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on September 19, 2010
B+ for "Best Served Cold"

This is typical fare for Joe Abercrombie fans. You can pretty much guess the end result of the novel (people will be brutally killed, people will be betrayed, etc.) but it was a fun ride while it lasted. For some reason, this novel seemed even more cold and depressing than the first law series. Perhaps it was the unerring cynicism of some of the characters, but I was left with a hollow, empty feeling after reading this novel. That is not to day that I didn't enjoy it, but you may well finish this book feeling more depressed than usual. The combat is, as always, fantastic and the characters are as interesting as ever. I enjoyed the use of secondary characters from his First Law series being reused here, and am looking forward to his upcoming novel, "The Heroes."
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 4, 2009
'Best Served Cold' is the latest book from Joe Abercrombie, author of one of my favorite trilogies, 'The First Law' series. Rather than the first book in another trilogy, this is a stand alone fantasy/adventure.


'Best Served Cold' is not a book about summer beer or potato salad; its a book about... revenge. Monza Murcatto, the books female protagonist has been sorely wronged by Grand Duke Orso, and thus the tale (and the premise for its title) begins.

***End Spoiler***

Having just finished this book,I did not get the same sense of satisfaction as I did with 'First Law' trilogy (especially the first two books of that work).

Why? ...let me explain

1.)The book was written in the same style as the previous work, but yet the story lacked a certain quality; I couldn't develop a caring commitment to its main characters that I felt early on with Logen and Sand dan Glokta from 'The First Law' series. Yes, the main side-characters (those being Shivers, Morveer and Cosca) had some great traits and interesting personalities, but when you get lots of action, without substantial character development to the main heroine, the story tends to fall a little flat after a while. Monza's character just needed a little more likability and maybe a little less hardness or brittleness.

2.)The story is rather predictable in its outcome...from early on you can fairly well guess as to the ultimate outcome will be, however, the road to the ending did provided several delightful and intriguing twist and turns.

3.)This book seemed to dwell on some prolonged descriptions of scenes with gratuitous violence and others of intimate sex.


Another solid fantasy/adventure effort by Joe Abercrombie. If I hadn't been 'spoiled' by 'The First Law' trilogy, I'm sure I'd have loved this work, rather than just liked it. 3 1/2 Stars, rounded up to 4.

Ray Nicholson
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on September 11, 2013
Abercrombie fashions vital characters that twist and squeeze (and surprise you) under brutal internal pressures as their World and adventures heat up. His Clever style is very rewarding to read and is tailored to every characters eccentric foibles. it's the kind of book you want to tell your friends about. Loved it.
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on August 20, 2014
It was great to find another Joe Abercrombie gritty fantasy that works as a standalone novel, but fits into the "First Law" world. A motley crew of anti-heroes wreak mayhem and sever limbs across a landscape both pastoral and apocalyptic. Sometimes the humor is as dark as the violence is light, and vice versa. The reader doesn't so much root for the characters as sit mouth agape wondering what could possibly top the last outburst of action, but Joe (I feel we are on a first name basis now) delivers the wow factor time and time again. If you are in the mood for some rollicking adventure peppered with morally ambiguous introspection, then dismember this book.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 15, 2015
Although it’s a revenge novel, the depth of the characters, attention to detail & originality of the story is outstanding.
Joe Abercrombie has a real dirt under the fingernails style, with genuine laugh out loud moments (there are also scenes of graphic violence as well, there not the laugh out loud moments obviously).
So an outstanding realistic fantasy (no magic, dragons or orcs, set in another world, but a medieval type world), warning it is the first part of a trilogy.
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on May 18, 2014
I have been really enjoying this series, can't wait for the next one. My only complaint is I went through them too fast ;)
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on August 25, 2009
I was a bit skeptical of this book following up Joes' first law series since it was in the same universe and wouldn't have his incredible and deep characters from the three original books. How much I was proven to never second guess Joes' amazing skill with the written word. I have read a library of fantasies and this author rises to the top of a chosen few in my eyes as one of the best authors to grace us with their stories and creations. This is a must buy for any person into fantasy fiction or hell anyone with a head on their shoulders and a wish to be enthralled in an amazing read.
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on December 20, 2014
As far as standalone tales of betrayal, revenge and bloody, bloody murder go, Best Served Cold delivers a fast-paced and gut-wrenchingly brutal world. Great characters of varying shades of grey, this tumultuous arc of vengeance had me cheering, doubting and dreading just how far will the characters will go to achieve their goals. Very compelling read!
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VINE VOICEon April 3, 2016
It isn't quite as good as the trilogy, and I find it even more pessimistic. Still, it's the same style of writing and the same dark, warped, action packed plot. If you loved the first law books you'll enjoy this.
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on March 2, 2016
Best book of the series..a fun read
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