Best Served Cold - Joe Abercrombie

Ady Hall

Jun 17, 2009
Have just finished Joe Abercrombie's fourth book - Best Served Cold.

A superb read from a guy who is quickly establishing himself as the best fantasy author in the UK - and threatening to conquer the world with his acerbic humour, deftly created characters, twisty-turny plotlines and lashings of blood. Don't forget the blood.

Anyone else reading the book - and want to share some thoughts?
Considering leaving the books i've got lined up to read and trying some of this guy.

I've only heard excellent things about him.
I've recently bought it and am looking immensely forward to reading it, but I have two other books that I need to read first.
I just finished the First Law trilogy yesterday, and this guy is definitely one to watch out for. I wasn't too blown away by book one, but book two got me hooked and book three was incredible. Got to love a guy that can wrap his series up in 3 manageable books :p Granted, the ending wasn't the most tidy and resolute imaginable, but that's partly what I loved about it. Truly great stuff. He's up there with Martin for me.

Best Served Cold isn't out in the US yet, but I will definitely be grabbing it when it is. I may wait for the paperback though. And I'm still hoping for a mass market reprint of the first law in the works... the only complaint I had about the whole series is that the books were so huge they were exhausting to hold!
I just finished the First Law trilogy yesterday and I'm excited about Best Served Cold.

The Blade Itself was a little hard to get through toward the beginning, but by the end of Last Argument of Kings I was very sad to finish the trilogy. :(

And I agree, soulsinging, reading the books was tiresome at points due to the book size. ><
I'm reading it now (well not right now ... pesky work)

If it stays as gripping as it starts i might be finished by sunday or so ... and back to discuss then
Is it okay to discuss this book here with spoilers? If not should we start a separate thread for one with spoilers in? Because there's stuff I'd love to discuss but am wary of those who are only just starting it...
Okay, no one has commented, so I'm going to go right ahead and talk about it with spoilers included.


Still here?

I loved it, right from the off. He handles conversations in a typically brilliant fashion, the single thing I love the most about his writing. His characters are the most believeable in fantasy, to my mind, and his world is so alive I'm surprised George Lucas or J. Michael Straczynski hasn't filmed it yet.

I love how a few old characters crept back in and how they've - mostly - been kept around for future books; I would assume he will return to this world, it's so rich it would be a crime not to.

I did have a couple of tiny problems with the book though, and I'm sure they're just me. I felt that about two thirds of the way through, when Cosca essentially betrays our leading lady, it just felt... Wrong? I know the whole point of the book was revenge, backstabbing and generally being a *******, but that moment, that specific incident... Well it just jarred, to me. It didn't feel like him, it didn't feel right and it felt out of place. Likewise the betrayal by Shivers. It's not like she didn't deserve it in one way or another, it's not like it wasn't in keeping with the book. They both just felt wrong and out of place and they almost spoiled the read for me.

However that's just niggling, isn't it? On the whole it was at least as good a read as the First Law series, I reckon, and the characterisation is just perfect. Shenkt is a right psycho and I must admit I didn't see his twist coming, although afterwards I felt as though I should have spotted it. And Friendly, what a character!

Overall a great book, one I would recommend ONCE you'd read his First Law trilogy. But next time I want to see Logen :)
**Spoiler Warning - Seriously don't read this if you haven't read the book already**

I finally got around to reading it, and I must say I didn't like it as much as I thought I was going to. It felt to me as if he was trying much to hard to work betrayal and backstabbing into every single conceivable plotline. I really did enjoy the begining, and the middle, but by the time Cosca reappeared and Shivers turned in to a miserable, whiney and stupid ******* finishing the book got a bit tiresome.

I wasn't exactly surprised by Cosca's backstab, as I have a nagging feeling he never intended to fight for Orso anyway, but I felt his survival and rise to power was a little to convenient. He just happend to go to the merc camp, and they decided to give him back his power just like that? I honestly at one point thought Sulfur might of had a hand in it.

Then onto Shivers who I felt was a little to like the Bloody-nine. He starts off as well-wishing, and simply trying to be a better man. Then through bad experience he turns in to a cold-hearted *******. He even has a "Berserk" moment. I honestly felt like the author wanted to have logen in there instead, and I sometimes wish he was. He might of been trying to make a "cool" uncaring character but I found him to be boring in the later parts of the novel. He didn't even have the balls to finish what he started. I was hoping Friendly cut Shivers throat, but I'm not sure if the author wanted us to be thinking that.

I liked the book when it was Monza recovering, dealing with her addiction and overcoming the loss of her brother. I especially liked it when we it was just a group of interesting characters, talking and plotting. By the time we were back to big battles, sieges and the grander scheme of things which seemed further and further away from a personal quest of vengence which the book was originally about.

I guess one of the reasons I found the book a bit tiresome after awhile was the only real character which I liked was Nicome Cosca. By the time he became the merc leader he wasn't around any of the main characters apart from Friendly, so we lost a lot of the charming/funny dialogue he had between the group. I thought the character was best written when they were planning Ario's murder, but became duller after survivng a stab in the belly and reappearing.

Shenkt was interesting and I liked his character. I didn't appreciate his role in the story though, I thought it was a bit cheap tricking us throughout the novel that he was a assassin trying to kill Monza. While I was wondering when the Bone-thief was going to make a reappearance, I never thought it was going to be him.

*Shrugs* I didn't mean to be overly critical of the book, as I did enjoy it. I just didn't like the transition between small group planning revenge, and then rise to glory and big battles effecting the outcome of the kingdom.
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I loved the First law trilogy and loved this book as well. Simply stunning writing with great characters, some worrying insights into the human condition though ! :D
Can't wait for whatever he writes next although i do hope he sticks with the world he's created, as mentioned above it is so rich why waste it !!
Got myself a copy today and can't wait to read it, had to try not to read the previous posts when opening this page and am now off and will not return till i've read every darn word :)
B.E.W.A.R.E - S.P.O.I.L.E.R
I really liked this book,so much so, that I was wondering if it is just one on its own or book n1 of a trilogy, because lets face it, there is plenty to go on about. And I couldn't agree more with Ahrvb, I didn't expect that she would merry and live happily ever after with Shrivers, or become a dady's girl with Cosa, but on the other hand those two betrayals were uncalled for.

The way I see it, a person can be a monster and a hero at the same time, it all depends on who is doing the cheering. As for me I was cheering for her all the way throughout the book. She was an honest fighter, she made a lot of people rich and powerfull and what did she get for her efforts, betrayal. So as they say, if you live in a glass house .... Yes, I liked it that she got rid of them all, in her own way she had her own code of honor and proceeded with all honesty, throughout all her revenge as she was always worried about trying to avoid unnecessary or inocent deaths. Which is more than we can say for more than one, don't you think?
I'm three quarters of the way through and really enjoying it, it's seems that the level of violence is greater in this book that his previous three books together. Also supprised by the amount of old hans turning up, Partically like Cosca


OK, another great read by JA, a bit vulgar in parts, but still good.

Seems everyones' a bit miffed with Cosca's betrayal of Monza, i wasn't, if you read the other books when Cosca appears, you'll know its him all over. Think about it, he's alone, SOBER for the first time in a long time, where does he go? To the Thousand Swords of course (who are currently being run by someone whos not a good comander), he was betrayed by Monza cos he was a drunk, now sober he's still the best man to lead a pack of lazy mercs, the stroke of genius to get payed by both sides at the battle in Ospiria proves he's the best man for the job. The reason he turned Monza out was for her own safety. Thing is he talk a good fight and knows what people want to hear, that's why got the job back.
Also, i think him and friendly make a good pair.

Onto Shivers, i quite liked him at the start and the transition to bad guy was well done, losing an eye can't be good for your mental health. The bloody nine comparisons didn't sit too well with me and at the end where others have said they didn't like him no more, so, thats what you're supposed to feel, he's a bad guy! Liked the bit at the end where he said he was always his own worst enemy before, now he's everyone elses.
Can't wait to see if we read more of his adventures up north!

Can't wait for the next installment. I don't think this is part of a trilogy as such. Before there were two sides to the 'war', now with Shenkt getting involved, i wonder is there now three.

I wonder if Monza would have sought her revenge if she'd known that Benna was at fault and Orso was looking out for himself?
I'm about halfway through this book at the moment... am really enjoying it and although I can see where it's going (have chosen to ignore the spoilers... so far ;)), it's still proving to be a good read. I've loved the way that the characters from The First Law Trilogy are being referred to throughout the book too, great little asides for the people who've read the first three books..

Dear Friends, I have just finished the book and I have one question for those of you who have already read it. I am from Spain and I have read it in english so maybe I did not understand one issue.

Attention Spoiler:

When Morveer poisons all the bottles in Cosca's room, why does he think that Cosca is finished when he sees him drinking from the flask?

A rapid spectrum of emotions had swept over Morveer during the past few moments. Triumphant delight, as he had seen Cosca drink from his flask and all unknowing doom himself.

Am I missing something?

Thanks in advance :)
Can you read Best Served Cold even though you haven't read the first law trilogy? My birthday is in a few weeks and I am trying to give the Mrs some ideas for birthday prezzies.

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