The Grimdark Villain

Many fans of grimdark literature, film, and games might argue that the term villain is an inappropriate one for the genre. It conjures an image of the mustache twirling evil-doer...
Read More
The Grimdark Villain

Who is the Grimdark Hero?

Grimdark is a relatively new subgenre in the world of fantasy and science fiction, having emerged as the grittier, morally ambiguous side of fantasy in the 1970s and ‘80s with...
Read More
Who is the Grimdark Hero?

REVIEW: The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

When Graham Austin-King first approached me about an ARC of The Lore of Prometheus he described it as sort of Dean Koontz / Stephen King / Clive Barker style. Now,...
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REVIEW: The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

REVIEW: Blackest Knights edited by C.T. Phipps

What happens when good knights go bad? When shining armor cracks, morals are cast aside, and sacred oaths are broken? Blackest Knights, edited by C.T. Phipps, is a collection of...
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REVIEW: Blackest Knights edited by C.T. Phipps

REVIEW: The Razor by J. Barton Mitchell

The Razor is the new science fiction novel by J. Barton Mitchell, author of the acclaimed YA sci-fi series The Conquered Earth. This one’s not YA, but it won’t cause...
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REVIEW: The Razor by J. Barton Mitchell

REVIEW: Cold Iron by MIles Cameron

"Superb," the man in the black cloak said, and slammed his dagger into the young man's temple, killing him instantly. The blade emerged from the other temple with admirable precision,...
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REVIEW: Cold Iron by MIles Cameron

REVIEW: Many are the Dead by Anthony Ryan

After the Industrial Age adventures of The Draconis Memoria series, Anthony Ryan has returned to the fantasy world of Raven’s Shadow with the novella Many Are the Dead. The book...
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REVIEW: Many are the Dead by Anthony Ryan

REVIEW: Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Blood of Heirs is the ambitious debut epic fantasy novel and the first book of The Coraidic Saga by Alicia Wanstall-Burke. And while I wouldn't place it in the grimdark...
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REVIEW: Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

The Traitor Baru Cormorant has one of the best protagonists in fantasy

Sweet literary gods, I've just been in the mind of a genius--and I'm not just talking about Seth Dickinson's imagination. The Traitor Baru Cormorant is one of the best books I've...
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The Traitor Baru Cormorant has one of the best protagonists in fantasy

The Odd Hopefulness of Grimdark

In today’s social-media-saturated world, a lot of what we see are the highlights of people’s lives, and it’s easy to feel inadequate when confronted with the reality of one’s own...
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The Odd Hopefulness of Grimdark

REVIEW: Devouring Dark by Alan Baxter

Suppose you have darkness/shadows (depending on what you call it) living inside of you. Suppose you can release it time to time in one way or another. How would you...
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REVIEW: Devouring Dark by Alan Baxter

REVIEW: The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee

The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee is a fantastic new addition to the grimdark fantasy landscape, and is the beginning to the Five Warrior Angels series, which promises to...
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REVIEW: The Forgetting Moon by Brian Lee Durfee

REVIEW: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson

When We Ride the Storm by Devin Madison opened with the line, “It’s harder to sever a head than people think. Perhaps if one were skilled with an axe it...
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REVIEW: We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson

REVIEW: Queen of Crows by Myke Cole

Fucking hell, Myke Cole! Why do you hurt me so?!? What a roller coaster of emotions The Queen of Crows presented. The Queen of Crows is the follow-up to The...
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REVIEW: Queen of Crows by Myke Cole

REVIEW: War Cry by Brian McClellan

War Cry is the new novella by Brian McClellan (The Powder Mage Trilogy), continuing the Tor.com series of shorter-than-novel-length fiction that has also included familiar names like Martha Wells and...
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REVIEW: War Cry by Brian McClellan

REVIEW: Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

Over on his blog, Mark Lawrence (Broken Empire, Red Queen’s War, Red Sister) is making an effort to “nail down grimdark.” In doing so he offers two camps of people...
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REVIEW: Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng

REVIEW: Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly

Blood. Mutilation. Sex. Politicking. And all of it coalesces into one meaty tale of love, betrayal, and death in Melokai, the first novel in Rosalyn Kelly’s In the Heart of...
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REVIEW: Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly

REVIEW: Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

Nicholas Eames’s second novel, Bloody Rose, the follow-up to his highly acclaimed debut, Kings of the Wyld, was released with a fair bit of hype last week, some folks even...
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REVIEW: Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames

Review: Road Brothers: Tales from the Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

“Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” Road Brothers: Tales from the Broken Empire is a short (124 “pages”, e-book only) short story collection by Mark Lawrence. It contains ten short stories,...
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Review: Road Brothers: Tales from the Broken Empire by Mark Lawrence

REVIEW: The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith-Spark

The Tower of Living and Dying both builds upon and eclipses the world and story Smith-Spark started with The Court of Broken Knives. It’s bigger, wider, more sprawling than its...
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REVIEW: The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith-Spark
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The Grimdark Villain

The Grimdark Villain

Many fans of grimdark literature, film, and games might argue that the term villain is an inappropriate one for the genre. It conjures an image of the mustache twirling evil-doer whom the square-jawed hero must face before heroically rescuing the damsel in distress. They tend to think grimdark solely deals in antagonists and this is a more “mature” manner of writing. I argue the truth is, like grimdark itself, more complex. In my previous article, “Who is the Grimdark Hero?” (Grimdark Magazine...

Who is the Grimdark Hero?

Who is the Grimdark Hero?

Grimdark is a relatively new subgenre in the world of fantasy and science fiction, having emerged as the grittier, morally ambiguous side of fantasy in the 1970s and ‘80s with the likes of Karl...

REVIEW: The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

When Graham Austin-King first approached me about an ARC of The Lore of Prometheus he described it as sort of Dean Koontz / Stephen King / Clive Barker style. Now, I’ve read one Koontz...

REVIEW: Blackest Knights edited by C.T. Phipps

What happens when good knights go bad? When shining armor cracks, morals are cast aside, and sacred oaths are broken? Blackest Knights, edited by C.T. Phipps, is a collection of nineteen short stories that...

REVIEW: The Razor by J. Barton Mitchell

The Razor is the new science fiction novel by J. Barton Mitchell, author of the acclaimed YA sci-fi series The Conquered Earth. This one’s not YA, but it won’t cause you any adult discomfort...

REVIEW: Cold Iron by MIles Cameron

“Superb,” the man in the black cloak said, and slammed his dagger into the young man’s temple, killing him instantly. The blade emerged from the other temple with admirable precision, and the man in...

REVIEW: Many are the Dead by Anthony Ryan

After the Industrial Age adventures of The Draconis Memoria series, Anthony Ryan has returned to the fantasy world of Raven’s Shadow with the novella Many Are the Dead. The book is set 10 years...

REVIEW: Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

Blood of Heirs is the ambitious debut epic fantasy novel and the first book of The Coraidic Saga by Alicia Wanstall-Burke. And while I wouldn’t place it in the grimdark genre, it has some...

The Traitor Baru Cormorant has one of the best protagonists in fantasy

Sweet literary gods, I’ve just been in the mind of a genius–and I’m not just talking about Seth Dickinson’s imagination. The Traitor Baru Cormorant is one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s...

King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

The Odd Hopefulness of Grimdark

In today’s social-media-saturated world, a lot of what we see are the highlights of people’s lives, and it’s easy to feel inadequate when confronted with the reality of one’s own life in comparison to...