Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsIt’s the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means, ’cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in April 2019 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. And we’ve also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

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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19 comments

  1. Sethia /

    I really enjoyed One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence! It was different then his normal work, and he pulled it off very well!

  2. SandyG /

    April was a light reading month for me but I did enjoy The Test by Sylvian Neuvel.

    • Sethia /

      I reading this now and am enjoying it! I really liked the Themis Files by him also.

  3. Courtney Albert /

    A Match Made in Devon by Cathy Bramley was the best book I read in April. I love all her books and this one especially made me cry and laugh at whole lot through out it.

  4. Shawn Mansouri /

    I have to second One Word Kill by Lawrence.

  5. Kevin S. /

    The Black God’s Drums by P. Djeli Clark

  6. John Smith /

    I’ve just finished book 4 of Dean Koontz’s Jane Hawk saga, “The Forbidden Door.” Another bracing thrill-ride romp!

  7. Noneofyourbusiness /

    The Lady Mechanika Free Comic Book Day issue was an interesting introduction to the series.

  8. I started and completed “Red Sister” by Mark Lawrence! Everyone seems to be enjoying his books, but I had to read this before I started “One Word Kill”!

  9. The Distinguished Professor /

    “Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis” by Lisa Sanders impressed me so much that I’m giving copies to two of the students I’m robing at Graduation tomorrow.

  10. No surprise given my review below and Tadiana’s similar take, it was Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Brightness Long Ago

  11. Lady Morar /

    Jennifer Worth’s memoir “Call the Midwife”: where the best show on television began.

  12. Paul Connelly /

    Good stack of books this month. My best pick is Fran Wilde’s Horizon, the third and (I think) final volume about people living high above the clouds on towers of living bone. This one was slightly harder to get into, because she had three alternating first person narrators, not my favorite technique, but the story was exciting enough that I stuck with it. We saw at the end of the previous book that the city was dying, and here we see the evacuation, which requires viewpoint characters in too many places–in the towers, at the cloud level, and down on the ground–for one narrator to cover. The world is so bizarre and original that it’s hard to guess how Wilde came up with this concept. But it’s a good finish to the series (or this part of it, at least, if she does ever write a sequel at some point).

    The Light Brigade is Kameron Hurley’s latest novel, set in a cyberpunkish future where governments have lost power and six giant corporations dominate the world. The corporate Earth is fighting a war against rebellious colonists on Mars (or that’s what everyone thinks, at least), and protagonist Pvt. Dietz is a soldier in this war, fighting for the corporation that more or less owns her. To deploy to battlefields, the soldiers’ bodies are converted to beams of light and then reconstituted at the destination (like the transporter in Star Trek). Dietz finds when she is reassembled that she’s not always with the right mission–sometimes she seems to be in the future or past instead. But why? This is an overtly political story that tries to be uplifting in spite of the mass killing, but I wasn’t totally convinced. Still, Hurley has the writing chops to keep you turning the pages to find out what happens next. Looking forward to The Broken Heavens (third in her Worldbreaker series) in November.

    The Priory of the Orange Tree (Samantha Shannon) is in some ways a traditional fat fantasy epic (in the post-1970s tradition, that is), with a returning ancient evil and a quest for objects of power to defeat it. But it’s mostly likable. The world is divided between nations who hate and fear dragons and those who worship them. The dragons are also divided between good and evil ones. Two of the four viewpoint characters (the female ones, coincidentally or not) are more interesting to follow, especially in the early going, before the quest for the power objects takes over the story. In an 800+ page novel, pacing is likely to be an issue at some point–in this novel there were a few slower spots (mostly with the two male viewpoint characters), but the bigger problem was that the climax and the final buildup preceding it felt a bit rushed. So the book started out being more interesting than it ended up being, mostly because it was determined to keep the plot within the straitjacket of fat epic fantasy conventions.

    A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine is the latest in a line of tales about an envoy from one spacefaring civilization to another, which is often a way to contrast and critique two types of societies (one of which may be a stand-in for contemporary Western Civ). But not here! This is about an emissary trying to figure out what she was supposed to do now that the memory implant of her predecessor has failed due to sabotage. And, reversing the more common situation, she’s the envoy from the barbarians to the empire, an empire experiencing acute political unrest. There’s a blurb from Ann Leckie on the cover, and the style here has similarities to Leckie’s Provenance and Ancillary novels. But even more than those books, this one’s relentlessly talky–lots of dialogue, and even the descriptions of action and scenery are filtered through the third person narrator’s viewpoint, with interjections and value judgments galore. So it’s not fast moving, but there is a decent story being told, if you care for political maneuvering and have patience.

  13. Susan W /

    Just finished Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly. I’ve really enjoyed this series (Amberlough Dossier). The author took the story, essentially a love story, in directions I didn’t expect. I always like to be surprised. Nicely done final book.

  14. Katharine Ott /

    It’s a tie, but I’ll go with “Wolf Hollow” by Lauren Wolk. It deserved its Newbery Medal nomination – I thought it was great. https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2776761817.

  15. I enjoyed the characters in Ann Leckie’s The Raven Tower, but my favorites of the month were rereads: The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner.

    The Raven Tower is modeled after a particular Shakespeare play, which I am not fond of, so even though she subverted some of the characters, I wasn’t that enthralled with them unlike, say, Breq and Seivarden.

  16. Nick /

    The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon and Atlas Alone by Emma Newman

  17. I finally read Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Boy, did it have an impact on me. My full review: https://www.truebookaddict.com/2019/04/thoughts-on-lois-lowrys-giver-review.html

  18. Courtney Albert, 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!

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