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Old 12-26-2013, 05:30 AM   #1
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Dark/Gritty/Adult Epic Fantasy or SciFi

Hey everyone. Was looking to sink my teeth into a dark epic fantasy or SciFi series (although even standalone books work). To give a few examples of series which I read and loved (and which I wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who hasn't and is looking to read similar stuff):

- The Gap Cycle (Stephen R. Donaldson)
- A Song of Ice and Fire (George R.R. Martin); although the last few drag on and you wish he'd finish it and write the next one already
- Prince of Nothing (R. Scott Bakker); Eagerly awaiting the last book in the trilogy
- The Kingkiller chronicles (Patrick Rothfuss); Not particularly dark, but I really liked it
- The Earthsea books (Usrula Le Guin); Not particularly dark or adult, but excellent works
- The Revelation Space series (Alastair Reynolds); Some of the most brilliant SciFi I've read
- Hyperion and the Fall of Hyperion (Dan Simmons)
- The Malazan book of the fallen (Steven Erikson); currently working my way through this series, need a break

I'm sure I've left out quite a few, but I guess these give a fair idea. Any suggestions are welcome!
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:50 AM   #2
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Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion multiverse books --- best to read in publication order, so start w/ Elric of MelnibonÚ

Jack Vance Lyonesse Trilogy

Not dark, but Susan Cooper's _The Dark is Rising_ is wonderful

For short, discrete works, hard to beat the Ace Fantasy Fairy Tales books edited by Terri Windling.
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Old 12-26-2013, 09:36 AM   #3
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Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion multiverse books --- best to read in publication order, so start w/ Elric of MelnibonÚ

Jack Vance Lyonesse Trilogy

Not dark, but Susan Cooper's _The Dark is Rising_ is wonderful

For short, discrete works, hard to beat the Ace Fantasy Fairy Tales books edited by Terri Windling.
Thank you! Will check them out. The Lyonesse Trilogy looks particularly enticing from what I can see
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Old 12-26-2013, 01:34 PM   #4
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Hey everyone. Was looking to sink my teeth into a dark epic fantasy or SciFi series (although even standalone books work)
If you want dark, then Wool and its sequels by Hugh Howey might fit the bill.

Not particulary dark, but Leviathan's Wake and its sequels by James S.A. Corey certainly qualifies as gritty.

If you want really dark short stories, then hunt down almost anything by Harlan Ellision.
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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dark/gritty epic fantasy I would check out Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy.

The Blade Itself
Before they are Hanged
Last Argument of Kings


I'm also most of the way through Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy and really like them but they aren't as dark as the ones above.

Assassin's Apprentice
Royal Assassin
Assassin's Quest
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:16 PM   #6
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If you mean dark, as in a bit depressing, everything doesn't work out, then here are a few older series

-Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn trilogy is excellent. (ebooks available)
- Janny Wurts Wars of Light and Shadow series is pretty good. (ebooks available)
- C.J. Cherryh's Morgaine Cycle (not available in ebook)
- Karl Edward Wagner's Kane cycle (not available in ebook)
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Old 12-26-2013, 02:17 PM   #7
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dark/gritty epic fantasy I would check out Joe Abercrombie's First Law Trilogy.

The Blade Itself
Before they are Hanged
Last Argument of Kings
If you are unfamiliar with Joe Abercrombie, I would personally start with The Heroes which is a stand-alone novel set in the same world. That way you can decide if you like his writing before jumping into a series.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:41 PM   #8
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Some of C. J. Cherryh's fantasy is quite dark. Of the ones available as ebooks Faery Moon and Rusalka are good examples. Faery Moon is a revision of the book Faery in Shadow together with a prequel novella The Brothers. The original publisher thought Faery in Shadow it was too dark and made changes during editing, but the revised version in Faery Moon is based on the author's original draft.
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Old 12-26-2013, 07:42 PM   #9
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Hmm....

I'd count Daniel Abraham's Dagger and Coin series, first book The Dragon's Path. The creation of a tyrant from the tyrant's PoV, political coup, world conquest, racism, dragons who were once overlords and now ??, religious manipulation, heroes with juicy anti-hero bits. It has several PoVs and can bog down but since you liked a Song of Fire and Ice there it should be no problem. 4th book comes out in August and things seem to still be ramping up, so its absolutely not for those who need a complete series before they start.

The whole world setting of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn is dark with constant volcanic ashfalls, oppressed people, another tyrant king, etc. IMO its fun to figure out why, so I'm not going to spoiler it.

Last edited by artifact; 12-26-2013 at 07:47 PM. Reason: Can't spell
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Old 12-27-2013, 02:46 AM   #10
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Red face

Thank you everyone for the amazing variety of responses! This was just what I needed. The suggestions should keep me busy for some time

Please keep them coming folks!

Last edited by adityadubey; 12-27-2013 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:36 AM   #11
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If you are unfamiliar with Joe Abercrombie, I would personally start with The Heroes which is a stand-alone novel set in the same world. That way you can decide if you like his writing before jumping into a series.
I don't really agree with this. The Heroes contains spoilers for the First Law trilogy. Best Served Cold probably has less crossover, but I'd still recommend reading them in order.
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Old 12-27-2013, 03:35 PM   #12
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I don't really agree with this. The Heroes contains spoilers for the First Law trilogy. Best Served Cold probably has less crossover, but I'd still recommend reading them in order.
I agree that The Heroes is a bad start. Even Best Served Cold works better if you have read them in order (we had Best Served Cold in a book discussion group and the people that had read the whole series had to explain things to the people that had only read one book).

I always recommend Glen Cook's Black Company books for people liking more gritty and dark fantasy.
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Old 12-27-2013, 05:23 PM   #13
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How about Richard K Morgan, starting with The Steel Remains? Anyone read this? I have it on my TBR pile.
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:47 PM   #14
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How about the Rifters trilogy (Starfish, Maelstrom and Behemoth) by Peter Watts? There's also his stand-alone book Blindsight. It will seem like a short story after your exposure to George R.R. Martin, but if it doesn't pack in enough dark for you, I don't know what would.

And I agree with you about the Revelation Space series (I first read it in pbook format and then naturally had to get the audiobooks.)

Cindy
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:23 PM   #15
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+1 for both Abercrombie (read them in order) and Watts. That Rifters trilogy was almost too dark!
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