Grimdark has crawled out of the shadows and into To Be Read piles everywhere.
It’s not a surprise. Art reflects life. When the world experienced war, terrorism, and a great recession, uncertainty filled people’s lives, and with that uncertainty darker and grimmer fiction from our authors. Grimdark.
Grimdark is often considered a rebuttal to The Lord of the Rings, which did not feature morally ambiguous characters. Some authors wanted to write troubled, flawed characters, characters who live in the grey area between the light and the dark. And wow, have we gotten some fantastic writers out of that.
Author Mark Lawrence attributes his own inspiration from George R. R. Martin, who wrote one of the darkest and grittiest scenes in fantasy, the Red Wedding. “I was impressed by how ruthless he was with characters we were invested in and how exciting that made reading the series,” Lawrence states. “Because you never felt safe and never knew for sure that things would work out in the end. It felt real and powerful.”
To prepare a new reader to grimdark, there are several must-reads. As with all of these “So You Want To Read Posts,” these are simply my recommendations.
I actually hate that there are no women writers in this list, mostly from my lack of reading in this particular sub-genre. If you can recommend any grimdark female writers, please post them down below for a future update on this topic!
Now get to reading grim!