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Best Served Cold

Narrated by: Steven Pacey
Series: First Law World, Book 1
Length: 26 hrs and 29 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (5,380 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Springtime in Styria. And that means war.

There have been 19 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, and behind the scenes bankers, priests, and older, darker powers play a deadly game to choose who will be king.

War may be hell, but for Monza Murcatto, the Snake of Talins, the most feared and famous mercenary in Duke Orso's employ, it's a damn good way of making money, too. Her victories have made her popular - a shade too popular for her employer's taste. Betrayed, thrown down a mountain, and left for dead, Murcatto's reward is a broken body and a burning hunger for vengeance. Whatever the cost, seven men must die.

Her allies include Styria's least reliable drunkard, Styria's most treacherous poisoner, a mass-murderer obsessed with numbers, and a Northman who just wants to do the right thing. Her enemies number the better half of the nation. And that's all before the most dangerous man in the world is dispatched to hunt her down and finish the job Duke Orso started....

Springtime in Styria. And that means revenge.

First Law Trilogy

The Blade Itself

Before They Are Hanged

Last Argument of Kings

Novels in the First Law World

Best Served Cold

The Heroes

Red Country

©2015 Joe Abercrombie (P)2015 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"The battles are vivid and visceral, the action brutal, the pace headlong, and Abercrombie piles the betrayals, reversals, and plot twists one atop another to keep us guessing how it will all come out. This is his best book yet." (George R. R. Martin)
"Joe Abercrombie takes the grand tradition of high fantasy literature and drags it down into the gutter, in the best possible way. Monza is a beautiful mercenary who has sworn to kill the seven men who tried to kill her. No elves, no wands - just lots of down-and-dirty swordplay." ( Time)
"Abercrombie is both fiendishly inventive and solidly convincing, especially when sprinkling his appallingly vivid combat scenes with humor so dark that it's almost ultraviolet." ( Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

as good as the main trilogy

had to wait a long time for it to be narrated by setieven pacey, it was worth the wait. not a single touch less compelling than the first law trilogy and to hear it from the same talented narrator made it as if i was just continuing the same story rather than reading a stand alone book.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Better than the first 3 books by far.

If you could sum up Best Served Cold in three words, what would they be?

I enjoyed the First Law trilogy. Pacey's a great narrator, better than most, and I loved Glokta. I bought Best Served Cold thinking I would get more of the same, but instead I got a much darker story with better characters and dialogue. I loved this listen!

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My Favorite Book!

I found this title on a forum that listed books with strong and interesting female characters, and I can honestly say I was not prepared for what I stumbled into.This book is a stand alone work that precedes a trilogy set in the same world. I did not know this and went ahead with it first, which is honestly fine, but now looking back having read all of them, you might get more out of it having read the trilogy.Even without context this book completely blew me away, it was gritty, funny, and on an emotional level completely unique. The narration shifts frequently and each voice is so clearly driven by their own fully realized psychology,traumas, goals,hopes and fears.This inner monolog allows us to feel the characters develop outside of merely observing their actions and it really pulls you in. Take the leap, you wont regret it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great standalone book in "The First Law" world.

I greatly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to anyone who read and enjoyed "The First Law" trilogy. If I'm not mistaken, this is the 4th book in the series, but it's not part of the trilogy. It's a standalone book that follows mostly different characters and occurs after the trilogy. The narrator (Steven Pacey) is simply amazing and I found the story to be very entertaining. A+++++++

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great narration, good story, but the platitudes

The First Law trilogy is probably my favorite trilogy. I've listened to it three times through. Best Served Cold was a good story, but I swear every other sentence was a platitude trying to be a very profound introspective statement. I don't remember The First Law trilogy being that way. Either way this book is still worth a credit and listen.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Harsh

4* writing in a 2* plot with at least a 3* fantasy world. I almost quit the book 3/4 of the way through. It is just that harsh without positive plot elements for balance. I stuck it out and I am glad I did. I will listen to the next book.
Semi spoilers:
In Wizards First Rule the cruelty is massive but there is a righteousness that carries it through; not here.
In White Gold Wielder there is grand wonder as you travel through the tale; not here.
Game of Thrones has you constantly hoping for a positive outcome here and there and this book has a bit of that, but like Martin, Ambercrombie pretty much pummels it out of you.
Unlike Meiville and that sort of dark fantasy, you won't find yourself wondering what is going on.
Like the Powder Mage series and many others, you will find yourself in a world that is both familiar and fresh at the same time.
The narration is good and has amazing moments.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible writing, legendary narration

I've come to really enjoy Joe Abercrombie's writing, and this is his best story yet. It is fast paced, yet detailed. Hard edged, but tender. Bloody, yet touching. As flawed as the characters are, Abercrombie puts you inside each of their heads, giving you a deep connection with them all. Pacey breathes incredible life into these characters with his distinct voices and accents and his terribly consistent performance made me want to listen to every second. A narration of the top quality.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Who Cares?

Joe Abercrombie is not an author to listen to if you like kittens and milkshakes with two straws. I've listened to many of his books and liked "most" of them. First, he is a GOOD writer. You can take that to the bank. But he is dark and morose and most of his books are going to be NC-17 for one reason or another.

All that said, I was hoping for another Logan Ninefinger's type story, but there's just no one to like in this book. For any reason. By the end of the book, with a mostly so-so story, you could care less if anyone survives.

There's no Glokta in this story. No Logan. No one to care about, and I think that is why by the end it's like dining on a loaf of moldy white bread.

23 of 31 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story, even greater narrator

Where does Best Served Cold rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best.

What about Steven Pacey’s performance did you like?

His range of voices is enormous, makes it seem like he is 20 different people. It's very hard to enjoy other audiobooks with different narrators after listening to him.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Was Expecting Better

I absolutely loved the first trilogy in this series and enjoyed the growth that the characters enjoyed over time along with the awesome story telling and performance. It was interesting, you had characters to root for, and a dark but rich setting. Here, you have some of that but the main character gets less likeable over time and the story gets less and less interesting. I was never against the graphic nature of the book but you never saw as much sex in the last three books as you did in this one which was slightly off-putting. I found myself groaning and wishing they would get to the point more often than not. It just felt kind of lame.

Anyway, I might give the book another try later but I never did finish it. We will see.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful