It’s hard to believe 2013 is halfway over! While I haven’t read quite as many books as I’d like, there are a few stand out titles that I want to discuss, especially since I’m behind on reviews and haven’t talked about how much I enjoyed many of these books here yet.

Favorite Books Published in 2013

Shattered Pillars by Elizabeth Bear

Not including reprint editions of older books, the second book in Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy is easily my favorite book of 2013. Range of Ghosts was excellent with a fascinating setting, well-developed characters, and beautiful prose. I loved Shattered Pillars just as much, perhaps even more than the first book, and I think Eternal Sky may very well end up being my favorite of Elizabeth Bear’s series once it is complete.

River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay

River of Stars, set approximately 400 years after Under Heaven, is a sweeping fantasy based on China’s Song Dynasty. It follows the lives of some very compelling characters, and it’s also beautifully reflective with an emphasis on war, the power of words, the difference one person can make, and the growth of legends. It left an impression on me even after turning the final page and setting it aside.

Cold Steel by Kate Elliott

I loved Kate Elliott’s Spiritwalker trilogy, including the recently released conclusion Cold Steel. It’s one of those series with characters that I don’t ever want to stop reading about, but alas, it’s ended now and I’m going to miss Cat, Bee, Vai, and Rory.

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

Karen Lord’s second novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds, will certainly not be my last by her! I’m currently reviewing this and still sorting out what I think of it, but basically I had a great time reading it. It’s tragic but without becoming mired in hopelessness, and I loved the characters and exploring the planet of Cygnus Beta along with them. It also has the type of slowly building, not-overly-angsty romance I enjoy.

Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson

I was pretty excited to read this after hearing Nalo Hopkinson’s praises sung over at DarkCargo and I ended up enjoying it very much. The main protagonist, Makeda, was born into a legendary family, but her twin sister inherited all the magic. I loved the fantasy aspects of this story, plus I enjoyed reading about Makeda’s struggles. She’s a very sympathetic protagonist who cares for her sister but also feels left out since she doesn’t have her gifts or fit in with the rest of the family.

Favorite Books Published Before 2013

A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington

Freda Warrington is quickly becoming one of my very favorite authors, and A Taste of Blood Wine is my favorite book I’ve read this year. This is a reprint of the first book in the Blood Wine Sequence, a vampire series originally published in the 1990s. I loved the slightly-post World War I setting, the characters, the drama, the mythology, the writing, the obsessive can’t-put-it-down reading experience that was much like the obsession between Charlotte and Karl—I loved everything about this book!

The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima

The Seven Realms series is one of the best young adult fantasy series I have read (of course, I say this having not quite finished it yet since I am saving book 4 for a time when I just desperately need a good book). The Gray Wolf Throne is the third book, following The Demon King and The Exiled Queen. Cinda Williams Chima is a masterful storyteller with a knack for creating tension. Even when I suspect I know what is going to happen, I cannot wait to see it all play out. Also, I adore both main characters, the princess heir Raisa and the charismatic thief Han. Reading The Gray Wolf Throne made me extremely happy.

Author I Need To

Immersion by Aliette de Bodard On a Red Station Drifting by Aliette de Bodard

In the course of reading the Hugo nominees for short stories and novellas, I read two science fiction stories by Aliette de Bodard: the short story “Immersion” and the novella “On a Red Station, Drifting.” Both are set in the same universe and both are very enjoyable with an intriguing setting and a focus on characterization. The biggest thing I took away from my Hugo reading is that I really should pick up a copy of Servant of the Underworld sometime— and anything else Aliette de Bodard writes in the future.

What are your favorite books read in 2013 so far? Have you discovered any new-to-you, must-read authors?