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 March 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.
I have two for March: “Godsgrave” by Jay Kristoff and “Witchmark” by C.L. Polk. I couldn’t put them down for a moment!
Alone by Christophe Chaboute. It’s a graphic novel.
I have a tie for my best book of March:
The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
I can also recommend The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson.
Alk the the Newsflesh novels and collected short stories, feed, feedback, rise, etc. by Mira Grant. I loved how she made the coming zombie apocalypse believable!
Garth Nix’s “Abhorsen” is a thrilling conclusion to his original trilogy in the world of the Old Kingdom and a good setup for stories to come.
Taking up “Life of Pi” by Yann Martel again after starting but not finishing it in grade school has been a delight. Pi’s internal monologue and descriptions of his childhood are both humorous and engrossing.
“The Whispering Room” by Dean Koontz. This is a very exciting techno-thriller. I’ve never read Dean Koontz before, and this is book 2 in the Jane Hawke series. I may not bother ever reading the first book, but I will have to read the succeeding books in the series. What will happen?! Are we all doomed?! Will the bad guys get their comeuppance?!
My son and I will never forget the experience of reading The Hobbit together when he was little.
I finished Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger And The Coin series by finishing the last installment called The Spider’s War.
It was a good ending for a great series.
“Where Oblivion Lives” by Teresa Frohock.
I’m not sure how I would describe this book, it’s a bit of dark (but not too dark) fantasy featuring Nephilim, angels, & daimons, with an historical background of 1932 Europe (Spain, France, & Germany), well researched & well written. The story pulled me in immediately. The plot is character driven, so it has depth. If this isn’t the type of book you would normally read, pick it up anyway, as I did. You will not be disappointed.
Not a great month for reading. Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince was my favorite book, pretty good but it didn’t really wow me. The first person present tense narrative concerns a mortal child abducted into Faerie (along with her twin sister and half-Fairie half-sister) and then adopted by her parents’ murderer. She’s better off than some other abducted mortals, who are all but zombified slaves, but she and her twin are at the bottom of the pecking order in their age group and are brutally bullied. The story follows her as she gets enmeshed in the plots of her step-father and the Faerie royals, and by the end she becomes a power player in her own right. It’s not fast-moving and there’s a bit too much teen hormonal stuff going on, but it does wind its way to a rather harsh but intriguing conclusion that will probably occasion multiple sequels.
Shadowshaper is an urban fantasy from Daniel Jose Older that I felt was more successful than his Half Resurrection Blues (a DNF for me). Set in New York City, in a small community with roots in Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the story shows the diversity (and generational divides) within that community while telling a more or less stock urban fantasy type tale, where the young heroine Sierra is growing into the magical abilities of her ancestors and being aided by true friends against a power-seeking interloper who tries to appropriate their traditional magic. It’s just that urban fantasy feels like a tired genre to me. Where the contemporary setting added a smidgen of plausibility to these stories in the more innocent cultural context of the “New Age” 1980s, now it works against suspension of disbelief rather than for it. The zeitgeist of today is part of what makes grimdark and post-apocalyptic fantasy so popular, sad to say.
Blackfish City was on lots of Best of 2018 recommendation lists and is up for awards, but surprisingly for me it was a DNF. I got about halfway through, to the point that (to not spoil things too much) three apparently unrelated characters find they are different generations from the same family, but I basically felt like, “Who cares?” This reminded me of some of Ian McDonald’s books (only one of which was an outright DNF for me) where I just could not bring myself to care about (much less like) the tragically hip characters. The setting (a post-climate change, floating city in the Arctic) was moderately interesting, but the city never could establish an individual character and rise above the rather ham-fisted political subtext of the story, at least in the first half. And the mysterious city guidebook and uber-cool “orcamancer”, after enough repeated references, became less mysterious and cool and more just plain annoying. Obviously other reviewers did not share my disenchantment.
I read two books that I rated 5 stars in March: one was for book club, “Halsey’s Typhoon” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin, an exciting account of a huge storm in the Pacific during WWII, and the Man Booker nominated “His Bloody Project” by Graeme Macrae Burnet, a gripping, bleak but fascinating murder mystery from 1860s Scotland, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1713734499. “Magic Bites” by Ilona Andrews was also lots of fun, first in the series.
Ash: A Secret History, by Mary Gentle
I read this set of books 15 years ago and loved the novels (really just one really long story about 1200 pages). Amazon offered it for my Kindle at just $3.99 and I decided to try it again. It was just as good the second time.
My 5-star reads in March were Patricia Briggs’ Storm Cursed, a Mercy Thompson book that will be published in May; John Scalzi’s The Consuming Fire (I’m now officially in love with this space opera series); and P. Djeli Clark’s The Black God’s Drums (review just posted for that last one and pending for the other two).
Definitely Charlie Jane Anders’s THE CITY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, and THE WINTER OF THE WITCH by Katherine Arden.
I spent March plowing through the most of the published Dresden Files (though I’m still waiting on Skin Game from my library), and my favorite was probably Changes. As the name suggests, it upends the status quo of the series, which has remained remarkably stable throughout the first 11 books. I have loved seeing Harry (and all the other fantastic characters of the Dresden-verse) develop, and I feel like Butcher pulled a lot of those ongoing threads together really well in Changes. Of course, there’s still a lot to go, but the mix-ups were refreshing.
Books 3 and 4, The Lost Steersman and The Language of Power and the Steerswoman series were definitely the best. It’s a lot of fun watching Rowan reason her way into a moreadvanced understanding of the world and what constitutes a wizard’s “magic.”
Mine is a reread of Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson. Loved it the first time and wasn’t disappointed.
My favorite March read was Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey. Its a sweet romantic comedy that comes out in May.
Al Burke, 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!