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.

The Way of Shadows

1. 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

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

The Black Company

3. 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

4. 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

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

King of Thorns

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

Emperor of Thorns

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

Red Sister

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

The Blade Itself

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

Prince of Thorns

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

The Republic of Thieves

11. 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

12. 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

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

Acacia

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

The Other Lands

15. 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

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

Prince of Fools

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

The Blinding Knife

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

The Sacred Band

19. 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

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

Blackwing

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

Last Argument Of Kings

22. 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

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

Shattered Dreams

24. 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

25. 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

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

The Fell Sword

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

The Autumn Republic

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

Beyond Redemption

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

The Court of Broken Knives

30. 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

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

The Darkness That Comes Before

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

Heroes Die

33. 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

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

The Red Knight

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

The Incorruptibles

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

Where Loyalties Lie

37. 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

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

Promise of Blood

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

Half a War

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

The Thousand Scars

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

Red Seas Under Red Skies

42. 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

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

The Crimson Campaign

44. 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

45. 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

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

A Ritual of Bone

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

The Providence of Fire

48. 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

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

Black Sun Rising

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

The Emperor\'s Blades

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