The best 62 Dark Fantasy books

Get ready to immerse yourself in the thrilling and mystical world of dark fantasy! With this carefully curated book list, we've compiled a collection of captivating tales filled with supernatural creatures, epic battles, and hauntingly beautiful landscapes.
From classic authors like H.P. Lovecraft to modern masters like Neil Gaiman, these books will transport you to realms where darkness and magic collide. If you love to be both terrified and enchanted, then this collection is perfect for you.

The best 62 Dark Fantasy books
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1
Dark Fantasy Books: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula

Bram Stoker

What's Dracula about?

Dracula is a classic Gothic novel that tells the story of Count Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England in order to spread the undead curse. Written by Bram Stoker and published in 1897, the novel is presented as a series of letters, diary entries, and newspaper clippings, creating a sense of realism and suspense. It explores themes of good versus evil, the supernatural, and the fear of the unknown.

Who should read Dracula?

  • Those who enjoy Gothic horror and vampire stories
  • Readers who appreciate rich and detailed storytelling
  • People interested in exploring themes of good vs. evil and the supernatural

2
Dark Fantasy Books: Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski, David French

Sword of Destiny

Andrzej Sapkowski, David French

What's Sword of Destiny about?

Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski is a thrilling fantasy novel that follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter known as a "Witcher." Set in a world filled with magic, creatures, and political intrigue, the book explores the complex relationships between Geralt, his allies, and the people he encounters on his quest for destiny. Blending action, humor, and heartfelt moments, this book is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Who should read Sword of Destiny?

  • Readers who enjoy fantasy and adventure
  • Fans of the Witcher series, games, or TV show
  • Those looking for a complex and morally ambiguous protagonist

3
Dark Fantasy Books: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind

Patrick Rothfuss

What's The Name of the Wind about?

The Name of the Wind is a captivating fantasy novel that follows the life of Kvothe, a legendary figure known for his magical abilities and his journey to uncover the truth behind his family's murder. Written by Patrick Rothfuss, this book takes readers on an epic adventure filled with mystery, music, and extraordinary storytelling.

Who should read The Name of the Wind?

  • Readers who enjoy immersive and richly detailed fantasy worlds
  • Those looking for a captivating and complex protagonist with a mysterious past
  • People who appreciate lyrical and beautifully written storytelling

4
Dark Fantasy Books: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows

Leigh Bardugo

What's Six of Crows about?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a gripping fantasy novel set in the bustling city of Ketterdam. It follows a band of skilled outcasts who embark on a daring heist that could make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. Filled with twists, turns, and complex characters, this book delves into themes of friendship, betrayal, and the power of redemption.

Who should read Six of Crows?

  • Readers who enjoy high-stakes heists and intricate plots
  • Those who appreciate well-developed, morally complex characters
  • Anyone interested in immersive fantasy worlds with rich world-building

5

What's Daughter of Smoke & Bone about?

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor is a captivating fantasy novel that follows the story of Karou, a young woman with a mysterious past. Set in a world where angels and chimaera are at war, the book delves into themes of identity, love, and the consequences of betrayal. With beautiful prose and an imaginative world, it is a must-read for fans of dark fantasy. 

Who should read Daughter of Smoke & Bone?

  • Readers who enjoy fantasy novels with a unique and intricate world-building
  • Those who appreciate well-developed and complex characters
  • People who are drawn to stories with elements of mythology and folklore

6
Dark Fantasy Books: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone

Leigh Bardugo

What's Shadow and Bone about?

Shadow and Bone is the first book in Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse series. It follows the story of a young orphan named Alina Starkov who discovers she has a rare power that could be the key to saving her war-torn country. Filled with magic, adventure, and political intrigue, this book takes readers on an exhilarating journey through a world of darkness and light.

Who should read Shadow and Bone?

  • Readers who enjoy fantasy and magical worlds
  • People looking for a captivating and immersive story
  • Those interested in complex characters and morally ambiguous villains

7
Dark Fantasy Books: Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Written in Red

Anne Bishop

What's Written in Red about?

'Written in Red' by Anne Bishop is a captivating urban fantasy novel set in a world where supernatural creatures, known as the Others, coexist with humans. The story follows Meg Corbyn, a young woman with a dark past, who seeks refuge among the Others. As Meg navigates this unfamiliar and dangerous world, she forms unexpected bonds and unravels a conspiracy that could threaten both humans and Others alike.

Who should read Written in Red?

  • Readers who enjoy urban fantasy and supernatural creatures
  • Fans of strong, independent female protagonists
  • Those interested in exploring themes of prejudice, trust, and finding one's place in the world

8
Dark Fantasy Books: A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin

A Feast for Crows

George R. R. Martin

What's A Feast for Crows about?

A Feast for Crows is the fourth installment in George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, the book continues the gripping tale of power struggles, political intrigue, and the looming threat of an impending war. With its richly developed characters and intricate plot twists, this book is a must-read for fantasy enthusiasts.

Who should read A Feast for Crows?

  • Readers who enjoy complex and intricately crafted fantasy worlds
  • Fans of George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series
  • Those who appreciate morally ambiguous characters and political intrigue

9
Dark Fantasy Books: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Last Wish

Andrzej Sapkowski

What's The Last Wish about?

The Last Wish is a captivating fantasy novel by Andrzej Sapkowski. It follows the story of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter known as a Witcher, as he navigates a world filled with magic, political intrigue, and moral ambiguity. Through a series of interconnected short stories, the book delves into themes of destiny, love, and the consequences of our choices.

Who should read The Last Wish?

  • Readers who enjoy fantasy and adventure
  • Those who are looking for a unique take on traditional folklore and fairy tales
  • People who appreciate complex and morally ambiguous characters

10
Dark Fantasy Books: Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Perdido Street Station

China Miéville

What's Perdido Street Station about?

Perdido Street Station is a captivating novel by China Miéville that takes place in the fantastical city of New Crobuzon. Filled with unique creatures, political intrigue, and dark magic, the story follows a scientist named Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin as he unwittingly unleashes a terrifying force upon the city. It is a rich and immersive tale that delves into themes of power, oppression, and the consequences of tampering with the unknown.

Who should read Perdido Street Station?

  • Readers who enjoy dark, imaginative and complex fantasy worlds
  • Those looking for a thought-provoking exploration of societal issues within the context of a fictional city
  • People who appreciate vivid and detailed world-building in their reading

11
Dark Fantasy Books: The Waste Lands by Stephen King

The Waste Lands

Stephen King

What's The Waste Lands about?

The Waste Lands is a gripping novel by Stephen King that takes readers on a thrilling journey through a post-apocalyptic world. As the third book in the Dark Tower series, it follows Roland Deschain and his companions as they navigate treacherous landscapes and face formidable challenges in their quest to reach the enigmatic Dark Tower. Filled with suspense, action, and rich storytelling, this book is a must-read for fans of dark fantasy.

Who should read The Waste Lands?

  • Readers who enjoy mind-bending, genre-bending storytelling
  • Stephen King fans looking for a blend of fantasy, horror, and science fiction
  • Those with a love for epic quests and intricate world-building

12
Dark Fantasy Books: The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence

The Wheel of Osheim

Mark Lawrence

What's The Wheel of Osheim about?

The Wheel of Osheim is a fantasy novel by Mark Lawrence. It is the third book in the Red Queen's War series and follows the adventures of Prince Jalan Kendeth and his companions as they face powerful enemies and journey to the dark realm of Osheim. Filled with magic, intrigue, and intense battles, the book delves into themes of redemption, friendship, and the consequences of one's actions.

Who should read The Wheel of Osheim?

  • Readers who enjoy epic fantasy with unique world-building and complex characters
  • Fans of dark, gritty, and morally ambiguous storytelling
  • Those who appreciate clever and witty dialogue in their fantasy novels

13
Dark Fantasy Books: A Dance with Dragons by George R. R. Martin

A Dance with Dragons

George R. R. Martin

What's A Dance with Dragons about?

A Dance with Dragons is a fantasy novel by George R. R. Martin. It is the fifth book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series and continues the epic tale of power, politics, and betrayal in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. With multiple storylines and complex characters, the book delves into the ongoing power struggles and the looming threat of the Others beyond the Wall.

Who should read A Dance with Dragons?

  • Game of Thrones fans who want to continue the epic saga
  • Readers who enjoy intricate and multi-layered fantasy worlds
  • People who appreciate complex characters and moral ambiguity

14
Dark Fantasy Books: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods

Neil Gaiman

What's American Gods about?

American Gods is a novel by Neil Gaiman that tells the story of Shadow, a man who is released from prison and soon finds himself caught in a conflict between the old gods of mythology and the new gods of technology and media. As Shadow travels across America with the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, he discovers a world where the power of belief can shape reality. Blending ancient myths with a contemporary narrative, the book explores themes of faith, identity, and the changing nature of worship.

Who should read American Gods?

  • Readers who enjoy exploring the intersection of mythology and modern society
  • Those with an interest in thought-provoking and imaginative fiction
  • Individuals who appreciate complex characters and unconventional storytelling

What's The Mortal Instruments, the Complete Collection about?

The Mortal Instruments is a young adult fantasy series that follows Clary Fray as she discovers a hidden world of demons, angels, and Shadowhunters. Set in modern-day New York, the series delves into themes of love, friendship, and the battle between good and evil. The Complete Collection includes all six books in the main series, providing an immersive and thrilling reading experience.

Who should read The Mortal Instruments, the Complete Collection?

  • Readers who enjoy urban fantasy and supernatural elements
  • Young adult readers looking for strong and diverse characters
  • Those interested in a blend of action, romance, and mythology

16
Dark Fantasy Books: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, Elise Hurst

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Neil Gaiman, Elise Hurst

What's The Ocean at the End of the Lane about?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a captivating novel by Neil Gaiman that delves into the realms of fantasy and memory. It tells the story of a man who returns to his childhood home and recalls a series of extraordinary events that took place when he was seven years old. Filled with magical realism and poignant reflections on childhood, this book is a mesmerizing exploration of the power of imagination and the blurred lines between reality and fantasy.

Who should read The Ocean at the End of the Lane?

  • Readers who enjoy fantasy and magical realism
  • Those looking for a captivating and beautifully written story
  • People who appreciate nuanced and complex characters

17
Dark Fantasy Books: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark

Charlaine Harris

What's Dead Until Dark about?

Dead Until Dark is the first book in the thrilling Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris. Set in a world where vampires have "come out of the coffin" and live among humans, the story follows Sookie, a telepathic waitress, as she gets entangled in a world of supernatural beings, romance, and murder. With its engaging plot and unique take on the supernatural, this book is a must-read for fans of the genre.

Who should read Dead Until Dark?

  • You're a fan of supernatural and paranormal romance
  • You enjoy stories with a blend of mystery, humor, and romance
  • You're looking for an engaging and fast-paced read

18
Dark Fantasy Books: The Black Company by Glen Cook, Andrea Blendl

The Black Company

Glen Cook, Andrea Blendl

What's The Black Company about?

The Black Company is a dark and gritty fantasy novel by Glen Cook. It follows an elite mercenary unit, known as the Black Company, as they navigate through a war-torn land and become embroiled in the machinations of powerful sorcerers. Filled with complex characters and a unique narrative style, this book offers a fresh take on the classic fantasy genre.

Who should read The Black Company?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy worlds
  • Fans of morally ambiguous and complex characters
  • Those looking for a unique and immersive military fantasy experience

19

What's The Lies of Locke Lamora about?

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is a gripping fantasy novel that follows the exploits of a skilled con artist named Locke Lamora. Set in the city of Camorr, the book is filled with intrigue, heists, and political machinations as Locke and his band of thieves navigate a dangerous underworld. With its rich world-building and complex characters, this book is a must-read for fans of fantasy and adventure.

Who should read The Lies of Locke Lamora?

  • Readers who enjoy intricate, character-driven stories
  • Fans of fantasy and heist novels
  • Those who appreciate clever and witty dialogue

20
Dark Fantasy Books: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

The Cruel Prince

Holly Black

What's The Cruel Prince about?

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black is a captivating fantasy novel that follows the story of Jude, a mortal girl who is swept into the treacherous world of the Faerie. Filled with political intrigue, complex characters, and a hint of romance, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Who should read The Cruel Prince?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and enchanting fantasy worlds
  • Those interested in morally complex and cunning characters
  • People who appreciate intricate and unpredictable plot twists

21
Dark Fantasy Books: Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Blood Song

Anthony Ryan

What's Blood Song about?

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan is a gripping tale of war, betrayal, and redemption. It follows the journey of a young boy named Vaelin Al Sorna who is trained to become a deadly warrior. As he grows older, Vaelin uncovers dark secrets and discovers his own mysterious abilities, ultimately leading him to a fateful confrontation that will change the fate of empires.

Who should read Blood Song?

  • Ravenous fantasy readers who enjoy complex, character-driven stories
  • Fans of epic fantasy with rich world-building and intricate political intrigue
  • Readers who appreciate multi-layered narratives and deep exploration of themes such as identity and destiny

22
Dark Fantasy Books: The Dark Tower I by Stephen King

The Dark Tower I

Stephen King

What's The Dark Tower I about?

The Dark Tower I is a gripping blend of fantasy, western, and horror by Stephen King. It follows the journey of Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, as he pursues the mysterious Man in Black across a desolate world. Filled with rich world-building and complex characters, this book sets the stage for an epic series that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Who should read The Dark Tower I?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy and western themes
  • Fans of Stephen King's unique storytelling and complex characters
  • Those looking for a thought-provoking and mysterious journey across different dimensions

23
Dark Fantasy Books: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere

Neil Gaiman

What's Neverwhere about?

Neverwhere is a captivating urban fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. It tells the story of Richard Mayhew, a young man who stumbles into a hidden world beneath the streets of London. Filled with magic, mystery, and unforgettable characters, the book takes readers on a thrilling journey through the dark and enchanting realm of London Below.

Who should read Neverwhere?

  • Readers who enjoy urban fantasy and dark, imaginative worlds
  • Those who appreciate Neil Gaiman's storytelling and unique characters
  • People who want to explore the hidden and magical side of everyday cities

24
Dark Fantasy Books: Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel

Garth Nix

What's Sabriel about?

Sabriel is a captivating fantasy novel by Garth Nix that follows the journey of a young necromancer named Sabriel. Set in a world where the living and the dead coexist, the story is filled with magic, mystery, and a dark force that threatens to unleash chaos. As Sabriel embarks on a quest to find her missing father and save the kingdom, she discovers her own powers and uncovers long-hidden secrets.

Who should read Sabriel?

  • Readers who enjoy fantasy novels with unique world-building and complex magic systems
  • People looking for strong, independent female protagonists who embark on epic adventures
  • Fans of dark and atmospheric storytelling with elements of mystery and suspense

25
Dark Fantasy Books: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The Final Empire

Brandon Sanderson

What's The Final Empire about?

The Final Empire is the first book in the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Set in a world where ash falls from the sky and the immortal Lord Ruler reigns with absolute power, the story follows a group of rebels as they attempt to overthrow the tyrant and bring freedom to the oppressed society. Filled with intricate magic systems, political intrigue, and compelling characters, this epic fantasy novel will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Who should read The Final Empire?

  • Fans of fantasy novels and intricate world-building
  • Readers who enjoy stories of rebellion and overthrowing oppressive regimes
  • Those interested in exploration of magic systems and unique powers

26
Dark Fantasy Books: A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

A Storm of Swords

George R. R. Martin

What's A Storm of Swords about?

A Storm of Swords is the third book in George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. It continues the gripping tale of power struggles, war, and political intrigue in the fictional land of Westeros. With unforeseen plot twists and unforgettable characters, the book keeps readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.

Who should read A Storm of Swords?

  • Readers who enjoy complex and interwoven storylines
  • Fans of epic fantasy and intricate world-building
  • People who appreciate morally ambiguous and multi-dimensional characters

27
Dark Fantasy Books: The Time of Contempt by David French, Andrzej Sapkowski

The Time of Contempt

David French, Andrzej Sapkowski

What's The Time of Contempt about?

The Time of Contempt is actually a fantasy novel written by Andrzej Sapkowski. It is the second book in the Witcher series and follows the story of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter, as he navigates a world filled with political intrigue, war, and magical creatures. The book delves into themes of power, betrayal, and the consequences of choices made in times of turmoil.

Who should read The Time of Contempt?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy with complex characters and intricate plots
  • Fans of the Witcher series by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Those who appreciate thought-provoking themes and social commentary in their fiction

What's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children about?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is a captivating blend of fantasy and reality. Filled with vintage photographs, the book tells the story of a teenage boy who discovers a hidden orphanage with children who possess extraordinary abilities. As he delves deeper into the mystery, he uncovers dark secrets and finds himself on a dangerous journey. This unique and imaginative tale will keep readers enthralled from beginning to end.

Who should read Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children?

  • Readers who enjoy a blend of fantasy and mystery
  • Those who appreciate unique storytelling with the inclusion of vintage photographs
  • People who are intrigued by the concept of peculiar or extraordinary abilities in characters

29
Dark Fantasy Books: Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

Wizard and Glass

Stephen King

What's Wizard and Glass about?

Wizard and Glass is the fourth book in Stephen King's epic series The Dark Tower. It delves into the backstory of protagonist Roland Deschain, exploring his youth and first love, as well as the events that shaped him into the gunslinger he is. Filled with adventure, romance, and dark twists, it brings depth and richness to the overarching tale of the quest for the Dark Tower.

Who should read Wizard and Glass?

  • Readers who enjoy epic fantasy adventures
  • Fans of Stephen King's Dark Tower series
  • Those who appreciate intricate world-building and complex characters

30
Dark Fantasy Books: Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook, Andrea Blendl

Chronicles of the Black Company

Glen Cook, Andrea Blendl

What's Chronicles of the Black Company about?

Chronicles of the Black Company is a gripping dark fantasy series by Glen Cook. It follows an elite mercenary unit, the Black Company, as they navigate through a war-torn world filled with magic, treachery, and ancient beings. With its complex characters and gritty realism, the series offers a unique perspective on the classic battle between good and evil. A must-read for fans of epic fantasy.

Who should read Chronicles of the Black Company?

  • Readers who enjoy dark, gritty, and morally ambiguous fantasy stories
  • Fans of complex and well-developed anti-hero characters
  • Those who appreciate immersive world-building and intricate military fantasy

What's Something Wicked This Way Comes about?

Something Wicked This Way Comes is a dark fantasy novel by Ray Bradbury. Set in a small town, it tells the story of two boys who encounter a mysterious carnival and its sinister leader. As they uncover the carnival's true nature, they must confront their deepest fears and fight against the forces of darkness. Bradbury's poetic prose and gripping storytelling make this a haunting and thought-provoking read.

Who should read Something Wicked This Way Comes?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and atmospheric storytelling
  • Those with a fascination for the supernatural and mysterious
  • People who appreciate thought-provoking themes and vivid imagery in literature

32

What's The Black Company about?

The Black Company is a dark and gritty fantasy novel that follows a mercenary group known as the Black Company as they serve a mysterious sorceress known as the Lady. Set in a world ravaged by war and magic, the story delves into themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the blurred lines between good and evil. With its complex characters and intricate plot, this book is a must-read for fans of epic fantasy.

Who should read The Black Company?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy worlds

  • Fans of morally ambiguous characters and complex relationships

  • Those who appreciate military fantasy and epic battles


What's Chronicles of the Black Company about?

Chronicles of the Black Company is a dark and gritty fantasy series that follows a mercenary group known as the Black Company as they navigate the treacherous world of the northern continent. Written by Glen Cook, the series delves into themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the blurred lines between good and evil. Filled with complex characters and epic battles, it is a must-read for fans of grimdark fantasy.

Who should read Chronicles of the Black Company?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy worlds

  • Fans of morally ambiguous and complex characters

  • Those who appreciate a unique and unconventional narrative style


34
Dark Fantasy Books: Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

Before They Are Hanged

Joe Abercrombie

What's Before They Are Hanged about?

Before They Are Hanged is the second book in Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy. It follows the journeys of a group of flawed and compelling characters as they navigate political intrigue, war, and personal challenges in a dark and gritty fantasy world. With its rich storytelling and complex characters, this book is a must-read for fantasy fans.

Who should read Before They Are Hanged?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy novels
  • Fans of morally ambiguous and complex characters
  • Those who appreciate well-crafted and unpredictable plot twists

35
Dark Fantasy Books: Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

Kushiel's Dart

Jacqueline Carey

What's Kushiel's Dart about?

Set in a richly imagined alternate version of Europe, "Kushiel's Dart" follows the story of Phedre, a young woman chosen by the gods to experience pleasure and pain as one. As she navigates political intrigue, love, and betrayal, Phedre's unique abilities make her a pawn in a dangerous game that could change the course of history. Jacqueline Carey's epic fantasy novel combines lush world-building with complex characters and a gripping plot.

Who should read Kushiel's Dart?

  • Readers who enjoy epic fantasy with intricate world-building and political intrigue
  • Those interested in complex and morally ambiguous characters
  • People who appreciate lush and lyrical prose

36
Dark Fantasy Books: Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski

Sword of Destiny

Andrzej Sapkowski

What's Sword of Destiny about?

Sword of Destiny is a collection of short stories by Andrzej Sapkowski that follows the adventures of Geralt of Rivia, a monster hunter known as a Witcher. Set in a world filled with magic, political intrigue, and fantastical creatures, the book delves into Geralt's complex relationships and the choices he must make in order to fulfill his destiny.

Who should read Sword of Destiny?

  • Readers who enjoy high fantasy and epic adventures

  • Fans of the Witcher video games and Netflix series

  • Those who appreciate complex characters and moral ambiguity


37
Dark Fantasy Books: Shadow's Edge by Brent Weeks

Shadow's Edge

Brent Weeks

What's Shadow's Edge about?

Shadow's Edge is the second book in the thrilling fantasy series The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks. It follows the story of an assassin named Kylar Stern as he navigates a world filled with political intrigue, magic, and dark forces. As Kylar uncovers the truth about his own abilities and the looming threat of war, he must make difficult choices that will determine the fate of the realm.

Who should read Shadow's Edge?

  • Readers who enjoy epic fantasy with intricate world-building and complex characters
  • Fans of dark and gritty storytelling with morally ambiguous protagonists
  • Those interested in exploring themes of power, corruption, and the human condition

38
Dark Fantasy Books: The Wheel of Osheim by MARK LAWRENCE

The Wheel of Osheim

MARK LAWRENCE

What's The Wheel of Osheim about?

The Wheel of Osheim is the third book in the thrilling fantasy series The Red Queen's War by Mark Lawrence. It follows the adventures of Jalan Kendeth and Snorri ver Snagason as they journey through a post-apocalyptic world filled with magic, monsters, and political intrigue. As they race against time to stop the Wheel of Osheim from destroying everything, they must confront their own inner demons and make difficult choices that will determine the fate of the world.

Who should read The Wheel of Osheim?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy with complex characters and intricate world-building

  • Fans of Mark Lawrence's previous works, such as the Broken Empire Trilogy

  • Those interested in exploring themes of redemption, fate, and the nature of power


39
Dark Fantasy Books: Shalador's Lady by Anne Bishop

Shalador's Lady

Anne Bishop

What's Shalador's Lady about?

Shalador's Lady is a fantasy novel by Anne Bishop that delves into a world filled with magic, power struggles, and dark secrets. It follows the story of Cassidy, a powerful queen who must navigate the treacherous political landscape of Shalador to protect her people and find love in unexpected places. With rich world-building and complex characters, this book is a captivating read for fans of epic fantasy.

Who should read Shalador's Lady?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy with a strong emphasis on character development
  • Those who appreciate intricate world-building and richly detailed settings
  • Individuals who are drawn to stories with complex relationships and power dynamics

40
Dark Fantasy Books: The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The Blade Itself

Joe Abercrombie

What's The Blade Itself about?

The Blade Itself is a gripping fantasy novel by Joe Abercrombie. Set in a world of war, political intrigue, and dark magic, it follows the intertwining stories of a barbarian, a disgraced warrior, and a cunning inquisitor. As they navigate treacherous plots and face formidable enemies, they must confront their own inner demons and make difficult choices that will shape the fate of their world.

Who should read The Blade Itself?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy novels with complex characters and political intrigue
  • Fans of morally ambiguous protagonists and anti-heroic storytelling
  • Those who appreciate well-crafted world-building and a blend of action, humor, and philosophical themes

41
Dark Fantasy Books: Weaveworld by Clive Barker

Weaveworld

Clive Barker

What's Weaveworld about?

Weaveworld is a dark fantasy novel by Clive Barker that takes readers on a thrilling journey into a hidden world woven into a magical carpet. Filled with rich and intricate world-building, the book explores themes of power, redemption, and the enduring battle between good and evil. Barker's masterful storytelling will keep you engrossed from beginning to end.

Who should read Weaveworld?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and fantastical stories
  • Individuals looking to escape into a rich and immersive world
  • Fans of Clive Barker’s unique and imaginative storytelling

42
Dark Fantasy Books: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Godsgrave

Jay Kristoff

What's Godsgrave about?

Godsgrave is the captivating sequel to Jay Kristoff's fantasy novel, Nevernight. Set in a world where three suns never truly set, it follows the story of Mia Corvere, a trained assassin seeking revenge for her family's murder. As Mia becomes embroiled in a gladiatorial contest, political intrigue, and the machinations of powerful gods, she must navigate a dangerous game of lies and betrayal to achieve her ultimate goal.

Who should read Godsgrave?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy novels
  • Fans of complex and morally ambiguous characters
  • Those looking for a story with intense action and suspense

43
Dark Fantasy Books: Blood Song by Anthony Rya

Blood Song

Anthony Rya

What's Blood Song about?

Blood Song is actually written by Anthony Ryan, not Anthony Rya. This epic fantasy novel follows the story of a young boy named Vaelin Al Sorna who is trained in the ways of a warrior and becomes embroiled in a world of politics, war, and ancient prophecies. It is a tale of loyalty, betrayal, and the power of a single voice in the midst of chaos.

Who should read Blood Song?

  • Readers who enjoy epic fantasy with complex world-building and rich character development

  • Fans of coming-of-age stories with a focus on personal growth and overcoming challenges

  • Those who appreciate a mix of action, intrigue, and philosophical exploration within a captivating narrative


What's The Child Thief about?

The Child Thief by Brom is a dark and captivating retelling of the Peter Pan story. Set in a gritty and dangerous world, it follows the journey of a troubled boy named Peter who leads a band of orphaned children to a mysterious island. Filled with magic, adventure, and moral ambiguity, this book explores themes of identity, loyalty, and the consequences of our choices.

Who should read The Child Thief?

  • Adult readers who enjoy dark and twisted retellings of classic stories
  • Fans of fantasy and folklore with a penchant for morally ambiguous characters
  • Those who appreciate beautiful and haunting illustrations accompanying a captivating narrative

45
Dark Fantasy Books: The Stealer of Souls by Michael Moorcock

The Stealer of Souls

Michael Moorcock

What's The Stealer of Souls about?

The Stealer of Souls is a fantasy novel by Michael Moorcock that follows the adventures of Elric of Melniboné, a brooding and complex anti-hero. Set in a richly imagined world, the book delves into themes of power, morality, and the consequences of one's choices. With its gripping storytelling and thought-provoking narrative, it is a must-read for fans of dark fantasy.

Who should read The Stealer of Souls?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and complex anti-heroes
  • Fans of epic and immersive fantasy worlds
  • Those interested in exploring themes of fate, morality, and the nature of power

46
Dark Fantasy Books: The Vagrant by Peter Newman

The Vagrant

Peter Newman

What's The Vagrant about?

The Vagrant (2015) is a gripping post-apocalyptic novel set in a desolate world overrun by demons. The story follows a silent protagonist known only as the Vagrant, who embarks on a dangerous journey to deliver a mysterious sword to the last remaining human stronghold. Along the way, he forms unexpected alliances and confronts unimaginable challenges, all while trying to protect a precious infant with unique powers. With its rich world-building and compelling characters, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Who should read The Vagrant?

  • Readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction
  • Fans of dark and atmospheric storytelling
  • Those who appreciate unique and unconventional narratives

47
Dark Fantasy Books: Season of Mists by Neil Gaiman

Season of Mists

Neil Gaiman

What's Season of Mists about?

Season of Mists is a captivating fantasy novel by Neil Gaiman. It tells the story of Dream, the ruler of the Dreaming, who embarks on a journey to right an ancient wrong. Filled with rich mythology and complex characters, the book explores themes of love, sacrifice, and the consequences of our actions. It is a thought-provoking and beautifully written tale that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

Who should read Season of Mists?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and imaginative stories
  • Fans of Neil Gaiman and his unique storytelling style
  • Those interested in exploring mythology and folklore through a modern lens

48
Dark Fantasy Books: The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Time of Contempt

Andrzej Sapkowski

What's The Time of Contempt about?

The Time of Contempt is the second book in Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher series, continuing the adventures of Geralt of Rivia. In this dark fantasy novel, political turmoil and betrayal threaten the stability of the world as sorcerers, kings, and magical creatures clash. As Geralt fights to protect those he cares about, he must navigate a web of deceit and danger to uncover the truth.

Who should read The Time of Contempt?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy and intricate world-building

  • Fans of the Witcher series, whether it's the books, video games, or TV show

  • Those looking for morally complex characters and thought-provoking themes


49

What's The Darkness That Comes Before about?

The Darkness That Comes Before is a gripping fantasy novel that delves into the complexities of power, religion, and destiny. Set in a world on the brink of war, it follows a diverse cast of characters as they navigate political intrigue and ancient prophecies. With rich world-building and thought-provoking themes, this book will captivate fans of epic fantasy.

Who should read The Darkness That Comes Before?

  • Readers who enjoy complex, thought-provoking fantasy worlds
  • Those interested in exploring themes of philosophy, religion, and the nature of reality
  • Fans of epic storytelling and intricate political intrigue

50
Dark Fantasy Books: The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Way of Shadows

Brent Weeks

What's The Way of Shadows about?

The Way of Shadows is a gripping fantasy novel by Brent Weeks that follows the story of Azoth, a young boy living in the slums of Cenaria. Tired of his life of poverty and abuse, Azoth seeks out the city's most notorious assassin, Durzo Blint, in the hopes of becoming his apprentice. As Azoth trains in the deadly arts, he uncovers dark secrets and becomes embroiled in a dangerous power struggle that could change the fate of the entire kingdom.

Who should read The Way of Shadows?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy and intricate world-building
  • Those interested in morally complex characters and their journeys
  • People looking for a combination of action-packed scenes and thought-provoking themes

51
Dark Fantasy Books: Beyond the Shadows by Brent Weeks

Beyond the Shadows

Brent Weeks

What's Beyond the Shadows about?

Beyond the Shadows is the third and final book in the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks. This gripping fantasy novel follows the story of an assassin named Kylar Stern as he navigates a world filled with political intrigue, magic, and dark forces. As Kylar uncovers long-buried secrets and faces powerful enemies, he must ultimately decide where his loyalties lie and what sacrifices he is willing to make.

Who should read Beyond the Shadows?

  • Readers who enjoy dark, action-packed fantasy novels
  • Fans of complex and morally ambiguous characters
  • Those who appreciate intricate world-building and magic systems

52
Dark Fantasy Books: Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson

Memories of Ice

Steven Erikson

What's Memories of Ice about?

Memories of Ice is the third book in Steven Erikson's epic fantasy series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. It delves into a world of war, magic, and ancient beings as various factions and characters converge in a battle for power and survival. With intricate storytelling and rich world-building, this book will immerse you in a complex and captivating fantasy realm.

Who should read Memories of Ice?

  • Readers who enjoy complex and intricate world-building in fantasy novels
  • Those who appreciate morally grey characters and thought-provoking philosophical themes
  • Fans of epic and expansive storytelling with a diverse ensemble cast

53
Dark Fantasy Books: Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence

Prince of Fools

Mark Lawrence

What's Prince of Fools about?

Prince of Fools is a gripping fantasy novel by Mark Lawrence that follows the adventures of Prince Jalan Kendeth. Known for his cowardice and love of luxury, Jalan finds himself unwillingly embroiled in a dangerous quest with the fierce Norse warrior Snorri ver Snagason. As they journey through a world filled with magic, monsters, and political intrigue, Jalan must confront his own shortcomings and find the courage to face the ultimate enemy.

Who should read Prince of Fools?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy with witty and flawed protagonists
  • Those interested in unique and imaginative world-building
  • People looking for a new twist on traditional fantasy tropes

54
Dark Fantasy Books: The Black Prism by Brent Weeks

The Black Prism

Brent Weeks

What's The Black Prism about?

The Black Prism by Brent Weeks is a gripping fantasy novel set in a world where magic is based on the manipulation of light. The story follows the powerful and enigmatic Prism, Gavin Guile, as he navigates political intrigue, family secrets, and a looming war. With its complex characters and intricate plot, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Who should read The Black Prism?

  • Readers who enjoy complex and detailed world-building
  • Fans of epic fantasy with intricate magic systems
  • Those who appreciate morally complex characters and political intrigue

55
Dark Fantasy Books: The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand

Stephen King

What's The Stand about?

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror novel by Stephen King. Set in a world ravaged by a deadly virus, it tells the story of a group of survivors who are drawn into a final stand between the forces of good and evil. With its complex characters and gripping narrative, the book explores themes of societal collapse, redemption, and the battle for the soul of humanity.

Who should read The Stand?

  • Readers who enjoy post-apocalyptic stories
  • Fans of Stephen King’s writing and storytelling
  • Those interested in exploring themes of good vs. evil and the human condition

56
Dark Fantasy Books: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

A Clash of Kings

George R. R. Martin

What's A Clash of Kings about?

A Clash of Kings is the second book in George R. R. Martin's epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. Set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, the book continues the gripping tale of power struggles, political intrigue, and war. As multiple claimants fight for the Iron Throne, alliances are formed and broken, and dark forces begin to stir in the North. With its complex characters and unpredictable plot twists, this book is a must-read for fantasy fans.

Who should read A Clash of Kings?

  • Readers who enjoy epic fantasy with complex characters and political intrigue
  • Fans of the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series or the "Game of Thrones" TV show
  • Those looking for a richly detailed and immersive fictional world

57
Dark Fantasy Books: Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop

Heir to the Shadows

Anne Bishop

What's Heir to the Shadows about?

Heir to the Shadows is the second book in Anne Bishop's thrilling fantasy series, "The Black Jewels Trilogy." It follows the story of Jaenelle Angelline, a powerful witch who must navigate the dangerous political intrigues and dark forces that threaten her world. Filled with magic, mystery, and compelling characters, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Who should read Heir to the Shadows?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy with strong female protagonists
  • Fans of Anne Bishop's Black Jewels series
  • Those interested in exploring complex relationships and power dynamics

58
Dark Fantasy Books: King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

King of Thorns

Mark Lawrence

What's King of Thorns about?

King of Thorns is the second book in the Broken Empire series by Mark Lawrence. It follows the story of Jorg Ancrath, a ruthless and cunning prince who seeks to claim the throne of the Broken Empire. Filled with political intrigue, dark magic, and unexpected twists, this gripping tale delves into the complexities of power and the lengths one will go to in order to secure it.

Who should read King of Thorns?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy with complex characters
  • Fans of morally ambiguous and anti-hero protagonists
  • Those looking for a thought-provoking and unpredictable plot with twists and turns

59
Dark Fantasy Books: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight

Jay Kristoff

What's Nevernight about?

Nevernight is a dark and thrilling fantasy novel set in a world where the sun never truly sets. Written by Jay Kristoff, it follows a young woman named Mia who seeks revenge for her family's murder. Trained as an assassin, she enters a school for assassins where she must navigate deadly politics and uncover dark secrets. With its unique world-building and intense action, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Who should read Nevernight?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and complex fantasy worlds
  • Those who appreciate morally ambiguous and flawed characters
  • Anyone looking for a story that blends elements of magic, mystery, and revenge

60
Dark Fantasy Books: Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings

Joe Abercrombie

What's Last Argument of Kings about?

Last Argument of Kings is the third book in Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy. Set in a gritty, war-torn world, it follows a cast of complex characters as they navigate political intrigue, betrayal, and the ultimate battle for power. With its dark humor and unpredictable plot twists, this book is a gripping conclusion to the epic fantasy series.

Who should read Last Argument of Kings?

  • Readers who enjoy dark and gritty fantasy novels
  • Fans of complex and morally ambiguous characters
  • Those who appreciate intricate world-building and political intrigue

61
Dark Fantasy Books: Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop

What's Daughter of the Blood about?

Daughter of the Blood is a dark fantasy novel by Anne Bishop. Set in a world ruled by powerful and cruel Blood Queens, it follows the story of a young witch who is prophesied to either bring salvation or destruction. Filled with magic, political intrigue, and complex characters, the book delves into themes of power, oppression, and the fight for freedom.

Who should read Daughter of the Blood?

  • Readers who enjoy dark fantasy and intricate world-building
  • Those interested in stories with complex and morally ambiguous characters
  • People who appreciate well-developed and immersive magical systems

62
Dark Fantasy Books: Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

Blood of Elves

Andrzej Sapkowski

What's Blood of Elves about?

Blood of Elves is the first full-length novel in Andrzej Sapkowski's popular Witcher series. Set in a world filled with magic, mythical creatures, and complex political intrigue, the story follows the Witcher Geralt as he becomes entangled in the upbringing of a young princess with extraordinary powers. With its rich world-building and compelling characters, this book is a must-read for fantasy fans.

Who should read Blood of Elves?

  • Readers who enjoy high fantasy and immersive worlds
  • Fans of the Witcher video games or TV series
  • Those looking for complex characters and morally ambiguous storytelling

Related Topics

Dark Fantasy Books
 FAQs 

What's the best Dark Fantasy book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Dracula as the ultimate read on Dark Fantasy.

What are the Top 10 Dark Fantasy books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker
  • Sword of Destiny by Andrzej Sapkowski, David French
  • The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
  • Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
  • Written in Red by Anne Bishop
  • A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin
  • The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Who are the top Dark Fantasy book authors?

When it comes to Dark Fantasy, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Bram Stoker
  • Andrzej Sapkowski, David French
  • Patrick Rothfuss
  • Leigh Bardugo
  • Laini Taylor