Tag: Dark fantasy

10 Dark Fantasy Books to Read During Those Cold Winter Nights

The nights, they are growing colder. Trees are becoming skeletons, the air is starting to bite with razor-sharp teeth, and the snow is beginning to onslaught the ground with flurries. The world will soon be a blanket of white and the cold will start to rattle our bones to the core. We will be forced to retreat behind closed doors and seek shelter from the bitter wind knocking against our windowpanes. Before we know it, the outside world will be almost a mere memory as fuzzy socks, fireplaces, and good books become our reality.

Of course, many avid readers during this spectacular season will favor books about summer. They will try to recreate warmer days by reading contemporary fiction and books about falling in love under a sultry summer sun. These books might cure a summer hangover, but they will not keep a reader in touch with the season. Dark fantasy screams winter. It reflects the weather bellowing outside houses’ front stoops and will keep readers’ chest warm as they read about magicians, monsters, and assassins that slink in the darkness. Here are ten dark fantasy books meant to entertain and to read during those cold winter nights. I promise they will keep readers wishing for more days filled with adventure and dangerous forbidden love.

 

 

These Violent Delights By Chloe Gong

 

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For as long as anyone can remember, the Scarlett Gang and the White Flowers have been at each other’s throats. The established rival gangs have gone to extreme measures to try to undermine their competition and, in the process, have painted Shanghai’s street red with blood. Shanghai’s frightened citizens always assumed that the Scarlett Gang and the White Flowers would be their city’s demise, but something monstrous is lurking in the city’s shadows – something even more prominent and sinister than either of these gangs combined. This entity might destroy Shanghai before the Scarlett Gang and White Flowers can hammer the final nail in their city’s coffin and the rival gangs cannot let that happen. In light of these unforeseen circumstances, an alliance between the gangs is formed and the two heirs and former lovers Juliette and Roma are forced to put their guns down and work together to save the city they both one day want to rule.

These Violent Delights occur in 1920s Shanghai and is a retelling of Romeo and Juliet’s classic story. The 2020 release is dark, violent, and takes place in a historical fantasy world where a monster stirs up trouble in the depths of the Huangpu River.

 

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

 

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Emilia and her twin Vittoria are Streghes, witches who live secretly among humans. They stay out of the limelight to avoid notice and persecution, hiding in plain sight. However, their parlor tick of hiding amongst the mundane does not fool the eye for very long. One night, Vittoria fails to show up for dinner, and before Emilia knows it, she is finding her sisters’ body mauled and desecrated beyond belief. Overcome by vengeance, Emilia unpeels herself from the comfort of the shadows and goes on a journey with a Prince of Hell to find her sister’s killer before any other lives are lost. The only thing Emilia is not sure about is if she can trust this dashing prince. Is he truly on her side? Or is he really the killer that took her sister’s life?

 

 

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

 

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Every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets are born into the royal family. All three girls are queens, equal heirs to the crown, and possessors of powerful magic. The girls, although gifted with extraordinary abilities, cannot all rule as one colloquial body. Only one can be the true crowned monarchy of Fennbirn and the title of her majesty is not given thoughtlessly. If a girl wants the crown, she has to fight for it and ultimately use her magic to eliminate her sisters from the picture.

In Three Dark Crowns, only one sister will survive to rule over Fennbirn. The other two will sadly perish for the circle to continue for generations to come and for three more triplets to be born and rule over the island they call home.

 

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen

 

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In the brutal, plague-ravaged world of Sabor exists Fie, a Crow; a member of a group of mercy killers whose obligation is to put to rest anyone unlucky enough to contract the plague. Fie, bound by a duty she cannot escape, lives stuck at the bottom of Sabor’s strict caste system. She breathes, day in and day out, the nasty plague-ridden air and kills with a straight, even face. She believes that her life will always remain this way, but things start to change for Fie when her band of wayward Crows is summoned to the royal palace. Of course, Fie believes that she is just there to scavenge the bodies of the plague’s next victims, but finds herself enlisted on a crazy plot to smuggle the Sabor’s prince to safety before he is killed by the queen, who is attempting to take the throne for herself. In just a blink of an eye, Fie’s entire life changes as she embarks on an incredible journey to save her fate and a prince’s life.

 

 

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

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The Le Cirque des Rêves. It comes without warning, wading through the fog on an unforgiving night. Within hours, the tents rise under the glow of the stars and the show prepares to open its doors for just one night of entertainment. If one misses the grand opening of the magical exhibition, they are out of luck. The circus is open for one night and one night only before it disappears into the darkness, leaving nothing behind in its wake.

Celia and Marco, two of the circus’ magicians, are accustomed to traveling and performing for the masses, but they are also used to competing against each other in a duel of magical wit and talent. Unbeknownst to them, Celia and Marco’s rivalry is a game, where only one talented magician will survive and continue to perform on the circus’ stage. For the fate of the circus and everyone involved, this competition of survival must play out between the two magicians, even if Celia and Marco have fallen completely and utterly in love with each other amid their battle.

 

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

 

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Ryx did not think her life could get any worse. She already has been gifted with broken magic that takes life from everything she touches and has disappointed the entire Vaskandar empire as the mage-marked granddaughter of their ruler. Now, she has accidentally killed a visiting dignitary in self-defense and activated a mysterious magical artifact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle. Ryx is unsure what has become of her life or her purpose in this world until she comes across a group of unlikely magical experts after fleeing her home as a result of the destruction she has caused. Upon meeting these individuals, Ryx discovers that her family is in grave danger and the magical artifact she brought to life could destroy the very fabric of her world. As a result, Ryx must return to the family that has blacklisted her if she has any chance of saving them and the world from her accidental wrongdoings.

 

 

NeverNight by Jay Kristoff

 

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The Red Church is home to the deadliest assassins in the entire Republic. These assassins that live in this cathedral of darkness are merciless and bloodthirsty. They are gifted in the art of killing and their canvases are the ones unlucky enough to find themselves underneath their knife.

Mia Corvere is the newest assassin, ready to live within the Red Church’s walls and be inducted into the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder. She is bright, fearless, and vengeance is the only thing on her mind when joining the assassins’ order. She craves to take down the forces that destroyed her family and she will stop at nothing to achieve the Republic’s demise. However, Mia’s hellbent plot of mass destruction and death might have to be put on hold. A killer is loose in the church’s halls and the whole congregation is at risk of being unraveled from the inside out. Not to mention, the secrets Mia attempted to kept buried unearth themselves from the ground and threaten to ruin her before she can make a career for herself as the next great assassin. Mia’s world is on the entire brink of collapse before her brutal final initiation has even begun. Will she be able to save the Red Church before her new home crumbles before her eyes or will she fail and be killed just like her father – as a traitor?

 

wicked saints by Emily a. Duncan

 

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In a land filled with obscurity and torment, a girl that can speak to gods must find a way to save her people without killing herself. A dashing prince who hangs between life and death must figure out who he can trust in this cruel, twisted world. And, lastly, a boy with a terrible secret awaits his destiny in the wings as the world crumbles and bends around him. These three individuals live in a world soaked in blood and death as a century-old war warps their reality and lives. However, when they meet, a spark of hope ignites in their hearts as they go on a dark, thrilling quest to save their reality and lives before it is too late.

 

 

the young elites by Marie lu

 

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When the blood fever overtook Adeline Amouteru’s body, she was supposed to die. All the children that come down with the fever succumb to it. They deteriorate and wither before their parent’s eyes and eventually die a horrible death. Adeline’s parents expected their daughter to become nothing more than a sack of skin and for her soul to leave her body like the other children, but she did not fall victim to the fever. She overtook it. She beat it. Adeline rose from her very ashes like a phoenix, but her surviving the fever came with a price. Her hair turned alabaster, a jagged scar marred her face, and she was able to wield a dark power that scared grown men. Adeline Amouteru became a Young Elite; a child reborn from the fever. Her very existence became illegal – for Young Elites are hunted and killed by the king and his Inquisitions.

For a while, Adeline avoided being persecuted for her “crime,” but when she accidentally kills her father with her newfound abilities, she finds herself about to be burned at the stake. Upon her last breath, she is saved by a member of the Dagger Society – a group of Young Elites who strive to overthrow the reigning monarchy. Grateful for saving her life and with nowhere to go, Adeline joins the Dagger Society and in the process, ventures down a dangerous path that could lead to her destruction.

 

the prince of thorns by Mark Lawrence

 

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Prince Jorg Ancrath used to be a loving child with a bright smile before darkness took hold of his reality and crushed it in the palms of its hand. When Jorg was just nine years old, he watched his mother and brother get killed before his eyes. By the time he was thirteen, his attitude had soured, his heart had turned cold, and he had a band of outlaws at his fingertips to do his bidding. Now, at fifteen years old, the prince wants to return to his castle and retake everything swiped from underneath his feet. Life and death mean nothing to him at this point. Revenge is all that is on his mind. He will do anything in his power to become the king of his realm and spread chaos across his vast lands if it means he can get retribution for his fallen brother and mother’s death.

 

 

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Netflix’s The Witcher Season 2 Delayed Due to COVID-19 Cases

Studio delays are nothing new when it comes to production. Whether it’s the budget or time constraints, something always seems to keep your favorite shows moving further and further down the calendar. This year COVID-19 is yet another particularly troubling reason to halt filming, and the main reason tv shows aren’t coming soon to a screen near you. The pandemic guarantees no release window, but merely acts as a place holder should the virus happen to not show up for dress rehearsal.

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AMC’s The Walking Dead, FX’s Fargo, as well as the first string of Marvel-related Disney+ Series have all been collectively slated to resume filming much later than anticipated. While the virus is very much a growing concern and a pain, speaking frankly, gone are the initial scares that plagued shows like NBC’s Blacklist from finishing a season; currently, shows are mainly being delayed due to any viral outbreak onset rather than purely based on exposure to the staffers.

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The second season of The Witcher has now become one such case for the second time, the first being when actor Kristofer Hivju contracted covid earlier in the year. Netflix’s popular fantasy epic, based on the book and video game franchises respectively, has once again seen such a delay following a few members of the production staff testing positive for the virus. Neither the titular Witcher himself Henry Cavill nor fellow leads Anya Chalotra and Freya Allan are amongst the infected. Regardless, showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich has responded via Twitter that everything is under control and the members that were infected are now being socially isolated as well as the team taking every necessary precaution to ensure that everyone remains healthy. Once two weeks have passed the show will resume development pending any unforeseen events following this one.

Geralt of Rivia is set to continue his monster-slaying adventures come 2021 as well as being companied by a prequel series subtitled The Witcher: Blood Origin should the virus not loiter around the makeup room.

Stephen King’s Writer’s Block During ‘The Stand’ Inspires Writers Everywhere

When writing, The Stand (published in 1978) - a hugely famous dark fantasy novel in King's repertoire about a pandemic powered by a weaponized version of the flu (does this sound relevant?) - King struggled to continue after reaching the 500 page mark.

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Author of ‘Six of Crows’ Releases New Adult Fantasy Novel

Leigh Bardugo is an incredible YA author famously known for her immersive worlds and cast of diverse, interesting characters. Her previous YA fantasy series include the Grisha trilogy, King of Scars, and the popular Six of Crows duology. Set in a world known as the Grishaverse in which different Grisha possess magical powers under different orders of magic—The Order of the Living and the Dead, the Order of Summoners, and the Order of Fabrikators—Leigh Bardugo created fictional countries with such unique cultures and locations that they almost seemed believable. And let’s not forget how much we all fell in love with Kaz Brekker from Six of Crows. Amidst the buzz about Shadow and Bone, the first book in the Grisha trilogy, coming to Netflix, Bardugo has decided to dive into a new realm of magic by penning her first adult novel.

 

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Bardugo’s new novel, titled Ninth Houseseems to be the first book set outside the Grishaverse. And this setting might be slightly more familiar to us—it’s New Haven, Connecticut. The book follows a Yale freshman with a bad past, Alex Stern. She was raised by a hippie mom and dropped out of school to mess around with drug dealer boyfriends and bad jobs. It’s unlikely that she would end up at Yale, but when she becomes the only survivor of a multiple homicide, Alex is offered a full ride to one of the most prestigious universities. Alex’s benefactors instruct her to monitor the suspicious activities of the secret societies within Yale, and she soon discovers that these societies are more sinister than one might expect. The Yale societies are made up of prominent rich and powerful figures who conduct occult activities and forbidden magic in windowless clubhouses referred to as “tombs.”

 

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Bardugo, a graduate of Yale herself, says that she’s had the idea for Ninth House since her first day in New Haven as a student. The book’s release date is October 8th, and Bardugo says, “October is the perfect time for sinister tales, and I hope you’ll find Ninth House to be thrilling, eerie, funny, and maybe a little unnerving.”

It’ll be interesting to see how Leigh Bardugo makes the switch from young adult fiction to adult fiction. Her books have certainly dealt with dark themes surrounding magic before, and they’ve always held a particular air of maturity for YA books. Still, maybe Ninth House will be even more mature now that Bardugo is incorporating some of her own experiences. It also makes you wonder just what Leigh Bardugo experienced at Yale to imagine their secret societies as something occult. But what even are the Yale secret societies? Does her fantastical interpretation have any weight?

 

 

Each Yale secret society is small and only allows fifteen members or so. As is to be expected, it’s almost impossible to find information about these societies or what they do, but many of them also have impressive amounts of wealth. Yale has forty-one secret societies that we know about, each with menacing names like Berzelius, Skull and Bones, Book and Snake, Wolf’s Head, and Scroll and Key. With names like Skull and Bones, why shouldn’t we be suspicious? Skull and Bones is probably the most famous secret society and its alumni include William Howard Taft, President George H.W. Bush, President George W. Bush, and former Secretary of State John Kerry. Most of the societies’ alumni seem to be involved in political or financial positions of power… possibly bargained for by occult means? The architectural style of the tomb-like, windowless clubhouses was designed with privacy in mind, so we may never really know what goes on inside.

 

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After a few break-ins to the “tombs,” the floor plan of the original Skull and Bones building was published and it seemed like a fairly normal clubhouse. Nonetheless, who knows what the members of the societies could be concealing behind hidden walls and doors? Maybe Bardugo discovered something in her time at Yale and is finally revealing the dark, supernatural truth.

With a mix of such creepy rumors surrounding the Yale societies in real life and Bardugo’s thrilling, intense writing style, Ninth House is sure to be an amazing first adult fantasy novel for this author.

 

 

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Two Dark Fantasy Duologies to Binge This Weekend

No plans this weekend? Not the type to go outside? We can relate. Make the best of the weekend for real by binging these duologies. Nothing says relaxation like high stakes magic.

 

Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom

 

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I love a good heist, and this is better than most. Set in the lush universe popularized by Shadow and Bone, this follow up stands on its own legs, and is a great entry to the series. Meet the Dregs, a bunch of street urchin weirdos with just the right skills to pull off an impossible heist in the heart of a hostile state. The characters are so real that you feel you could bump into them on the street, the plot is meticulously executed, and the magic is both grounded and vibrant. It’ll be your new fave.

 

 

The Orphan Queen & The Mirror King

 

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Revolution, dictatorships, secret identities, and a magic system so brutal and so inescapable it shakes the very ground on which the world is built. All the threats feel close, pressing. The characters are multidimensional, living, complex. This is a deeply alarming pair of novels, but despite the dark plot points, the writing is light and compulsively readable. These are entertaining books, and frequently very funny. If you like seeing sense prevail, and survival against dire odds, dive into this truly original world.

 

 

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