Customer Reviews for

Best Served Cold

Average Rating 4
( 140 )
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5 Star

(68)

4 Star

(45)

3 Star

(13)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(5)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Another pulpy home run, IMHO.

Realism in a completely unrealistic setting is what makes all of Joe Abercrombie's books (or at least all that I have read) ones that I am not at all ashamed to turn friends on to.

I have been a closet fantasy/adventure fan my entire life, starting with David Edd...
Realism in a completely unrealistic setting is what makes all of Joe Abercrombie's books (or at least all that I have read) ones that I am not at all ashamed to turn friends on to.

I have been a closet fantasy/adventure fan my entire life, starting with David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean, which I must have read 15 times, but to my shame, only shared with a few people.

Many fan/ad books later (I should say, many dissapointing fan/ad books, and a few good ones), I ran across George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. Here, I thought, is a series with no magic, no dragons, nothing to prevent me from sharing it with those of my friends who really have never "gotten into" Costume Fiction. I was right, except for the intimidating, door stopping size of each book, not to mention the labrynthine plot, character interactions and locations.

Great books, George R.R. Martin's, but not for the casual reader.

I stumbled across Abercrombie while reading a "Maxim" (or something very much like that) in an airport. In it was a review for "Best Served Cold".
No chance I will be reading that book if it was reviewed and approved by a "Toolrag" like that, I thought.
Of course, desperate for something to read which had nothing to do with my job, I did get "The Blade Itself" within a week and was hooked from the get. I eventually understood that what made the book appropriate for "Maxim" is what makes Joe Abercrombie so fresh as an author of fan/adventure; he is accessible and direct, seemingly concsious of avoiding that which is often "cringe-worthy" in other books of a similar ilk.
Like "Blade" and the rest of "The First Law" series, "Best Served Cold" is gritty, has a compelling Anti-hero protagonist, plot and cast of characters. It is not at all flowery or idealistic, and seems to consider all of the selfish, beastly things that real people consider, and sometimes do. The characters swear, a lot, just like all of the people I know. There are absolutely No Elves, No Unicorns, No fainting fair maidens.

I think I mentioned David Eddings and George Martin in the beginning of this review because I find a parallel between them and Abercrombie.
In books by all of these authors, the characters have swords and odd names, to be sure. There may be a magician or two, of course, but the one thing that ties these authors together is that one truly wants to know what happens next in the books. You are angry if left with unanswered questions, frustrated when the book ends and you have to wait to get the next one.

I have a suspicion (which I know is true in the case of Eddings) that none of them take the fan/ad genre very seriously, and are not fans of it. They write good books, interestingly paced and concocted, without the frippery that normally goes with the genre. Are they selling themselves short? Who cares!

In short, if you are the kind of person who can get all the way to the front of the line at the bookstore holding a book with a cover like this one, you will be glad you did. If you aren't, more's the pity... You are really missing out. Take a chance, buy it online and get ready for some low guilt escapism.

posted by brewer-T on February 21, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Just ok

Not as good as the first law trilogy but it does add to the lore and explores new areas of the world.

posted by Anonymous on September 8, 2012

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  • Posted February 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another pulpy home run, IMHO.

    Realism in a completely unrealistic setting is what makes all of Joe Abercrombie's books (or at least all that I have read) ones that I am not at all ashamed to turn friends on to.

    I have been a closet fantasy/adventure fan my entire life, starting with David Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean, which I must have read 15 times, but to my shame, only shared with a few people.

    Many fan/ad books later (I should say, many dissapointing fan/ad books, and a few good ones), I ran across George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. Here, I thought, is a series with no magic, no dragons, nothing to prevent me from sharing it with those of my friends who really have never "gotten into" Costume Fiction. I was right, except for the intimidating, door stopping size of each book, not to mention the labrynthine plot, character interactions and locations.

    Great books, George R.R. Martin's, but not for the casual reader.

    I stumbled across Abercrombie while reading a "Maxim" (or something very much like that) in an airport. In it was a review for "Best Served Cold".
    No chance I will be reading that book if it was reviewed and approved by a "Toolrag" like that, I thought.
    Of course, desperate for something to read which had nothing to do with my job, I did get "The Blade Itself" within a week and was hooked from the get. I eventually understood that what made the book appropriate for "Maxim" is what makes Joe Abercrombie so fresh as an author of fan/adventure; he is accessible and direct, seemingly concsious of avoiding that which is often "cringe-worthy" in other books of a similar ilk.
    Like "Blade" and the rest of "The First Law" series, "Best Served Cold" is gritty, has a compelling Anti-hero protagonist, plot and cast of characters. It is not at all flowery or idealistic, and seems to consider all of the selfish, beastly things that real people consider, and sometimes do. The characters swear, a lot, just like all of the people I know. There are absolutely No Elves, No Unicorns, No fainting fair maidens.

    I think I mentioned David Eddings and George Martin in the beginning of this review because I find a parallel between them and Abercrombie.
    In books by all of these authors, the characters have swords and odd names, to be sure. There may be a magician or two, of course, but the one thing that ties these authors together is that one truly wants to know what happens next in the books. You are angry if left with unanswered questions, frustrated when the book ends and you have to wait to get the next one.

    I have a suspicion (which I know is true in the case of Eddings) that none of them take the fan/ad genre very seriously, and are not fans of it. They write good books, interestingly paced and concocted, without the frippery that normally goes with the genre. Are they selling themselves short? Who cares!

    In short, if you are the kind of person who can get all the way to the front of the line at the bookstore holding a book with a cover like this one, you will be glad you did. If you aren't, more's the pity... You are really missing out. Take a chance, buy it online and get ready for some low guilt escapism.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A great sword and sorcery fantasy

    Nineteen bloody years of civil war with no end in sight as each side of the armed conflict claims the high road, but those living in Styria know differently as hostilities and atrocities are the norm. Duke Orso thinks he can end the war and be named King of Styria for doing so. He believes assassinating infamous General Monza Murcatto, a bloody mercenary known rightfully as The Snake of Talins, is all he needs to do.

    The attempt fails though Monza is severely injured and her brother is dead. As she heals, she vows to cut off the heads of Orso and his collaborators. She brings together a team of killers who have no consciences or care about collateral damage. They kill Orso and his six co-conspirators, but now Orso's family and that of his dead partners vow vengeance.

    Returning to the world of the First Law saga, Joe Abercrombie provides his fans with a great sword and sorcery fantasy that contains his trademark dark humor and gender bending cast. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Orso sets up the failed assassination and never slows down as vengeance fuels each side to raise the ante. BEST SERVED COLD is simply a super thriller in which a head count has literal connotations.

    Harriet Klausner

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A bashing good romp

    X rated talk, R rated gore, racetrack action, "everybody" selling out "everybody", all the ingredients for a page turning tale you will find hard to put down.
    The characters all show their warts, making them real, if a bit frustrating at times.
    Our heroine is stabbed, clubbed, kicked, and broken, if that was not enough, thrown out the castle window, down the mountain.
    Now begins her slow battle to first heal, then begin the job of retribution
    She collects the most disreputable band of miscreants you could find to assist her in bringing the 7 who were responsible for her misery to justice. Their interaction adds meat to the storyline and is great fun.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2012

    Just ok

    Not as good as the first law trilogy but it does add to the lore and explores new areas of the world.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2011

    Another grand slam! This is a book for adults.

    As always you are never let down & you never see the twists coming. Characters & plots are well developed. This isn't about good vs bad, it depends on whose side your on. Very gritty, bloody & realistic. For those of you who have read a lot of fantasty than you will love this ride. Not your everyday story where you know what is gonna happen. This book did have a lot more sex scenes which I think could have been left out & didn't move the story along which is why I didn't give the book a 5.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Best Served Anytime! (But better after Reading the First Law Trilogy)

    Best Served Cold is undoubtedly one of the best books I have read in a long while. I enjoyed this as much, if not more, than the whole First Law Trilogy. As George R. R. Martin says, "Bloody and relentless...his best yet." And I can only agree. The story of bloody handed revenge is quite graphic, and with each inventive death, the reader is left wondering how will the next one die? With seven "heroes" (and heroes is used VERY loosely),and seven villains, the balance could go either way (Although truthfully, when have you seen the protagonist fail?) Monza and her gang of convicts, mercenaries, torturers, and poisoners wreak havoc amongst the seven men who murdered her brother, one slit throat or poisoned wineskin at a time.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Abercrombie's character development is what makes his books work

    Abercrombie's character development is what makes his books work. No one is all bad or all good. He re-introduces characters and themes from his other books but it is not a necessity to have read them but you will want to if Best Served is your first foray into his world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Cant recommend this enough

    My first review so bear with me. This is a sequel to the "first law" trilogy but stands on its own if you haven't read the trilogy. As usual with Joe Abercrombie, its well written with good and often witty dialogue and you develop real empathy for the characters. It's under fantasy but don't let that fool you, it has a certain grit to it that I find refreshing. There's also some good humor injected to offset the somewhat grim world the characters find both in the world and within themselves.

    A brief summary of the plot is betrayal and revenge ("You killed my brother, NOOOOOOO!") mixed with "The Magnificent Seven" (or "Seven Samurai"). A damn good read. If you can, get and read the "First Law" trilogy (The Blade Itself, Before They are Hanged, Last Argument of Kings)as they're all in the same world. Sadly at this time Barnes & Noble doesn't have it for E book yet but if you enjoy drama, action and humor it's a must have.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2011

    Great read!

    What a journey! Beautifully written!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    Favorite so far this year

    Believable characters, unforgettable motives, non stop action. This fantasy world is not for the faint of heart. Despite his complaints about how far Mr. Abercrombie will go for a joke, I credit this book with getting my brother reading fantasy again. Excellent dialogue and fight scenes, plus a whirlwind of vivid if annilated settings. Worth a read every year.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 27, 2011

    Would highly recommend

    Twisted , brutal, fantastic adventure. Can't wait for his next

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    i started reading Best Served Cold and could not put it down, I

    i started reading Best Served Cold and could not put it down, I was hooked. I am now reading The First Law Trilogy. I am hooked!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2013

    One of the best reads yet

    This is a book that can and will emirsh you in the story....Ive read it twice now...pick it up...you wont put it down....awesome

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2012

    I like the author, but this book is not Abercrombie at his best.

    I like the author, but this book is not Abercrombie at his best.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 20, 2012

    Very good stand alone. Not as good as the first law trilogy tho

    Very good stand alone. Not as good as the first law trilogy though.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Another great book!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Violent, crude, and boring

    The opening chapters seemed to hold promise, but the story quickly degraded into nothing more than a string of violent and crude encounters. By the middle of the book, the story was just dragging as nothing new or interesting seemed to happen for chapters at a time.

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  • Posted January 28, 2011

    Brutal but Compelling

    This book is undoubtedly one of the most brutal adventures I've read in quite some time, if not ever. But I found it amazingly compelling despite each of the characters being twisted in their own ways. Definitely one of the more interesting stories I've read in a while, one of the few to be able to really surprise me! But don't look for the happy ending with all the answers to make things okay.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2011

    Vengeance - who doesn't love that?!?!?!

    Picked up the sample on my Nook and quickly ordered the book.

    I have really enjoyed this story. Reminds me of the Black Company series of stories by Cook. Mercenaries and all the nastiness that goes with them.

    I would recommend this story to anyone who is into dirt, blood, swords, and battle. And all the psychological torment that goes with selling the death of others for money.

    Monza is a great character and her 'team' all add additional shades of black to this dark story of 'right, good, & just' vengeance.

    Enjoy

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Killer excellent!

    Joe Abercrombie is the master of dark fantasy. If you don't like on the edge of your seat adventure, cold blood thirsty characters, brutality, & guts and gore, do not read this. Abercrombie's works are not for the faint at heart. I liked this even better than The First Law Trilogy! I loved that he incorporated many of the characters from The First Law into this stand alone book. What an ingenious twisting tale! Although providing closure, the ending made way for a new beginning and the possibility for this story to be a series. If only...

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