Thoughtful Thursday: Best book you read in May 2013

fantasy and science fiction book reviews

It’s the first Thursday of the month, which means it’s time to report!

What is the best book you read in May 2013 and why did you love it? It doesn’t have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don’t forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from our stacks.

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KELLY LASITER, with us since July 2008, is a mild-mannered academic administrative assistant by day, but at night she rules over a private empire of tottering bookshelves. Kelly is most fond of fantasy set in a historical setting (a la Jo Graham) or in a setting that echoes a real historical period (a la George RR Martin and Jacqueline Carey). She also enjoys urban fantasy and its close cousin, paranormal romance, though she believes these subgenres’ recent burst in popularity has resulted in an excess of dreck. She is a sucker for pretty prose (she majored in English, after all) and mythological themes.

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  2. I didn’t get much reading or reviewing done in May, but I did get to read and review one of the best Urban fantasy titles ever written!

    War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull. It was written a while ago, but it’s timeless. If you were a child of 80s, one of the paranormal characters will remind you a musical icon of the time.

  3. Best book that I read last month was The Eyes of God by John Marco. I chose to read it because he just released a new book in the series, The Forever Knight, and even though the new one can be read as a stand-alone, I felt like I would rather read the whole series. I thought that it was a great story with a good introduction to the world and the characters. I always love that his characters aren’t so black and white and The Eyes of God was no exception. It’s a bit large, page-count wise, but I didn’t feel that it dragged at any point and I got through it fairly quickly.

  4. that’s a tough one. Between these two:
    Life after Life by Kate Atkinson
    The Tyrant’s Law by Daniel Abraham

    with Abaddon’s Gate by James Corey and Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth coming in as strong runners-up

  5. I read a number of books in May that I thought were pretty good, including Cold Days by Jim Butcher, Celebrity in Death and Delusion in Death by J.D. Robb, and Heartless by Gail Carriger. The best book was A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin, although that was a reread so doesn’t entirely count in my mind.

    However, if we extend this to the first week of June, I just finished Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm, which was incredibly good, probably the best (never before read) book I’ve read this year.

    • I love Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. I read it in a Science Fiction literature class. It’s one of those that I feel not many people know about but if they’d give it a chance they’d really appreciate it.

    • I’ve read both the Jim Butcher and JD Robb. JD Robb is not as good as she has been but you just can’t beat Jim Butcher …

  6. April /

    As always, I can’t keep it to just one…

    Demon Hunter and Baby by Anna Elliot is a self published urban fantasy with a really bad cover but really good stuff inside. It is the story of a demon hunter, how she came to be one and why all of a sudden there more demons than usual.

    The Last Knight and Rogue’s Home by Hilari Bell are wonderful fantasy adventures with very compelling and fun characters and interesting situations.

    And I listened to the audiobook of Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger which I loved to pieces, I like it better than her Parasol Protectorate books because Sophronia is a character I can really get behind. She’s smart, she’s clever, she’s remarkably inquisitive but also knows when to fold her hand. Highly recommended for anyone who likes a bit of silliness with their fantasy of manners.

    • Is the Last Knight self published? I thought it was. Could be wrong.

      I loved Demon Hunter with Baby. The cover is beyond bad, but the book is excellent!

      As for me, it’s hard to select…but I think Julie Moffett’s No Money Down is the winner.

      Patrick Kampman’s Chance in Hell was a very close UF second. It’s possible he lost out because one of the main characters is a vamp and I’m not all that into vamps. But it’s a darned good read.

      • April /

        Maria – no, The Last Knight was published by Harper Teen.

  7. Sandyg265 /

    I enjoyed The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty.

  8. Mine has to be Fearsome Journeys, ed. Jonathan Strahan.

  9. Probably “The Dirty Streets of Heaven” by Tad Williams if I had to choose (review here but I read so many different books that I liked for so many reasons – I wrote a blog listing some of the best – see here

  10. Trey /

    The best book I read in May? Intrusion by Ken Macleod. It wasn’t a “Rah-rah-rah! I love it!” No, its far more one that raises some uncomfortable questions about the highly complex world we’re building for ourselves, surveillance and the rapid promulgation of laws. And the answers are not pleasant ones.

    The characters felt very real, were sympathetic and the situation and systems felt realistic. I highly recommend this book.

  11. Vanya”s Quest by Angie Harris was a great read in May. It is the second book of her series The Realm. Her story in this book defines the lives and reasons for the conflict through out the series.

  12. Melanie Goldmund /

    The best new book that I read in May was Great North Road, by Peter F. Hamilton.

    The best “old” book, or rather re-read, was The Alloy of Law, by Brandon Sanderson.

    I was also surprised at how much I enjoyed Empire in Black and Gold, by Adrian Tchaikovsky. I was worried about the insect element, that I wouldn’t get into the book because of it, but I found the characters and the plot to be surprisingly accessible.

  13. Greg B. /

    Best for me for the month of May hands down was “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher. Little late to the Dresden Files party but hey, better late than never! Really, really enjoyed it. I have the next couple lined up and looking forward to getting my hands on the rest of them. Highly recommended!

    • Anne /

      And they get better !! Difficult to believe but I promise it’s true.

  14. Lingeorge /

    What can I say? Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris. It was the end of the series, and wrapped it up nicely. I am content with the the way it ended. I loved the whole series.

    • Nice to see someone say they liked it. I haven’t stayed with the series, but from what I heard of the ending, it finally went the direction I thought I’d like–say after book 2. Or maybe book 3. :>) It’s nice to see someone who liked it!

  15. Hard Magic by Larry Correia and The Stand by Steven King. Both were audio now that I think of it.

  16. Sarah Webb /

    The Watchers by Jon Steele. Picked it up on a whim, and really enjoyed it. Not sure of the genre. Thriller in the David Morrell vein, with a bit of supernatural thrown in.

  17. Unfortunately, May was a some-what slow reading month for me (in the latter half, at least), as I was busy with college when finals approached. However, my favorite novel in May would be The Aylesford Skull, by James P. Blaylock. I love the Victorian era, and the steampunk and magical qualities were quite enjoyable. Not the greatest book, but still enjoyable.

    If novellas count, though, then my favorite would have to be A Study in Scarlet, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  18. Leland Eaves /

    Under Heaven. Great book if a little slow moving. Absolutely love Kay’s Tigana and while this isn’t quite up to par with it, is still a fantastic read. Heartbreaking and heartpounding by turns.

    • Anne /

      “Tigana” is my favourite stand alone fantasy novel ever – I have heard good things about “Under heaven” – I shall track it down

  19. Most definitely Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Such a thought-provoking novel. Read my review here:

  20. Barbara Elness /

    The best book I read in May is a tie between Kevin Hearne’s Trapped and Jennifer Estep’s Deadly Sting. Both are continuations of fantastic series, and were great additions to their respective series.

  21. RedEyedGhost /

    May was a really slow month, but I did cap it off with the outstanding The Tyrant’s Law by Daniel Abraham.

  22. The Blinding Knife – Brent Weeks

    Book 2 of The Lightbringer series. This series (though only the two books long so far) is just fantastic. Fantasy with a unique magic system, imperfect characters that are still likable, and more twists and turns than… something with a lot of twists and turns. Best book I’ve read in 2013, let alone May.

  23. Is Hard Magic the one with the great “hard-boiled detective” cover?

    I loved Where Late the Sweet Bird Sang, and War for the Oaks.

    Wilhelm started writing mysteries in the 1990s, and is better known for them now. Her science fiction is wonderful, and very few people know about it. A shame.

  24. The best book I read this past month (though it has yet to be reviewed on my blog) was David Walton’s “Quintessence,” a really enjoyable historical fantasy. Definitely recommended!

  25. Horns by Joe Hill, so far… though I’m reading Jack Vance’s Trullion: Alastor 2262 at the moment, and I’m enjoying it immensely. Hussade, anyone?

  26. Michael Rosenberg, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

  27. David Dean /

    Casualties of War by Bennett R. Coles wins May hands down. You won’t read a better sci fi novel all year. Can’t recommend this book highly enough.

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