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22 Best Grimdark Fantasy Books of All Time

Our goal: Find the best Grimdark Fantasy books according to the internet (not just one random person's opinion).

    Here's what we did:
  1. Type "best grimdark fantasy books" into our search engine and study the top 5+ pages.
  2. Add only the books mentioned 2+ times.
  3. Rank the results neatly for you here! 😊
    (It was a lot of work. But hey! That's why we're here, right?)

(Updated 2023)

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  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 8
  7. 11
  8. 15

    Black Sun Rising

    C.S. Friedman

  9. 18

    Low Town

    A Novel

    Daniel Polansky

  10. 19

    Beyond Redemption

    Michael R. Fletcher

  11. 21


  • What is grimdark fantasy and why is it getting popular?

    Grimdark fantasy is a sub-genre of speculative fiction, often characterized by a dark, dystopian worldview. The grimdark fantasy world is usually marked by war, brutally realistic depictions of violence, and morally grey characters. Its popularity is on the rise due to its unflinching portrayal of the darker side of human nature and an emphasis on realism in a fantasy setting.

  • Can you recommend some brutal grimdark fantasy books for an avid reader of dark fiction?

    Absolutely! For a start, you might want to check out 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series by George R.R. Martin. This series is notorious for its brutal and unpredictable world. Another recommendation would be Joe Abercrombie's 'The First Law' series. You can find a full review of these books on grimdark magazine's website as well as on Publishers Weekly.

  • How can I find out the top grimdark fantasy books to read?

    You can check out lists on websites like Grimdark Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and articles book recommendations on forums or social media platforms. You can also read reviews or join discussions about grimdark fantasy on platforms like Goodreads, which typically have robust review policies.

  • Where can I buy these top grimdark fantasy books?

    You can buy these books from multiple platforms, including Books Barnes, Apple Books, Amazon, or even your local library. Remember, reading a grimdark book is not just a book read, but a deep dive into a dark, brutal, and often complex world.

  • How to keep track of new releases in grimdark fantasy?

    Sign up for newsletters from Grimdark Magazine, Publishers Weekly, or other speculative fiction publishers. They will keep you updated on new releases, reviews, and upcoming authors in the grimdark fantasy world.

  • Are there any grimdark fantasy series that have made a significant impact on the fiction world?

    Yes, several grimdark fantasy series have left a lasting imprint on the world of fiction. For instance, 'The Malazan Book of the Fallen' series by Steven Erikson is renowned for its complex world-building and elaborate narrative structure. 'The Poppy War' series by R.F. Kuang is another, featuring a young woman named Rin who ends up at the center of a devastating war in a dark, brutal empire.

  • Is there a list of grimdark fantasy novels that I can add to my library?

    Yes, several lists are available online featuring grimdark fantasy novels. Grimdark Magazine regularly updates its list, and you can also find recommendations on Publishers Weekly. These lists usually include a mix of classic and contemporary grimdark works.

  • I'm new to the world of dark fantasy. Where should I start?

    A good place to start would be with George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series or Joe Abercrombie's 'The First Law' series. These series are often cited as gateway reads into the grimdark genre. 'The Poppy War' series by R.F. Kuang is also a good option. You can find a full review of these series on grimdark magazine's website.

  • Are there any UK-based grimdark fantasy authors that you can recommend?

    Yes, several UK-based authors have made their mark in the grimdark fantasy world. Joe Abercrombie is a notable example, known for his brutal and darkly humorous 'The First Law' series. Another author to look out for is Mark Lawrence, whose 'Book of the Ancestor' series is a brutal exploration of war and religion in a grimdark world.

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