03. Beyond Redemption
– Michael R Fletcher
Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn’t an axiom, it’s a force of nature. What the masses believe is. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new gods.
Violent and dark, the world is filled with the Geisteskranken–men and women whose delusions manifest, twisting reality. High Priest Konig seeks to create order from chaos. He defines the beliefs of his followers, leading their faith to one end: a young boy, Morgen, must Ascend to become a god. A god they can control.
But there are many who would see this would-be-god in their thrall, including the High Priest’s own Doppels, and a Slaver no one can resist. Three reprobates–The Greatest Swordsman in the World, a murderous Kleptic, and possibly the only sane man left–have their own nefarious plans for the young god.
04. Dark Tower: The Gunslinger:
The Journey Begins
– Stephen King
The Barony of Gilead has fallen to the forces of the evil John Farson, as the Gunslingers are massacred at the Battle of Jericho Hill. But one Gunslinger rises from the ashes: Roland Deschain. As Deschain’s limp body is tossed onto a funeral pyre … he’s not dead yet. Roland escapes; as the last of the Gunslingers, he sets out in search of the mysterious Dark Tower – the one place where he can set the events of his out-of-sync world right. Along the way, Roland will battle the Not-Men, the Slow Mutants, and more as he trails the Man in Black, the sorcerer who holds the key to Roland’s finding the Dark Tower.
– Susanna Clarke
From the New York Times bestselling author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, an intoxicating, hypnotic new novel set in a dreamlike alternative reality.
Piranesi’s house is no ordinary building: its rooms are infinite, its corridors endless, its walls are lined with thousands upon thousands of statues, each one different from all the others. Within the labyrinth of halls, an ocean is imprisoned; waves thunder up staircases, rooms are flooded in an instant. But Piranesi is not afraid; he understands the tides as he understands the pattern of the labyrinth itself. He lives to explore the house.
There is one other person in the house―a man called The Other, who visits Piranesi twice a week and asks for help with research into A Great and Secret Knowledge. But as Piranesi explores, evidence emerges of another person, and a terrible truth begins to unravel, revealing a world beyond the one Piranesi has always known.
For readers of Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane and fans of Madeline Miller’s Circe, Piranesi introduces an astonishing new world, an infinite labyrinth, full of startling images and surreal beauty, haunted by the tides and the clouds.
06. The Year of the Witching
– Alexis Henderson
A young woman living in a rigid, puritanical society discovers dark powers within herself in this stunning, feminist fantasy debut.
In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is the law, Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy. Her mother’s union with an outsider of a different race cast her once-proud family into disgrace, so Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol, and lead a life of submission, devotion, and absolute conformity, like all the other women in the settlement.
But a mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood surrounding Bethel, where the first prophet once chased and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still lurking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the journal of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.
Fascinated by the secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realizes the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And she starts to understand that if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her.
07. The Name of the Wind
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
– Seanan McGuire
Meet Roger. Skilled with words, languages come easily to him. He instinctively understands how the world works through the power of the story.
Meet Dodger, his twin. Numbers are her world, her obsession, her everything. All she understands, she does so through the power of math.
Roger and Dodger aren’t exactly human, though they don’t realize it. They aren’t exactly gods, either. Not entirely. Not yet.
Meet Reed, skilled in the alchemical arts like his progenitor before him. Reed created Dodger and her brother. He’s not their father. Not quite. But he has a plan: to raise the twins to the highest power, to ascend with them and claim their authority as his own.
Godhood is attainable. Pray it isn’t attained.
09. The Library at Mount Char
– Scott Hawkins
Carloyn knows she’s a little bit…odd. But she figures that’s only natural when she’s spent her life locked away in an infinite Library, forced to study at the feet of the man who might be God. She’s seen her share of terrible things in those years, even died a few times herself.
Steve tried hard to be an ordinary guy, and he’s been doing a pretty good job at it—until Carolyn shows up in his life with a tempting offer, a pair of red rubber galoshes, and exactly $327,000. Soon, he finds himself swept up in a war waged on a scale he can barely comprehend, as powerful forces battle for control of the Library and the future of the universe itself.
Brilliantly plotted, blackly funny, truly epic in scope—and featuring a cast of characters that includes a tutu-clad psychopath, a malevolent iceberg, and a lion named after an atomic bomb—The Library at Mount Char is the year’s most ambitious and acclaimed fantasy debut and a ride like none you’ve ever been on before.
10. The Poppy War
– R. F Kuang
A brilliantly imaginative talent makes her exciting debut with this epic historical military fantasy, inspired by the bloody history of China’s twentieth-century and filled with treachery and magic, in the tradition of Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings and N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy.
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .
Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.
Best Dark Fantasy Books: No book is complete without a fair share of intrigue and a grim dark fantasy exactly provides you that. A grim dark fantasy is dark and ghastly. It has a grim and a dark tone, which is consistent throughout the book. Here the protagonist is much more than a squeaky clean hero. He is flawed and as morally lost as anyone. Here everything is not pre-determined and the story does not revolve around the cliché hero finding ways to defeat the dark lord and succeeding in it no matter what. A grim dark fantasy takes you by surprise during the most unexpected part of the story. It is a thriller that one cannot resists. Grim dark fantasy books are very appealing and demands complete attention of the reader. They are philosophical and only cater to true lovers of dark fantasy.
– R. A. Salvatore
Displaced in time and unexpectedly reunited with his son Drizzt Do’Urden, Zaknafein has overcome the prejudices ingrained in him as a drow warrior to help his son battle the ambitious Spider Queen and stem the tide of darkness that has been unleashed upon the Forgotten Realms. Though Zaknafein has endured the most difficult battles, survival has come at a terrible cost, and the fight is far from over.
Facing demons and driders, Zaknafein carries the entire weight of Menzoberranzan surrounding Gauntlgym on his shoulders once more. But the chances of survival for him and his old friend and mercenary Jarlaxle look bleak. Trapped in a desperate and seemingly hopeless situation, the legendary warriors must reach deep inside themselves to face the impossible.
While the burdens Zaknafein bears are more than enough for one of Menzoberrazan’s greatest warriors, fate holds further challenges. When circumstances take an unexpected turn, Zaknafein discovers he must not only conquer the darkness but learn to accept the uncontrollable: life itself.
The stakes have never been higher for R. A. Salvatore’s most beloved creations in this final volume of his latest bestselling trilogy begun with Timeless and Boundless. A story of brave heroes filled with dangerous thrills, Relentless also considers eternal questions about morality, purpose, sacrifice, and the definition of harmony. Exciting, imaginative, and thought-provoking, it takes fans on an action-packed ride that will challenge their assumptions and leave them breathless and satisfied.
12. Borrowed Souls
– Chelsea Mueller
Callie Delgado always puts family first, and unfortunately, her brother knows it. She’s emptied her savings, lost work, and spilled countless tears trying to keep him out of trouble, but now he’s in deeper than ever, and his debt is on Callie’s head. She’s given a choice: do some dirty work for the mob, or have her brother returned to her in tiny pieces.
Renting souls is big business for the religious population of Gem City. Those looking to take part in immoral—or even illegal—activity can borrow someone else’s soul, for a price, and sin without consequence.
To save her brother, Callie needs a borrowed soul, but she doesn’t have anywhere near the money to pay for it. The slimy Soul Charmer is willing to barter, but accepting his offer will force Callie into a dangerous world of magic she isn’t ready for.
With the help of the guarded but undeniably attractive Derek—whose allegiance to the Charmer wavers as his connection to Callie grows—she’ll have to walk a tight line, avoid pissing off the bad guys, all while struggling to determine what her loyalty to her family’s really worth.
Losing her brother isn’t an option. Losing her soul? Maybe.
13. Nothing but Darkness
– Maria Ann Green
Aidan Sheppard has always resisted his darker urges—only the violent ones, he’d never deny himself anything sexual—until one night when he goes too far. Way too far. It doesn’t matter that it was an accident; it still happened, and he can’t escape it. Now he must choose between what’s expected of him, morality, and what he truly wants depraved release.
But as bloody fantasies flood his mind, Aidan struggles to find control. Desire taking over, he dives deeper into his darker side. His best friend and coworkers remain unaware of the calculating criminal he’s become in the hours between work and drunken escapades.
Aidan analyzes each step necessary to fuel the cruel fire inside him, logic and preparation only two of the many weapons at his disposal. His creativity grows as well until he hits a dangerous snag that threatens to expose him and obliterate everything he’s built.
Paranoia and stress chip away at his confidence, but he must stay in control long enough to cover his tracks, or he risks his freedom, as well as his life. He’s becoming more comfortable in the dark than you are in the light. If you like psychological thrillers with deliciously dark twists and the main character you love to hate (but still want to see make it to the end), Nothing but Darkness might be your next favorite book.
It’ll keep you reading just one more page until you reach the end. It appeals to lovers of true crime, crime fiction, mystery and suspense, stories with serial killers and murder and mayhem, dark romance elements, fans of American Psycho, Dexter, Gillian Flynn, Ruth Ware, Tana French, J.A. Konrath, and the Timothy Blake Series by Jack Heath. *Content Warning: graphic violence, sexual content, and language*
14. The Dark Tower
– Stephen King
Creating “true narrative magic” (The Washington Post) at every revelatory turn, Stephen King surpasses all expectations in the stunning final volume of his seven-part epic masterwork. Entwining stories and worlds from a vast and complex canvas, here is the conclusion readers have long awaited—breathtakingly imaginative, boldly visionary, and wholly entertaining.
Roland Deschain and his ka-tet have journeyed together and apart, scattered far and wide across multilayered worlds of wheres and whens. The destinies of Roland, Susannah, Jake, Father Callahan, Oy, and Eddie are bound in the Dark Tower itself, which now pulls them ever closer to their own endings and beginnings…and into a maelstrom of emotion, violence, and discovery.
15. The Trouble with Peace
– Joe Abercrombie
– Neil Gaiman
Published in 1997, Neil Gaiman’s darkly hypnotic first novel, Neverwhere, heralded the arrival of a major talent and became a touchstone of urban fantasy.
It is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he discovers a girl bleeding on the sidewalk. He stops to help her—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed.
Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth. Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.
17. The Vagrant
– Peter Newman
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other.
Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach.
Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.
As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.
His purpose is to reach the Shining City, the last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war.
What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defenses of a once-great civilization are crumbling into dust.
But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place
18. Chronicles of the Black Company
– Glen Cook
Darkness wars with darkness as the hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must. They bury their doubts with their dead.
Then comes the prophecy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more…
This omnibus edition comprises The Black Company, Shadows Linger, and The White Rose―the first three novels in Glen Cook’s bestselling fantasy series.
19. Kings of Heaven
– Richard Nell
20. A Deadly Education
– Naomi Novik
Lesson One of the Scholomance: Learning has never been this deadly.
A Deadly Education is set at Scholomance, a school for the magically gifted where failure means certain death (for real) — until one girl, El, begins to unlock its many secrets.
There are no teachers, no holidays, and no friendships, save strategic ones. Survival is more important than any letter grade, for the school won’t allow its students to leave until they graduate… or die! The rules are deceptively simple: Don’t walk the halls alone. And beware of the monsters who lurk everywhere.
El is uniquely prepared for the school’s dangers. She may be without allies, but she possesses a dark power strong enough to level mountains and wipe out millions. It would be easy enough for El to defeat the monsters that prowl the school. The problem? Her powerful dark magic might also kill all the other students.
Best Dark Fantasy Books: We know that Dark fantasy books are full of gruesome battles and will often catch you off guard with their extreme violence and plot twists. However, if you think that a dark fantasy book just revolves around violence and super natural horrors then you’re not completely right. There are some books that are engrossed in tragedy but are very intellectual and philosophical. These stories have become worthy not only as an entertainment but also as deeply contemplative and philosophical pieces. These stories are an absolute pleasure to read. After reading these books you’ll often find questioning yourselves about things that are morally correct. They tend to give you a wakeup call.
21. Kingdom of the Wicked
– Kerri Maniscalco
– Tracy Deonn
Filled with mystery and an intriguingly rich magic system, Tracy Deonn’s YA contemporary fantasy Legendborn offers the dark allure of City of Bones with a modern-day twist on a classic legend and a lot of Southern Black Girl Magic.
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC-Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies.
A secret society of so-called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.
And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveals themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
23. Black Sun
– Rebecca Roanhorse
A god will return, When the earth and sky converge, Under the black sun
In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.
Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.
Crafted with unforgettable characters, Rebecca Roanhorse has created an epic adventure exploring the decadence of power amidst the weight of history and the struggle of individuals swimming against the confines of society and their broken pasts in the most original series debut of the decade.
– Marjorie M. Liu
There’s no turning back from the long-dreaded war between the Federation and Arcanics – a massive human army gathers, ready to destroy the frontier city of Ravenna and enslave its inhabitants. Maika must decide whether to finally embrace her destructive power in the hopes that it can protect her friends – but what will be the consequences of no longer fighting her hunger? Will the repercussions be too much to bear?
25. Miserere: An Autumn Tale
– T. Frohock
Exiled exorcist Lucian Negru deserted his lover in Hell in exchange for saving his sister Catarina’s soul, but Catarina doesn’t want salvation. She wants Lucian to help her fulfill her dark covenant with the Fallen Angels by using his power to open the Hell Gates. Catarina intends to lead the Fallen’s hordes out of Hell and into the parallel dimension of World, Heaven’s frontline of defense between Earth and Hell.
When Lucian refuses to help his sister, she imprisons and cripples him, but Lucian learns that Rachael, the lover he betrayed and abandoned in Hell, is dying from demonic possession. Determined to rescue Rachael from the demon he unleashed on her soul, Lucian flees his sister, but Catarina’s wrath isn’t so easy to escape!
Skyhorse Publishing, under our Night Shade and Talos imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of titles for readers interested in science fiction (space opera, time travel, hard SF, alien invasion, near-future dystopia), fantasy (grimdark, sword and sorcery, contemporary urban fantasy, steampunk, alternative history), and horror (zombies, vampires, and the occult and supernatural), and much more.
While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller, a national bestseller, or a Hugo or Nebula award-winner, we are committed to publishing quality books from a diverse group of authors.
– Garth Nix
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories.
As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.
– Neil Gaiman
“Coraline discovered the door a little while after they moved into the house….”
When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own (only better), things seem marvelous.
But there’s another mother there and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go.
Coraline will have to fight with all her wit and courage if she is to save herself and return to her ordinary life.
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is a can’t-miss classic that enthralls readers age 8 to 12 but also adults who enjoy a perfect smart spooky read.
28. The Ballad of Black Tom
– Victor LaValle
People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.
Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their cops. But when he delivers an occult tome to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.
A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?
29. Elric of Melniboné
– Michael Moorcock
Gollancz is very proud to present the author’s definitive editions of the saga of Elric, the last emperor of Melniboné. Michael Moorcock and his long-time friend and bibliographer John Davey have collaborated to produce the most consistent and coherent narrative from the disparate novels, novellas, short stories, and non-fiction about Elric. From his early life in Melniboné all the way through to his final days, these seven volumes will be the definitive telling of the albino prince’s story.
Elric is one of the great creations of modern fantasy and has inspired legions of imitators. If you know his story already, then this definitive edition will finally let you read the entire saga in the author’s preferred order. If you’ve never experienced the chronicles of the albino with the soul-sucking sword, then this is the perfect place to start.
30. The Red Tree
– Caitlin R. Kiernan
Sarah Crowe left Atlanta—and the remnants of a tumultuous relationship—to live in an old house in rural Rhode Island. Within its walls, she discovers an unfinished manuscript written by the house’s former tenant—an anthropologist obsessed with the ancient oak growing on a desolate corner of the property.
Tied to local legends of supernatural magic, as well as documented accidents and murders, the gnarled tree takes root in Sarah’s imagination, prompting her to write her own account of its unsavory history.
And as the oak continues to possess her dreams and nearly almost all her waking thoughts, Sarah risks her health and her sanity to unearth a revelation planted centuries ago…
In conclusion, dark fantasy is a unique genre that knows how to keep reader’s adrenaline level high. On the other hand, dark fiction books are not for everyone. You either like it or you don’t. But if you are in the first group, you can never tell how many books are too much books for a dedicated Dark Fantasy enthusiast, as one can never get enough of the thrills and the baffling storylines of a dark fantasy story. As I stated before, this genre keeps your adrenaline levels high, you might just become a so called adrenaline junkie. A good dark fantasy book needs to have all the right elements such as an unpredictable plot, ghastly scenes and great character development. Not just this but it needs to have a mix of walking corpses and monsters , crowns and swords, magic and ghosts, in short all the drama. What makes the dark fantasy all the more fun is tense scene and exquisitely written tragedy. If you haven’t given this genre a try, you have to give it a chance. You just might get hooked. You’ll be left mesmerized by the intricate details with which the writers develop these stories. So, are you ready to get addicted to dark fantasy? The above list of ‘ Best Dark Fantasy Books’ is carefully chosen for you. Feel free to share, like and comment on the section right at the end and say what you think of our list. If you have anything to add or remove and feel strongly about it, let us know as we update all our lists routinely. Happy Reading!