The Court of Crusty Killings by Michael Ronson

This book is friggin’ hilarious.

When I began reading, I was a little wary.  The first chapter features Captain Space Hardcore and his trusty sidekick Ebenezer Funkworthy in an over-the-top action sequence on some distant planet.  The action was fine, but the relentless tongue-in-cheek wit made me think the author was, frankly, trying much too hard to be funny.

But then it kept going.  The level of absurdity and cleverness and comedy was maintained perfectly through the duration of the novel, and I slowly began to realize that this guy wasn’t trying too hard–he’s actually, legitimately, genuinely that hilarious.

The central plot kicks off when the Queen of the planet Aplubia is assassinated with…wait for it…a crouton.  Apparently Aplubians are incapable of digesting anything with yeast in it, and the internal gaseous buildup caused by a surreptitiously planted salad topping resulted in the gruesome explosion of the reigning monarch.  Space and Funkworthy (think Futurama’s Zapp Brannigan and Kip Kroker, only inexplicably successful in their many quests), as guests in the royal court, set out to solve the mystery of Queen Pompfrompulon’s murder.  Funkworthy’s courage in the face of his own haplessness he infiltrates a revolutionary peasant organization and Space’s bungling attempts to interrogate prominent members of the elite class are equally entertaining.

I struggled a little toward the middle of the story, as the jokes kept coming but the plot seemed to meander on Funkworthy’s end and amount to nothing on Space’s side of things.  It was worth continuing, however, as the final action sequences are intensely exciting and deliciously absurd.  I was worried for a while that Captain Space Hardcore would learn nothing in this adventure, but he manages to find some introspective moments without ruining the fun.

The plot of The Court of Crusty Killings has clearly been carefully planned out.  The characters aren’t exactly riveting, but there’s more depth than you’d expect from a straight-up comedy.  But the humor is incessant and it makes for a very fun read.  I’m seriously jealous of this guy’s joke-to-page ratio.

It seems evident that Captain Space Hardcore is set to appear in a series of subsequent novels, and I, for one, look forward to his next adventure.

Overall, I’d give it a 9 out of 10.

Check it out on!


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