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Best Served Cold

(First Law World #4)

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  78,344 ratings  ·  3,948 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
Hardcover, 534 pages
Published June 5th 2009 by Gollancz
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Katherine I read Best Served Cold first and it totally works as a stand-alone. I mean, there were bits that made me want to read the trilogy for more depth but …moreI read Best Served Cold first and it totally works as a stand-alone. I mean, there were bits that made me want to read the trilogy for more depth but nowhere was I left confused for lack of reading the previous books.
I'm now making my way through the trilogy and having read this one first is lending me an interesting perspective. It didn't ruin anything for sure.(less)
Seán If one is worried about kid-friendly stories, the violence is much more prevalent in these books.

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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  78,344 ratings  ·  3,948 reviews

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Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here: https://www.youtube.com/petrikleo

4.5/5 stars

A magnificent tale of vengeance 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 The First Law standalone trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, for almost a year now due to the reason that I thought it will pale in comparison to the first trilogy. I sho
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Best Served Cold(First Law World,#4) by Joe Abercrombie
Gritty, real, and bloody.If you want cheery and uplifting, this book probably not for you. It isn't brilliant literature by any means, but it's an awful lot of fun for an adult. The highest quality of narration by Steven Pacey made this story amazing. Such an actorish narrator he is!!!
You should laugh every moment you live, for you'll find it decidedly difficult afterwards.

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 fr
Sean Barrs
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
May 04, 2022 rated it it was amazing
The best read o this year and the best book in the series so far. Dark tale of vengeance turned out to be a profound, complex and deeply psychological study of ugliness of a war. Author's thoughts on that resonate a lot with my own emotions (especially considering situation at home). The plot was bit predictable, but characters and their development is fascinating. ...more
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 t
Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
An entertaining revenge story that is not quite as good as the books of the original trilogy

This is the first standalone First Law book, and we are visiting a continent that has thus far in the series only been mentioned. I am no a big fan of standalone fantasy books, but I did enjoy myself significantly more than I usually do. Unfortunately, this book just doesn't shine as much as the other books in the series for multiple reasons.

Before I explain what those reasons are, I do want to emphasize
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Can I give it 6?!
May 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, reviews
*Re-read. A great book, one I enjoyed more so this time around. Monza is a bit of a rollercoaster, I love Shivers and Friendly, and Cosca is delivered perfectly. Onto THE HEROES!*

Best Served Cold is the first entry of three standalones set after the fantastic First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. It has dark humour, a vile cast and action so bloody and grim you can practically see the spouts of shooting blood on the pages. What’s not to love?

“What do the dice say?"
Dice say nothing. They are dic
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Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

“That was the difference between a hero and a villain, a soldier and a murderer, a victory and a crime. Which side of a river you called home.”

I was hesitant to start this book because in general, I am not a big fan of companion novels. I enjoyed The First Law trilogy last year and did not know what the author could add to the world. I was so wrong! And I just picked this on a whim without even reading th
mina reads™️
Aug 29, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sff
The most interesting part of the plot in this was that one guy with the piss kink

2.5 stars regrettably
William Gwynne
Aug 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audible, reviewed, fantasy
I now have a YouTube channel that I run with my brother, called 'The Brothers Gwynne'. Check it out - The Brothers Gwynne

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

I was left slightly depressed after finishing Last Argument of Kings, so I had to read Best Served Cold swiftly afterwards. This series is just too good to stop. So I was ready to be subjected to more emotional manipulation as characters I love became v
Ahmad Sharabiani
Dec 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Best Served Cold (First Law World #4), Joe Abercrombie

Best Served Cold is Joe Abercrombie's fourth novel of First Law World series, and it was first published in June 2009. 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, behi
Apr 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
TLDR: A MUST READ for fans of Nicomo Cosca. Cosca to the rescue!

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
Paul O’Neill
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
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
mark monday
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy-modern
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 shy of graphic s
Niki Hawkes - The Obsessive Bookseller
I can’t believe I’m only just now reading this series.

I had my doubts when people told me the books after the initial trilogy were just as good, but if all the others are anywhere as amazing as Best Served Cold then I’m in for a fantastic year of reading. I would be hard-pressed to name anything I didn’t like about it.

I’ve heard mention that BSC is essentially a Count of Monte Cristo type story, and as I’ve made a habit of avoiding classics like the plague since grade school, I can only take the
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
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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. ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, grimdark
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

Grimdark isn’t my thing. I prefer my fiction hopeful, with good at its heart even when bad things happen. That being said, I’ll give anything a shot if it’s well crafted, and I’ve read some pretty incredible fantasy novels that throw hope out the window and bask in their darkness. The best in the grimdark business has to be Joe Abercrombie, hands down. He has a way of creating characters and plots that really shouldn’t work for me, but that shine in spite of their dark c
Nov 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love these books especially listening to them on audio. The narrator is just excellent and there is a little soundtrack with slashing swords which really sets the scene. The only problem is that I do not get to have the paper copies with the oh so beautiful covers.

Best Served Cold is typical Abercrombie fare which means it is the epitome of grimdark. If you do not enjoy gritty then you will not like his books. Somebody dies unpleasantly on just about every other page and even the people who l
Jul 25, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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
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 t
Jul 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, man-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!
Alex Nieves
Mar 03, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid entry into the First Law series that I didn't enjoy quite as much as the first trilogy but it was entertaining the whole way through. ...more
Jul 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Joe Abercrombie is my new nemesis. His books are too damn good.
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fantasy-grim
*** 4 ***

This brilliant writer completed successfully another life lesson, which could be summarized with the cliche " Life sucks and than you die! "... Only the sucking is much worse than you could have ever thought possible, you can not trust anyone, everything beautiful is there to be destroyed, you live and die alone, and we should all be lucky to die fast, the alternatives being very, very undesirable!!!

Abercrombie is a wonderful author and has become one of my favorites. However, I think
Rick Riordan
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy, set in a richly realized fantasy world with a great cast of characters. I'm usually hesitant to read standalone fantasies like Best Served Cold. I prefer series so I can get to know the characters over a longer time, but I was eager to revisit Abercrombie's world so I picked up Best Served Cold, and I'm glad I did. When mercenary general Monza Murcatto is brutally betrayed by her employer, she decides to take revenge against all odds, regardless of th ...more
Deborah Obida
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, adult
You can weep over your misfortunes, or you can pick yourself up and make the best of things, shit though they may be.

This book is a spin-off of the Initial first law trilogy, its not neccessary to read that before this, but it will help in understanding some terms.

This is the best portrayal of morally ambiguous character I've ever read, all negativity. They trust someone as much as they can throw them which is not much, and to them Mercy and Cowardice is the same, who thinks like that, crazy
Dave Edmunds
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-law

"The dead can forgive. The dead can be forgiven. The rest of us have better things to do." (Monza Murcatto)

Best Served Cold is the first of three standalone novels that relate to Joe Abercrombie's original and truly awesome First Law trilogy. In this one we are introduced to the vastly successful mercenary Monza Murcatto, who is on top of the world. That's right before she is literally thrown off a cliff and left for dead. This leaves her thirsty for revenge against the seven men involved an
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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

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 Age of Madness, #1)
  • The Trouble with Peace (The Age of Madness, #2)
  • The Wisdom of Crowds (The Age of Madness, #3)

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