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Review: Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

By / July 24, 2009 / no comments

Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. Monza Murcatto a once loved and trusted general was betrayed, stabbed and thrown off a mountain. However one thing the betrayer did not plan was for her to survive. Now Monza is planning her revenge on the seven men that had a hand in the betrayal.

Joe Abercrombie first made fame with the book The Blade Itself, book 1 of The First Law Trilogy. From this series Abercrombie has gained world wide fans for his witty humour, in depth characters with their monologues, and brutal piece by piece violence.

Best Served Cold unlike the previous series is a Stand Alone book.

For those that have never read Abercrombie, you will not lose any sleep over not having read the previous series because this book is completely self enclosed and requires no prior knowledge to be enjoyed. Best Served Cold employs humour, gore, torture and *cough* romance *cough* all to the extremes. Abercrombie will wow you with great in depth characters that you will fall in love with, wince at the toture scenes when bits of flesh are seared away and be absolutely shocked as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place. The other great thing about this book (if you buy the UK version) is the beautiful cover (First Law covers are also beautiful).

For those of you that have read the First Law Trilogy, I think you should take this book with trepidation. The good things about this book is that Abercrombie has worked on everything he was criticized on for the First Law. Maps have been inserted into the book. Instead of the usual ‘place at the front’ map, it is on the cover of the UK version of the book. The book is also divided into parts, each part is set in a different area. These areas are enlarged and placed before the start of each part (genius!). The creativeness of Abercrombie is also evident in how he rearranges old minor characters into this book. He almost secretly inserts these old characters into completely new characters with new roles, with new importances and that was a nice surprise. The other thing I also liked about this book was that it is a stand-alone novel. Too many books out there now are a part of a trilogy or 12 book series and it is refreshing to read a relatively new author produce a stand-alone novel.

The other good or bad thing about this book is besides the main story of vengeance, is that this book is just the First Law squished into 500 pages. The world is the same, the monologues are there, the rough sex even the types of characters are the same; a barbarian from the north, a poisoner (torturer), a mass murderer, an inquisitor and people you just can’t rely on. The fact that they are all the same (practically) draws attention away from the fact that Abercrombie’s strength is character writing.

Best Served Cold is by no means a great read, just more of the same much like a Gemmell novel. And like any Gemmell novel, it is worth reading.

Review written for Best Fantasy Books by Enchanté (a.k.a) Jon Snow from Sleeping With Books

About the author


Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!


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