Best Served Cold
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Best Served Cold (The First Law)

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  16,909 ratings  ·  1,007 reviews
Springtime in Styria. And that means war. Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.

There have been nineteen years of blood. The ruthless Grand Duke Orso is locked in a vicious struggle with the squabbling League of Eight, and between them they have bled the land white. While armies march, heads roll and cities burn, behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published June 5th 2009 by Gollancz
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Community Reviews

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Carol. [All cynic, all the time]
Feb 05, 2013 Carol. [All cynic, all the time] rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fans of gritty fantasy
AKA "Abercrombie and the Ultimate Anti-Heroes."

Here's the short review: reading Best Served Cold is like being a guest judge on 'Iron Chef America: Sardines.' Sure, there's some incredible stuff happening--but still... it's sardines . And would you really want to eat like that every day?

The long review: What's good? The writing, the world, the character description, the brilliant way Abercrombie links and weaves so many plots together, both large and small, and the tension he is able to build...more
Filter the retro feel and the Tarantino dialogue from "Kill Bill Volume 1." Take what's left and mix in one random barbarian from Abercrombie's earlier trilogy, then pour into a pan with a good dollop of the late Middle Ages. Fry for 880 pages, dropping in one new badguy every 110. By the end of the process, it should look something like "The Unforgiven". . . It won't taste nearly as good, though.

I'm surprised about all the glowing reviews this book has gotten considering how little new ground t...more
Abercrombie is excellent! I stumbled upon this at the library, and meant to leave it until next week, after I'd finished the books on my bedside table. But I took a peek at the first page, and was drawn in. Benna Murcatto Saves a Life was a near-perfect first chapter, and I couldn't resist. I should be sleeping, but I've just finished part 1, and I need to know what happens next...

Okay, no spoilers.
Fabulous beginning, got a bit saggy in the midddle (as you do), and then ran out of steam at the e...more
I didn't jump right into reading ”Best Served Cold” after finishing the author's First Law trilogy, and now I can remember why. Reading Abercrombie simply leaves me emotionally drained. I very masochistically put myself through the experience because afterwards, once I've let myself cool down, I realize it was worth it. Still, these books are not for everyone. It's not just that they're violent, gory, unpredictable, and full of frustratingly flawed characters- it's that they leave you off (or at...more
Joe Abercrombie is a master of his trade, and his trade is dark fantasy. He is becoming the standard bearer for gritty realistic fantasy, and Best Served Cold might well be the masterpiece that represents that sub-genre. Monza Murcatto is a renowned and very successful mercenary, or was…till she was stabbed, beaten and thrown from a mountain side by her employer. Best Served Cold tells the tale of Monza and her quest for revenge. Monza contracts a party of unsavory characters to aid her in her r...more
6.0 stars. Another unbelievably good book by Joe Abercrombie. If you liked the First Law Series, you will like this. Given that the First Law series is on my list of "All Time Favorites" I think it is safe to assume, I loved this book. In addition to creating a superb story with a tight plot and, as always with his books, unforgettable characters, Abercrombie advances in subtle but very interesting ways the larger story arc of the "great battle" addressed in the First Law series. HIGHEST POSSIBL...more
Story: 4/5
1: Being Vague, rambling plot with no little believable storyline
5: Ripping yarn, clever, thought provoking

Abercrombie once again comes up with a ripping yarn that keeps you completely immersed in the story from the strangely disturbing start to the almost expected ending.
I read this book after the First Law series, whilst it is easily classed as a stand alone in the story, some knowledge of the First Law series will give you a interesting back story to put certain aspects in perspec...more
David Sven
They say cream rises to the top and I must say Abercrombie has risen to the top of my list of "must read" authors. And Steven Pacey has risen to the top to join my favourite audio narrators. If you are into audio books and have Abercrombie on your "to read" list, then treat yourself to the audio version. The narration really added that extra punch to an already hard hitting story.

Best Served Cold is a fantastic addition to The First Law universe. It’s stand-alone so you don't absolutely need to...more
Executive Summary: Overall I enjoyed this stand-alone novel more than the First Law books themselves, despite the lack of likable characters. It's Kill Bill meets Ocean's 11 in a medieval setting.

Audio book: I believe this is the first audio book I've listened to narrated by Michael Page. I think he does a pretty good job. He is clear and easy to understand. He does a variety of accents and voices. I would definitely listen to another book read by him.

Full Review
I enjoy Mr. Abercrombie's writin...more
Joe Abercrombie is my new nemesis. His books are too damn good.
Nov 27, 2012 Hanne rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hanne by: Fantasy Book Club Series
Shelves: fantasy, favourites

Vengeance... it's unpredictable, unplannable and never really satisfying. Especially when revenge becomes a race. I have 7 to go, and because of what i do, you now have 7 to go. They say revenge is best served cold, they say revenge is bittersweet. And hardly anything bittersweet is worth a damn when it's cold (except Gini and Schweppes Bitter Lemon perhaps).

This book is not bittersweet though. This book is fabulous. Well-constructed, remarkable character building, and not predictable at all. I...more
When the Grand Duke of Orso decided to betray Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, he should have made sure she was six feet deep at the end of it. Mistakes like those have fatal consqeuences.

The Snake of Talins is one of the most fearsome mercenaries in Styria, and the people love her for it.

“You were a hero round these parts. That's what they call you when you kill so many people the word murderer falls short.”

They love her too much, by the Grand Duke's estimation. Fearing a coup, he decides...more
My man-crush for Mr. Abercrombie just grew ten-fold. Best Served Cold was such a fun ride that I was sad to turn the last page.

This is a book about vengeance, revenge, and what some people will do to achieve it. But I think it was the characters that really made it. Each one of them was a truly untrustworthy person willing to stab their best friend in the back in a heartbeat.

Throw five of them together and what do you get?

Well, alot of death for one. Plus tons of drama and violence.

I'd suggest...more
Almost a perfect five. In fact I thought it would be half way through and then it changed directions. Still enjoyable but not as much in my opinion. It is an improvement in every way compared to The First Law trilogy. And I loved the characters. I'm a fan of The Dirty Dozen types of stories, or like Mass Effect 2 for a newer reference, or even Inception. And to me that was the fun part of the book. Reading Monza building her team and how the plan fit all of them together. They all had their quir...more
Well, one of my favorite authors does not disappoint, I totally love this guy! So much violence, grit I really enjoyed the characters, new worlds and especially liked the glimpses of seconday characters from the other Trilogy popping up in interesting more fleshed out roles.

Definitely a great purchase, boy readers rejoice, there's lots of blood and guts flying around!
At first I miss Glokta and Bloody-Nine and theirs point of view but soon enough that feeling was gone and I welcomed Monzcarro Murcatto, The Serpent of Talins. Oh, what a grand trip this book was and true to its predecessors held every bit of what we liked in them. I highly recommend this book and looking forward to read next two.
It has been over a year since I last read a book by Joe Abercrombie, there are just so many books to get through. However, after finishing The First Law trilogy he has become like an “old favorite” that I can come back to any time and be sure of a good read. His writing style is always immensely readable, witticisms abound on every page, very visual scenes of combat and of course vivid, complex and believable characters.

Best Served Cold is set in the same universe as the excellent First Law tri...more
Duffy Pratt
OK, this book is dark, and I guess very dark for fantasy. But compared to James Ellroy, for example? Maybe not so much. Yes, basically the characters range from being shits, to being total shits. But I sort of liked that. It's a book about an ex-mercenary and the group of murderers she gathers to get revenge for a pretty horrendous wrong done to her by her ex-employer. There's no innocent farmboy who stumbles into a magical artifact, which leads him onto a noble quest where he discovers both his...more
Jul 31, 2009 Ryon rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone with a pulse and good taste
Recommended to Ryon by: Felicia Day
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
The next Joe Abercrombie book cannot come out soon enough.

WARNING: Avoid this book if:
* You love stories about/with hairy-footed halflings, flaxen-haired elves with bows of fine yew and skin like alabaster, heroic honorable flawless knights and helpless, swooning damsels, whedonesque doe-eyed skinny-fat vulnerably feminine and yet somehow still kick-ass female characters, stout bearded drunken dwarves, 'ye ole englishe', flowery dialogue delivered with a straight face written by an author who st...more
The only way I can give 3 stars to Best Served Cold is if I read it in the spirit of that wonderfully campy B-movie horror classic of revenge The Abominable Dr. Phibes , starring Vincent Price and Joseph Cotton and the incomparably lovely Caroline Munro (though she’s dead and doesn’t have anything to say). In the movie, Dr. Anton Phibes revenges himself against the ten people whom he blames for his wife’s death using the plagues of Exodus as a blueprint. It’s great fun to watch, Price is at his...more
Revenge fantasy, and by ‘fantasy’ I mean the swords and sorce—okay, no, just the swords kind. And maces and axes and a lot of knives. This is that new millennium brand of epic fantasy, you know the kind that dropped all the nebulously old-fashioned dialogue and portentous prophecies for a lot of fucking and people calling each other cocksucker in gritty patois. It’s supposed to be more real or something. I dunno, I don’t think I identify any extra with a woman bent on killing the seven people wh...more
Alex Ristea
This is easily Joe Abercrombie's best book, and already my top read of 2013. Perhaps even of the last few years.

The author has a certain love for broken things, and crafted some of the most memorable characters in Best Served Cold. They each have their unique voice, needs, fears, and quirks. The plot serves them, and not the other way around.

On top of all this, this may be some of the cleverest writing I've read. Not just the witty dialogue, but even within the prose itself. Abercrombie has a fi...more
Best Served Cold is a revenge story told in the world of the "First Law" series. Dark, gritty, raw, and sometimes ugly is this story about vengeance, a tale of relentless pursuit of murder. Many secondary characters from the first law series have roles in this novel. Joe Abercrombie holds no punches back in his descriptive prose, and he paces his stories that you often find yourself needing to catch your breath. I find myself more enamored with his writing style, his uniqueness, and his visual s...more
Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

I listened to Tantor Media’s audio version which was read by the excellent Michael Page. This was a great format except for one chapter (“To the Victors…”) in which Mr. Abercrombie meant for us to be surprised by who the principal actors were. In the text, section breaks indicate scene (and therefore character) changes. The audiobook reader, however, used the voices for the characters that Mr. Abercrombie meant for us to think were involved. When the trick...more
William Thomas
When I participated in NaNoWriMo last November, I attended only one of the group meetings. Why? Because when I described the plot of my book, I Need You to Kill, it was reduced to a revenge fantasy catharsis by the moderator. I wasn't happy about that. I didn't expect high praise or naything but I didn't expect it to be dismissed like that either. Meanwhile, there were two other members there writing lesbian regency romance steampunk books (their own descriptions of the genre) and everyone else...more
Joe Abercrombie no baja el pistón. Otro libro de aventuras y fantasía épica oscura (muy oscura) con el que este gran escritor nos vuelve a sumergir en el mundo que ya creó para su trilogía "La primera Ley". En este caso, la historia se desarrolla en Styria, un continente formado por numerosas islas y en el que, desde hace años, las guerras por el poder, la codicia, la miseria y el hambre, son demasiado habituales.

Como en la trilogía de "La primera Ley", los personajes están desarrollados de mane...more
Mogsy (MMOGC)
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 Firs...more
Gobba, Mauthis, Ganmark, Faithful Carpi, Duke Orso and his illustrious sons, Foscar and Ario (Speedwagon) of Talins. Seven men. Seven men who Monzcarro Murcatto plans to kill. Seven men who betrayed her, strangled her, stabbed her and tossed her broken body down the side of a mountain. They should have made sure she was dead. “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” Said Marie Joseph Eugene Sue in her 1841 French novel, Mathilde. Good advice. But the quote which more often sprang to mind while read...more
Revenge. Incest. Magic. Politics. Lots of battles. Swordplay galore. Returning minor characters from the earlier Abercrombie First Law series (including those morbid Eaters). What a fantastic novel! What else could anyone ask for? Ooh, recipes (or maybe, just suggestions for the foodies out there). To wit:

A rump steak, then, thick-cut and pan-fried. He always carried a special mix of Suljuk four-spice with him, crushed to his taste, and the oil native to the region around Puranti had a wonderfu
I was planning to write a resplendent review for BEST SERVED COLD, but all I can say is, "Joe Abercrombie is a bad mamma jamma." This guy can write powerful, gripping, uppercut-to-the-chin, fantasy like nobody else. Read his "First Law Trilogy" first, then grab a copy of BEST SERVED COLD and enjoy.

Here, instead of me writing a bunch of supererogatory stuff where I gush about Abercrombie, listen to the author himself talk about the book and then just try to resist the urge to get a copy of BEST S...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Beyond Reality: BEST SERVED COLD: Finished Reading: **SPOILERS LIKELY** 6 36 Oct 30, 2013 03:45PM  
Beyond Reality: BEST SERVED COLD: Roll Call and Initial Impressions 17 44 Oct 12, 2013 08:48AM  
Monza and Benna? 6 195 Feb 09, 2013 11:48AM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Best Served Cold VII- Talins--Final 20 112 Jan 14, 2013 11:53AM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Best Served Cold VI-Ospria 10 45 Jan 10, 2013 12:03PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Best Served Cold IV-Visserine 13 36 Jan 06, 2013 12:46PM  
Fantasy Book Club...: * Best Served Cold V-Puranti 9 54 Nov 05, 2012 03:31PM  
  • The Judging Eye (Aspect-Emperor, #1)
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  • A Betrayal in Winter (Long Price Quartet, #2)
  • Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery
  • Chronicles of the Black Company (The Chronicles of the Black Company, #1-3)
  • Blade of Tyshalle (The Acts of Caine, #2)
  • Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2)
  • The Folding Knife
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Joe Abercrombie was educated at Lancaster Royal Grammar School and Manchester University, where he studied psychology. He moved into television production before taking up a career as a freelance film editor. During a break between jobs he began writing The Blade Itself in 2002, completing it in 2004. It was published by Gollancz in 2006 and was followed by two other books in The First Law Trilogy...more
More about Joe Abercrombie...
The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1) Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3) The Heroes Red Country

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“You were a hero round these parts. That's what they call you when you kill so many people the word murderer falls short.” 94 likes
“You should laugh every moment you live, for you'll find it decidedly difficult afterwards.” 46 likes
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