Last Updated on August 22, 2020
2018 was an amazing year from grimdark and dark SFF, with more and more books coming out that tick our boxes. As per every year for the last four years, the GdM team have put forward our staff picks for the last year–our 2018 best SFF books. Without further ado, I give you our team picks for 2018.
(Read our most anticipated books of 2019 list here.)
Apocalypse Nyx by Kameron Hurley (Picked by Mike Myers)
Apocalypse Nyx is the new collection of novelettes from multi-award-winning author Kameron Hurley (The Stars are Legion, the Worldbreaker Saga, and the God’s War Trilogy), and make no mistake: it’s grimdark AF. Set in the world of the God’s War Trilogy, the stories’ titular anti-hero, mercenary and bounty hunter Nyx (Nyxnissa so Dasheen) might be the grimmest darkest badass protagonist I’ve come across in SFF. She doesn’t give a crap about anything but the job and the money, and maybe the whisky… and maybe the fucking.
Is it grimdark? You bet your ass it is. Try not to root for Nyx as she blasts away innocents who happen to be in the way of the next payoff. It’s impossible. And the question of grey morality itself makes a couple of unobtrusive appearances in the stories and in the delightful banter between her crew of freaks. Grab this nice introduction to Nyx’s life and world. You won’t regret it.
Our review: CLICK HERE
Buy on Amazon: Apocalypse Nyx
Iron Gold by Pierce Brown (Picked by Matthew Cropley)
Iron Gold is the first in a sequel trilogy set years after the events of the original Red Rising trilogy, and proves what I had suspected: Pierce Brown just keeps getting better. This book expands the scope beyond Darrow and asks what his world would look like when dealing with the fallout of his actions in the original books, and the results are absolutely breathtaking. Dark Age releases in 2019 and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Buy on Amazon: Iron Gold: Book 4 of the Red Rising Saga (Red Rising Series)
Ravencry by Ed McDonald (Picked by Durand Welsh)
Ravencry is Ed McDonald’s sophomore effort, and it retains the same
qualities that made Blackwing one of my all-time favourite grimdark
reads: a cracking pace, authentic sword play, a grizzled protagonist,
and a nihilistic world. True, it’s not as grimdark as Blackwing —
being lighter both in tone and setting — but some breathing room is
required in the aftermath of Blackwing’s cataclysmic finale. Ravencry
also sets up the board for future instalments, and it looks like
there’ll be darker times to come.
Our review: CLICK HERE.
Buy on Amazon:Ravencry (Raven’s Mark Book 2)
Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames (Picked by Tom Smith)
There were so many great reads in 2018 that it was tough to choose. I had a half dozen that might have been my favorites in other years. I’m going with Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames by the narrowest of margins. It followed his amazing debut Kings of the Wyld (also my favorite last year)with a little less humor and even more heart. If you love D&D, sly pop culture references, humor and great storytelling, you need to pick up this series.
Our review: CLICK HERE
Buy on Amazon:Bloody Rose (The Band)
The Winter Road by Adrian Selby (Picked by Holly)
The Winter Road by Adrian Selby. One of the best fantasy novels I have ever read! It’s fucking masterful! Selby has written a fully-realized standalone saga that is crackling with energy. It’s brutal & emotional.
Holly’s review (over on grimdragons): CLICK HERE
Buy on Amazon: The Winter Road
City of Kings by Rob J. Hayes (Picked by Nate Aubin)
The best grimdark war novel since The Heroes and my introduction to the First Earth Saga. This book had plenty of grit, a cast of fantastically flawed characters, and a plot page-turning enough to rival any bestselling thriller. An overall bloody, brilliant, and heartbreaking read.
Read our review in GdM #17: CLICK HERE
Buy on Amazon: City of Kings
The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King (Picked by Timy Takacs)
A shockingly wicked dark tale of the power of the human mind. I simply couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happens, what kind of cruel torture the characters have to endure before they get their peace. But then, will they ever have peace?
Read our review: CLICK HERE
Buy on Amazon:The Lore of Prometheus
Driving to Geronimo’s Grave by Joe R. Lansdale (Picked by Chris Haught)
Great set of stories that hit several genres. Lots of creepy, weird, and sinister stuff, regardless of which one he’s writing.
Buy on Amazon: Driving to Geronimo’s Grave and Other Stories
The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith-Spark (Picked by Adrian Collins)
Reading Anna Smith-Spark is such an immersive experience. She has such pace and intensity, and paints her world in such vivid colour. While her style has revealed itself to be quite polarising amongst fans, it’s pretty clear most stand where I do: utterly enthralled by this series, and utterly blown away at what a brilliant follow up to The Court of Broken Knives Smith-Spark delivered in The Tower of Living and Dying was.
The story moves at break neck-speed and is led by one of the most enthralling female protagonists I’ve read to date opposite one of my favourite male protagonists. It’s an utterly gripping read that I highly recommend you pick up. I can’t wait for book three in 2019. Can. Not. Wait.
Our review: CLICK HERE
Buy on Amazon:The Tower of Living and Dying (Empires of Dust)
Thank you for checking out our 2018 best SFF books!