Best Served Cold, by Joe Abercrombie, is what happens when The Princess Bride gets drunk on Jack Daniel’s and goes out at 3AM looking to pick a fight with George RR Martin and Robin Hobb. Which is to say it’s bloody brilliant.
Betrayed and thrown down and mountain and left for dead, Monza Murcatto is too stubborn to die. Her brother murdered, and her body broken, vengeance is all she has left, and she’ll track it to the ends of the world to settle her score. Seven men must die, no matter the cost.
Best Served Cold is a standalone novel set in Abercrombie’s First Law world. It introduces new characters while bringing back some familiar faces like Caul Shivers and Nicomo Cosca. It is dark and brutal, and I couldn’t put it down. The twists and surprises Abercrombie delivers are on par with the best thrillers.
Monza is relentless in the best possible Abercrombie mold, a twisted protagonist who would give a Terminator a run for its money in the determination department. She is virtually unredeemable, but then that’s the key with Abercrombie, isn’t it: virtually. As she says, “Mercy and cowardice are the same thing,” and I think she even believes it. Sometimes.
I’ve only recently started reading Abercrombie, but everything I’ve read of his is a winner.
5 / 5 stars.