A list of gritty, dark, and depressing fantasy books so good that you need to read them.
Grimdark Fantasy is kind of a subgenre of Dark Fantasy that again is a subgenre of Fantasy. All Grimdark Fanatasy books are Dark Fantasy, but not all Dark Fantasy is Grimdark. As you probably understood, this list focuses on Grimdark fantasy, and not grimdark books in other genres.
It is a setting where everything has gone wrong for your heroes, and lots more will go wrong. The hero is not guaranteed to succeed, the bad guy might win. And the hero can be so evil that you might not want him to win. The word hero, might not be a correct description for the main character sometimes.
It is a world full of injustice, intolerance, and barbaric acts. The characters, what they do, and what happens to them, are often more realistic than typical fantasy. Bad things happen, and characters are not always good, not even the heroes. But sometimes the Grimdark stories tend to go unrealistically too far to the other side.
- Blood Song
- The Blade Itself
- A Game of Thrones
- Prince of Thorns
- The Way of Shadows
- The Black Company
- The Poppy War
- Lord Foul's Bane
- Black Sun Rising
If you have something to say about this list then don't forget to leave a comment.
Vaelin Al Sorna was only a ten-year-old child when his father left him at the gate of the Sixth Order.
The Sixth Order wields the sword of justice and smites the enemies of the Faith and the Realm. There are seven orders of faith in total, all with their own special field of responsibility.
Vaelin will be trained and hardened to have a chance to survive the dangerous life of a warrior of the Faith. He has no family save the Order, his brothers in arms.
Vaelin Al Sorna is destined for a future he has yet to comprehend. A future that will alter not only the Realm but the world.
Is Blood Song good?
Blood Song is the first book in the Raven's Shadow series.
I know many people love this book, I liked to, but I fell out for a while. There was something that made me lose attention at the end of the first book and the beginning of the second.
However, I liked it enough to keep reading the books when they come.
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The Blade Itself
Murderous conspiracies, old scores ready to be settled, unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters. This is what you will get in The Blade Itself.
In this story, we follow some interesting characters. The infamous barbarian Logen Ninefingers, Captain Jezal dan Luthar, Inquisitor Glokta, and he wizard Bayaz.
Jezal is a nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness. He has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle.
Glokta, a cripple turned torturer, loves cutting treason out of the Union, one confession at a time.
Bayaz is an old man with a terrible temper. He could be the First of the Magi or he could be a spectacular fraud.
Whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glotka a whole lot more difficult.
Is The Blade Itself good?
The Blade Itself is the first book in The First Law series.
This book, especially Glokta with his biting and interesting internal monologues, is among the better fantasy books.
You will have a blast reading this.
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A Game of Thrones
A Song of Ice and Fire is set in a medieval-like fantasy world. A world where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime.
The characters in this epic story are struggling amid plots and counterplots, tragedy and betrayal, victory and terror, in the only game that matters, the game of thrones.
In the game of thrones, you either win or you die, there is no middle ground.
Is A Game of Thrones good?
This is an excellent book series.
It is sadly not finished jet. It will probably take decades before it is finished unless the author gets his finger out of his ass.
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Prince of Thorns
When he was nine, he watched as his mother and brother were killed before him. At thirteen, he led a band of bloodthirsty thugs. By fifteen, he intends to be king…
Is Prince of Thorns good?
Prince of Thorns is a great book, and Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath is a great anti-hero.
This is a must-read, as long as you are OK with anti-heroes as protagonists.
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The Way of Shadows
Azoth started as a guild rat living in the slum. To survive this brutal life he learned to judge people quickly and to take calculated risks.
Risks like selling his soul to the devil,Durzo Blint, the most accomplished assassin there is. Azoth did this in order to protect his friends Jaral and Doll-girl.
To be accepted by Durzo Blint, Azoth had to turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name.
Now known as Kylar Stern, Azoth must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics.
Is The Way of Shadows good?
The Way of Shadows is the first book in the Night Angel Trilogy. Its an excellent series.
The hours just fly by as we live the life of Kylar Stern.
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The Black Company
Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself.
The hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead.
Until the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her.
Is The Black Company good?
I have only read the first book, and that is many years ago. I remember liking it, but I was no in a reading mood back then, however, I plan to take this series up again.
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The Poppy War
Rin aced the Empire-wide test to find candidates to learn at the Academies. At first, she thought that her miserable circumstances would turn for the better as she was accepted to Sinegard, the most elite military school in Nikan. But being a dark-skinned peasant girl is not easy in Sinegard, a place where mostly rich people got in.
When Rind discovers that she has a strong aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism, she finally believes she might actually survive this school.
A Third Poppy War is closing in, and Rin's power might be the only way to save her people. As she learns about her power, she also learns that Gods exist, and the one that has chosen her is a vengeful good that might cost her her humanity.
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Lord Foul's Bane
Thomas Covenant had been very sick, but now he is in a new place and feels better than ever before. His sickens made him an outcast where he was before, but now his new power makes people regard him as a reincarnation of Berek Halfhand, the land's greatest hero.
White Gold is his new power called, and it can supposedly protect the lords of the land from an ancient evil called Lord Foul. If Thomas Covenant only can figure out how to use it.
Warning. This book contains some dark and graphic themes. And as the title say, the main character is an unbeliever, he believes that he is dreaming and not in a real-world, and he does not act like the hero he is regarded as.
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Black Sun Rising
Over a millennium ago Erna was settled by colonists from far-distant Earth. But the seemingly habitable planet was full of unforeseen dangers.
Erna was already inhabited by the Fea, a terrifying natural force with the power to prey upon the human mind itself. They can draw out a person's worst nightmares.
Four people, a pries an adept, a sorcerer, and an apprentice, find themselves drawn together to battle the forces of evil that is lead by the Fea themself.
Blending science fiction and fantasy, the first book of the Coldfire Trilogy tells a dark tale of an alien world where nightmares are made manifest.
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Leave a comment if you think we forgot some Grimdark books on our list, or if you think we added some books that are not in the Grimdark genre.