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Author Topic: Any good dark heroic fantasy?  (Read 2328 times)

Offline SarahW

Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« on: November 06, 2015, 10:25:15 PM »
I don't mean dark as in witches, werewolves, mummies, and vampires. But dark in social context. If there was a new lit on Abe books, it be listed as the most depressing epic of all time.

The caveat is I want a series that doesn't reference decapitation often, it finds a multitude of other clever ways to play with your emotions without being cheap. (It's not dark because anyone can die, dark because of particular detail in psychological depth.)

I haven't read Conan yet, but I've considered it. A movie reviewer I love has high praises for it.
It's magic realism, but with more prosthetics.

Offline Rostum

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2015, 10:41:34 PM »
The home favorites here would be the first law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie and the Thorns trilogy by Mark Lawrence
if you have not found those yet?

Offline SarahW

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2015, 10:47:36 PM »
I'll be sure to record those titles down to remember them.

I'm wanting to compare Heroic Fantasy and Cyberpunk, Fantasy and Magic Realism, and Magic Realism and Cyberpunk. As well as Genre Fantasy versus Literary Fantasy.

As what naturally draws me is science fantasy of the near future.

Oh can heroic be epic? I usually here of them being separated by scope. Though left wonder what if then, it is three books but the plot focus on the hero's personal problems than plots of scope.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2015, 10:50:46 PM by SarahW »
It's magic realism, but with more prosthetics.

Offline Revan

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2015, 11:04:11 PM »
You cannot go wrong with Abercrombie.

While in his books there is a ton of violence, a lot more is based on emotions and the characters. He is quite unique in that aspect, and probably the author which has gone closest to not having a good vs bad concept. The First Law is a masterpiece of fantasy IMO, and then continuing with three standalones. Best Served Cold is an absolutely fantastic book, arguably the best standalone fanatsy book I've read. The Shattered Sea trilogy is completely unrelated, and a lighter reasing but still very good.

Lawrence is an interesting one. Probably even more violent than Abercrombie. Wouldn't say as good as him, but it is still a great author and The Broken Empire is both interesting and unique, with one of the most complex characters ever written in the genre.

Have heard great words for Bakker, but have still to read him.

The Black Company by Glen Cook is an another option. It is very dense and it is written as a chronicle, so not many descriptions. Very fast paced and very good.

Well, I guess that ASOIAF from Martin counts as dark too, and it is a must read for everyone IMO.

Hope this helps!

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2015, 09:46:02 AM »
Lawrence is an interesting one. Probably even more violent than Abercrombie. Wouldn't say as good as him,
Let's agree to disagree ;)


And SarahW, I'd give Tom Lloyd's Twilight Reign series a try too. It's not particularly dark in the first book, but it soon goes into the depths.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2015, 10:35:56 AM »
Nah Abercombie much better in my view  :D Lawrence first two books in the broken Empire are brilliant but the third was a disappointment to me, he might change my mind with his The Red Queen's Wars but that's way down my TBR pile

I second the Black Company

I would avoid Bakker
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 11:00:15 AM by Eclipse »
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Offline Yora

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2015, 10:48:10 AM »
Conan is great. But I wouldn't consider it particularly dark. Compared to what I hear of currently popular fantasy books, I would say it's pretty light in that regard.

What exactly are you looking for? Something violent or something depressing?

Oh can heroic be epic? I usually here of them being separated by scope. Though left wonder what if then, it is three books but the plot focus on the hero's personal problems than plots of scope.
Depends on what you mean by that terms. They don't really have any clear definition. A popular one seems to be that heroic and epic are opposites of each other.
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Offline Revan

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2015, 01:34:01 PM »
Lawrence is an interesting one. Probably even more violent than Abercrombie. Wouldn't say as good as him,
Let's agree to disagree ;)


And SarahW, I'd give Tom Lloyd's Twilight Reign series a try too. It's not particularly dark in the first book, but it soon goes into the depths.

From all fantasy authors who bother to write more than a book per decade, Abercrombie is easily my favorite. I like Lawrence, but I really think that Joe is on an another level. Anyway, both are great authors and reading both of them is a great thing to do.

Nah Abercombie much better in my view  :D Lawrence first two books in the broken Empire are brilliant but the third was a disappointment to me, he might change my mind with his The Red Queen's Wars but that's way down my TBR pile

I second the Black Company

I would avoid Bakker

I found Emperor of Thorns the best book on the trilogy (obviously it helps that it has a bittersweet ending, which is my favorite type of ending), followed by Prince. Not a very big fan of King of Thorns.

Offline Eclipse

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Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 01:53:17 PM »
I think nearly everyone has got a book in the Broken Empire trilogy there don't like as much as the other two  ;D
I'm Saloninus, by the way. And I tell lies, from time to time. Which goes to prove the old rule; never entirely trust a man who talks about himself in the third person.

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Offline Revan

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2015, 01:55:15 PM »
I think nearly everyone has got a book in the Broken Empire trilogy there don't like as much as the other two  ;D

Yep. In most sagas there is a consensus on which is the best and the worst book of the saga. In Broken Empire there seems that everyone differs on opinion when it comes to that.

Offline Mr.J

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Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2015, 09:17:09 PM »
I've only ever read Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence but I really enjoyed it, the two central characters have a fantastic chemistry and are very entertaining in their rapport, having the main protagonist and narrator as a self confessed unheroic and uninterested coward was a refreshing aspect in a fantasy novel for me. :)

I would also highly recommend Abercrombie, The Heroes would be another excellent place to start as it's a stand alone like Best Served Cold, but examines the psychology and futility of war and a battle through a whole menagerie of voices. As well as being very violent and studying the idea of 'heroism' in war and if that is at all possible.

Might seem an odd suggestion but Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I was surprised quite how dark the themes went and the twisted nature of a lot of the characters were in it, as well as being epic fantasy. :)

Offline Revan

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2015, 10:11:34 PM »

Might seem an odd suggestion but Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb. I was surprised quite how dark the themes went and the twisted nature of a lot of the characters were in it, as well as being epic fantasy. :)

Not odd at all. It is a great trilogy, and it is quite dark.

Liveship Traders is even better though, and it is quite dark too. Reading now the Tawny Man, and quite enjoying it despite that hundreds of pages are serving as introduction.

Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2015, 10:14:51 PM »
Reading now the Tawny Man, and quite enjoying it despite that hundreds of pages are serving as introduction.
It's not 'introduction', it's 'real life', hehe :)
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Offline leterile

Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2015, 10:19:00 PM »
Anyone read the Acts of Caine series by Matthew Stover? There's some messed up/ bad ass stuff in those books. Also there's The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

Offline Ryan Mueller

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Re: Any good dark heroic fantasy?
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2015, 04:19:45 AM »
Anyone read the Acts of Caine series by Matthew Stover? There's some messed up/ bad ass stuff in those books. Also there's The Dark Tower series by Stephen King.

The Acts of Caine might be worth a shot. It's certainly dark heroic fantasy (or perhaps anti-heroic). Well, the setup for the story is science fiction, but it feels more like fantasy.

I personally think Hari/Caine is the best antihero I've read in fantasy. He's the rare antihero that I've actually found myself rooting for.

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