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Best Served Cold (First Law World #4)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  47,870 Ratings  ·  2,116 Reviews
Springtime in Styria. And that means war.

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, and behind the scenes bankers, priests and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who w
...more
Paperback, 639 pages
Published July 24th 2012 by Orbit (first published June 5th 2009)
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Chad Freling I would recommend reading the First Law trilogy first, but you technically don't have to. There are a couple main characters in Best Served Cold that…moreI would recommend reading the First Law trilogy first, but you technically don't have to. There are a couple main characters in Best Served Cold that had smaller parts in the original series. Vice Versa, a couple characters show up that had large roles previously, and some scenes won't make complete sense without knowing their story. (less)
Michael Moderate level, earthy sexual language but appropriate. The sex is quick, resentful, and angry, mirroring the emotional landscapes of the protagonist.

Community Reviews

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Petrik
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Grimdark fans
Shelves: owned-physical
4.5/5 stars

A magnificent tale of revenge filled with bloody actions, betrayal, and humor.

“One cannot grow without pain. One cannot improve without it. Suffering drives us to achieve great things.”


I’ve postponed starting Best Served Cold, the first book in Abercrombie’s First Law stand-alone trilogy, for almost a year now due to the reason that I thought it will pale in comparison to the first trilogy, although it’s the weakest so far, it’s still so much better than a lot of grimdark books out th
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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I'm gonna have to do it. I'm going to give a Joe Abercrombie book a 3 star.

Calm down. I almost gave it a 2.


As to why? The good first.

The characters.
Monza is completely bad ass, but I never felt that connection with her. She wants revenge for her brothers death, I get that..but give me some anger..give me some emotions..give me something!

Her band of misfits, you have a drunk, a torturer, a master poisoner and his assistant (who eats constantly), a killer who has OCD, and a man from the North
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Bookdragon Sean
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
If you are going to say one thing for Abercrombie, say he’s got catchy sayings because, after all, you have to be realistic about these things!

Did you see what I did there? Well anyway I was about fifteen pages in and was thinking, “this book seems unusually slow” then the blood started spraying in the usual Abercrombie style about half a paragraph later. I knew from then that this was going to be as good as what came before it.

The Snake of Talins, the self-made mercenary with no regret, is at
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Paul O'Neill
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vengeance first, questions later.

A terrific, action packed romp with a vengeance.

This book is all about revenge. It follows Monza as she is betrayed very badly and then plots her course to get revenge on all those present at the time of the betrayal.

Set in the same world as the great First Law trilogy, the back drop is the region of Styria.

Springtime in Styria. And that means war. Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.

It deals with revenge, what it means and what it feels like when you
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Jokoloyo
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
TLDR: A MUST READ for fans of Nicomo Cosca. Cosca to the rescue!
NCbyK

Now the review:
Continuation after First Law Trilogy, telling about epic bloody revenge story. Compared with the trilogy, this novel has significantly lower magical content. I believe people don't read FL series due to magic system but because loved the characterization of FL. Fortunately, the author knew this and delivered another excellent story. As expected with only one-novel-length, I felt the pace of this book is faster and sim
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Evgeny
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In this standalone we visit the area which was only mentioned in the original trilogy: Styria. The favorite pastime of the local people is to make war; local nobility that is: the peasants suffer or get killed when an army marches through their land. Monza Murcatto was the leader of a very successful mercenary band under Duke Orso employ. In fact she was so popular among Duke's subjects that he decided it was time to do something about it.

During one of the meetings with the Duke her brother was
...more
mark monday
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantastical
What is best served hot?

> Flesh
> Blood
> Slaughter
> Desire
> Revenge*

*also delicious served cold

Best Served Cold delivers all of the above in a warm-blooded fashion. this is a sweaty, fully engorged adventure novel that follows a diverse cast as they move through various locales on their own sort of anti-quest. although it spends much time examining the psychological make-up of its characters, is heavily reliant on the kinds of details usually found in military fantasy, and is not s
...more
Carol.
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Scott  Hitchcock
It was good but it wasn't great like the trilogy. The character interactions were what made the book. The plot was lacking and his writing style has never been smooth. It entertaining from an action point of view and you don't have to wait for it. From the prologue on it's battle, guts and assassinations. A killing smorgasbord.
Tammy
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest at the start, I felt this one was going to be straight forward. I felt I could predict everything that was gonna happen. I was wrong.

I doubt I have the words to explain how good the second half of this book was. Not to say the first half was bad, I mean the prologue was simply amazing. The tempo was like a ball rolling, slowly at first, then gathering momentum the farther it goes.

With tension packed moments, bloody and gritty action and exceptional world building. How many tim
...more
Michael
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
Orient
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody with a need for rough-tough story
Recommended to Orient by: Milda Page Runner
Just starting to read this book I understood, oh how I missed Joe Abercrombie’s writing. It just feels like… ;)

*leaving Mr. Abercrombie half mutilated from hugs in my mind (It’s love, you know <3 True love hurts)*
Once more I was in love with Mr. Abercrombie and his dark fantasy revenge story.
Revenge, was served (cold of course) by a rough-tough heroine (already one of my BBHF – Best Book Heroines Forever ) with cold steel and a gripping story for dessert.
Monza Murcatto was everything I like
...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
Felicia
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: man-fantasy, fantasy
Well, one of my favorite authors does not disappoint, I totally love this guy! So much violence, grit and...fun. 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!
Althea Ann
Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So far, I'm 5/5 with Joe Abercrombie - and I think I have 3 more yet to-read. This is Good Stuff!

Set in the same world as 'The Blade Itself,' 'Best Served Cold' introduces us to Monza Murcatto, a mercenary general. It's unusual for a woman to be a mercenary, let alone a military leader - and she's achieved her place by being twice as ruthless and tough as the hard-bitten men around her.

However, tough as she may be, she's not invulnerable. A shattering betrayal has ended with her dearly beloved b
...more
Kells Next Read
One man's villain is another hero; after all

It goes without saying that this read was Epic. It's Abercrombie people. He can do no wrong.
Gaby
Aug 21, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Peter
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joe Abercrombie is my new nemesis. His books are too damn good.
Carmen
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy fans who can stomach grisly, painful, brutal suffering that will spare no one
Monza is a skilled and merciless killer. She acts as a general in the Duke's army, alongside her little brother, Benna.

Monza's brother is the only person she has in this world. The only person she loves. The only person she trusts.

Duke Orso, the man she's working for, decides to betray her and her brother. Killing them in cold blood while his sons and advisors watch.

They stab her and beat her and throw her off the roof. She's left for dead.

As Jet Li would say, "That...was a mistake."

Not dead at
...more
Justin
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fantasy
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
Stephen
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
Saša
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Have a smile for breakfast, you'll be shitting joy by lunch.”

Monci Murkato, najzloglasniju i najslavniju zapovednicu najamnika u službi vojvode Orsa su za godine verne službe jedina nagrada skršeno telo i goruća želja za osvetom. Bez obzira na sve, šta košta da košta, sedmorica moraju da umru. Monca skuplja ekipu ubica i tako krecemo sa osvetom. One by one, till the end.

Osveta je bila cudno iskustvo za mene. Sa jedne strane imamo starog Aberkrombija, sto ce reci krvave bitke, odlicno napisani l
...more
Christopher Buehlman
Verhoeven's "Flesh + Blood" meets "Hang 'em High" in the most entertaining fantasy novel since Game of Thrones. This is the fourth novel set in Joe Abercrombie's First Law world, but it isn't tied so closely to the preceding trilogy that one can't enjoy it as a stand-alone. Honestly, as good as that trilogy was, Best Served Cold eclipses it.

When I was a teenager I read about Italian mercenaries in the late Middle Ages and how they fought (or pretended to fight) for the gold of families like the
...more
Esmerelda Weatherwax
I am thoroughly and hopelessly addicted to this world. i liked this one even more than The heroes, which may be am uncommon opinion - i just liked these characters more. Shivers was great, and even though I went backwards I really enjoyed this book.

longer review to come - and not im onto Red Country
Michael Everest
Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Best Served Cold’ is a standalone novel set after his debut trilogy ‘The First Law’. ‘Best Served Cold’ is a story of redemption, revelry, and red-handed revenge.

In ‘Best Served Cold’, Monza Murcatto is a woman in demand. But not just any old demand, she’s at popular demand for her victories as Grand Duke Orso’s mercenary. But popularity isn’t all its cut out to be, and after Grand Duke Orso demands her death, Monza is betrayed. Clinging to life by her fingernails, Monza sets
...more
Apatt
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Manju
A stand alone novel set in the same world as his First Law Trilogy, Mr Abercrombie gives us another masterpiece to read.

this is a revenge story where Monza Murcatto set out to avenge her brother’s murder. So end is very much predictable and as simple as it gets. We get usual brutal characters with no conscience and loyalty who are driven by bloodlust. but its the characters themselves in the book that makes it so different from other revenge stories.

Abercrombie pays a great attention to his ch
...more
Hazel
Jun 09, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Lee
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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 perspe
...more
Andy
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-trl, fant-epic
3 Stars is all

And a middling three at that as we've a good start that jus well.... becomes very pedestrian & a plod of which I found myself skipreading some of the dialogue between certain characters, I mean.... murcatto & Shivers are no Logan 9 fingers & ferro are they now? Not even Bonnie & Clyde for that matter, or Morecombe & Wise neither.... in fact Im at a real struggle at when its all done & dusted as to what were they actually? Its almost like the author maybe get
...more
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13,558 followers
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

Other books in the series

First Law World (10 books)
  • 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 (First Law World, #5)
  • Red Country (First Law World, #6)
  • Sharp Ends (First Law World, #7)
  • A Little Hatred
  • The Trouble With Peace
  • The Beautiful Machine

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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.” 190 likes
“You should laugh every moment you live, for you'll find it decidedly difficult afterwards.” 165 likes
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