8 Brutal Grimdark Fantasy Books - The Fantasy Review

8 Brutal Grimdark Fantasy Books

Here is our list of 8 Brutal Grimdark Fantasy Books! 

This article is sponsored by John Palladino, the author of The Trials of Ashmount.

Grimdark fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy that is characterized by its dark and violent themes. It often features morally ambiguous characters, a bleak and brutal world, and graphic depictions of violence and gore. If you’re a fan of this gritty and intense genre, then here are eight brutal grimdark fantasy books that you won’t want to miss.

The Trials of Ashmount by John Palladino

brutal grimdark fantasy books

If you look at any of the reviews for The Trials of Ashmount by John Palladino you will see the words “brutal” and “grimdark”. Often compared to The First Law books by Joe Abercrombie, the cast of characters are distinct and have strong motivations.  

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Cedain is destined to collapse.

Across a world rife with blood, betrayal, and brutality, five people wade through unexpected tragedies.

An egotistical student, a fleeing refugee, a nomadic warrior, a fallen noble, and a criminal in hiding navigate the sinister dealings of politicians, two sudden wars, and nefarious lies that surface at Ashmount—a university dedicated to teaching the five branches of magic.

Survival means adapting or dying.

Buy The Trials of Ashmount!

The Black Company by Glen Cook

brutal grimdark fantasy books

This series follows a mercenary company as they fight in a brutal and unending war.

Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

This epic series features a vast and complex world filled with powerful magic, brutal battles, and morally ambiguous characters. The scope and scale of the series are truly epic.

The Prince of Nothing Trilogy by R. Scott Bakker

This series is a dark and philosophical exploration of war, religion, and the human condition. The violence is graphic, and the characters are complex and morally ambiguous.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

This is the first book in the First Law trilogy and introduces readers to a brutal and unforgiving world. 

The Acts of Caine by Matthew Stover

This series features a protagonist who is a professional assassin in a brutal and unforgiving world.

The Grim Company by Luke Scull

brutal grimdark fantasy books

This series follows a group of unlikely heroes as they battle against a powerful and evil sorcerer.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

brutal grimdark fantasy books

This book is a brutal and unflinching exploration of war and its consequences.

In conclusion, these eight brutal grimdark fantasy books offer readers a dark and intense experience filled with graphic violence, complex characters, and bleak and unforgiving worlds. If you’re a fan of this gritty and realistic sub-genre of fantasy, then these books are a must-read.

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