March 30, 2020, 09:04:32 PM

Author Topic: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels  (Read 9321 times)

Offline Phil the Drill

Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« on: March 25, 2014, 04:09:02 PM »
Of course you don't have to get into graphic detail or anything, but what fantasy novels have you read that really disturbed you, either in a good way or bad way. I mean in a good way as in made you feel unease or dread like you would in a dark fantasy or horror novel. In a bad way, I mean maybe the content just turned you off and you didn't want to read it because it bothered you too much.

As someone who read lots of Jack Ketchum (one of the more disturbing horror writers I've read, in a good way) in the past, I'm curious if there are fantasy novelists producing disturbing work.

Thoughts?
“I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, & am content.” Robert E. Howard

Offline Idlewilder

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 04:18:50 PM »
Certain events in Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson were quite disturbing to read, but honestly the only book that has really affected me in this way (so much so that I put it down for a while) was King of Thorns. Most people probably know the bit I'm referring to.  It involves a fire...

Make Another World.

Offline Saraband

  • Haggis eater, fantasy scribbler and a Writing Contest Regular
  • Writing Group
  • Master Namer
  • ******
  • Posts: 2283
  • Total likes: 1004
  • Gender: Male
  • Geeky Reading (and Writing) Introvert
    • View Profile
    • BrawBlether
Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 04:54:37 PM »
This is now a cliché due to the television series, but I will never forget the moment I read the famous wedding scene in the third book of George R. R. Martin's ASOIAF. I was shocked, and went into some form of grieving for a couple of days.

Eragon is novel I remember for all the wrong reasons. I heard the hype, and was really excited about it, but found it to be so poor, and so unoriginal, that I wasn't even able to make my way to the end.
https://brawblether.com

"Poor gauzy souls trying to express ourselves in something tangible." - F. S. Fitzgerald

"Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love." - Robert Burns

Offline ladybritches

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2014, 04:20:35 AM »
The most disturbing books I've read lately haven't been fantasy, but there was a scene in either City of Dragons or Blood of Dragon's by Robin Hobb, where a woman was giving birth under dire circumstances, and that bit was a little too real, if you know what I mean. I couldn't help but think how absolutely horrifying the  situation would be in real life, and Hobb described it well enough that it felt like real life. Other than that one scene though, I got nothin'.

Offline Elfy

  • Writing contest regular
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 7270
  • Total likes: 782
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Purple Dove House
Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 04:26:34 AM »
I'd have to say Ian Tregillis' Milkweed triptych of late. The character of Gretel has just stayed with me from the time I finished the last book last year.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Offline SkynJay

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2014, 12:36:50 PM »
An old one called Maia by Adams disturbed me back in the day, though I doubt the shock value would still be there.  It was one of the first sexually explicit fantasy I read, and I grabbed it in my mid-teens.

Seems like today is a Goodkind bashing day for me (sorry) but he had a disgusting scene where his bad guy mind links a bunch of women then turns them over the troops so they each feel each others horror along with their own.

The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart was more of a physical reaction, but not for those with week knees (or stomachs).

Offline Overlord

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2014, 01:05:09 PM »
Not sure if I'd say disturbing (I'd like to say the end of FEED by Mira Grant, but it didn't hit my as hard as I'd have expected it too - not sure why), but the most emotionally powerful piece of writing I've read is early/mid-way through Name of the  Wind when Kvothe's last remaining possession, his lute, is smashed to bits for no reason. I remember being in real shock and sharing that character's pain in that moment - perhaps birthed my love of and belief in Rothfuss's writing.
Founder: http://fantasy-faction.com
Editor: Fantasy-Faction Anthology (Aug 2014)
Author: "Son of…" in 1853 (2013)
Host: Fantasy-Faction's Grim Gathering

Offline Mishell Baker

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2014, 01:11:52 PM »
No one has mentioned Mark Lawrence yet?  There's an animal cruelty scene in King of Thorns that outdoes anything in ASoIaF for me.  It's devastating.  And it doesn't glorify it in any way; the whole point of it is that it's a thing no human being should ever have to do.

Offline Idlewilder

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 01:42:29 PM »
No one has mentioned Mark Lawrence yet?  There's an animal cruelty scene in King of Thorns that outdoes anything in ASoIaF for me.  It's devastating.  And it doesn't glorify it in any way; the whole point of it is that it's a thing no human being should ever have to do.

Well, I did...
Make Another World.

Offline Stars Cascade

  • Bridgeburner
  • *****
  • Posts: 514
  • Total likes: 4
  • Gender: Female
  • All Knowledge is worth having
    • View Profile
Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 04:56:38 PM »
The very random rape scene at the very beginning of the first Thomas covenant.  I just wasn't expecting w at all. I found the entire book pretty bleak to be honest,  havent started the second as a direct result.
~ Love as thou Wilt ~

*@stars__cascade*

Offline Elfy

  • Writing contest regular
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 7270
  • Total likes: 782
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Purple Dove House
Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 11:52:01 PM »
Not sure if I'd say disturbing (I'd like to say the end of FEED by Mira Grant, but it didn't hit my as hard as I'd have expected it too - not sure why), but the most emotionally powerful piece of writing I've read is early/mid-way through Name of the  Wind when Kvothe's last remaining possession, his lute, is smashed to bits for no reason. I remember being in real shock and sharing that character's pain in that moment - perhaps birthed my love of and belief in Rothfuss's writing.
Did you read Deadline? The coda at the end of that is a total OMG moment.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Offline Naminé

Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2014, 07:20:07 AM »
The wedding scene in ASOIAF totally got me, too. A lot of the deaths in these books shocked me to be honest. Until I read Martin I always thought main characters would never die. Well, he proofed me wrong. And again. And again. And again. :)
I remember reading The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. The scenes with Logan were a bit too realistic sometimes.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Hiro (meeting himself in the future): I look upset.
Ando: Go. Talk to yourself.
Hiro: No way... I scare me. You do it.

Offline Elfy

  • Writing contest regular
  • Powers That Be
  • Big Wee Hag
  • *
  • Posts: 7270
  • Total likes: 782
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
    • Purple Dove House
Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2014, 12:15:17 AM »
Most scenes of animal cruelty will probably get me to put the book down and never pick it up again. I can't even remember the name of the book now, but I read one that involved cruelty to a cat (I'm not even a cat person) and I gave the book up at that point, mostly because it simply wasn't needed and it sickened me to the stomach to even read it.
Back on track more. It by Stephen King. I wonder how many people have coulrophobia (fear of clowns) because of that book.
In ASoIaF the events at the end of A Game of Thrones with a main character dying affected me more than the Red Wedding. I'd just never seen anyone do that with one of their principals before in fantasy and it made me realise that this guy was playing for keeps and that no one was safe, although he hasn't been as keen to kill off majors since, without giving them some sort of an out.
I will expand your TBR pile.

http://purpledovehouse.blogspot.com

Offline Lejays17

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2014, 01:06:24 AM »
I would agree with Elfy about the Milkweed Tryptich, especially Gretel's character.  And to a lesser extent Reinhardt, the "salamandar", the things he did were truly creepy!

Another series that gave me the cold shivers was the Small Change trilogy by Jo Walton.  A "what-if" with the tipping point being 1941, and the Nazis being invited into England, and the US never entering the war.  It wasn't so much what happened (it's essentially a murder-mystery set in an English country house), but the world that has resulted from the small change that happened.


And more of a SF than Fantasy, in that's its a Dr Who novel, but Sanctuary by David McIntee, that left me with a sense of dread through the entire thing, but that could also be becuase I knew the ultimate fate of the non-Dr Who characters, and it was pretty much just waiting for the hammer to drop on them all.  :)
"Logic, my dear Zoe, merely enables you to be wrong with authority." The Doctor - Wheel in Space

"It's not destiny!  It's a crazy scientist with a giant snake!" Sinbad - For Whom the Egg Shatters

Re: Most Disturbing Fantasy Novels
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2014, 02:55:58 AM »
This past weekend I read The Red Tree by Caitlin Kiernan -- dark fantasy/horror.

This book disturbed me in a very good way -- it's my favorite book in at least a year. But Christ on a cracker, even yesterday I kept having moments like better lock your door, oh wait it won't do any good in the middle of the daytime.

I read a compilation of young adult fairy tale retellings (Swan Sister, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling) as a palate cleanser.

Good book, but it's not working.

I don't think anything would.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2014, 03:04:00 AM by FeminineFantastique »
Manic Pixie Dream Worlds - http://manicpixiedreamworlds.wordpress.com/
a blog for the discussion of women writing and reading in speculative fiction