Best Served Cold: The Unofficial Companion to RevengeBest Served Cold: The Unofficial Companion to Revenge by Erin Balser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Initial reaction: I very much enjoyed reading “Best Served Cold”. I’ve followed the ABC series “Revenge” since it premiered and this was a nice way of recapping events, looking at the behind the scenes into the creation of the story, the background of the producers and actors, as well as analyzing each character’s respective role and part in the overarching storyline. I think this is certainly worth reading not only as a refresher, but also to delve a bit deeper into what makes the series so intriguing. It goes far beyond its roots from “The Count of Monte Cristo”, and the text even take the time to take potent quotables from the series as well as mark other suggestive readings and media that may interest the “Revenge” fan. Excellent compilation and analysis.

Full review:

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is how you make a fan guide.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can add much in the way of suggestions to Erin Basler’s unofficial guide to the ABC series, Revenge. It’s not simply a recap or rehashing of the series as it is an analysis (a thorough one at that) of themes, of symbolism, of parallel stories, quotations, among other aspects of the series (at least notably of the first season). As a fan, I couldn’t wait to read this and coming out of it, I gained much from the juxtapositions it makes as well as the background it gives to the storyline, its creation, its respective creators and actors, as well as a little something extra.

This guide really begins with the origins of “Revenge” and how it was a difficult sell at first, but with the right team and actors coming on board, it took on a life of its own. I liked the attention paid to each of the main players of the series – between Emily Thorne and her quest against the Graysons, to her partnerships with Jack and Nolan, and even some of the extended players in the web (and what a tangled web it is). There are a bit of parallels drawn with respect to other media that were either referenced in or influenced the series, most notably Dumas’ “The Count of Monte Cristo.” There are also references/parallels to “The Great Gatsby.” I definitely liked the references to other media that were seen as influential or that which the “Revenge” fan might like in similar flavor with the series.

There are nice bios of each character as well as the actors who portray them in the guide, complete with photos in both black and white and full color. Some of these are set photos, or group cast shots, or still of the episode in brief measures. There’s also a full play-by-play summary of each episode of the first season (which is a great way for some who want a recap of events to keep up and remember key details of the series.) Especially potent, and going beyond the boundaries of mere recaps, are major quotations, focus on certain key performances by the actors in scene context, and symbolism noted in the context of the series.

I would really recommend this for those who are fans of “Revenge” and those who want a nice collector’s item that has the information all in one place for this series’ start. Granted, this only covers the first season (the series is currently in its second), but it’s still a nice guide to refer back to. I know I certainly will.

Overall score: 4/5

Note: I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher ECW Press.

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