Reviews :: Book Genre :: Dark Fantasy

This archive contains links to all of the Dark Fantasy Book Reviews we've written over the years. Look out. They just might bite you if you turn away. If you've come here looking for something in that realm, you're in luck! We just happen to have more than a few suggestions lying around the place waiting for your perusal.

If you're looking for something else, say a book in another genre or maybe just any book that we happened to think was awesome-sauce, browse around the site for a bit and check out our reviews.

Just don't forget to let us know what you thought of a book you've read or if there's a suggestion you have for something we'd like to read! We're always looking for the next deep dive into the grim depths of this brilliant genre.

Review

Middlegame

Posted: July 28, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Seanan McGuire, Dark Fantasy
Middlegame

A lot of books can’t wait to reveal all of their secrets. Others dole them out slowly, reeling the reader in little by little. And while unintentional disorientation is the sign of bad writing, intentional disorientation can be fun. It requires a little more work and patience from your reader, but once you figure out the game, it can heighten the pleasure inherent in reading, the tension and relief of revelation.
MIDDLEGAME takes the ‘low and slow’ approach, revealing its secrets bit by bit. It’s effective because McGuire centers a complex story structure around compelling and simple character stakes to make an unusual story.
Asphodel Baker, a talented alchemist who was ignored and underestimated because she was a woman, had a big idea. She wanted to embody the Doctrine of Ethos, which McGuire describes as the “balance between language and mathematics” (kindle location 108). Basically Baker believed that these two forces shape the world, and could bring magic back into it if […]Read the rest of this review »

Review

The Lessons Never Learned

The Lessons Never Learned

Okay, so yes. I admit it. I’ve been putting off writing this review. In case you might have somehow missed my response to the first book in this series, ALONG THE RAZORS EDGE (EBR Review), it absolutely left me gasping for more. That story is easily one of the best dark fantasy stories I’ve read in the last year, and I haven’t only been noodling around in the self-published arena during that time. I’ve read some authors that I consider to be some heavy hitters. So to say that I was super excited to get into this book would be a pretty powerful understatement. I absolutely couldn’t wait. Like fingers twitching and stuff, grasping for more of The War Eternal. It stands to reason that there will be some spoilers here. So, if you haven’t read that first one yet… seriously, go buy it and read it and then you can come back for my thoughts on this one.
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Review

The Gutter Prayer

Posted: June 5, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Gareth Hanrahan, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
The Gutter Prayer

This one sat on my shelves for way too long. Being fair, after I first got it, I read the opening chapter and was totally turned off by what I found. Put it back on the shelf and forgot about it for a while. After seeing some buzz about it though, I decided to pick it back up. Still hated that opening chapter (a prologue that really wasn’t a proper prologue), but after that it got pretty decent and didn’t bother me again until the end of chapter 1. 🙂
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Review

Blood Song

Posted: May 15, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Anthony Ryan, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Blood Song

Seems like forever ago that we had someone comment on the site that we should check out this series. (Bonus points to anyone that knows where that suggestion is located…) So it’s been sitting at the back of my head ever since then, just worrying away at my sanity, while I watched my TBR pile ebb and flow. In fact, I’d all but forgotten about it when I came across an available audio book copy at my local library. Public Libraries ftw yet again.
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Review

Along the Razor’s Edge

Posted: March 27, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Love Meta: Rob J. Hayes, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Along the Razor’s Edge

So here I stand with another self-published fantasy novel at the completed end of my reading schedule, ready to write a review for you our reading public. What ho! you might say, “knowing” that we here at EBR would never deign to dip into the slush pile of self-publication by choice and thus thinking, perhaps, either us liars or yourselves the subject of a slip in the space-time continuum. But don’t worry your pretty little heads. There’s a part of me that is, as well, equally surprised to be bringing you my thoughts and feelings about such a book, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Because more than anything else, I like to be pleasantly surprised. Only problem is that this read was anything but a pleasant surprise. Instead…

It was a bloody brilliant evolution of sheer story-telling genius.

And now I get to share that experience with you.
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Review

Black Stone Heart

Posted: March 24, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Michael R. Fletcher, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Black Stone Heart

I don’t often go out wandering amidst the self-published story crowd, but I was vaguely not-paying-attention on Twitter a while ago and ended up making a request for an eArc without realizing from whom I was making said request. That story is not this one (you have to wait until Friday for that one), but after making that first request and paying attention to what that author was doing, I ended up making a couple of other requests from self-published authors that were in his circle, and this is one of those.

Without being too specific, I can definitely say that I have been pleasantly surprised with both of those I’ve read so far. Count me lucky, but more likely blame the buzz about this year’s instance of Mark Lawrence’s Blog-Off for steering me in the right direction. Because otherwise, I likely wouldn’t have ever come across this author or his book anytime soon. And can I give some kudos to the artist of the cover art? Was totally one of the things that made me take the plunge and read this one. Check it out.
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Review

Alice

Posted: March 13, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books We Like Meta: Christina Henry, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Alice

After reading Christina Henry’s THE GIRL IN RED (EBR Review), I couldn’t wait to find out what other tales she’d been telling that I didn’t yet know about. That first one was a brilliant take on the simple tale of Red Riding Hood, and I was hoping to find more of the same in this one, which is obviously pointed at the classic tale Alice in Wonderland. There have been enough versions of both these tales told that it might seem as if we really don’t need another. One of the great things about storytelling though is that even if the ideas and plots are pillars of stability in our minds, a new tale can still be just as invigorating and fun to read as if everything were brand new. And these stories? They’re pretty new. There’s enough of both the familiar and the new that they end up being really great reads. But here I am getting ahead of myself a bit.
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Review

The Electric Heir

Posted: March 10, 2020 by Jane Funk in Books We Like Meta: Victoria Lee, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Young Adult
The Electric Heir

Beautiful, self-destructive teens placed in abusive, impossible situations. An interweaving of magic and technology. An ongoing sense of dread.

Welcome back to Victoria Lee’s Feverwake series! THE ELECTRIC HEIR, the dark and compelling final installment carries our protagonist, Noam Álvaro towards a brutal confrontation with tyrant and with his own choices.

A brief note: while I tried to avoid spoilers for THE ELECTRIC HEIR, this review has MAJOR spoilers for the first book in the duology, THE FEVER KING. Reader beware.
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Review

Blood Heir

Blood Heir

I was fairly surprised when I saw this book displayed on a wall at my local library. Some of you may be familiar with or remember some of the mess that rose up around this book back in 2018. This is the author’s debut novel, and when it went out for early reviews, there was a bundle of people that started complaining quite loudly about how the book was racist and condoned slavery, and there was a big ruckus about it. By the time I’d even heard about it though, the book had been pulled from publication, by request of the author, and it was no longer available for review. Color me excited though when I saw that the book had quite obviously been published after all, and I was going to get a look at what all the hubbub was about.

Turns out, there wasn’t much to get excited over.
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Review

Age of Assassins

Posted: January 3, 2020 by Writer Dan in Books that are Mediocre Meta: R.J. Barker, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Age of Assassins

Recently I’d been seeing frequent mentions about R.J. Barker’s new book, The Bone Ships, but didn’t have ready access to a copy. So I went looking for another book by the same author and found this one. Apparently it’s his debut novel, and was just published a couple years ago. From the publication schedule, it looks like they were probably all written first, and then he got picked up by his publisher. 6-month, very regular release dates kind of point in that direction. Seems like I see this significantly more often from speculative authors across the pond, but not so much from those here in America. Wonder if that’s because I just haven’t noticed them, or perhaps if it’s just something they don’t do here as often. Bonus for people that find they really like the thing, I guess. 🙂
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