68 books like Best Served Cold

By Joe Abercrombie,

Here are 68 books that Best Served Cold fans have personally recommended if you like Best Served Cold. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

Jasmine Gower Author Of Moonshine

From my list on fantastical civic design.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having previously worked in the Urban Affairs side of academia and drawing heavily on my own experience living in the city of Portland, OR while writing my book, Moonshine, I’ve become very interested in how fantasy authors find creative ways to incorporate the supernatural elements of the genre with the extremely mundane aspects of urban planning and civics. I find that the most immersive fantasy worlds are the ones that concern themselves with the gritty details of how their societies operate on a basic logistical level, and I think a well-written fantasy city can very much shine as a character in its own right.

Jasmine's book list on fantastical civic design

Jasmine Gower Why did Jasmine love this book?

The world-building in The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms explores how the powering of societies can come at a human cost—though in this case, the humans have outsourced that cost to the gods. Enslaved by the Arameri aristocratic family that rules over the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, gods and godlings power the Arameri’s control of the city of Sky, allowing the city to flourish but at the expense of the common people’s or the gods’ agency. Compared to the other books listed here, this tale is more concerned with the structures of class and authority (and less so utility) that help turn the gears of society, but its examinations of these aspects of civics are still insightful and, ultimately, optimistic.

By N. K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After her mother's mysterious death, a young woman is summoned to the floating city of Sky in order to claim a royal inheritance she never knew existed in the first book in this award-winning fantasy trilogy from the NYT bestselling author of The Fifth Season.

Yeine Darr is an outcast from the barbarian north. But when her mother dies under mysterious circumstances, she is summoned to the majestic city of Sky. There, to her shock, Yeine is named an heiress to the king. But the throne of the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is not easily won, and Yeine is thrust into…


Book cover of A Crown for Cold Silver

Stacey Filak Author Of The Queen Underneath

From my list on led by brutal female characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I hesitate to call myself an expert on anything, except perhaps how to eat too many Pringles and Twizzlers while trying to plot a novel. But if there’s anything else that I’ve spent my life devoted to, it’s the idea that “strong female characters” don’t all fall into one category or another. Give me a world populated by both Chrisjen Avasarala and Bobbie Draper. Give me smart and calculating and deadly force. Give me brutality in all its forms, because men don’t hold a monopoly on viciousness. For a very long time, the heroines we got were Susan Pevensie and Eowyn, accidental sweethearts in a beautiful gown – and I love those characters, too. But frankly, I’m all for wearing that gorgeous dress while you disembowel your enemies and take over the kingdom from your evil step-uncle.

Stacey's book list on led by brutal female characters

Stacey Filak Why did Stacey love this book?

There is not a thing about this book that I don’t love.

Marshall (a pseudonym for Jesse Bullington) tells the story of Zosia – Cold Cobalt, The Banshee with a Blade, First Villain – who is just a few steps past her prime. Twenty-some years have passed since she led her notorious band of generals – The Five Villains – in a war that put her on the throne. A throne she walked away from.

She was done with it all until fate and mistake shattered her retirement, drawing her back into the world and war. Marshall does some really cool things with gender norms, looks aging right in the face with an unvarnished mirror, and gives readers a cold religion, bug-drugs, and all the violence you could want.

But he also gives readers the sort of anti-heroes that you can’t help but cheer for, a cast of minor and…

By Alex Marshall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Crown for Cold Silver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Joe Abercrombie, Robert E. Howard and Scott Lynch comes a diverse and action-packed tale of a warrior out for revenge, from a bold new voice in the fantasy genre. Readers will fall in love with the Red Sonja-like Zosia and her Five Villains. Kameron Hurley says 'an epic fantasy that will surprise you . . . if you think you know what's coming, think again.'

Cold Cobalt, the Banshee with a Blade, First Among Villains . . .
When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, the warrior queen Zosia faked…


Book cover of Graceling

Melissa Marr Author Of The Hidden Dragon

From my list on if you want to go on a magical adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up on fairy tales and folklore in the Appalachian Mountains. Stories of adventure and dusty fairy tale books in my grandmother’s attic were my entertainment. The library trips we took “into town” added to my reading. I discovered that the step from fairy tales to classics wasn’t as wide as folks argue. Years later, when I went off to college, I became an English major, then a graduate student, and then started teaching literature at college. From childhood to adulthood, magic and fiction were my life... which led to selling a book of my own. Over the last 17 years, I’ve been writing fantasy.

Melissa's book list on if you want to go on a magical adventure

Melissa Marr Why did Melissa love this book?

I loved this book since before it was published.

I gave a quote for the cover of the first printing of it, in fact. Fifteen years later, it still remains a book that can carry me away to a world where magic is not a gift but a challenge to overcome.

Kristen had a fresh idea here, but it still folded into my love of adventure and magic and finding out who we are inside.

That’s a story that will always get my attention, and the writing in this one is also lush enough to make me want to pause and re-read lines.

By Kristin Cashore,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Graceling as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 13, 14, 15, and 16.

What is this book about?

Discover the Graceling Realm in this unforgettable, award-winning novel from bestselling author Kristin Cashore.

A New York Times bestseller
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature Winner
Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal,Booklist, and BCCB Best Book of the Year

"Rageful, exhilarating, wistful in turns" (The New York Times Book Review) with "a knee weakening romance" (LA Times). Graceling is a thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure that will resonate deeply with anyone trying to find their way in the world.

Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, who is smart and beautiful and lives in the…


Book cover of Gideon the Ninth

Morgan Biscup Author Of In Spite of the Inevitable

From my list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas.

Why am I passionate about this?

In writing character-driven space fantasy, heavily influenced by my training as an electromechanical engineer, I’ve realized a love for stories with a heavy emphasis on moral dilemmas and shifts in thinking. How does a character change direction after realizing much of what they always believed was a lie? When well-trained instincts pull them backward instead of propelling them forward? I love these stories, mirroring my own messy self-discovery journey through life. The settings and stakes are more fantastical, but that makes them more appealing. A way to confront my own trials without becoming burdened by them. If the characters can do it, so can I.

Morgan's book list on sci-fi books moral and perspective dilemmas

Morgan Biscup Why did Morgan love this book?

I love necromancers in space settings and opinionated characters with a strong voice, and Tamsyn Muir’s book did not disappoint. The book gradually ramps the action, emotion, and secrets until I couldn’t put it down. I was pulled into Gideon’s plight, first as she attempts to yet again escape indentured servitude to the necromancer Harrow, then as she helps Harrow navigate the deadly mysteries of Caanan House in exchange for her freedom.

I loved the fraught relationship between Harrow and Gideon as they navigated their complicated emotions and expectations of each other. The ending was particularly poignant, as their earlier assumptions were shattered in magnificent fashion, thrusting them into a situation neither wanted and revealing the true lengths they’d willingly go to for each other.

By Tamsyn Muir,

Why should I read it?

22 authors picked Gideon the Ninth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

15+ pages of new, original content, including a glossary of terms, in-universe writings, and more!

A USA Today Best-Selling Novel!

"Unlike anything I've ever read. " --V.E. Schwab

"Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space!" --Charles Stross

"Brilliantly original, messy and weird straight through." --NPR

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead nonsense.

Tamsyn Muir's Gideon the Ninth, first in The Locked Tomb Trilogy, unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Her characters leap off the page, as…


Book cover of Lord Foul's Bane

Nick Stevenson Author Of Nethergeist

From my list on compelling world building in fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been intrigued by fantastical world-building that is complex, detailed, forensically credible, and immeasurably encyclopedic in scope. It should propel you to a world that feels almost as real as the world you leave behind but with intricate magic systems and razor-shape lore. Ironically, some of my choices took a while to love, but once they “sunk in,” everything changed. Whenever life gets too much, it has been cathartic, essential even, to transport to another universe and find solace in prose dedicated to survival, soul, and renewal.

Nick's book list on compelling world building in fantasy

Nick Stevenson Why did Nick love this book?

Thomas Covernant is a leper shunned by society but finds himself in the Land where some herald him as the one who’ll save them from an evil sorcerer, Lord Foul. He is not always a sympathetic character, but being on society’s edge where all and sundry openly shun him can do that to anyone.

What I loved the most was the captivating Land with its many peoples and inhabitants, such as the sentient woods and the Forestals that ward them, the Elohim, a benign people with special powers, the Giants and the evil Viles, Waynhim, and ur-viles.

Outside being exotic, the world feels credible and immersive, especially the “wild magic” Covernant begins to wield. I ended up caring passionately about what happened to the Land and wanting Covernant to acknowledge his worth.

By Stephen R. Donaldson,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Lord Foul's Bane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Comparable to Tolkien at his best' WASHINGTON POST

Instantly recognised as a modern fantasy classic, Stephen Donaldson's uniquely imaginative and complex THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT, THE UNBELIEVER became a bestselling literary phenomenon that transformed the genre.

Lying unconscious after an accident, writer Thomas Covenant awakes in the Land - a strange, beautiful world locked in constant conflict between good and evil.

But Covenant, too, has been transformed: weak, angry, and alone in our world, he now holds powers beyond imagining and is greeted as a saviour. Can this man truly become the hero the Land requires?


Book cover of The Eye of the World

JMD Reid Author Of A Spark in the Night

From my list on fall in love with fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been a reader. In my childhood, I read Hardy Boys novels by the bucketload. I loved scholastic book fairs, pouring over the lists to find new books to read. Then my uncle gave me The Hobbit followed by giving me a hardback set of Lord of the Rings for Christmas of the 6th Grade. After that, my mother gave me Pawn of Prophecy, which cemented my love of the genre. I write fantasy because of all the books I listed. Each one led me down a path that ended with me publishing my first novel.

JMD's book list on fall in love with fantasy

JMD Reid Why did JMD love this book?

When I read this book after my mom gave it to me for Christmas in 7th Grade, I was hooked on the masterful writing of Robert Jordan. It was my first time reading limited third person and how he made each character come alive.

While this is not my favorite book in the series, it hooked me. I waited for each new release, diving into fan forums and theory crafting. I loved his foreshadowing and his world-building. No other author had a greater impact on my writing style than RJ.

By Robert Jordan,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked The Eye of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

When a vicious band of half-men, half beasts invade the Two Rivers seeking their master's enemy, Moiraine persuades Rand al'Thor and his friends to leave their home and enter a larger unimaginable world filled with dangers waiting in the shadows and in the light .

Since its debut in 1990, The Wheel…


Book cover of The Curse of Chalion

A. David Redish Author Of Changing How We Choose: The New Science of Morality

From my list on across the boundary of poetry, science, and society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have long been fascinated by what makes us human. Great art is about the human condition. We are very quick to reject art that gets that human condition wrong. I’m a poet, a playwright, and a scientist.  While my science has found itself at the center of fields such as computational psychiatry and neuroeconomics, I find myself turning again and again to the insights from great novels to understand the subtleties of the human condition. So to complement the scientific questions of morality (because morality is all about the human condition), one should start with great novels that ask who we are and why we do what we do.  

A.'s book list on across the boundary of poetry, science, and society

A. David Redish Why did A. love this book?

The best description of sainthood I have ever found. In The Curse of Chalion, Bujold starts from a world of visceral reality with a new religion based on family archetypes. 

In her world, these gods are real and play very specific roles within the society, and well-constructed prayer opens up a space for the gods to use one for their purposes. As the main character learns what it means to be a saint, to allow miracles to flow through him (as he says, “like a mule being whipped up the mountain pass”), we see the difference between supportive and unsupportive roles, how failure can lead one astray and how the journey home can be long and difficult. 

Warning: This book contains scenes and situations not suitable for children.

By Lois McMaster Bujold,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Curse of Chalion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A man broken in body and spirit, Cazaril returns to the noble household he once served as page and is named secretary-tutor to the beautiful, strong-willed sister of the impetuous boy who is next in line to rule. It is an assignment Cazaril dreads, for it must ultimately lead him to the place he most fears: the royal court of Cardegoss, where the powerful enemies who once placed him in chains now occupy lofty positions.

But it is more than the traitorous intrigues of villains that threaten Cazaril and the Royesse Iselle here, for a sinister curse hangs like a…


Book cover of Odalisque

Ellen Mae Franklin Author Of The Unseen Promise

From my list on fantasy from a series to feed your addiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

It has always been a tough question to answer because I'm many things and have a diverse range of loves. I live in Adelaide, South Australia and believe that we are all capable of great things. My grandchildren are important to me. I'm passionate about unleashing my imagination and translating the many stories in my mind into narratives. I paint, read, sing, garden, and cook and I hope, much more. My passion for fantasy began in the womb. I'm certain of this. I began reading this genre at 5 and for over 55 years; it has been a passion. Epic, dark fantasy enthralls me and I'm in a constant search for the next best read.

Ellen's book list on fantasy from a series to feed your addiction

Ellen Mae Franklin Why did Ellen love this book?

Odalisque blew me away. I did not expect this author to produce such a raw and dark series. Set in a time where brutality was the norm, I loved exploring Ana’s journey as she fought to regain not only her freedom from slavery, but the epic lengths she went toto gain power in a world ruled by strength and deception. Fiona draws out the reader’s emotions and will cast you into a scene right out of history. Revenge and honour, sex and murder all take place in the desert, so keep your eye out for this book.

By Fiona McIntosh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Odalisque as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fifteen-year-old Boaz is the new Zar, freshly ascended to his throne. In the turmoil following the old Zar's death, courtiers jostle and conspire to secure their positions - not least his scheming mother, the new Valide. It seems his only genuine friends are his late father's mad jester; Spur Lazar, head of Percheron's security; and a golden beauty - a new odalisque purchased in the foothills as a slave for the harem.

But can a madman, a soldier and a concubine be trusted to keep him safe from the Byzantine manoeuvres of his father's ambitious entourage?

Pleasure and politics collide…


Book cover of The Summer Tree

Ann Claycomb Author Of Silenced

From my list on fantasy to achieve dazzling feats of storytelling.

Why am I passionate about this?

When you grow up believing in magic, you inevitably face a moment when the world invites you to stop. Books are the reason to keep believing. Fantasy novels specifically give their readers magic to dive into and savor. What makes these fantasy novels so important to me is that they don’t just tell stories about magic, they tell their stories with such verve, such daring, such commitment to achieving the impossible, that they make magic. Reading these books, you will hold your breath, unable to believe that what feels like it’s about to happen could possibly happen when you turn the page... but don’t worry.  It will.

Ann's book list on fantasy to achieve dazzling feats of storytelling

Ann Claycomb Why did Ann love this book?

Guy Gavriel Kay is widely known and admired for his sweeping, epic fantasy novels, all set in fantastical version of real historical countries—but before he turned to that genre, he wrote the Fionavar Trilogy. 

Think Lord of the Rings with critical differences: the characters all have a wry sense of humor and an appreciation of irony and many of those characters are women, strong, intelligent, fierce, complex women. Kay also goes for broke as a storyteller here; you can almost hear him wondering, “Can I pull this off?” And he does it every single time.

By Guy Gavriel Kay,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Summer Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first volume in Guy Gavriel Kay's stunning fantasy masterwork, now reissued with the beautiful original cover art by Martin Springett.

Five men and women find themselves flung into the magical land of Fionavar, First of all Worlds. They have been called there by the mage Loren Silvercloak, and quickly find themselves drawn into the complex tapestry of events. For Kim, Paul, Kevin, Jennifer and Dave all have their own part to play in the coming battle against the forces of evil led by the fallen god Rakoth Maugrim and his dark hordes.

Guy Gavriel Kay's classic epic fantasy plays…


Book cover of Red Sister

Martin Rodoreda Author Of Salvage

From my list on action-packed, post-apocalyptic fictions with a female protagonist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been heavily immersed in the fantasy and sci-fi world since the age of nine, across fiction novels, role-playing games, tabletop miniature gaming, and movies. My first love was fantasy, and that’s one of the reasons why the post-apocalyptic genre particularly appeals to me when it comes to sci-fi. It plays in that dark, gritty place between futuristic, sci-fi, technology, and dark-age style fantasy. In addition, I’ve always felt socially conscious and value writing that highlights themes that are relevant today. This is another place that the post-apocalyptic genre slides comfortably into. And, of course, there’s the zombies. Another fantasy element that works beautifully in post-apocalyptic, sci-fi settings.

Martin's book list on action-packed, post-apocalyptic fictions with a female protagonist

Martin Rodoreda Why did Martin love this book?

I loved this book for its combination of fantasy and sci-fi, the gritty and grim world Lawrence has created, and the high-energy and higher-stakes action sequences that fill the book.

I loved that it was unexpected. Lawrence's post-apocalyptic world concept was unique and fresh, compellingly combining the technology of a dying world with supernatural themes. I certainly did not expect the convent setting and nun-in-training protagonist in a sci-fi storyline, and yet that’s what I got in his main character, Nona Grey.

I love the tension and suspense created in the frequent action sequences Nona finds herself in, which left me wanting more and more. This leads to the last thing I really loved about this book: that it continued across two more books: Grey Sister and Holy Sister.

By Mark Lawrence,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Red Sister as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's not until you're broken that you find your sharpest edge.

"I was born for killing - the gods made me to ruin."

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices' skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don't truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in revenge, William Shakespeare, and mercenaries?

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