Fantasy Friday: Funny fantasy
I usually read high fantasy, but I've started reading some urban fantasy lately and I'm enjoying it. I've discovered that I love books that make me laugh, and a lot of urban fantasy features snarky main characters or just funny situations. There's just something about making me laugh that makes me that much more willing to let go of my annoyances with a book and just enjoy it.
I kind of wish there was more high fantasy that didn't take itself so seriously. All those epic battles and revenge-fueled villains and dramatic showdowns are all well and good, but a little wisecrack here and there wouldn't go amiss. In that regard, I really enjoyed Half A King by Joe Abercrombie, since it featured quite a few instances of witty (albeit dark) dialogue. Also, that one conversation between Adolin and Shallan in Words of Radiance. Yeah, you know the one. I laughed so hard I had to stop reading for a few minutes. A book that keeps you on the edge of your seat is memorable, but a book that makes you smile stays with you forever.
One of my favorite fantasy books is one I read as a child, and as I grow older, it only gets funnier. It is by the ever brilliant Sir Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents. It's pretty much a satiric commentary of every fantasy trope ever, and even as a child it made me grin. The great thing about this book making me smile as a child is that I want to keep going back and reading it, not just because it's a brilliant satire and a very clever and witty story, but because all those smiles give me the warm fuzzies. Talking cats in general just make my day. Fictional cats are just so great - very independent and clever, with an "I couldn't care less about what you mere humans think" attitude about the world.
More recently, I read and enjoyed Hounded by Kevin Hearne. It was recommended to me by multiple people, so I branched out of my high fantasy bubble and gave it a try. It was hilarious, and I loved the sarcastic and badass protagonist, Atticus Finch. I'll admit there were some eye-rolling moments, but the fact that Oberon and Atticus made me laugh made me look past that. Like I said earlier, I'm more likely to forgive annoyances if the book makes me laugh. It helped that I listened to this as an audiobook - the different voices made me laugh even more than I would have if I were reading a physical copy.
I've also read and enjoyed The Others novels, Written in Red and Murder of Crows (look out for reviews coming soon!). In this world, humans are a minority and the Others (or animal-like shapeshifters) are really in charge. They aren't like the usual vampires or werewolves; they see humans as meat and don't have any qualms about eating you if you so much as annoy them. As frightening as they are, they also prove to have a soft side and enjoy little creature comforts like dog biscuits (the Wolves) and shiny things (Crows). It's hilarious seeing such intimidating predators act like children when they see their favorite treat.
Maybe I just have a thing for talking animals? I did love Redwall as a child...