Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Recommendations: May 2013

One of the great things about speculative fiction is that there's never a shortage of intriguing plots set in fascinating places. But for those who like to dabble in all areas of spec fic, sometimes it can be hard choosing between science fiction, fantasy and more. Today we bring you some May's top-rated science fiction and fantasy novels, sorted by sub-genre, to help you find the perfect story.

If your idea of a fantastic story is one that bends the limits of modern science to propel characters into out of this world situations, may we suggest John Scalzi's space opera The Human Division, in which offworld human colonists must figure out who is sabotaging their diplomatic efforts — aliens or angry Earthlings? Or perhaps you want something a little edgier, in which case we recommend Daniel Abraham's The Tyrant's Law. In this story two humans must stop their planet's tyrannical ruler and dismantle a complex religious system in order to bring peace to their world. 

If you'd rather your fiction take place in a world entirely unlike our own, perhaps this month calls for a great fantasy novel. Luckily for you there's Brandon Sanderson's first Young Adult novel, The Rithmatist, in which a teen boy draws chalk figured that take on magical properties and soon finds himself using his powers to solve a mystery. Or maybe you'd rather read a fantasy novel for adults, in which case Shawna Thomas' Journey of Dominion — about a young woman searching for two stones to match her lone magical artifact — or Barb Hendee's The Mist-Torn Witches — which tells the story two apothecary-owning sisters that find themselves caught up in solving a mystery for their land's Prince — might be right up your alley.

Steampunk is a little fantasy, a little science fiction and a whole lot of adventure! May brings many new steampunk novels to readers, including A.A. Aguirre's — the writing team of Ann and husband Andres Aguirre — Bronze Gods, which follows two detectives as they track down a murderer using both magic and technology to hunt down innocent victims. Steampunk fans may also want to check out Lilith Saintcrow's latest Bannon and Clare novel, The Red Plague Affair, in which a detective and a sorceress team up to assist the queen of Englene.

You can pick up all of these titles, available in stores this month. Looking for more great books? Make sure to visit RT's Everything Science Fiction & Fantasy Page