Isn’t humour one of the best parts of a book? Comedy in a book isn’t generally the same as other mediums – for me, anyway, I don’t read comedies – because in my mind it is such a visual medium. Whether its a film, a live show or even a graphic novel, those are ways I usually find humour.
So a book that is funny, sometimes laugh out loud funny, always feels like a true find! I never seek out a book just because I want to read something funny, but if I find it in a fantasy book for example, it makes me cherish that book even more. IDK, I just find it very endearing, particularly if the author is just sliding in impeccable wit under excellent character and world building.
And this is all a roundabout way of saying that I have altered this week’s top ten Tuesday prompt for no reason at all, really. The prompt is: book guaranteed to put a smile on your face, which I know is entirely a different thing from humour, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, where each week you write a list of ten particular books.
Discworld – Terry Pratchett
Synopsis: Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smell very much like our own, but which looks completely different. The Disc’s very existence is about to be threatened by a strange new blight: the world’s first tourist, upon whose survival rests the peace and prosperity of the land. Unfortunately, the person charged with maintaining that survival in the face of robbers, mercenaries and, well, Death, is a spectacularly inept wizard.
I mean, it would be an inaccurate list if I didn’t start off with this book, wouldn’t it?
I haven’t read the whole series (it’s very long!), but I do highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to read it, as I’ve enjoyed every book I have read so far.
Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
Synopsis: Richard Mayhew is a young businessman who is about to find out more than he bargained for about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his safe and predictable life and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and yet utterly bizarre.
There’s a girl named Door, an Angel called Islington, an Earl who holds Court on the carriage of a Tube train, a Beast in a labyrinth, and dangers and delights beyond imagining…And Richard, who only wants to go home, is to find a strange destiny waiting for him below the streets of his native city.
I think most people consider the humour in Good Omens to be from Terry Pratchett, but I do also find Gaiman a humorous author. It’s definitely a different kind, more witty (and maybe a bit darker?), but I recall finding this book very funny while reading it. I mean, the premise is quite ridiculous, after all. I still haven’t read many of his books, however!
Temeraire – Naomi Novik
Synopsis: Captain Will Laurence has been at sea since he was just twelve years old; finding a warmer berth in Nelson’s navy than he enjoyed as the youngest, least important son of Lord Allendale.
After a skirmish with a French ship, Laurence finds himself in charge of a rare cargo: a dragon egg. When the newly-hatched dragon decides to imprint itself on the horrified captain, Laurence’s world falls apart. Gone is his golden future, as he is consigned to be the constant companion and trainer of the fighting dragon Temeraire…
This book is about a Navy Captain who accidentally bonds with a dragon, and then the dragon turns out to be very rebellious, extremely intelligent and quite unenthusiastic about signing up to join His Majesty’s Aerial Corps. Where there is not gut-wrenching emotion in this series, there is hilarity!
Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch
Synopsis: My name is Peter Grant and until January I was just probationary constable in that mighty army for justice known to all right-thinking people as the Metropolitan Police Service (and as the Filth to everybody else). Then one night, in pursuance of a murder inquiry, I tried to take a witness statement from someone who was dead but disturbingly voluble, and that brought me to the attention of Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England.
This is a seriously underrated series, mostly because Peter, the protagonist, is a character with a very dry wit and a seriously odd way of viewing the world that constantly makes his adventures amusing to follow. It’s a real-world fantasy, where the main character learns magic exists and so too do magical criminals. The premise alone!
Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir
Synopsis: Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service.
I mean, obviously, right? Although (perhaps obviously, considering they are necromancers), a lot of the humour in this book is quite dark.
The Library of the Dead – T. L. Huchu
Synopsis: Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker – and she now speaks to Edinburgh’s dead, carrying messages to the living. A girl’s gotta earn a living, and it seems harmless enough. Until, that is, the dead whisper that someone’s bewitching children – leaving them husks, empty of joy and life. It’s on Ropa’s patch, so she feels honour bound to investigate. But what she learns will change her world.
This is such a funny book, even though it is a very dark setting, because of the great narrator, Ropa, and her outlook on life. She ends up in absurd situations. It reminded me a lot of Rivers of London, actually, (if only for the tone, because the vibes are nothing alike). She is a very likeable protagonist, as are many of the supporting characters.
A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab
Synopsis: Most people only know one London; but what if there were several? Kell is one of the last Travelers – magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel Londons.
There’s Grey London, dirty and crowded and without magic, home to the mad king George III. There’s Red London, where life and magic are revered. Then, White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. But once upon a time, there was Black London…
The books get steadily darker as the trilogy progresses, but the humour in this book really draws you in. Mostly this is courtesy of Lila and her disbelief at everything which is happening around her, but it’s fun to read!
The Legend of Eli Monpress – Rachel Aaron
Synopsis: Eli Monpress is talented. He’s charming. And he’s a thief. But not just any thief. He’s the greatest thief of the age – and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his partners – a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls – he’s going to put his plan into effect.
It is only thanks to Goodreads that I remember reading this book, but it certainly fits the list criteria! This book centres around Eli, a wizard-thief, and Miranda, who runs into him, and I enjoyed the development they got throughout the series, as well as the interesting world building.
I’m giving this three stars because it did impress me! I think the writing lacked a lot of potential. It felt sort of like a film, in the easy walk-through-the-woods type of cutscenes, the fight scenes that I think could have done with finetuning and all of the ‘sneering’ facial expressions from so-called powerful characters. So why three stars? The ending did a u-turn. The main character, Eli, wasn’t all Chosen One powerful, and the other narrating character, Miranda, actually got some good development despite what I thought would occur. In fact, many of the characters showed great potential. I think the villainy was a little lacking, despite the many ways it could have been explored. But the book was done in less than a day and I’m planning to read the rest. So, not bad!
The Martian – Andy Weir
Synopsis: After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet.
Despite having watched the film first, the stellar reviews of this book from other bloggers made me keen to read it, which I finally did recently. It didn’t disappoint! This is the kind of book where the author is clearly having fun, and the first-person POV we get shows well.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Synopsis: It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace express route, and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed, in large friendly letters, with the words: DON’T PANIC.
Pretty much like Terry Pratchett, this book belongs on this list, right?
I read about three books in this series when I was younger and enjoyed them a lot, even though I’m sure I didn’t know entirely what was happening. Definitely going to have to reread at some point!
Funny books are truly the best! What SF&F novels have made you laugh?