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Best-Gritty-Fantasy-Books

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Best Gritty Fantasy Books

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The crowd ranked version of our 'Best Gritty Fantasy Books' list on the main site. This list is ranked by public votes and provides an alternative to the main site's curated list ranking.
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1

The Blade Itself

by Joe Abercrombie

4 avg rating
The first novel in the First Law Trilogy and debut novel from New York Times bestseller, Joe Abercrombie.

Logen Ninefingers, infamous barbarian, has finally run out of luck. Caught in one feud too many, he's on the verge of becoming a dead barbarian -- leaving nothing behind him but bad songs, dead friends, and a lot of happy enemies.

Nobleman, dashing officer, and paragon of selfishness, Captain Jezal dan Luthar has nothing more dangerous in mind than fleecing his friends at cards and dreaming of glory in the fencing circle. But war is brewing, and on the battlefields of the frozen North they fight by altogether bloodier rules.

Inquisitor Glokta, cripple turned torturer, would like nothing better than to see Jezal come home in a box. But then Glokta hates everyone: cutting treason out of the Union one confession at a time leaves little room for friendship. His latest trail of corpses may lead him right to the rotten heart of government, if he can stay alive long enough to follow it.

Enter the wizard, Bayaz. A bald old man with a terrible temper and a pathetic assistant, he could be the First of the Magi, he could be a spectacular fraud, but whatever he is, he's about to make the lives of Logen, Jezal, and Glokta a whole lot more difficult.

Murderous conspiracies rise to the surface, old scores are ready to be settled, and the line between hero and villain is sharp enough to draw blood.

Unpredictable, compelling, wickedly funny, and packed with unforgettable characters, The Blade Itself is noir fantasy with a real cutting edge.



First Law Trilogy
The Blade Itself
Before They Are Hanged
Last Argument of Kings


For more from Joe Abercrombie, check out:

Novels in the First Law world
Best Served Cold
The Heroes
Red Country

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Gardens of the Moon

by Steven Erikson

4 avg rating

The Malazan Empire simmers with discontent, bled dry by interminable warfare, bitter infighting and bloody confrontations. Even the imperial legions, long inured to the bloodshed, yearn for some respite. Yet Empress Laseen's rule remains absolute, enforced by her dread Claw assassins.

For Sergeant Whiskeyjack and his squad of Bridgeburners, and for Tattersail, surviving cadre mage of the Second Legion, the aftermath of the siege of Pale should have been a time to mourn the many dead. But Darujhistan, last of the Free Cities of Genabackis, yet holds out. It is to this ancient citadel that Laseen turns her predatory gaze.

However, it would appear that the Empire is not alone in this great game. Sinister, shadowbound forces are gathering as the gods themselves prepare to play their hand . . .

Conceived and written on a panoramic scale, Gardens of the Moon is epic fantasy of the highest order--an enthralling adventure by an outstanding new voice.

World Fantasy

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The Black Company

by Glen Cook

2 avg rating

Some feel the Lady, newly risen from centuries in thrall, stands between humankind and evil. Some feel she is evil itself. The hard-bitten men of the Black Company take their pay and do what they must, burying their doubts with their dead.

Until the prophesy: The White Rose has been reborn, somewhere, to embody good once more. There must be a way for the Black Company to find her...

So begins one of the greatest fantasy epics of our age?Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company.

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Prince of Thorns

by Mark Lawrence

4 avg rating
BOOK ONE IN THE BROKEN EMPIRE TRILOGY

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The Lies of Locke Lamora

by Scott Lynch

British Fantasy Society
World Fantasy
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Blood Song

by Anthony Ryan

4.5 avg rating

Blood Song is the first book in a fantastic urban fantasy series by bestselling author Cat Adams.

Bodyguard Celia Graves has definitely accepted her share of weird assignments, both human and supernatural. But her newest job takes the cake. Guarding a Prince from terrorists and religious fundamentalists is hard enough, but it seems like the entire supernatural world is after this guy too. When she is betrayed by those she is employed to help, and everything goes horribly wrong, Celia wakes to find herself transformed.

Neither human nor vampire, Celia has become an Abomination?something that should not exist?and now both human and supernatural alike want her dead. With the help of a few loyal friends?a sexy mage, a powerful werewolf, and a psychic cop?Celia does her best to stay alive. On the run from her enemies, Celia must try to discover who is behind her transformation

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Legend

by David Gemmell

4 avg rating
Druss, Captain of the Axe, was the stuff of legends. But even as the stories grew in the telling, Druss himself grew older. He turned his back on his own legend and retreated to a mountain lair to await his old enemy, death. Meanwhile, barbarian hordes were on the march. Nothing could stand in their way. Druss reluctantly agreed to come out of retirement. But could even Druss live up to his own legends?

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The Red Knight

by Miles Cameron

Twenty eight florins a month is a huge price to pay, for a man to stand between you and the Wild.

Twenty eight florins a month is nowhere near enough when a wyvern's jaws snap shut on your helmet in the hot stink of battle, and the beast starts to rip the head from your shoulders. But if standing and fighting is hard, leading a company of men - or worse, a company of mercenaries - against the smart, deadly creatures of the Wild is even harder.

It takes all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it.

The Red Knight has all three, he has youth on his side, and he's determined to turn a profit. So when he hires his company out to protect an Abbess and her nunnery, it's just another job. The abby is rich, the nuns are pretty and the monster preying on them is nothing he can't deal with.

Only it's not just a job. It's going to be a war. . .

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A Game of Thrones / A Clash of Kings / A Storm of Swords / A Feast of Crows / A Dance with Dragons

by George R. R. Martin

For the first time, all five novels in the epic fantasy series that inspired HBO
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The Steel Remains

by Richard K. Morgan

5 avg rating
A dark lord will rise. Such is the prophecy that dogs Ringil Eskiath
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Lord Foul's Bane

by Stephen R. Donaldson

5 avg rating
The first book in one of the most remarkable epic fantasies ever written, the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Unbeliever.
He called himself Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever because he dared not believe in the strange alternate world in which he suddenly found himself. Yet he was tempted to believe, to fight for the Land, to be the reincarnation of its greatest hero....
THE CHRONICLES OF THOMAS COVENANT THE UNBELIEVER
Book One: LORD FOUL'S BANE
Book Two: THE ILLEARTH WAR
Book Three: THE POWER THAT PRESERVES
British Fantasy Society
World Fantasy
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The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

by Stephen King

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba

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Beyond Redemption

by Michael R. Fletcher

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of truth. Common knowledge isn't an axiom, it's a force of nature. What the masses believe
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The Demonata #1: Lord Loss: Book 1 in the Demonata series

by Darren Shan

Grubbs Grady has stiff red hair and is a little big for his age, which means he can get into R-rated movies. He hates history and loves bacon, rats, and playing tricks on his squeamish older sister. When he opts out of a family weekend trip, he never guesses that he is about to take a terrifying journey into darkness. Hungry demons and howling werewolves haunt his waking nightmares... and threaten his life.
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The Warded Man: Book One of The Demon Cycle

by Peter V. Brett

As darkness falls after sunset, the corelings rise
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Heroes Die

by Matthew Woodring Stover

Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, simply the best there is at what he does.

At home on Earth, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions. Yet he is shackled by a rigid caste society, bound to ignore the grim fact that he kills men on a far-off world for the entertainment of his own planet--and bound to keep his rage in check.

But now Michaelson has crossed the line. His estranged wife, Pallas Rill, has mysteriously disappeared in the slums of Ankhana. To save her, he must confront the greatest challenge of his life: a lethal game of cat and mouse with the most treacherous rulers of two worlds . . .

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Half a King

by Joe Abercrombie

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY TIME AND
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The Grim Company

by Luke Scull

1 avg rating
The Gods are dead. The Magelord Salazar and his magically enhanced troops, the Augmentors, crush any dissent they find in the minds of the populace. On the other side of the Broken Sea, the White Lady plots the liberation of Dorminia, with her spymistresses, the Pale Women. Demons and abominations plague the Highlands.

The world is desperately in need of heroes. But what it gets instead are a ragtag band of old warriors, a crippled Halfmage, two orphans and an oddly capable manservant: the Grim Company.
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The Way of Shadows: The Night Angel Trilogy: Book 1

by Brent Weeks

From New York Times bestselling author Brent Weeks...

For Durzo Blint, assassination is an art-and he is the city's most accomplished artist.

For Azoth, survival is precarious. Something you never take for granted. As a guild rat, he's grown up in the slums, and learned to judge people quickly - and to take risks. Risks like apprenticing himself to Durzo Blint.

But to be accepted, Azoth must turn his back on his old life and embrace a new identity and name. As Kylar Stern, he must learn to navigate the assassins' world of dangerous politics and strange magics - and cultivate a flair for death.

Night Angel
The Way of Shadows
Shadow's Edge
Beyond the Shadows

Night Angel: The Complete Trilogy (omnibus)
Perfect Shadow: A Night Angel Novella (e-only)
The Way of Shadows: The Graphic Novel


For more from Brent Weeks, check out:

Lightbringer
The Black Prism
The Blinding Knife
The Broken Eye
The Blood Mirror
ITEMS 1 - 19 of 25

Comment on this list

2 comments
Anonymous | 2018-07-18 01:28:58
The material and aggregation is excellent and telltale as comfortably. keyboard with touchpad
Anonymous | 2017-12-15 04:32:15
I submitted it to the Best Standalone Fantasy list, but it deserves to be submitted to the Best Gritty Fantasy list as well, Glen Cook’s The Tower of Fear. I’ve been a fan of the first three Black Company books since the 80s, I place The Tower of Fear above those, no question.

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