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Best Dark Fantasy Books You've Never Heard Of

These books bring the darker side of fantasy to life.

By Riley Raul ReesePublished 7 years ago 5 min read

Dark fantasy is a genre that's as addictive as it gets. There's something about the dark, morbid, and twisted allure of these books that gets people hooked instantly. This genre is one filled with vampires, dystopian worlds, and high strangeness at every corner.

With the success of the Miss Peregrine stories, books by Clive Barker, and smash hit movies like Coraline, people are increasingly turning their attention to dark fantasy books and searching for the next big hit. If you've run out of interesting dark fantasy to read, this list will help you continue your foray into the hottest fantasy genre on bookstore shelves.

This triad of books focuses in on the life of a girl named Alina Starkov, an orphan who is growing up in a war-torn, blighted country called Ravka that is currently surrounded by the Shadow Fold. While Ravka's regiment was attacked by monsters, a hidden talent she possessed becomes revealed.

As soon as word gets out about her talents, she gets selected to join an elite magical force called the Grisha. Can she handle being a Grisha member? Can the Grisha continue to push back against the Shadow Fold? This beloved trilogy is about to get a movie made of it, so you better read it before it flies off store shelves.

Plague of Angels is the first in John Patrick Kennedy's Descended series, and it has everything that a dark fantasy fan would love to read about. It begins with Nyx, the Queen of Hell, stuck on earth with the Son of God himself. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that he's just as unhappy of the outcome of the battle between God and the Devil as she was!

The Son of God gives Nyx an offer that seems too good to be true. All she has to do in order to get a new paradise on Earth is help him destroy humanity. Nyx then launches a massive attack to destroy God's worshippers, but there may have been more to the deal than Nyx herself knew...

It Live in the Basement begins when you notice that your three cats have gone missing. After your cats disappeared, your girlfriend then went into the basement, never to come out again. Now, police are questioning you... and you're pretty sure there's something in your basement that's the cause of death for all four of your companions.

It sounds campy, but trust us when we say it will draw you in, give you chills, and leave you with an ending that will blow apart any preconceived notion you could have had about this book.

Way before The Witcher became a smash hit video game, it was a series of dark fantasy books that caught on like wildfire throughout Europe. Though the books were originally published in Polish, Americans can now read The Witcher series in English and discover why so many people have fallen in love with the twistedly magical and dark realm of Rivia.

If you loved the video game series and wanted to know more about the inner workings and lore behind the games, then this book series will be an absolute hit. The book series follows Geralt of Rivia, Ciri of Cintra, and other fascinating characters as they deal with one of the most difficult occupations ever.

One thing that many horror fans are sick of seeing are "bloodless vampire" books and movies that depict these paranormal creatures as romantic, moody, and broody. The Light at the End rebels against this modern trend by bringing forth high-grade splatterpunk elements into a crazy, hilarious, and whirlwind vampire tale.

The two reputed creators of 90s splatterpunk camp worked together on a total of six books, and multiple book critics have called The Light at the End their best work together. Expect to laugh, cringe, and hang onto every word they write as you course through this insanely wild read.

In terms of dark fantasy, Geek Love doesn't really fit most of the common elements you'd expect to find. There are no ghosts. There are no witches. There are no vampires, trolls, or other goblins. This book focuses in on a family of circus master, his wife, and the children that they produced by ingesting teratogenic substances.

Among the many members of the Binewski family are the Siamese twins who perform on a piano, the narcissistic cult leader who has flippers for hands and feet, a hunchbacked albino dwarf girl, and the youngest child, who appears normal but has a very unique power - not to mention a slew of pickled punks. With all the strangeness they possess, it's hard not to get sucked into the horrifying insanity that their family gets involved in.

John Shirley's first dark fantasy short story anthology remains one of the best examples of how impressively bizarre dark fantasy can be. Fans of excessively dark humor with a very strong digestive tract will like the meth-crazed trip that is "Just Like Suzie," while those who want something that delivers a raw psychological profile of an abuser might be more interested in "I Want To Get Married, Said The World's Smallest Man."

The stories themselves get weirder and weirder as the book progresses, and most of them involve the drug-addled, dystopian, rock-and-roll nightmare that is John Shirley's rendition of Los Angeles. If you love the idea of urban horror and high strangeness, this is a must-read.

The Pilo Family Circus is one of those books that grabs you by the throat, throws you across a room, and leaves you crawling back for more. The entire premise of the story begins when three bloodthirsty clowns break into a man's house and tell him that he has three days to audition - or he gets killed.

As he fights back from their psychotic murder attempts, they announce he's passed the audition... and he gets transported into a twisted, surreal alternate universe that is literally nothing but a circus run by a mysterious individual known as Mr. Pilo.

The longer he stays, the longer he notices that people in this world are addicted to strange crystal shards, and that things never seem quite right. What's really going on, and more importantly, can he escape?

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About the Creator

Riley Raul Reese

Riley Reese is comic book fanatic who loves anything that has to do with science-fiction, anime, action movies, and Monster Energy drink.

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