Reading Fanatic ReviewsAll Humor, Comedy, and Satire Reviews
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Scribd, Thalia, 24 Symbols, Mondadori, Angus & Robertson, Indigo (Chapters), and Bol.de
Odd Little Book!
I am a voracious reader, so I don’t need a book simulator to make it look like I’m reading. Because I am actually usually… reading. The first part of the blurb made me almost give a pass to this book, but a line in the second part made me decide to give it a try. “While it pokes fun at various aspects of reading, it also celebrates the spirit of storytelling and encourages the exploration of future stories to come.” As someone who loves to read, I thought I would see how this book would celebrate storytelling with humor. The book is definitely tongue-in-cheek and makes attempts at humor, but for me, these fell flat. I didn’t really see any evidence about how this book celebrated anything, whether reading or storytelling. The book is certainly quirky and unusual, but it didn’t quite do it for me.
What If a Literary Agent Responded How They Liked
This book, if it isn’t clear from the blurb, is a fictitious collection of query letters to a literary agent with a manuscript sample and a cranky agent’s response (like may want to do but never gets done in the real world). It is meant to be a satirical look at the modern publishing industry according to the book description. Having been a writer, editor, and reviewer, I can say that I am of several minds of this book. There are parts of it that are amusing if you’ve ever dealt with rejection from an agent or publisher. Back in the last millennium, I actually did submit books to publishing houses, so I do understand what the process is like from that perspective. It is hard to get rejections. As an editor and reviewer, some items that the acerbic Ms. Ribbons brings up in her responses are truly problematic with books or with authors in the free-wheeling world of modern independent publishing. I would never be as abrupt and unkind as Ms. Ribbons, but I do understand some of her points. I think the book is overly repetitious; Ms. Ribbons could have made some other salient points instead of some of the same ones over and over. This book might be too much of an insider view for the general reader, but authors, future authors, or writers might be amused by parts of it (or unfortunately see themselves in it).
Middle Grade Humorous Retelling of 6 Greek Myths
I may not be in the target age range of this book, but I found it a very fun and engaging retelling of six Greek myths. The drawings were whimsical, and the stories were told with humor and even a few gross-out moments. Now, if you’re expecting the characters in these stories to talk like ancient Greeks, you will be sorely disappointed. But if you keep your mind open and have an appreciation for middle-grade humor, you might find this a very enjoyable read.
A Knight’s Tale in Old Wales
If you look at the cover of this book, you might think that it is a serious work of historical fiction. It is anything but! In fact, it reminds me very much of Heath Ledger’s movie A Knight’s Tale in its approach to history. The author doesn’t even attempt to use what some would think of as historical language, or any other sort of elevated speech. I’ll admit my eyebrows lifted when I saw one character call another a “meanie.” While the places and the politics of the novel are based in truth, the characters themselves are fictional. The story is about a cultural shift, when the Romans were leaving Britannia after having lived and ruled there for over 300 years. What does that mean for the soldiers, some of whom do not want to go back to a place they’ve never known and perhaps their families have never been from? What does that mean for all of the various tribes around Britannia, who often engaged in internecine battles before the Romans? There’s also a romance at the heart of this book, and I found the couple to be an intriguing one to watch. This book is full of humor: slapstick, dry, and tongue in cheek. Again if you enjoyed the movie A Knight’s Tale, you would most likely enjoy this book.
Mermaids Be With You*
Funny Send-Up of the Fantasy Genre
If you ever thought that fantasy fiction takes itself too seriously with its world-defining quests and fickle kings and queens, you should read this series. It’s like Monty Python meets Princess Bride. It clearly, and definitely, spoofs the tropes of the fantasy genre. From the offbeat names to the characters’ quirky self-awareness to the strange situations the characters find themselves in, everything (and everyone) is up for ridicule and laughs in this book. I find the book is best taken in small doses. Trying to read it quickly will not allow time before they humor to mellow, and it might get to be a bit much. Some of the interior monologue and self-awareness of the characters is truly funny. The authors clearly enjoy lampooning this genre.
And, yes, tell me more about the Age of Gerbils!
If you’re expecting serious fantasy when you download this book, you will be disappointed. Go into it knowing that it’s firmly tongue-in-cheek, and let yourself just go along for the ride. If you do so, you will most likely enjoy the trip.
Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Scribd, Mondadori, and Angus & Robertson
Tastes Like Chicken…
What a quirky story! I am familiar with this author, having read his first book, Blind Justice, and quite enjoying it. It’s hard to imagine two more different stories, and it is to the author’s credit that he can write a legal thriller and a dark comedy. Even though this is a comedy, the author still did seem to get under the characters’ skins, giving enough detail so that the characters felt individual and real. They felt like people I could meet, though I’m not sure I’d want to.
Like other reviewers, I felt that the first part of the book was a little slow going. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing. I’ve read other British writers whom I like who do a similar slow build, layering events and showing nuances of character before we get to the real action. It’s just rare today–a let’s-get-to-it attitude being more common–so it seems usual. Once I understood what the author was doing, though, I was willing just to sit back, read, and trust that he was going to get me there. And the book did not disappoint.
I found myself wondering how accurate this book is about the way that food and restaurant inspection is done in England. My father was a health inspector in the United States over 20 years ago–so I’ve seen the process here up close–and I found Emily’s time as a bumbling newbie health inspector interesting to watch. I have a feeling my dad would have related to some of it! I think he would have liked doing so few inspections, too! Also, oh, my goodness, the Pinch brothers! What an unusual way they found out of their situation. It was definitely a Fried Green Tomatoes moment. Parts of this book are laugh-out-loud funny, although, given the subject, you almost feel a little guilty doing so. Almost.
Whether he’s writing a dark comedy or legal thriller, Nathan Burrows has such a command of the written word that his books are hard to put down.
Jacobite by Name*
Speculative Fiction with a Heavy Dose of Political Satire
In this satire about near-future Scotland, that country is feeling the after-effects of Brexit and the wrath of the Tories, specifically a post-Brexit faction called the New Georgians. A shadow a group of scientists, the Guild, responsible for advances in cloning and quantum computing conspire with the Vatican to bring about another Jacobite rebellion.
Will this Jacobite uprising succeed? Or will the Tory plans for Scotland come to fruition?
As an American of Scottish descent who visited that area of Great Britain last year, I was intrigued by the concepts of this book when I read about it at a book review site I use. This book is definitely political satire with a healthy dose of wry, dark humor. I would also call it speculative fiction because of the Guild’s work in furthering modern technology and its use. The book lacks a clear protagonist, which sometimes makes the book’s many twists and turns hard to follow. The story is told from the perspective of an omniscient narrator in an almost detached, journalistic fashion, with a heavy emphasis narrative prose that tells more than shows. We are told of political events more than we see them happen in action. I think this book could have benefited from being shown through the dialogue and actions of a narrator-protagonist rather than being told by a narrator.
I did laugh at the line early in the book when the new Viceroy of Scotland’s Tory faction is described thus: “If only they could restore the social structures of Georgian times, London could once again be the centre of a great empire spanning the globe. People said that Tories wanted to take the country back to the 1950s but in the Viceroy’s view, that wasn’t nearly ambitious enough. The 1750s would be ideal.”