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

FanLit Readers' Favorites!It’s the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in October 2015 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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  1. I read and reviewed Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I thought the YA superhero stuff would not be for me, but Mr. Sanderson’s superior writing proved that everything he writes is great!
    You can read my review here:


  2. Margo Hurwicz /

    Apparently I read only one not-for-work book last month: City of Stairs by Robert J Bennett. I really enjoyed it because he writes so well, both in the sense of language use (imagery, etc.) and in the sense of worldbuilding, character development & plotting. Sigrud, when the ice breaks (channeling StarTrek Next Gen’s Darmok, here) is the most memorable scene for me. I’ve just pre-ordered City of Blades. Jo Fletcher Books sure knows how to pick ‘EM!

  3. Margo Hurwicz /

    P.S. I also STRONGLY recommend 2 books newly published in October (I read them before they were published). They are Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie, and Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley. AM is the 3rd book in a trilogy, while EA is the 2nd. If you liked the preceding books, you will LOVE these. More of the same, only better!

  4. I had a very good reading month in October with many four and five star books. In order of my personal favorites:

    Agatha and the Voice of the Castle, Kaja and Phil Foglio – this was an audio and I loved it to little pieces. It is smart and funny and very clever.

    The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher – I know both reviewers here weren’t as enamored of this as I was but I really liked it, plus talking cat!

    The Emperor’s Blades/Providence of Fire, Brian Staveley – I enjoyed both of these books though I’m a tad partial to the first as I got to listen to the audio which was really well done. Not for people who need constant action, these take time in building everything up (and tearing things apart).

    Cold Iron, Stina Leicht – a different second world fantasy with interesting characters and magic. Very enjoyable but also an ending that is not what you would expect.

    Heart of Valor/Valor’s Trial/Truth of Valor, Tanya Huff – 3rd, 4th and 5th in the series, military SF with excellent characters and worldbuilding. Fun and funny too.

    A Devil in the Details/A Shot in the Dark, KA Stewart – urban fantasy with demon duels. Much more interesting than I expected and very enjoyable if a bit dark.

    Hidden by Benedict Jacka – this is the 5th in an urban fantasy series and the heat gets cranked up here.

  5. Kelsey Butkus /

    Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. I waited three years since reading The Heroes because I wanted to savour the anticipation. Simply amazing. Equal parts action, drama, and social commentary.

  6. Trey Palmer /

    Decisions, decisions.

    One was The Child Garden by Geoff Ryman. For something written in 1989, its got a lot of far out ideas there, things that are often found in more current fiction. Sadly the biology doesn’t hold up, with virally transmitted skills and memories. Entertaining and thoughtful though.

    Luna by Ian McDonald. The quick and dirty is Game of Thrones in spaaaccee, with a Portuguese twist. The story follows the Cortas, of Corta Helio that supply Earth with Helium-3 that keeps the lights on and civilization running. And in many ways, McDonald’s Luna resembles that of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress without the rose tinted view of libertarianism that book has. You have to buy air, water, data, food – and you can die for being poor. The families that dominate the Moon resemble a mix between mafias, technocrats and clans of medieval nobles (with a hint of Dune’s Harkonnens throne in among the Mackenzies). The only thing I have a hard time buying is the lack of projectile weapons – because even I can come up with the idea of a lethally charge taser, compressed air dart guns and similar bits of nonsense. Anyway, its compelling because you can care about the characters and then, McDonald uses Bujold’s plot device – he does his worst to them.

    The March North by Graydon Saunders. This is a fantasy that has a lot more thought behind it than the typical fantasy. The closest equivalents I can think of are Max Gladstone’s Craft sequence and Walter Jon William’s Metropolitan with ancient societies and magic as a technology – and all that it implies.
    In The March North we are introduced to the Commonweal, a nation in a world with magic and that magic has touched and changed everything, from the ecology to the people to the societies and nations in it. The Commonweal is an island of enlightenment in a sewer of god-king sorcerers. And it all starts when the local guard captain gets notice of three of the most powerful sorcerers in the Commonweal are coming to serve his unit …

    Its definitely a first book. And I really think it could use another pass by an editor, but, but its really, really good and I’m going to get the sequel.

  7. Steph Swainston’s Year of Our War was probably my favorite. Great New Weird epic fantasy that doesn’t seem to get the recognition it deserves.

    I also finally got around to Staveley’s Emperor’s Blades, and I’m almost done with the Providence of Fire. Really excited to see how this series finishes. I can’t recall a second book in a series that’s made me question everything I thought I understood about what was happening. And I mean that in the best way possible.

  8. Melanie Goldmund /

    Tied for first place on my best books of October list are The Rewind Files by Claire Willett and Fool’s War by Sarah Zettel. I never thought anything about politics or Richard Nixon could be remotely interesting until I got a free copy of The Rewind Files, but wow, was I ever surprised! Thankfully, politics and Richard Nixon stay in the background of this fascinating time travel tale.

    And Fool’s War was fascinating as well, a sci-fi story concerning artificial intelligence that might not be so artificial as previously thought.

    I also enjoyed The Aeronaut’s Windlass, by Jim Butcher, despite the character of Gwen. The other characters, especially the cats, made up for her, though.

    Cursed, by Benedict Jacka, was also good, along with Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown, which made me cry because I was imagining Terry Pratchett arranging his own death and funeral as I read. The rest of the story was as amusing as always, though.

  9. Conal O'Neill /

    October was a month that turned out a little disappointing as it did not include any five star reads. I did enjoy Call to Arms by Joshua Dalzelle which is the second book in his military sci-fi series the Black Fleet trilogy and Fire with Fire by Charles Gannon was also an enjoyable read. Other books read in October were mostly lacking in some way or another.

  10. Margo, 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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