Best grimdark fantasy books

Fantasy Book Review presents a collection of its most recommended grimdark novels. Grimdark is a genre fantasy fiction characterized by disturbing, violent, or bleak subject matter and a dystopian setting.

Lord Foul\'s Bane

1. Lord Foul's Bane by Stephen Donaldson
Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever: Book 1
Score: 116
Our rating: 9.5 | 21 positive reader reviews

The Way of Shadows

2. The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks
The Night Angel Trilogy: Book 1
Score: 113
Our rating: 8.7 | 26 positive reader reviews

Half a King

3. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Shattered Sea #1
Score: 102
Our rating: 9.7 | 5 positive reader reviews

The Black Company

4. The Black Company by Glen Cook
Chronicles of the Black Company: Books of the North, Book 1
Score: 101
Our rating: 9.0 | 11 positive reader reviews

The Wheel of Osheim

5. The Wheel of Osheim by Mark Lawrence
Red Queen's War #3
Score: 100
Our rating: 9.9 | 1 positive reader reviews

Half the World

6. Half the World by Joe Abercrombie
Shattered Sea #2
Score: 99
Our rating: 9.8 | 1 positive reader reviews

King of Thorns

7. King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Broken Empire: Book 2
Score: 98
Our rating: 9.7 | 1 positive reader reviews

Emperor of Thorns

8. Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Broken Empire: Book 3
Score: 98
Our rating: 9.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

Red Sister

9. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
Book of the Ancestor #1
Score: 98
Our rating: 9.5 | 3 positive reader reviews

The Blade Itself

10. The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
The First Law: Book 1
Score: 97
Our rating: 8.5 | 12 positive reader reviews

Prince of Thorns

11. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Broken Empire: Book 1
Score: 97
Our rating: 9.0 | 7 positive reader reviews

The Republic of Thieves

12. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: Book 3
Score: 95
Our rating: 9.3 | 2 positive reader reviews

The Liar\'s Key

13. The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence
Red Queen's War #2
Score: 95
Our rating: 9.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

Before They Are Hanged

14. Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
The First Law: Book 2
Score: 94
Our rating: 8.9 | 5 positive reader reviews

Acacia

15. Acacia by David Anthony Durham
War with the Mein: Book 1
Score: 94
Our rating: 9.3 | 1 positive reader reviews

The Other Lands

16. The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham
War with the Mein: Book 2
Score: 94
Our rating: 9.4 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Black Prism

17. The Black Prism by Brent Weeks
The Lightbringer Trilogy: Book 1
Score: 94
Our rating: 9.0 | 4 positive reader reviews

Prince of Fools

18. Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
Red Queen's War #1
Score: 94
Our rating: 9.4 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Blinding Knife

19. The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
The Lightbringer Trilogy: Book 2
Score: 93
Our rating: 9.1 | 2 positive reader reviews

The Sacred Band

20. The Sacred Band by David Anthony Durham
War with the Mein: Book 3
Score: 92
Our rating: 9.2 | 0 positive reader reviews

Blood Song

21. Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
Raven's Shadow #1
Score: 92
Our rating: 9.0 | 2 positive reader reviews

Blackwing

22. Blackwing by Ed McDonald
The Raven’s Mark #1
Score: 92
Our rating: 9.1 | 1 positive reader reviews

Last Argument Of Kings

23. Last Argument Of Kings by Joe Abercrombie
The First Law: Book 3
Score: 91
Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

The Grey Bastards

24. The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French
The Lot Lands #1
Score: 91
Our rating: 9.0 | 1 positive reader reviews

Shattered Dreams

25. Shattered Dreams by Ulff Lehmann
Light in the Dark #1
Score: 91
Our rating: 9.1 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Lies of Locke Lamora

26. The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: Book 1
Score: 90
Our rating: 8.3 | 7 positive reader reviews

Tomorrow the Killing

27. Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky
Low Town: Book 2
Score: 90
Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Fell Sword

28. The Fell Sword by Miles Cameron
The Traitor Son Cycle #2
Score: 90
Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Autumn Republic

29. The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
The Powder Mage Trilogy #3
Score: 90
Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

Beyond Redemption

30. Beyond Redemption by Michael R Fletcher
Manifest Delusions #1
Score: 90
Our rating: 9.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Court of Broken Knives

31. The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark
Empires of Dust #1
Score: 89
Our rating: 8.9 | 0 positive reader reviews

Scourge of the Betrayer

32. Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards
Score: 88
Our rating: 8.8 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Darkness That Comes Before

33. The Darkness That Comes Before by R Scott Bakker
Prince of Nothing: Book 1
Score: 86
Our rating: 8.5 | 1 positive reader reviews

The Warrior Prophet

34. The Warrior Prophet by R Scott Bakker
Prince of Nothing: Book 2
Score: 86
Our rating: 8.5 | 1 positive reader reviews

Heroes Die

35. Heroes Die by Matthew Woodring Stover
The Acts of Caine: Book 1
Score: 85
Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

A Crown for Cold Silver

36. A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall
Score: 85
Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Red Knight

37. The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
The Traitor Son Cycle #1
Score: 85
Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Incorruptibles

38. The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs
Score: 85
Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

Where Loyalties Lie

39. Where Loyalties Lie by Rob J Hayes
The Best Laid Plans #1
Score: 85
Our rating: 8.5 | 0 positive reader reviews

Straight Razor Cure

40. Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky
Low Town: Book 1
Score: 83
Our rating: 8.3 | 0 positive reader reviews

Promise of Blood

41. Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
The Powder Mage Trilogy #1
Score: 83
Our rating: 8.3 | 0 positive reader reviews

Half a War

42. Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
Shattered Sea #3
Score: 82
Our rating: 8.2 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Thousand Scars

43. The Thousand Scars by Michael R Baker
Counterbalance #1
Score: 82
Our rating: 8.2 | 0 positive reader reviews

Red Seas Under Red Skies

44. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence: Book 2
Score: 80
Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Grim Company

45. The Grim Company by Luke Scull
Score: 80
Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Crimson Campaign

46. The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
The Powder Mage Trilogy #2
Score: 80
Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Last Mortal Bond

47. The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley
Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne #3
Score: 80
Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

Jade City

48. Jade City by Fonda Lee
The Green Bone Saga #1
Score: 80
Our rating: 8.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

A Ritual of Bone

49. A Ritual of Bone by Lee C Conley
Score: 77
Our rating: 7.7 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Providence of Fire

50. The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne #2
Score: 70
Our rating: 7.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Dread Wyrm

51. The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron
The Traitor Son Cycle #3
Score: 70
Our rating: 7.0 | 0 positive reader reviews

Black Sun Rising

52. Black Sun Rising by Celia Friedman
Coldfire Trilogy #1
Score: 67
Our rating: 6.7 | 0 positive reader reviews

The Emperor\'s Blades

53. The Emperor's Blades by Brian Staveley
Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne #1
Score: 63
Our rating: 6.0 | 3 positive reader reviews