The Grimdarks

Grimdark: An adjective taken from the root words of grim and darkness, both of which are featured in the tagline for Warhammer 40,000: "In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war." It is usually used to describe a setting that would equal poor living conditions and life expectancies for those actually living in it. Source: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...
1

by
3.87 avg rating — 72,357 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
2

by
4.15 avg rating — 121,621 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
3

by
4.45 avg rating — 1,614,657 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
4

by
4.20 avg rating — 44,655 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
5

by
4.26 avg rating — 34,737 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
6

by
4.27 avg rating — 81,550 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
7

by
4.28 avg rating — 85,962 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
8

by
4.54 avg rating — 565,546 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
9

by
4.17 avg rating — 47,898 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
10

by
4.41 avg rating — 658,698 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
11

by
4.27 avg rating — 33,041 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
12

by
4.11 avg rating — 521,384 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
13

by
4.46 avg rating — 57,419 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
14

by
4.32 avg rating — 462,487 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
15

by
4.27 avg rating — 88,158 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
16

by
4.28 avg rating — 26,731 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
17

by
4.30 avg rating — 159,487 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
18

by
4.44 avg rating — 275,227 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
19

by
4.20 avg rating — 19,767 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
20

by
4.06 avg rating — 19,878 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
21

by
3.96 avg rating — 32,102 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
22

by
4.25 avg rating — 44,802 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
23

by
3.73 avg rating — 12,675 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
24

by
3.86 avg rating — 71,177 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
25

by
3.78 avg rating — 15,787 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
26

by
4.09 avg rating — 9,419 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
27

by
3.73 avg rating — 5,550 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
28

by
4.36 avg rating — 198,680 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
29

by
3.98 avg rating — 36,878 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
30

by
4.47 avg rating — 186,835 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
31

by
4.14 avg rating — 27,342 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
32

by
4.39 avg rating — 36,957 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
33

by
4.50 avg rating — 274 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
34

by
4.18 avg rating — 32,902 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
35

by
3.94 avg rating — 6,813 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
36

by
4.04 avg rating — 13,697 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
37

by
4.25 avg rating — 9,251 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
38

by
4.02 avg rating — 1,160 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
39

by
4.22 avg rating — 44,682 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
40

by
3.72 avg rating — 37,584 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
41

by
3.88 avg rating — 1,917 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
42

by
4.42 avg rating — 25,455 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
43

by
3.73 avg rating — 10,938 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
44

by
4.35 avg rating — 26,025 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
45

by
4.24 avg rating — 87,643 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
46

by
4.35 avg rating — 21,553 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
4.16 avg rating — 12,929 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
47

by
4.23 avg rating — 62,861 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
49

by
4.65 avg rating — 248 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
50

by
4.18 avg rating — 13,676 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
51

by
4.06 avg rating — 4,029 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
52

by
4.32 avg rating — 37 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
53

by
4.18 avg rating — 92,542 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
54

by
3.96 avg rating — 6,379 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
55

by
3.65 avg rating — 14,445 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
56

by
4.20 avg rating — 22,211 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
57

by
4.37 avg rating — 22,814 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
58

by
4.09 avg rating — 7,097 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
59

by
3.52 avg rating — 7,004 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
60

by
3.65 avg rating — 3,922 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
61

by
4.05 avg rating — 2,569 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
3.67 avg rating — 1,234 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
62

by
4.05 avg rating — 2,077 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
64

by
3.61 avg rating — 580 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
65

by
4.38 avg rating — 304 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
66

by
4.09 avg rating — 8,184 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
67

by
3.61 avg rating — 3,703 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
68

by
3.78 avg rating — 1,492 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
69

by
4.52 avg rating — 265 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
70

by
4.20 avg rating — 158 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
71

by
4.07 avg rating — 4,249 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
72

by
3.86 avg rating — 8,130 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
73

by
3.79 avg rating — 3,182 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
74

by
3.83 avg rating — 482 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
75

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 11 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
76

by
4.15 avg rating — 866 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
77

by
3.54 avg rating — 2,315 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
78

by
4.34 avg rating — 8,844 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
79

by
4.02 avg rating — 16,901 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
80

by
4.33 avg rating — 21,819 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
81

by
4.04 avg rating — 1,145 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
82

by
3.73 avg rating — 2,512 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
83

by
4.41 avg rating — 5,590 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
84

by
4.12 avg rating — 30,135 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
85

by
4.39 avg rating — 14,291 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
86

by
4.21 avg rating — 5,473 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
87

by
3.72 avg rating — 151 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
88

by
4.28 avg rating — 8,955 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
89

by
4.24 avg rating — 51 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
90

by
4.50 avg rating — 158 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
91

by
3.95 avg rating — 6,332 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
92

by
4.09 avg rating — 12,253 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
93

by
3.96 avg rating — 51 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
94

by
4.33 avg rating — 53,395 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
95

by
4.21 avg rating — 70,070 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
96

by
3.65 avg rating — 4,812 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
97

by
3.81 avg rating — 1,855 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
98

by
4.25 avg rating — 85 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
99

by
4.08 avg rating — 108 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
100

by
really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 5 ratings
Rate this book
Clear rating
flag this list (?)
288 books · 896 voters · list created April 6th, 2013 by Arve Kvaloy (votes) .
370 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


Arve 464 books
6 friends
Richard 112 books
123 friends
Roshan 197 books
2 friends
Luci 1191 books
28 friends
Hrishikesh 739 books
109 friends
Wren1066 457 books
0 friends
Akshay 2042 books
48 friends
Sheilah 417 books
57 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-27 of 27) (27 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] *Soapbox*
Ann Bishop isn't grimdark, its just bad porno.
*/soapbox*


message 2: by Tom (new)

Tom Great to find a list of gritty fantasy that does not include Harry Potter!


message 3: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy Szal The lack of gritty SF disturbs me...


message 4: by Evgeny (new)

Evgeny #101: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone??? Do I need to update my definition of grimdark?


message 5: by Igor (new)

Igor Ljubuncic What? If that's grimdark, what is Paul Kearney?
Satan mod, level 9,000?
Igor


message 6: by Tom (new)

Tom Harry potter grimdark? thank god no kids read them


message 7: by Ellen (new)

Ellen Hiller Love Grimdark but would love to know if there is any grimdark our there that does not feature a war in any shape or form, just for a change.


message 8: by Lee (new)

Lee Mistborn is High Fantasy. There is a difference, I think.


message 9: by Evgeny (new)

Evgeny Ellen wrote: "Love Grimdark but would love to know if there is any grimdark our there that does not feature a war in any shape or form, just for a change."

Red Country by Joe Abercrombie comes to mind.


message 10: by Arve (new)

Arve Kvaloy Jeremy wrote: "The lack of gritty SF disturbs me..."

Try The Gap series by Stephen Donaldsson (mostly known for his fantasy series about Thomas Covenant), thats pretty gritty and dark :)


message 11: by Arve (last edited Mar 01, 2015 12:17PM) (new)

Arve Kvaloy For my own part i like the description of grimdark from the original 40 000 Warhammer Universe: http://www.3t-studios.com/grimdark-a-...

"Grimdark consists of two components.

One, grim. This is the nature of the people of the world. In 40K, most people are desperate for survival. They’re neutral in the same way a squat city in Mumbai is neutral; they will do whatever it takes to survive another day in a raging shithole.
Most of the people in power are either psychotic, sociopathic, megalomaniacal, or greedy beyond sanity. Oftentimes, more than one. The more powerful they are, the more massive their character flaws and the collateral damage of their mistakes. (...)
The Good people are antiheroes at best, where the ends almost justify the means, and the villains are horrific beyond belief.

Dark is how much the world itself sucks, and here it is very much suck. The universe is a cold and uncaring place that is so hostile to life it is insane that it even exists let alone thrives, and it will grind you into oblivion without ever noticing you were there. If you do manage to get the attention fo the world, it will only crush you much harder, slower, and more painfully.

Grimdark settings have small heroes who achieve little, vast villains who are often genuinely unstoppable and who always win in the end, and no matter how hard or how well you fight, the uncaring galaxy will never know your name or record your deeds. The greatest good you can accomplish will be undone in days, and often leave things worse than had you tried to do your worst, and when you do your worst, the consequences are cruel beyond belief and very nearly permanent."


message 12: by Joy (new)

Joy You might consider adding some Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Moon, and Kate Elliott to this list. People tend to forget about the important woman authors of this genre.


[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] Katherine Kurtz was also doing grimdark before it was cool.


message 14: by Arve (new)

Arve Kvaloy Removed Harry Potter suggestions from this list: Harry is in my eyes urban fantasy, with good classic hero's and villains. Even if there are some dark motifs, its better suited in a "dark fantasy" list than here


message 15: by Arve (new)

Arve Kvaloy Removed Horus Rising by Dan Abnett from this list. Warhammer 40k is SF not Fantasy in my opinion.


message 16: by Arve (new)

Arve Kvaloy Joy wrote: "You might consider adding some Robin Hobb, Elizabeth Moon, and Kate Elliott to this list. People tend to forget about the important woman authors of this genre."
Not sure which books you are referring to? Robin Hobb is Classic Epic Fantasy? Kate Elliot (not read much of her) is also in the same genre. Elisabeth Moon have some really great books with loads of grit...but in my opinion more Heroic than Grimdark? Paksenarion is a classic Paladin hero?


message 17: by Arve (new)

Arve Kvaloy [redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.] wrote: "Katherine Kurtz was also doing grimdark before it was cool."

Which books of Kurtz would you reccomend for this list? She's a prolific writer...


message 18: by Joy (new)

Joy Hi Arve,

I think Robin Hobb's Tawny Man series AND Liveship Traders fits in with grimdark. I mean, in Liveship one of the main themes is the unbreakable cycle of childhood sexual abuse. The main characters are all deeply flawed people. Both Tawny Man (and to some extent the rest of the Farseer books) are violent and not at all optimistic. FitzChivalry is kind of a bastard, literally and figuratively. But, it's interesting to figure out where to draw the line between grimdark and dark fantasy. I mean, does the fact that we root for the Starks make Martin less grimdark? That we are happy at Theon Greyjoy's rehabilitation? Some might try to argue that Martin is more like classic epic fantasy, too. Kate Elliott is perhaps less clearly grimdark. Her characters are all very grey and there's a lot of violence, but she's definitely more invested in morality as an author. Also on the argument of Moon...she is a good counterbalance to Abercrombie, whose battle scenes are very individualistic and feature "heroes" while Moon wrote a book that smashed that fantasy convention. You don't get even many grimdarks that bleak, if you remember reading Moon. But, you are the king of this list, so you are free to have it reflect your personal view! Cheers.


message 19: by Arve (new)

Arve Kvaloy Joy wrote: "Hi Arve,

I think Robin Hobb's Tawny Man series AND Liveship Traders fits in with grimdark. I mean, in Liveship one of the main themes is the unbreakable cycle of childhood sexual abuse. The main c..."


Thank you Joy! Your comments are very insightful! I came to realize that my personal understanding of Grimdark mainly revolves around the hero/protagonist in each story. This understanding has evolved from younger years where I enjoyed the writings of Karl E. Wagner very much and his stories about Kane. Kane is not your typical hero, in most of the books the reader’s sympathy would be with the antagonists who are usually “the good guys”. This approach I felt I found new and fresh when I started reading Abercrombie, Lawrence, Hoffman and Morgan. If you look at Moon’s Gird or Paksenarion, I find that they are clearly the “good guys n’ gals” compared to Glockta, Ringil, Jorg or Thomas Cale.

What I realized when reading your comment and thinking about this, was that my view of Grimdark is limited and should include more than just how the hero(s) is portrayed. So Hobb’s Tawny Man/Liveship series should be included for the reasons you mentioned, even if I find the Farseer series more classic epic/heroic fantasy (with Fitz as a coming of age story, not too far removed from Feists Magician).

My main idea with creating this list was to collect books and suggestions that would help find more of the same to read, than to precisely define a sub genre in Fantasy. I don’t think a Goodreader would be disappointed picking up Martin if you enjoy Abercrombie. So hopefully no “King of the Grimdark List” but instead a fellow reader looking to share some suggestions to further reading and picking up more of the same from the community...


message 20: by Joy (new)

Joy Arve wrote: "Joy wrote: "Hi Arve,

I think Robin Hobb's Tawny Man series AND Liveship Traders fits in with grimdark. I mean, in Liveship one of the main themes is the unbreakable cycle of childhood sexual abuse..."


I appreciate your open-minded response! And, it's a cool list. I've already discovered some new things I want to read. Cheers!


message 21: by Avaminn (new)

Avaminn F'nett I'm not sure I'd count Lord Foul's Bane or Locke Lamora as "grimdark." Mistborn maybe counts, I'm not sure.


message 22: by David (new)

David Great list. Pleased to see the great Karl Edward Wagner here :) The Godfather of Grimdark.


message 23: by Arve (new)

Arve Kvaloy Yes Wagner rules! He was the first as i know of (and i love his stories). Dont know if maybe something of Clark Ashton Smith or Ambrose Bierce would qualify, haven't read that much of the classic fantasy canon?


message 24: by Brian A Wimpey (new)

Brian A Wimpey Although Kameron Hurley is mentioned via her Bel Dame Apocrypha novels, her Mirror Empire series is grimmer, darker and much more bloody, and should perhaps be on the list.

I absolutely agree that Harry Potter should not be here - despite its antagonist being wholly evil, the story still has the whiff of the public school around it: Great reads, but not grim-dark! In a sense, if we accept Harry Potter as a grim-dark, we would have to add Lord of the Rings and perhaps even Narnia?

I would like to suggest Soldier Son Trilogy by Robin Hobb. Boy, it there was ever a grim-dark story, it would be this one.

Arve- glad you removed Warhammer!

Thanks very much for your list.


message 25: by Avaminn (new)

Avaminn F'nett What is Nine Princes in Amber doing on here? What is remotely "grimdark" about it?


message 26: by Terrence (last edited Sep 07, 2016 07:47PM) (new)

Terrence Is manga fair game or no?

Akame Ga Kill - Some of the imagery in this series is just super bleak, and (view spoiler). It would not be a good place to live. If I recall, the emperor (view spoiler)

Berserk - It's dark, take my word for it if you hate spoilers: (view spoiler)

The Road - It's the apocalypse. I don't know if this counts under some strict definition of grimdark (if it has to be fantasy?), but this world is a living hell. The food is scarce, you have few friends, many enemies, and the environment in general is a wreck. If you don't starve to death, maybe you can live long enough to see the end of the human race. You wouldn't want to have a child in this world I don't think.


message 27: by Carole-Ann (new)

Carole-Ann I love that there's a Harlequin Romance sitting at #173

and I really never knew that Sandra Field writes Grimdark stuff.

I may now ROFLMAO


back to top