about these books.Plus versatility? in an individual character is not desirable , its poor writing, Less lamb and more Ninefingers please

  • bobbby says:

    Joe, in case Logen appears in any future book, I would love to have a third person view of the Bloody-Nine fighting.
    And after the fight is over, a conversation between Logen and this third party person would be awesome.

  • Luke says:

    BSC was soo good.I don’t know how it got poorer reviews than the others. Also I’m not sure what it says about me that my two favorite Abercrombie characters are Monza and Glokta…

  • Ranma says:

    Hei Joe,

    I’ve just finished Red Country. I’m not going to write a review here, but yeah, this is my top 5 list of your books: 1 Best Served Cold, 2 The Blade Itself, 3 The Heroes, 4 Red Country, 5 (ex aequo) Before They are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings.

    Overall, I enjoyed reading Red Country, a brave attempt to write a Fantasy-Western! (not an easy task for anyone…)

  • janusz says:

    To Kirk,
    Lamb/Shivers “duel” and its outcome is brilliant:
    Shivers thought he was following the Bloody-Nine footsteps in life. Was trying to be a better man, but he failed, just like Logen. He came after him to the Near Country, and saw that there is redemption after all -Lamb has a family, so he has finally succeded in becoming a better man. Maybe there is hope for Shivers too?
    Shivers is smiling at the end, because he just realised that its never to late. He will not be coming back.

    And -fighting Lamb, whatever the outcome (really, Sivers is not in the same league with the Bloody-Nine) is a fail: killing father in front of his family is going further to the dark side, and letting the Bloody-Nine tear Shivers to pieces in front of his family is no better.

  • Doug says:

    I loved all your books, but to me the stand out was “The Hero’s”. Gorst ranks right up there with Logain/Lamb as one of my favorite literary charactors of all time. Still I have really enjoyed all your books, so please keep on writing them.

  • Thile says:

    Looking thru the 1 star reviews (US), I finally figured out what was missing from Joe’s works. Goosebumps. Needs more Goosebumps.

    Best Served Cold is probably still my favourite.

  • max says:

    Just finished red country good to see some favorites back to old tricks. Was worried might be throwing some charters in for no good reason but it fell together nicely I feel. on the whole deadwood comparison I did get that feel to but no bad thing as its a good show with great dialog if you don’t mind the odd expletive. Not sure bout these machines and modern bits n bots that are turning up but that’s a personal thing bit of a hang up of mine maybe on the whole a great read only wish it was longer.

    p.s. back to the North for me, more brutal barbarity the better may have to go back to read the series again in the mean time.

  • Charlie says:

    Not to be infantile… oh, who am I kidding? Not to be completely infantile, infantile, yes, but there is a bit of juvenile mixed in. Why oh why couldn’t that fat girl sentence appeared on page 69? Had to be 68.

    Oh how the unrealized laughter haunts me. Keeps me up at night.

    Joe I really think you fell down on this one. Could’ve thrown in just a few more sentences, just another paragraph or two, and all would be right with the world again. But no. Had to be all slim and precise. Well defined, that is. Had to trim the fat, as they say. You know, now that I think about it, maybe you do have a problem with fat. That’s prejudice, Joe, prejudice.

  • […] of the gate. Then again, even books I LOVE by brilliant authors receive scaithing, or disinterested reviews… Meh. Can’t win ‘em […]

  • defenestrate says:

    BSC > Trilogy > Heroes >>>> Red Country. I just could not care about the central characters aside from Lamb, and even he felt flatter this time around. Maybe it’s a consequence of the Western style.

    But the other five books are the cream of the genre.

  • Sam says:

    I have read all six books and thoroughly enjoyed them. The violence and comedy in these books is top notch, so many parts have made me laugh such as – “ugh!” Grim through his sword on the ground as if he had suddenly realised he was holding a turd –

    There is a great fondness for the word turd throughout the books which I’ve noticed and also that every child involved in the story is always about 14 years old –
    boy with the bow Logan kills
    The eater girl in dagoska
    The both boys black Dow kills
    And a boy shenkt kills

    And maybe more , great stuff though cant wait to read more turd metaphors and 14 year old slayings

  • CJ says:

    Yo, @Kirk, spoiler for some of us who haven’t read all the books?! Jeez! Next time mark spoiler alert!

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