The Fantasy Review’s list of 5 Dark Fantasy Books That Will Submerge You in a World of Shadows.
The Gunslinger by Stephen King
Let us start off this list with the King of darkness himself, Stephen King. The Gunslinger is the first book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower epic fantasy series. Regarded by its fans to be one of the best epic fantasy series of all time, you are sure to be consumed by the twisted world King brings forth in these books.
You can see in my review of The Gunslinger that I was not the biggest fan of the book, thinking that it seemed to be more of a prologue to the series rather than a full novel by itself. This sentiment is shared among many reviewers, but I can say that I was still captured by King’s writing and setting.
The premise of following the lone gunslinger across the desert as he follows a mysterious, evil figure, takes us into a world of shadows we might never escape from.
You can check out my review of The Gunslinger here.
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
A Song of Ice and Fire is one of my favourite series of all time, despite not being finished, but I still adore the books we have so far and believe it’s a shame that some refuse to begin them just because it could still be a long time until the next book, if never; I don’t think that detracts from how great these books are!
If you want to get lost in a world of shadows then welcome to Westeros! With characters like Littlefinger and Varys, you are never far from individuals who seem to know and see all. This is a world of political backstabbing and endless betrayals that will never cease to surprise you.
I adore this book so much I have a few articles analysing the text, chapter by chapter: check those out here.
Check out my review of A Game of Thrones for a full review.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
The third book, The Burning God, in R.F. Kuang’s The Poppy War trilogy struggled to keep me engaged in the story, but book 1 is great and book 2, The Dragon Republic is one of those middle books that has the rare accomplishments of being better than both the first and last entries in a trilogy.
If you want something dark, grimdark at its most violent and catastrophic, The Poppy War is for you. However, if you are sensitive to certain trigger warnings, I would go check out a few reviews before diving in.
You can read my review of The Poppy War for my full thoughts.
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
After bingeing the Netflix adaptation of The Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman, I had to read the source material. I devoured the The Sandman: The Deluxe Edition Book One which includes everything from the first season of the TV adaptation, and adored it.
The illustrations will suck you into this dark world of shadows, with intriguing mini arcs throughout. Following Dream, we meet Lucifer, Death, Constantine, a demon serial killer, a man who wishes for immortality, and more. This dreamlike escapade will absolutely capture your heart, and everyone should at least give this first deluxe edition a try, even if you don’t usually read graphic novels.
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
If you want to read a book series where the author puts a well-mannered and likeable protagonist through every imaginable physical and psychological harm imaginable, The Farseer trilogy by Robin Hobb is for you.
Fitz is a fantastic character, and as a rare treat we get to read an epic fantasy novel written in first-person. Hobb’s writing is exquisite, enhancing every poignant moment and making us question our existence with every awful obstacle slammed in our protagonist’s way.
For my full thoughts, please read my review of Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb.