What the Heck is Grimdark/Dark Fantasy?

Please join Britbear’s Book Reviews in welcoming Andy Peloquin for a guest post in which he explains the genre of his novel, Blade of the Destroyer: The Last Bucelarii Book I (Volume 1).


blade of destroyer coverThe Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

Author: Andy Peloquin

Publication Date: July 11th, 2015

Paperback Price: $15.99

Digital Price: $3.99

Pages: 298

ISBN: 1515038955

A faceless, nameless assassin. A forgotten past.  The Hunter of Voramis–a killer devoid of morals, or something else altogether? (Blade of the Destroyer–dark fantasy with a look at the underside of human nature)

In The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer, the Hunter of Voramis is the perfect assassin: ruthless, unrelenting, immortal. Yet he is haunted by lost memories, bonded to a cursed dagger that feeds him power yet denies him peace of mind. Within him rages an unquenchable need for blood and death.

When he accepts a contract to avenge the stolen innocence of a girl, the Hunter becomes the prey. The death of a seemingly random target sends him hurtling toward destruction, yet could his path also lead to the truth of his buried past?

Praise for The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer

“Creative, gritty, and beautifully dark…fantasy addicts will love it!” — Peter Story, author of Things Grak Hates — http://peterjstory.com/

“The fantasy world has a compelling new antihero…the Hunter will terrify and captivate you.” – Eve A Floriste, author of Fresh Cut

“From the first words on the page this fantasy holds the reader spellbound even after the book is finished…his character is very well-defined even if his past is a mystery. Root for an assassin? Oh, yes, one must!” — Carol Conley, for InDTale Magazine

Read my review of  The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer.

Buy The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats.

What the Heck is Grimdark/Dark Fantasy?

Fantasy is one of the most popular genres of fiction, but it has SO MANY sub-genres. You have high fantasy, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, portal fantasy, and (my personal favorite) dark fantasy.

Dark fantasy is any type of fantasy that involves the darker, more horrific elements of fantasy and fiction. Examples of dark fantasy include:

  • Serial killers, thieves, and criminals in fantasy worlds
  • Stories set in the modern world, but with fantastical/horror themes and creatures
  • Works of fantasy filled with a gloomy, dark atmosphere, dread, and horror

With dark fantasy, there is no happy ending. The ending may be satisfying, but it’s certainly not “happy”. There are no shiny heroes or heroines to triumph in the end–in fact, in many dark fantasy novels, the protagonists are often characters placed squarely in a moral “grey zone”. It is rarely good versus evil–it’s usually evil versus evil.

A few of the BEST dark fantasy novels of all time include:

  • The Black Company (series) by Glen Cook
  • The Broken Empire (series) by Mark Lawrence
  • The First Law (series) by Joe Abercrombie
  • The Magicians (series) by Lev Grossman

Dark fantasy novels often contain:

  • Fantasy elements
  • Protagonists with supernatural powers
  • Elements of horror
  • Magic or magical races

Of course, there are sub-genres of that sub-genre. For example, there is “Gothic fantasy”. Gothic fiction combines horror and Romanticism (not romance, but fiction with an emphasis placed on emotions to highlight the experience). Examples of Gothic fiction include Frankenstein and Dracula.

Then there is “grimdark”, a sub-genre of dark fantasy, coined for the works of Joe Abercrombie. In grimdark, there are few monsters, limited magic, and the focus is entirely around the characters, rather than the quest. It has been described as a type of fiction where there are no “honorable” characters, or where “Might is Right”. It focuses on the “underside” of fantasy/medieval/fictional life, with a very cynical, disillusioned tone.

A perfect example of “grimdark” would be A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. All of the “good” characters are killed off, leaving only the “dubious” characters and those who do whatever it takes to achieve their ends. Or The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie, a story about warriors on both sides of a conflict. Neither is “good” or “evil”–they simply ARE in their own world.

The beauty of grimdark fantasy is that you can use it to explore the various “shades of moral grey” that exist–both in fantasy worlds and in our world today. Often, grimdark fantasy is a subtle portrayal of real life scenarios or situations, but taken to an extreme that brings the reality into focus. With a lack of “good and evil”, everything can be called into question, and everything can be questioned.

For those with a more cynical worldview, both dark fantasy and grimdark offer a unique retreat from the more “popular” forms of high-brow forms of fantasy. But don’t think that either is low-brow; in fact, both grimdark and dark fantasy offer a chance to examine situations from a fresh perspective!

More about author Andy Peloquin:

Andy Peloquin: Lover of All Things Dark and Mysteriousandy peloquin

Andy Peloquin–a third culture kid to the core–has loved to read since before he could remember. Sherlock Holmes, the Phantom of the Opera, and Father Brown are just a few of the books that ensnared his imagination as a child.

When he discovered science fiction and fantasy through the pages of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs, J.R.R Tolkien, and Orson Scott Card, he was immediately hooked and hasn’t looked back since.

Andy’s first attempt at writing produced In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten Continent. He has learned from the mistakes he made and used the experience to produce Blade of the Destroyer, a book of which he is very proud.

Reading—and now writing—is his favorite escape, and it provides him an outlet for his innate creativity. He is an artist; words are his palette.

His website (http://www.andypeloquin.com) is a second home for him, a place where he can post his thoughts and feelings–along with reviews of books he finds laying around the Internet.

Here’s where you can learn more about Andy Peloquin and his writing:

| Twitter | Facebook as Andy Peloquin| LinkedIn | Google+  | Amazon Author Page  |

| Facebook as Andrew Peloquin | Website |

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