and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Top 30 Best Dark Fantasy Books of All Time Review 2021

Top 30 Best Dark Fantasy Books of All Time Review 2020

You’re looking for the Best Dark Fantasy Books? So this article is perfect for you!

What is a dark fantasy book? These tales often feature an anti-hero and cope with ethical ambiguity. A dark magic dream may be from the perceived enemy or villain instead of the squeaky-clean, ideal, and noble protagonist. People and mortals encounter unnatural powers, not as horror, but maybe not gross-out gore, similar to a grim sort of magical. The dark magic dream publication will use the narrative to manifest this protagonist’s internal struggles with depression.

Most importantly, these tales are all atmospheric, with a real moodiness you may feel throughout the webpages, usually representing the protagonist’s mindset. It is no surprise that these novels pull us with feelings. Get started with dim magic dream books with these two great reads.

Top Rated Best Dark Fantasy Novels To Read

Top Rated Best Dark Fantasy Novels To Read

I do not know about others, but as the seasons turn warmer, my reading tastes vary. They become just a bit moodier, a tiny bit darker. I doubt I am the only one, provided how many thrillers and horror books connect must-read lists and TBR piles. However, what if you do not need to get a thriller? Imagine if you are a dedicated dream reader that would like to walk about the other hand? That is where dark dream books arrive.

The definition of a dark dream can be tough to pin down. It is not synonymous with dread, but there could be overlap. Terror writers who write fantasy books often get categorized as a dark dream. For different folks, fantasy books that are a bit grittier, a bit bloodier, and a bit more-dare I say-grimdark-belong into this class, that is why George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Ice occasionally gets that tag. I’m afraid I have to disagree, but I know why readers do so.

Quibbling aside, there are a couple of attributes shared with dark stories. They might have a gloomy and moody tone. They could portray humans grappling with supernatural powers. They might also feature an anti-hero as the primary character; in different words, the villains of common dreams may be protagonists in dim dream books. Like ethical ambiguity on your personalities? The dark fantasy is your subgenre for you.

Here is a list of the best dark fantasy novels that Pennbook recommended reading:

The Citadel Of Fear by Gertrude Barrows

Among the earliest major female writers of science fiction and fantasy, Stevens initially published her job under the pseudonym, Francis Stevens. Credited as the girl who devised a dark dream, this listing could be remiss not to include her! The Citadel of Fear tells the story of two adventurers who stumble upon a hidden Aztec town. Regrettably, among those guys enables a black god to reunite together with him to culture.

First published in 1918, The Citadel of Fear is an extreme case of the pulpy fashions that dominated the science fiction and fantasy styles at the moment.

Elric of Melnibone by Michael Moorcock

Moorcock’s drug-dependent albino sorcerer, Elric of Melnibone, has turned into among the most recognizable anti-heroes in a dream. The last emperor of a declining empire, Elric grapples with outside dangers, family members that desire his throne, and a sort of existential malaise. And that is not even touching on that his soul-stealing sword Stormbringer will necessarily bring unhappiness to all he holds dear.

Daughter Of The Blood by Anne Bishop

Speaking of figures generally anticipated to play antagonistic functions, Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels series introduces viewers into a shadowy world in which the balance of power between women and men is thrown askew. A select chosen few urgently expect the one person who can eventually set things right. That seems reasonable, till you find that your heroes are called Saetan, Lucivar, and Daemon. This is one of the best dark fantasy series for reading!

Black Sun Rising by CS Friedman

A mix of science fiction and fantasy, the initial volume of Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy introduces us to a world imbued with natural powers that attract an individual’s worst nightmares. As with other dark fantasy novels, the highlight of Black Sun Rising isn’t the book’s warrior protagonist Damien Vryce. However, his awkward ally, the vampiric Gerald Tarrant, fights a centuries-old internal battle between living up to his humanity or relegated to evil.

The Red Tree by Caitlin R.Kiernan

You cannot fail using a Caitlin Kiernan book for those who want fantasy that’s virtually indistinguishable from dread. If you enjoy ghost stories, should you prefer New England terror a la H.P. Lovecraft-minus the negative connotations which Lovecraft’s works continue -and if you prefer the romance within narrative structures reminiscent of House of Leaves, this one’s for you.

Miserere by Teresa Frohock

Conflict over opening the gates of Hell? It seems more like a horror book. However, when you take that recognizable conflict and place it in a secondary dream world, it will become a dark dream story. Miserere has all of the best sections of dream -betrayal, redemption, and trust -blended with supernatural elements that will make any horror lover jump with glee-exorcists, demons, and ghosts.

Shadow And Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Before Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo burst on the literary scene with Shadow and Bone, about a soldier called Alina. She finds her mystical powers capable of forcing the monsters that threaten her nation. These forces attract the eye of a secure magic-user called the Darkling, and from that point, Alina plunges into a world of betrayal and intrigue.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

The grass is always greener on the other side, so we believe it. Coraline finds otherwise when she strikes a threshold to locate a home and household very similar to her own. Never think that kids’ books can not be dark and frightening. Coraline’s other mom and other daddy would be the embodiment of creepiness.

While I did wish to collect a listing of dark fantasy books, I could not help myself and included a few graphic book choices as a bonus! Tons of intriguing dark fantasy stories have been told in that average time, so give them a try if you would like something fresh.

Black Butler by Yana Toboso

Ciel Phantomhive’s household has served the British monarch for centuries because of their “hound.” Doing their dirty work. However, a catastrophe occurred in Ciel’s youth, leaving him that the family’s the only survivor and jumped to some cop who chooses the kind of an ideal butler called Sebastian. The pun of Sebastian being “one hell of a butler” (or even “a butler from hell”) is missing in translation. However, the ethical ambiguity of Toboso’s characters is not.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

There is a motive Liu and Takeda’s Monstress are an award-winning show. Matriarchal societies, a willful mash-up of European and Asian mythologies, dark magic, and not-so-dead religions, permeate this dark dream collection. Do not be intimidated by the dense worldbuilding. Take it, look closely at the artwork, and you will be on your way.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

In Three Dark Crowns (2016), after creation, a pair of triplets will compete for the honor of becoming Queen Crowned from the island of Fennbirn. It is over a beauty pageant, however. The expense of losing is passing. At this moment, the sisters Mirabella, Katharine, and Arsinoe are raised with exceptional abilities, such as immunity to poison along with the capacity to control components. After the contest kicks off on their sixteenth birthday, the struggle in the making erupts into something magical.

Into The Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

Really like The Little Mermaid? Mira Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep (2017) assembles on mermaid legends using a dark twist. Inside this horror-fantasy using a queer-bent, an ambitious team of people examines the near-mythical prehistoric creatures from the mystical Mariana Trench, the most profound aspect of the sea. What they do not expect is how deeply they will be pulled, also.

For marine biologist Victoria Stewart, this is a lot more than the usual regular scientific research. She is hoping to locate the sister she dropped in a botched and missing Mariana Trench trip seven decades back -but what she does find threatens the delicate divide between humankind and mermaids.

Practical Magic Alice Hoffman

Among those books that made me fall in love with the dark dream is Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic (1998). In this publication, the Owens sisters have been thought to be murdered: any guy they love is destined to perish. Gillian and Sally grew up thick as thieves, increased by their witchy aunts at a New England city that reluctantly prevented them and hunted their magical potions. But when they develop, they also grow apart, until Gillian reveals requesting Sally’s aid: the deadbeat and abusive husband killed will not go off, literally.

However, Sally’s grieving the loss of her husband. Hoffman’s narrative reinvents the supernatural curse trope, Which Makes It feel psychological with high-stakes magic.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

From The Golden Compass (1995), Philip Pullman opens the His Dark Materials series, a dark dream if ever there was one. This show follows Lyra, a teenaged woman who’s led into the North to rescue her friend, Will, by the child-snatching Gobblers. It is bad enough that Lyra’s pal was taken, but shortly Lyra will understand that she is caught in a battle between good and also the center of evil. If she fails, then you will find significant consequences.

Pullman’s show is suspended in doctrine, faith, and moral integrity, using vision to explore these notions in a world not too different from our own.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

In Vicious (2008), this twisty dark dream from V.E. Schwab investigates the bitter contest that develops between Victor and Eli. Both boys were college roommates who bonded over a shared enthusiasm for electricity. As seniors, the frenemies research a tantalizing theory -which under the ideal conditions, anyone can grow abilities. When their thoughts proceed beyond the theoretical, their competition spirals out of control, sending Victor and Eli aside before yanking them back in one another’s paths once again. Schwab’s book and its sequel, Vengeful, investigate the dark side of magic and the bloodthirsty greed it arouses.

Creatures of Want & Ruin by Molly Tanzer

A memorable and consistently surprising dark dream, Molly Tanzer’s Creatures of Want and Ruin is placed in an alternate history version of Prohibition Era-Long Island. Ellie West is a fisher-woman by a bootlegger through the night in her beloved home of Amityville. Ellie understands that her prohibited side-hustle isn’t without its perils, from lawmen and mobsters equally, but she is eager to assist her brother to pay for his schooling.

When Ellie’s despair leads her to market some hooch she gained second-hand to strangers intending a decadent celebration, she gets caught up in a darkened side of rum-running she could have expected. The spirits she offered to give people who drink it horrible, apocalyptic dreams, and powerful spirits that could be traced back into some cult of daredevil-worshippers. Hose energy over the people of Long Island is spreading like wildfire.

The Book of the Damned By Tanith Lee

This selection of three menacing, sensual fantasy stories reveals Tanith Lee’s ability to build immersive, worlds that are unsettling. In one, a writer follows the dangerous path of a guy who has promised her he is destined to expire. In another, a woman from the Middle Ages transforms into her unfathomably muscular male alter-ego from the evening and stalks the streets of Paradys looking for prey. And in “Stained With Crimson,” a poet falls under the thrall of an uncannily beautiful girl who appears to understand his secret, shameful dreams.

Borrowed Souls by Chelsea Mueller

This distinctive urban dream is placed in Gem City- a place where people can borrow another individual’s soul and commit sin with no consequence. Callie Delgado is placed in an impossible position once the mob holds her accountable for her ne’er-do-well brother’s debts. What is a sister to perform? She can either pick up any unethical tasks from your crime underworld or pay to get a closed casket funeral with money she does not have.

Since Callie’s empty pockets will not get her much leasing a soul, she strikes a deal with the local sleazeball, Soul Charmer. But this frees her deeper into danger as she is now smack dab in the center of the darkened universe of magic.

Coffins by Rodman Philbrick

Coffins cultivate thrilling supernatural terror in this pre-Civil War fantasy book, which tells of a dreadful series of tragedies that plagues the infamously abolitionist Coffin family. It began with the inexplicable death of a baby. Soon after, the family dropped twin boys at a mysterious shipyard collision. As patriarch Money Coffin locks himself away in madness, his eldest son-dwarf Jebediah-turns to his buddy Davis Bentwood.

Can Davis accept that there’s more about the misfortunes of this Coffins than coincidence? Will the dark, otherworldly horrors awaiting the Underground Railroad stop claiming more resides? Vividly descriptive and incorporating a faux “true story” storyline, Philbrick’s book is a bone-chilling stroll through one of the strangest sections of American history.

The Way of the Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Shadows’ way follows young orphan Azoth’s route to becoming the deadliest assassin the planet has ever seen. Set into a medieval-style world with kings, queens, guilds, apprentices, not to mention magical, this book is the first in a trilogy and contains all the components of a fantastic anti-hero’s journey. There is gender, political intrigue, violence, and a love story woven into the mixture. Queue up them in your Kindle and tear through the entire lot in a vacation break.

Just do not start if you do not have a lot of time to spare since you will neglect your job, friends, spouse, and children in favor of diving into the narrative.

Bound by Alan Baxter

Bound is a significant wildcard on this list. Being a brand new (ish) name from Australian dark fiction maestro Alan Baxter, it will not be around as many radars as the books above. It’s been called “Lee Child’s Jack Reacher using a spellbook”, which does the novel justice, but partially sells it briefly. For me, the main character Alex Caine is much more interesting than Jack Reacher. He’s got the same rough exterior, but there is a lot more charm and comedy together with some extraordinary magical prowess to boot.

This publication barrels together a-mile-a-minute and certainly will leave you panting for air after you eventually come up, in the end, a fantastic read from an extraordinary gift in this genre.

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

Prince of Thorns, the very first of this Broken Empire trilogy, is as dim as drowning in an ink factory. The world is gradually being consumed by hordes of ravenous undead, headed from the “Dead King”, and our “hero”, Jorg, gallivants around causing much more destruction and distress.

While the medieval-style planet is in the grips of a zombie apocalypse of types, the protagonist is the most magnificent creature of all, which explains precisely why this book couldn’t be considered terror. Jorg is among the greatest protagonists in dreams. Ever. Prince of Thorns is a delightfully gruesome reaction to the shining, epic fantasy of the eighties and nineties, and seeing Jorg rip his way through this sad universe is, paradoxically, exceptionally enjoyable.

Jorg’s a complete bastard, but he understands it, and his ironic humor and perverted sense of justice draw you into intruding together with him if you want it or not. The characterization throughout the trilogy is top-notch, and Lawrence’s writing is equally as fantastic as the material is horrific.

Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting, and bloody confrontations. The imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for a while. Nevertheless, Empress Laseen’s rule remains absolute, enforced by her fear of Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his group of Bridgeburners, also for Tattersail, living cadre mage of the Second Legion, the wake of the siege of Pale has to happen to be a time to mourn the many dead. However, Darujhistan, the last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, nevertheless holds out. It is to the ancient citadel that Laseen turns her gaze disposition.

But it might seem that the Empire isn’t alone in this fantastic game. Sinister, shadow bound forces are amassing since the gods prepare to perform their hands.

Conceived and composed to a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is an epic fantasy of the maximum order-an an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

The Ballad Of Black Tom by Victor Lavalle

Like most New Yorkers, Charles Thomas “Tommy” Tester must hustle to make ends meet, a sort of magical power in itself. When Tommy provides an occult publication to a witchy girl in Queens, he dislodges supernatural powers, which will change him forever. From The Ballad of Black Tom, LaValle invites viewers to the dark corners of town within this Lovecraft-inspired urban dark fantasy that will have you viewing magic in maintenance holes. Believe UberEats, however, with sorcery.

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

We’ve got millions of stories about superheroes with their noble missions to rescue the planet from bad, but what about a group of fighters whose pursuit for justice is not pure and simple? That is the deliciously dark assumption of Marie Lu’s The Young Elites, first in a YA series, that concentrates on the Young Elites, who have been able to endure the catastrophic blood fever outbreak.

This talented and uncommon team is believed to have special abilities, such as Adelina, whose scars indicate her as a youthful Elite. Enzo Valenciano, a part of this team’s mysterious and exclusive Dagger Society, expects to sponsor Adelina. Meanwhile, Teren Santoro is tasked with tracking down and removing the Young Elites with his king.

Girls Of Paper And Fire by Natasha Ngan

Natasha Ngan’s magical introduction is non-stop action, with personalities, you will ache to see triumph in a brutal world. In Girls Of Paper And Fire, eight women are picked to function Ikehara’s royalty as Paper Ladies. However, every time a ninth woman, Lei, is arranged to train together with the Paper Ladies, a spark of shift takes fire that could radically alter the realm.
Lei’s narrative is layered with psychological complexity and the consequences of injury on magic.

White Is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi

There is a good deal of overlap between the gothic Fiction of dark and literature magic dreams. Helen Oyeyemi’s White is for Witching is an enchanting novel that combines elements of these two sub-genres. On the Dover shore, the Silvers reside in a home full of menacing sounds and twisty halls, attempting to recuperate from a terrible loss. Young Miranda has been increasingly attracted to the home’s past, with its lingering parade of girls residents from centuries ago.

If she disappears, the Silvers will need to finally face the secrets they have suppressed and confront their despair after and for all.

The Lost Sisters by Holly Black

At times the gap between a love story and a horror story is really where the end comes.

Even though Jude fought for electricity from the Court of Elfhame from the barbarous Prince Cardan, her sister Taryn Started to fall in love with all the tricksters, Locke. Half-apology and half-explanation, it ends up that Taryn has some secrets of her own to disclose.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Welcome to the populous city of Sparrow, in which two centuries ago, three sisters had been sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles, and they were buried in the waters surrounding the town.

But for a short time every summer, the sisters reunite, concealing the bodies of three weak-hearted women so they might find their revenge, luring boys to the sanctuary and then pulling them under. Like most locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the destiny of town. However, this year, on the eve of their sisters’ return, a boy called Bo Carter arrives, oblivious of the threat he’s only stumbled into.

Mistrust and is located spread rapidly throughout the northern, rain-soaked roads. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny Stocks and Bo suspect each other of concealing secrets. And death comes fast to people who are unable to resist the call of their sisters.

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most deadly of all of them. Together with the hearts of seventeen princes within her collection, she’s revered throughout the sea. Until a turn of fate compels her to kill one of her very own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they despise most-an an individual. Robbed of her tune, Lira has before the winter solstice to provide Prince Elian’s heart into the Sea Queen or stay a human indefinitely.

The sea is the only place Prince Elian calls for home, although he’s heir to the most powerful kingdom on the planet. Hunting sirens is over the unsavory hobby-it is his calling. If he rescues a drowning girl at sea, she is more than that which she looks for. She promises to help him find the secret to ruining all siren kind for great -But can he trust? And exactly how many deals will probably Elian need to swap to get rid of humanity’s greatest enemy?

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

The First Law trilogy’s persuasive opening book, The Blade Itself, requires a gleefully anti-heroic approach to the genre. Logan Ninefingers is an unfortunate, overzealous barbarian who is one misstep away from passing. Captain Jezal dan Luthar is a self-absorbed card shark whose thoughts are frequently too far away in the battle’s bloodshed. The handicapped Inquisitor Glokta is a hateful torturer, decided to eliminate treason in the marriage. Collectively, they constitute the three protagonists who confront the betrayal of this short-fused magician Bayaz.

New York Times best-selling writer Joe Abercrombie injects humor along with a cutting edge to the shadowy tale of murder conspiracies and grey morality. His richly-compelling characters behave as cynical manuals through courtly intrigue and big-scale threats.

See more: Best Dark Fantasy Games (

Thank you for reading!


Last update on 2021-05-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *