Top Ten Tuesday | Books with non-human narrators

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week you compile a list of ten books which coincide with that week’s theme. You can find everything you need to know about joining in here!

This week’s theme is a freebie, so today I thought I’d talk about books with non-human protagonists – some of these I’ve read, and some are on my TBR!

Now given that I’m a fantasy reader I could have filled this list with so many books narrated by vampires, werewolves and the like, but in this list I wanted to celebrate the protagonists who don’t turn into pretty human forms so we’re allowed to forget that they aren’t actually human.

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Radiance by Grace Draven: Radiance is a romantasy novel which follows two perspectives: we have our human heroine, Ildiko, and her new husband, Brishen, who’s from a fantastical race known as the Kai. I love Brishen, and I love his cousin Anhuset, and if you’re the kind of reader who wants to read about more monster boyfriends then this is a novel you should try.

Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton: Tooth and Claw is very much like an Austen novel—if all the characters were dragons. This one’s been on my TBR for the longest time, so one of these days I should actually read it…

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky: There is a POV human character in this epic sci-fi novel, but it’s a novel that’s also told from the POV of a race of spiders and it’s fascinating. No joke, reading this novel helped me a lot with my arachnophobia; I’m a lot less frightened when I find a spider in my house now.

For He Can Creep by Siobhan Carroll: A novelette this time, rather than a novel, and one that I really, really enjoyed when I read it earlier this year! It also just so happens to be told from the POV of a cat.

Watership Down by Richard Adams: I think it’s a rite of passage in the UK to be emotionally scarred by the 1978 adaptation of this classic book. It’s a book I’m surprised I never read when I was younger considering my love of animal books, but it’s one I’d really like to cross off my TBR.

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Redwall by Brian Jacques: Speaking of animals, I’m even more amazed that this fantasy series starring animals – it basically sounds like the aesthetic of Disney’s Robin Hood in a book – wasn’t part of my childhood. In fact I didn’t even come across this series until I was in my 20s which is a real shame, because baby me would have loved it.

Birth of the Firebringer by Meredith Ann Pierce: I have Sia @ Every Book a Doorway to thank for bringing this book to my attention! I immediately treated myself to a secondhand copy, because in what world do I not want to read a book about a unicorn?

The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood: Did someone say queer orcs? Then you can bet I pre-ordered a copy of this book, which I’ve heard is more sci-fantasy than straight-up fantasy. I’m surprised we don’t see more orcs in fantasy considering how formative Tolkien’s work is, and I’d especially like to see more orcs as POV characters.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl: This was one of my favourite books when I was a little girl – in fact my dad had to read it to me so many times before bed that I think we both knew it off by heart – and I’m still so fond of it.

The Bees by Laline Paull: I picked up a copy of this dystopian novel starring bees several years ago because I was weak for the design of the hardback, but after I enjoyed Children of Time so much I’m wondering if sci-fi about insects might very well be sci-fi that works for me. (I know spiders are technically arachnids, but you get my point.) I’d like to finally cross this one off my TBR this year, too!

What did you talk about this week?

66 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday | Books with non-human narrators

  1. Sammie @ The Bookwyrm's Den says:

    I have such mixed feelings about non-human protagonists, but I’ve read some fabulous books that fit in that category, for sure. I haven’t heard of a lot of these, but they sound great! I read The Unspoken Name, and I never even considered that it would fit this topic, but you’re totally right, orcs aren’t human. Love it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tooshorttooread says:

    I really need to get to Children of Time and I can’t believe you’ve never read the Redwall books. I’ve got a series rereads in my future – want to join? 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Louise @ Monstrumology says:

    This is such a great topic! I haven’t read a lot of books with non-human narrators since I was a kid other than ones with vampires or werewolves, but I have recently been reading the Talon series by Julie Kagawa which features dragons disguised as humans 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jaime says:

    I’ve had Tooth and Claw on my shelf for years as well. I should read it.

    And I love Redwall! But I only read the first book. I should probably read more of that series.

    Great list idea!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. jessicabookworm says:

    Great topic, Jess 😃 I love a non-human protagonist/main character, especially if they are cute and furry like Oy in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. 😊 The only one I have read off your list in Fantastic Mr Fox, but I would also like to read Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton: Austen + Dragons = 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brooke Lorren says:

    I like your list! You don’t see a lot of books with animal narrators. I agree though, werewolves and vampires have a POV a lot like humans. I’d add elves too (since I’m writing a book where the fmc is an elf).

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mareli Thalwitzer says:

    Hi there! We definitely will look into For he can creep. If a cat tells the story, we want to read it! Fantastic Mr Fox and Watership down are wonderful books. I need to read Watership down again.

    Have you every read The art of racing in the rain? I think that might be my favorite book told by a non-human.
    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. iloveheartlandx says:

    Yes, I loved Fantastic Mr Fox when I was younger. Black Beauty was probably my favourite non-human narrated book when I was kid, it remains among the few classic books that I not only tolerated but actually enjoyed.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. proxyfish says:

    What a great list! I love the sound of Tooth and Claw, which I’ve never even heard of, and Children of Time has been on my TBR for ever so long! I even have two copies of it which is a testament to how much I love Tchaikovsky’s writing! I really must get reading… 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. vee_bookish says:

    This is such a creative topic! I grew up on Beatrix Potter’s books (narrowly escaping my British Right Of Passage, Watership Down), but these days I don’t often read books from non-human narrators.

    This week I’m talking about Classic books I want to read and why!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. _tirilu says:

    YES for Fantastic Mr Fox! I love that book. It’s one of my very favourites by Dahl and that’s saying something since Roald Dahl is my favourite author. 😀
    Watership Down is on my TBR as well. I think it has been for quite a while. No idea when I will get around to read it. But I love books with animal protagonists as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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