Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. For this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, participants are tasked with listing their top books with animals in the title. This is a rather interesting topic and it has several similarities to other topics that have been featured as part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme before.
I ended up coming up with quite a few good books that had animals in the titles, far too many if I’m going to be honest as it turns out it is quite a common practice to feature some form of animal in a title. To make this list a little more manageable, I decided to exclude any mythical creatures or animals from this list, mainly because I don’t think that was in the spirit of the topic, but also because this book would end up being very similar to my recent list that looked at book covers featuring dragons. When this exclusion still left me with way too-many options, I decided to further limit myself by restricting this list to only one book per author. This ensured that I had reasonable input from several authors who favour animal-themed titles, or who I have a great deal of books from. The resultant list, which still required some cutting, ended up looking pretty good and I think that I ended up covering the top books I have read with animals in the titles. So let us see what made the cut.
Following the genetically enhanced and wolf-like members of the Space Wolves Space Marine chapter, this intriguing Warhammer 40,000 is pretty damn awesome, and the title fits extremely well.
A great entry in Hurwitz’s awesome Orphan X series, Dark Horse was a fantastic book and its animal-themed title had great multiple meanings within the plot.
The Black Hawks by David Wragg
An amazing and captivating fantasy read; The Black Hawks references the titular mercenary group the book follows who get into all manner of trouble in a dark fantasy realm.
An excellent historical murder mystery which features a fighting bear as a potential suspect and lethal murder weapon.
Top Ten List:
Usagi Yojimbo: Volume 5: Lone Goat and Kid by Stan Sakai
Now, realistically I could include any of the Usagi Yojimbo comics on this list, as Usagi is Japanese for rabbit. However, I chose to ignore that and instead the animal in the title I am focusing on can be found in the fifth collected volume, Lone Goat and Kid. A great addition in the Usagi Yojimbo series, this is a pretty epic volume, and I loved the story focussing on the titular Lone Goat and Kid, who are animal parodies of Lone Wolf and Cub. I really like the fun homage contained in this title, which is why I included this volume, rather than the later volumes Fox Hunt and Red Scorpion, which I could have also used.
Dogs of War by Jonathan Maberry
The always amazing Joe Ledger series by Jonathan Maberry has some great titles to it, but the only one I could fit here was the fantastic novel Dogs of War. This was an outstanding read, and while the title, Dogs of War, is a play on the famous saying, it also refers to robotic attack dogs featured within the book. As such, I had to include this here, and this book is an outstanding addition to the series.
Talon of the Silver Hawk by Raymond E. Feist
Legendary fantasy author, Raymond E. Feist has featured a couple of animals into his fantasy titles over the year, such as with King of Foxes, but the one I’m going to focus on in this list is Talon of the Silver Hawk, which was the first Feist novel I ever read. Not only is this an incredible and eye-catching title, but Talon of the Silver Hawk also references the main character, who gains his name early in the novel when he witnesses a hawk on a vision quest. An epic inclusion that has a very special place in my heart.
The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
I’m featuring a few of my favourite authors on this list and that includes the legendary Terry Pratchett who used animal names in a few of his books. I was very tempted to use one of my favourite Discworld books, Hogfather, here, although that is more of a character name rather than a reference to an animal. So instead, I used The Fifth Elephant, which is a fantastic and impressive entry to the series. Elephants are a very important part of the Discworld books, as four of them hold up the titular Discworld while standing on-top of a giant turtle, so The Fifth Elephant is a title that is guaranteed to get reader’s attention. The book itself is a compelling addition to the City Watch sub-series and this entry sees the main characters to travel to a Transylvania-esque land, which has been gifted great riches by the crashing fifth elephant, to solve several murders and resolve political discord. This is an outstanding entry in the series and I’m glad I could feature it on this list.
Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker
An excellent, animal-themed book title I wanted to highlight was Death of the Black Widow by the excellent team of James Patterson and J. D. Barker. The black widow in the title refers to a mysterious, supernatural figure who seduces and kills many people over an extended period. I had an amazing time with this novel, which was one of my favourite books of 2022, and I will admit the cool title was one of the reasons I chose to read Death of the Black Widow.
White Wolf by David Gemmell
One of the more interesting books I wanted to feature on this list was the epic fantasy novel White Wolf by the late, great David Gemmell. I’ve mostly only ever talked about Gemmell’s debut novel, Legend, on this blog, but I also deeply enjoyed one of his later novels, White Wolf. Following a deadly warrior who attempts and fails to leave his life of violence behind, White Wolf is an incredible novel that has so many great moments to it. This was one of the earlier big pieces of fantasy that I read when I was younger, and it has stuck with me for years. I have been meaning to go back and read this series for a while and White Wolf is one of the main reasons for this.
The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde
When it came to books with animals in the titles, I just to include The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde, which is such an awesomely fun book. The Constant Rabbit is a complex novel set in a version of England where anthropomorphic rabbits have emerged and started living with humans. This ended up being a very impressive novel that is simultaneously inventive, hilarious and a brilliant parody of British politics. One of my favourite books of 2020 and a great addition to this list.
Under the Eagle by Simon Scarrow
Out of all the authors I’m featuring on this list, few have as many books with animals in the title than historical fiction author Simon Scarrow. That is because his long-running Eagles of the Empire series, features eagle in the titles of the first seven books (i.e. The Eagle’s Conquest, The Eagle and the Wolves and The Eagle in the Sand), as well as some other animals, like The Blood Crows. I decided to feature the very first book in the series, Under the Eagle, which is a brilliant introduction to a gripping and powerful Roman history series, and which comes highly recommended.
The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Next, we dive into Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series, which had a lot of bird imagery involved with it. While the third book does have an animal in the title with Mockingjay, I decided against featuring it as this was a fictional species. Instead, I decided to feature the prequel novel Collin’s released a couple of years ago with The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which features two separate animals in the title. This was an excellent prequel to the very cool young adult trilogy and I look forward to seeing it turned into a movie later this year.
War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell
The final entry on this list is War of the Wolf by Bernard Cornwell, which served as a great addition to his long running Saxon series. This great book sees the aging protagonist engage in another series of battles against enemies on all fronts. Serving as the beginning of the end of this brilliant series, I have a lot of love for War of the Wolf and it was an outstanding addition to both the Saxon series and this list.
Well, that’s the end of my list. It turns out that I’ve read a good number of books with animals in the title, so this ended up being a great list for me in the end. I am pretty happy with how this turned out and it was fun to figure what to include. Let me know what your favourite books with animals in the titles are in the comments below.