Top 10 Comic fantasy books

This genre of fantasy parodies (mostly affectionately) all fantasy sub genres. It could be said that the primary objective of comic fantasy is to amuse.

Recommended Reading

When the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus is summoned by Nathaniel, a young magician's apprentice, he expects to have to do nothing more taxing than a little levitation or a few simple illusions. But Nathaniel is a precocious talent and has something rather more dangerous in mind: revenge. Against his will, Bartimaeus is packed off to steal ...

Thursday Next by Jasper Fforde
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Meet Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, fear or boyfriend. There is another 1985, where London’s criminal gangs have moved into the lucrative literary market, and Thursday Next is on the trail of the new crime wave’s MR Big. Acheron Hades has been kidnapping certain characters from works of fiction and holding them to ransom. Jane Eyre is gone. Missing. Thursday sets out to find a way into the book to repair the damage. But solving crimes against literature isn’t easy when you also have to find time to halt the Crimean War, persuade the man you love to marry you, and figure out who really wrote Shakespeare’s plays. Perhaps today just isn’t going to be Thursday’s day. Join her on a truly breathtaking adventure, and find out for yourself. Fiction will never be the same again...

A blend of alternate history and comic fantasy it is grand reading material, combining excellent writing and great inventiveness with more great jokes and groan-worthy puns than you could shake a stick at." Fantasy Book Review

Lockwood & Co by Jonathan Stroud
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"Publication of a new Lockwood and Co. adventure must qualify as one of the literary events of the year. Jonathan Stroud not only writes like a dream, he creates some of the most inventive, most exciting storylines around." LoveReading

"My advice to you, dear reader, is to read the Lockwood & Co books then read everything else Stroud has written. He’s the bee’s knees in my opinion and his work is enormous fun to read." Fantasy Book Review

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in... For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Red Dwarf: Better Than Life by Grant Naylor
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Rimmer, Cat and Kryten are trapped in a computer game which can transport players directly to the world of imagination, a world where each player can enjoy fabulous success. The only catch is that the game kills.

"Better Than Life builds on absolutely everything that was begun in the previous book. The wordsmithing and various sorts of humour are back in full force (still more in the audio recording with the awesome Chris Barry at the helm) and the plot handles character examination, intensive adventures in space, a rather cynical exploration of humanity and a poignant thread of human redemption with consummate ease. I am only sorry that this remained Grant and Naylor’s final collaborative effort on a Red Dwarf novel, since it really is smegging awesome!"

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett
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According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter - the world's only totally reliable guide to the future - the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just after tea...

"A Superbly funny book. Pratchett and Gaiman are the most hilariously sinister team since Jekyll and Hyde. If this is Armageddon, count me in." James Herbert

"Good Omens is by far one of the funniest works of fiction I have ever read. Pratchett and Gaiman have managed to create a story that weaves together large doses of satire, cynicism, slapstick and wacky unconventional humour into a cohesive yet suprisingly accurate observation of human life all over the world." Fantasy Book Review

The Discworld Series by Terry Pratchett
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On a world supported on the back of a giant turtle (sex unknown), a gleeful, explosive, wickedly eccentric expedition sets out. There's an avaricious but inept wizard, a naïve tourist whose luggage moves on hundreds of dear little legs, dragons who only exist ifyou believe in them, and of course THE EDGE of the planet...

The Discworld series is a continuous history of a world not totally unlike our own, except that it is a flat disc carried on the backs of four elephants astride a giant turtle floating through space, and that it is peopled by, among others, wizards, dwarves, soldiers, thieves, beggars, vampires and witches. Within the history of Discworld, there are many individual stories which can be enjoyed in any order. But reading them in the sequence in which they were written can increase your enjoyment through the accumulation of all the fine detail that contributes to the teeming imaginative complexity of this brilliantly conceived world.

Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames
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Live fast, die young.

Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.

When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It's adventure she wants - and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.

It's time to take a walk on the wyld side.

"Bloody Rose is many things. It is story of inclusion. It is a tale of loyalty, of finding your passion, of playing to your heart’s strengths. It speaks to the successes and pratfalls of persistence, and dances on the fine line that separates bravery and stupidity. But above all, it is a story of family: those who you are borne into, and those who you choose along the way. This is a beautiful, funny, exciting, hopeful, devastating, and wondrous book. It is something to savor, like the best pieces of art. Though with Eames only starting his publishing career, I have a feeling that the best has yet to come."

Knights of the Dead God by James Jakins
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Son of a Liche by J Zachary Pike
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100 Miles and Vampin by C T Phipps
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War God Rising by Tim Marquitz
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Sand is destined for greatness. Or so a pair of two-bit criminals would have him believe. After rescuing him from certain doom, Bess and Kaede embark on a scheme to game the War God Tournament. It’d be easier if Sand wasn’t an alcohol-soaked twit with a disturbing interest in mutton. Pitted against monsters, magic swords, and murderers galore, they soon realize winning the tourney is the least of their worries.

"War God Rising is a light hearted book intended to be enjoyed over a couple of reading sessions, designed to elicit a few laughs at the expense of the genre we all know and love. I know I can't speak for Marquitz himself, but I don't think he is trying to rail against the system with this book, given he writes a lot of heavy books himself, I think he's just trying to provide an alternative to all the darkness that seems to be permeating fantasy at the moment. It is good to have alternatives like this, they provide a measure of catharsis  that allows us to go back into those dark worlds with renewed vigour. For that reason alone, I would recommend this book. That I happen to think the book is hilarious is just an added bonus."

Becoming Superman by J Michael Straczynski
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In this dazzling memoir, the acclaimed writer behind Babylon 5, Sense8, Clint Eastwood’s Changelingand Marvel’s Thor reveals how the power of creativity and imagination enabled him to overcome the horrors of his youth and a dysfunctional family haunted by madness, murder and a terrible secret.

For four decades, J. Michael Straczynski has been one of the most successful writers in Hollywood, one of the few to forge multiple careers in movies, television and comics.  Yet there’s one story he’s never told before: his own.

Joe's early life nearly defies belief. Raised by damaged adults—a con-man grandfather and a manipulative grandmother, a violent, drunken father and a mother who was repeatedly institutionalized—Joe grew up in abject poverty, living in slums and projects when not on the road, crisscrossing the country in his father’s desperate attempts to escape the consequences of his past. 

To survive his abusive environment Joe found refuge in his beloved comics and his dreams, immersing himself in imaginary worlds populated by superheroes whose amazing powers allowed them to overcome any adversity. The deeper he read, the more he came to realize that he, too, had a superpower: the ability to tell stories and make everything come out the way he wanted it. But even as he found success, he could not escape a dark and shocking secret that hung over his family’s past, a violent truth that he uncovered over the course of decades involving mass murder.

Straczynski’s personal history has always been shrouded in mystery. Becoming Superman lays bare the facts of his life: a story of creation and darkness, hope and success, a larger-than-life villain and a little boy who became the hero of his own life.  It is also a compelling behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful TV series and movies recognized around the world.

Shadow Forest series by Matt Haig
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Samuel Blink is the hero of this story, but he doesn't know it yet. Right now, he and his sister Martha are in the back of his parents car. He has no idea a giant log is about to fall from the sky and change his life forever. He doesn't know that he and Martha will be forced to move to Norway and eat their Aunt Eda's smelly brown cheese. He hasn't the slightest clue Martha will disappear into Shadow Forest. A forest full of one-eyed trolls, the sinister huldre-folk, deadly Truth Pixies and a witch who steals shadows. A forest ruled by the evil Changemaker. A forest so dangerous that people who enter never return. No. Samuel Blink doesn't know any of this. So don't tell him. It might ruin the book.

"A definite for any child who enjoys being fully immersed in a world of myth and magic." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

Mogworld by Yahtzee Croshaw
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In a world full to bursting with would-be heroes, Jim couldn't be less interested in saving the day. His fireballs fizzle. He's awfully grumpy. Plus, he's been dead for about sixty years. When a renegade necromancer wrenches him from eternal slumber and into a world gone terribly, bizarrely wrong, all Jim wants is to find a way to die properly, once and for all. On his side, he's got a few shambling corpses, an inept thief, and a powerful death wish. But he's up against tough odds: angry mobs of adventurers, a body falling apart at the seams - and a team of programmers racing a deadline to hammer out the last few bugs in their AI.

"I think Mogworld is written exceptionally well. As I mentioned above, stories like this can be very hard to pull off and Croshaw’s experience in the video game industry has been a definite boon while writing this. The humour can be understood by anyone but those who have played MMORPGs, even for a short amount of time, will be able to see where Croshaw pokes fun at the games. It isn’t quite as epic as other novels I have read but how epic can you realistically make a novel about an MMORPG? I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. It is a little bit easier to read than Terry Pratchett but it has a very similar sense of humour and randomness about it that the Discworld novels also possess." Anna Sheldrick, Fantasy Book Review

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Grant Naylor
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When Lister got drunk, he really got drunk! After celebrating his birthday with a Monopoly-board pub crawl around London, he came to in a burger bar on one of Saturns moons, wearing a lady's pink crimplene hat and a pair of yellow fishing waders, with no money and a passport in the name of "Emily Berkenstein".
Joining the Space Corps seemed a good idea. Red Dwarf, a clapped out spaceship, was bound for Earth. It never made it, leaving Lister as the last remaining member of the human race, three million light years from Earth, with only a dead man, a senile computer, and a highly evolved cat for company. They begin their journey home. On the way, they'll break the light barrier. They'll meet Einstein, Archimedes, God, and Norman Wisdom...and discover an alternative plane of reality.

"Novelizations far too frequently read more like film scripts with a little linking narration, with atmosphere, perspective, character background and all the other things which suit a good book as opposed to a good film falling by the wayside. This however is absolutely not true of Rob Grant and Doug Naylor's Red Dwarf novels."

Shadowmagic by John Lenahan
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A Lord of the Rings for the 21st century. Only a lot shorter. And funnier. And completely different. Conor thought he was an average teenager. OK, so his father only had one hand, spoke to him in ancient languages and was a bit on the eccentric side but, other than that, life was fairly normal. Until, that is, two Celtic warriors on horseback and wearing full armour appear at his front door and try to kill him. After that, things get pretty weird.

"It is a condensed tale and everything seems to happen at a frenetic pace. There is always tension built at the end of a chapter and this just rolls over to the next chapter. It took me a few hours to read it and while I enjoyed it a lot I would have liked a little more meat and bones to the whole thing. It felt like reading the Lord of the Rings in sixty seconds. Although being a young adult book this style would work perfectly in that scenario. A young person would pick it up and not be daunted by its size. I am not sure of the author’s intention but to my mind it felt almost a quick parody of the genre and poked gentle fun at fantasy." Allan Fisher, Fantasy Book Review

Spiderface by William Mobberley
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When young Jimbo Mambo books a room with Captain and Mrs Fanshaw in their Northernville lodging house, he is gradually introduced to their bizarre social circle. However, nothing can prepare him for Northernville’s weirdest citizens of all, Miss Susie Grubbings’ tragically, deformed brothers, Spiderface and Otis.

"This book is insane and if surrealism is not your cup of tea then give this a wide berth as you might find it as funny as syphilis. This reviewer, however, found it bizarrely charming, wickedly funny and a very pleasant change from the ordinary. A nice piece of silliness in a world that takes itself far too seriously." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

I Was a Teenage Weredeer by C T Phipps
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Jane Doe is a weredeer, the least-threatening shapechanger species in the world. Blessed with the ability to turn furry at will and psychically read objects, Jane has done her best to live a normal life working as a waitress at the Deerlightful Diner. She has big dreams of escaping life in the supernatural-filled town of Bright Falls, Michigan, and her eighteenth birthday promises the beginning of her teenage dreams coming true.

Unfortunately, her birthday is ruined by the sudden murder of her best friend's sister in an apparent occult killing. Oh, and her brother is the primary suspect. Allying with an eccentric FBI agent, the local crime lord, and a snarky werecrow, Jane has her work cut out for her in turning her big day around.

Thankfully, she's game.

Set in the same world as Straight Outta Fangton.

"This was a great urban fantasy read and would definitely appeal to those who love spotting references to TV shows, books, comics and movies. Also, for readers who appreciate tongue-in-cheek humour and witty banter and are looking for a refreshing change from the usual werewolf shapeshifter stories. "

Fool's Gold by Jon Hollins
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Orconomics by J Zachary Pike
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Straight Outta Fangton by C T Phipps
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Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of Less Valued Knights by Liam Perrin
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May Contain Traces of Magic by Tom Holt
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There are all kinds of products. The good ones. The bad ones. The ones that stay in the garage mouldering for years until your garden gnome makes a home out of them. Most are harmless if handled properly, even if they do contain traces of peanuts. But some are not. Not the ones that contain traces of magic. Chris Popham wasn't paying enough attention when he talked to his SatNav. Sure, she gave him directions, never backtalked him, and always led him to his next spot on the map with perfect accuracy. She was the best thing in his life. So was it really his fault that he didn't start paying attention when she talked to him? In his defence, that was her job. But when 'Take the next right' turned into 'Excuse me,' that was when the real trouble started. Because sometimes a SatNav isn't a SatNav. Sometimes it's an imprisoned soul trapped inside a metal box that will do anything it can to get free. And some products you just can't return.

"I find it’s best not to read too many of Holt’s books too close together because the weirdness can get a bit draining if you’re not paying attention to the plot, but if you’re looking for a clever, laugh-out-loud book with some really strange stuff going on, this is the one for you." Cat Fitzpatrick, Fantasy Book Review

Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt
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The third planet out from the star was blue, with green splodges. Dirt. Oh, the bomb thought. And then its courage, determination and nobility-of-spirit subroutines cut in, overriding everything else, adrenalizing its command functions and bypassing its cyberphrenetic nodes. Here goes, said the bomb to itself. Calibrate navigational pod. Engage primary thrusters. Ready auxiliary drive. It knew, in that moment, that its own doom was near; because it was giving itself orders, and it wasn't putting in any 'the's. That was what you did, apparently, when the moment came. You could also turn on a flashing red beacon and a siren, but mercifully these were optional. Oh #/$+! thought the bomb, and surged on towards Dirt like an avenging angel.

"As I’ve often found with Holt’s work it can be easy to slightly lose track of who everybody is and what they’re supposed to be doing, and at this point the breathless whirlwind of randomness can start to sag a little, though it tends to pick up again towards the end as all of the various threads weave together. Blonde Bombshell however is one of the cleverest of Holt’s books I’ve read and unravelling the crazy idea that he came up with was a complete joy. But then again, I am a dog person." Cat Fitzpatrick, Fantasy Book Review

Here Be Dragons by David Macpherson
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A mid-life crisis, a castle gardener, an unfaithful steed, a dastardly hero, a merciless king, and a dragon that needs saving. With heroes this bad who needs villains... 

When Orus graduated from the Cromalot School for Heroes he was ready for a life of glory and adventure. But after being seduced by his first damsel in distress, he quickly learns the heroing life doesn't bring in the steady income required to raise a family.

Twenty years later, with his son all grown up and his waistband all grown out, a favour for a friend gives Orus one last shot at the life he always wanted. But any old hero can slay a dragon, this old hero has to save one.

Perfect for fans of authors such as Sir Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, Here Be Dragons is an action packed, comic fantasy full of unexpected heroes, dastardly villains, chases, escapes, questionable employment practises, ill-fitting trousers and an ill-tempered donkey (as if there was any other kind).

"Macpherson’s novel is a fun, sometimes zany, fantasy adventure. While comical throughout, it's actually quite powerful as well. It's a book about accepting who you are, and not letting the dream of what you wished life were like overshadow the good in your life. It excels at showing that message through the characters actions, as opposed to their dialog, thus it never comes off as preachy. Take a chance on this one and gift it a read."

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Recommended reads by sub-genre

Select a sub-genre below to see which books we highly recommend.

High fantasy books
High fantasy

Fantasy set in an alternative, fictional world
Epic fantasy books
Epic fantasy

Fantasy with epic characters, themes, and plot
Heroic / Sword and Sorcery fantasy books
Heroic / Sword and Sorcery

Fantasy with heroic adventures
Contemporary / Urban fantasy books
Urban fantasy

Fantasy narrative with an urban setting
Historical fiction / Alternate history books
Historical fantasy / fiction

Historical fiction with fantasy elements
Parallel worlds.
Parallel universe

Fantasy set in parallel worlds
Science fantasy / Speculative fiction books
Science / Speculative

Draws elements from both science fiction and fantasy
Children's fantasy books
Children's Fantasy

Fantasy for ages up to 12
Young adult fantasy books
Young Adult

Fantasy for ages 12+
Adult fantasy books
Adult Fantasy

Fantasy for ages 18+
Dystopian fiction
Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic

Fiction set in dark, nightmarish worlds
Image derived from Mark Lawrence's Emperor of Thorns book cover
Monarchy / Empire

Fantasy books with empires at their core
Gothic fiction books
Gothic Fiction

Fiction with elements of fear, horror, death, gloom and romance
Vampire fiction
Vampire Fiction

Fiction with vampiric characters
Werewolf fiction
Werewolf Fiction

Fiction with werewolf characters
Steampunk books
Steampunk

Fiction with steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology
Dragon fiction
Dragon Fiction

Fiction with the legendary, scaled, fire-breathing creatures
Fantasy books featuring dragons
Wizards / Magicians

Fantasy with wizards, witches, magicians, sorceresses...
Lore, Legend and Mythology
Lore, Legend and Mythology

Inspired by ancient folklore and mythology
Fantasy books featuring dragons
Military Fantasy

Fantasy books focusing on mailtary life
Praetorian cover image
Roman historical fiction

Explore the ancient Roman Empire
An image of Darth Bane, taken from the cover of a Star Wars book
Star Wars

Books exploring the galaxy of the ever-popular franchise
An image taken from the front cover of The Wind in the Willows
Animal fantasy books

Fantasy with sentient animals
An image taken from the front cover of Giant Thief.
The Thief / Assassin

Fantasy books starring the thief or the assassin
An image taken from the front of hush, hush.
Supernatural

Fiction exploring beyond the laws of nature
An image portraying manga art.
Manga

Japanese comic books and graphic novels
House of Small Shadows
Horror

Liked to be scared? These books will do that...
An image portraying comic fantasy.
Comic Fantasy

For the reader who loves to laugh
An image of J. R. R. Tolkien
Inspired by Tolkien

Love Lord of the Rings? Now try these...
The Time Traveller's Almanac
Anthologies

The best science fiction and fantasy anthlogies