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, ’cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in September 2018 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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22 comments

  1. (FWIW, mine was Circe by Madeline Miller!)

  2. The Ember Blade, by Chris Wooding. It was an incredible start to a new series, and can be enjoyed as a standalone. The characters were fantastic and it toed the line between clasdsic and dark fantasy. The last 200 pages felt like a fantasy version of Mission Impossible. Absolutely brilliant.

  3. Sethia /

    My favorite read last month was a reread, The Word and The Void trilogy by Terry Brooks. He has been one of my favorite authors for a long time, and it was fun to be reminded why. I recommend this trilogy to anyone, there are lots of different elements at play fitting it in easly with many diffrent tastes.

  4. Mine was non-fiction: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

  5. David Hand /

    The Thousand Deaths of Arbor Benn is just amazing. A great fantasy heist novel and only book 1.It would make a great film or series. Highly recommnded

  6. Paul Connelly /

    Best read was John Schoffstall’s Half-Witch, a book that I hope is bought by a lot of readers just because it is so thoroughly not marketable in any category the publishing industry would recognize. I’ll mock improvise: “For fans of Grimms’ fairy tales, heroic quests, and the Peter Cook-Dudley Moore movie Bedazzled!” It’s heart-warming, sacrilegious, funny, and thoughtful. In a Holy (not) Roman (not) Empire (not) that never was, Lizbet is a young teenager who never has friends, because she and her father have to skip town every time one of his manic get-rich-quick schemes blows up–which is often. When he finally lands in jail, she has to cross the Mountains of the World to retrieve a magical book for the lord that has him imprisoned. Early in this quest she gets an impious witchy helper, Strix, a girl made of dead leaves, twigs, rusty wire and seashells. As they struggle over the mountains, war in Heaven is raging and Lizbet is having more and more trouble getting in touch with God (whose advice is never much help anyway, even when it can be heard over the explosions). This is a unique book with just the right mixture of sweet and tart. I recommend it for anyone tired of books relentlessly marketed as “Perfect for fans of Stephen King and J. K. Rowing and Cormac McCarthy and Margaret Atwood and George R. R. Martin and Dr. Seuss and…”

    In graphic novels, Monstress (Volume 3) keeps expanding the complexity and increasing the amount of bloodshed over what we’ve seen in the first two volumes. The Federation leadership is moving toward another war with the Arcanics thanks to the hatred being stirred up by the Cumaeans, while the Arcanics are fighting each other due to Maika Halfwolf’s murders while taken over by Zinn, the hideous Ancient that inhabits her body. Meanwhile two of the leading women of the Dawn and Dusk Courts are being wed to ally their forces, and one of them is Maika’s love, Tuya. The level of destruction is huge and the real war hasn’t even started yet! The artwork again is fabulous. Guess we have to wait until next summer for Volume 4, if it continues on the same schedule.

    Far North by Marcel Theroux is an “after civilization collapses” story about a survivor in Siberia with a dim memory of the pre-collapse world, now fortyish and mostly solitary. Makepeace Hatfield still harbors fantasies of finding a pocket of civilization left, with all the wonderful artifacts she remembers hearing about, but in practice she’s become more like the children of Ish Williams in Earth Abides, slipping back into a hunter-gatherer way of life. This is more of a literary take on the end of civilization, like Station Eleven, but it does it better than that more heralded novel. Like many literary novels, it has some reliance on coincidences to move the plot and characters along, but not to the extent of Station Eleven.

    Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath is a short story collection I’ve been carrying around for a while, and I finally read it. A couple of the stories didn’t work for me, but most satisfied with that same creepy, Twilight Zone-ish feeling that is so impressive in her novel Amatka. Very weird and very cool.

    Sputnik’s Children is a skewed coming of age tale by Terri Favro, ostensibly about a superhero comic creator coming up with an origin story for her heroine–and herself. It feels very autobiographical in its wealth of period detail about growing up in an ethnic Italian enclave of a company town in late 1970s Canada–except in a phildickian alternate timeline where we’re on the brink of nuclear war for many decades (like a permanent Cuban missile crisis). Is Debbie going to be the Ion Tagger that mystery man Duff says will shift everyone into another dimension as the bombs drop? Will her longtime boyfriend become the first black prime minister of Canada? Is it all a hallucination from too many tranquilizers and martinis? This stayed engaging, though the manic energy propelling the story ran out near the very end.

    Nicholas Eames returns with Bloody Rose, a sequel to Kings of the Wyld. Our heroine in this one is Tam, a star-struck tavern waitress who signs on as bard to a band of monster-fighters led by the daughter of renowned Golden Gabe (from the previous book). It’s still fun, but darker in tone, as we see that some of the creatures being slaughtered for entertainment are no more monstous–and often less so–than some of the humans entertained by the spectacle. Eames still has a knack for making you get teary-eyed one moment and cracking you up with clever one-liners the next. And of course there is a titanic battle at the end.

    Artificial Condition is the second book in Martha Wells’s Murderbot series. In this one, the part-organic, part-machine Security Unit is heading back to the scene of the crime that earned it its nickname. On the way it hooks up with a spaceship AI nicknamed ART, which also seems to take a lot of liberties with its own programming. Just because the conceit is no longer brand new, I wasn’t quite as charmed by this one as by All Systems Red, but it’s still an enjoyable story.

    Another sequel (to Waypoint Kangaroo) is Curtis Chen’s Kangaroo Too, and as with the Wells book, I wasn’t quite as taken with it as with the first book, but it was really pretty good. If anything even more action-packed than the previous Mars-bound adventure, and with more background on secret agent Kangaroo’s strange upbringing. The setting this time is the Moon, so the next one will probably be off in the asteroid belt.

  7. Raven Stratagem
    It’s space opera fantasy, but it’s well written and well done. World building seemed to be show, not tell.

    Next in line was Foundryside – fun! It reminded me of The Lies of Locke Lamora, but the characters weren’t as unpleasant. World building is a bit off, but I’ll forgive it enough to read the next one.

  8. Kevin S. /

    Red Knife (Cork O’Connor #8)- William Kent Krueger

    The Crown Conspiracy (The Riyria Revelations #1)- Michael J.Sullivan.

  9. John Smith /

    If anyone wants a scary thriller, “The Last Mrs. Parrish” was twisty and gripping. It goes from light entertainment to something more like horror.

  10. Best new book was Voyager of the Crown by Melissa McShane. An immortal woman has to make a new life and gets into a bunch of adventures.

    Best reread was A Matter of Magic by Patricia Wrede (compendium of Mairelon the Magician and Magivian’s Ward). Alternative Regency England with magic.

  11. Noneofyourbusiness /

    Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce, the conclusion to the Protector of the Small quartet. Despite her reservations, Kel really is the perfect character to take over that refugee camp. She’s always driven to do what she must for people, and she inspires such loyalty in her friends that they all follow her over the border whether she likes it or not. Plus I’d love to travel with an entourage of dogs, cats and sparrows like she does.

    • Jonathan /

      Yes! When people picture “animal companions” they usually pick wolves or birds of prey, but Jump and the sparrows have them beat by a mile!

  12. The Distinguished Professor /

    “The Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles is worth reading for the Washington quotes alone.

  13. Lady Morar /

    The Unseen Hand #3 presents a unique take on a wartorn Russia and the “True Russia” beneath it (literally).

  14. Jonathan /

    Night and Silence, of Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series. A brilliant book as usual. Not for people who don’t like blood, though.

  15. Dr Susan /

    I was waiting for Night and Silence from my library, so the best book I read (and reread several times) in September was Karen Chance’s Shadow’s Bane and the follow-up novella Dragon’s Claw. In my opinion, the Midnight’s Daughter series is superior to the Cassie Palmer series.

  16. April /

    September was full of rereads for me from the Amelia Peabody series, Mercy Thompson series, Taltos, Discworld – I tend to re-read for all sorts of reasons including not being able to figure out what type of book I am in the mood for and having a bad run of books that I don’t enjoy.

    The only two new to me books I read and enjoyed in September were:
    Provenance by Ann Leckie – I was a bit hesitant at first because I was so confused but I really ended up liking this story and the characters in it.
    and
    Closer to Home by Mercedes Lackey – in among my re-reading I’ve decided to go back and finish off series that I liked in the past but for one reason or another never finished. Usually it was because back then, I had only the books on the shelf at my local library available to me which meant that I might have read two out of every series since those were the only ones the library had. There are quite a few in the Valdemar universe that I never got to. The series is chock full of characters that are too close to perfect but the stories are so much fun to follow along with that I give them all a pass.

    @Paul Connelly – thanks for the rec for Half-Witch, sounds like something I’d really enjoy.

  17. The most recent five star book I read was Sky In The Deep by Adrienne Young. The Nordic vibe and well-written fight scenes kept me up until I’d reached the end. Such a great fantasy read!

  18. Trey, 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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