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GAROVORKIN

What are Favorite Dark Fantasy Books and Series?

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1. A Land Fit For Heroes by Richard Morgan - Unapologetically grimdark, set in a very unusually imagined world with snarky protagonists (I love the snark) It has excellent action sequences and a very comfortable pace. 

2. The Prince of Nothing and The Aspect Emperor by R Scott Bakker:[ I have not yet read The Unholy Consult, but will do so very soon. ]

What started off as a fantasy crusades, became a very imaginative and philosophical take on LotR along with lots of extremely original writing. 

I think the storytelling in the Prince of Nothing was better - The Warrior Prophet is stunning, but the scope of the story told in the Aspect Emperor is awe inspiring. Moreover this is a series that actually has almost no likeable protagonists, and its still a pleasure to read. Bakker's magisterial prose is another attraction. 

3. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins - One of the most WTF books I have read. The best I can describe it is grimdark Gaiman on steroids. It continuously shocks and intrigues, and has a very unusual ending. 

4. The Black Company by Glen Cook - Only read the first three books. Once you get past Cook's staccato machine gun prose and tendency to just skip over major events with one sentence allusions, it becomes a supremely engrossing series with one of the more startling character arcs I have come across.. 

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Well, I grew up in a super-controlling evangelical house, and my mother did her damned best to censor everything I read, watched, listened to, etc. Ironically, my first piece of "grimdark" fiction was a biblical fantasy series she gave me called "Left Behind." Which, uh, I'd rather not talk about...

Anyway, when I discovered dark fantasy (real dark fantasy, not the shit mentioned above) it felt like a kind of symbolic rebellion against the way that I was raised. I think i read it for the same reason initially that normal kids listened to rock 'n' roll. After reading for a while I found that the material just spoke to me. It felt like kind of an outlet for what Jungian thinkers would call my shadow-self. And more importantly, morally ambiguous protagonists taught me the lesson that going to a dark place does not make you a bad person. That even when the best parts of yourself get taken away, you can still choose to be good. To be better than the world around you.

The first piece of western-style "dark fantasy" (a term I vastly prefer to "grimdark, btw) was actually a manga called Berserk. To this day it's still one of my favorite bits of fiction out there. After that I discovered GRRM and Robin Hobb, and I before I knew it I was swept up. Before this, my only post-Tolkien exposure to medieval fantasy was that Eragon crap, so these books were a huge eye-opener for me and wound up leading me to a great community that i still enjoy now.

Joe Abercombie and Mark Lawrence both write excellent dark fantasy (though I consider them a tier below Martin and Hobb), and I recently discovered Bakker as well. I'm actually in the process of reading The Unholy Consult now. Opinions on his work are extremely polarized, and once I finish this book I suspect I will have to sit with the material for a bit before making up my mind. But if nothing else, I think the man deserves a hell of a lot more attention than he's gotten.

Edited by Let's Get Kraken

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Poul Anderson: The broken sword

This is more atmospheric (in a somewhat Norse saga-like style) than virtually any fantasy from the last 30 years I read and it is also as dark as most more recent "grimdark".

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The Kane The Mystic Swordsman series by Karl Edward Wagner .  In the character background story ,  Yes this Kane had a brother Abel who he killed  spurred mankind to rebellion against God  and  he was cursed   to immortality The only way he die is by the violence that he  brought into the world .   Kane is antihero/villain,, The world that lives in is not really our  earth , but a nightmare parallel. world with things far worse then Kane..    He w ants to rule  the world  and  he's  amassed vast knowledge in his long life to try and achieve it.   This is dark and terrific series of books ( 5 in all) by a terrific writer . They go in this order.

1.Bloodstone

2.Darkness Weaves 

3. Dark Crusade 

4. Death Angels Shadow 

5.Nightwinds 

 

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On 8/24/2017 at 3:42 AM, Jo498 said:

Poul Anderson: The broken sword

This is more atmospheric (in a somewhat Norse saga-like style) than virtually any fantasy from the last 30 years I read and it is also as dark as most more recent "grimdark".

It's also considered one the very best fantasy novels ever written. 

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The second Apocalypse pretty goes without saying. Bakker definitely gained MY attention and not all of it good. But, he's emerged as one of my favorites.

Berserk qualifies. Love that manga. The only one I'm interested in reading in it's entirety. I wonder if DoroHedoro would qualify as grimdark.

 

 

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The second apocalypse by Scott Bakker, as mentioned a few times above. Mostly because it blends real life issues into the gravy of fantasy, as all good, riveting fiction does to some extent. But this is a particularly thick gravy! And its mention causes some posters to be spontaneously summoned, to boot!

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On 12/25/2017 at 5:37 PM, Callan S. said:

The second apocalypse by Scott Bakker, as mentioned a few times above. Mostly because it blends real life issues into the gravy of fantasy, as all good, riveting fiction does to some extent. But this is a particularly thick gravy! And its mention causes some posters to be spontaneously summoned, to boot!

 

Il have to check him out. 

Edited by GAROVORKIN

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On 8/24/2017 at 3:42 AM, Jo498 said:

Poul Anderson: The broken sword

This is more atmospheric (in a somewhat Norse saga-like style) than virtually any fantasy from the last 30 years I read and it is also as dark as most more recent "grimdark".

 A great book from a great writer.  B)

 

 

 

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M. John Harrison's Viriconium series:  These books are really dark, depressing, and sad at times, but MJH's prose keeps you floating along to the end.  Even on re-reading them I find myself unable to slip away once I start.

Karl Edward Wagner's "Kane" stories/novellas/novels.  These things tend to lead the reader down a path where you are caught up in Kane's schemes and wanting him to succeed until the lid gets blown off and you realize that most of the time, he's the villain. 

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