It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of dark fantasy. In fact, I believe I can even be quoted saying “the darker, the better”, as if I’m issuing a challenge to all you lovely authors out there. The past few years have seen a spike in the amount of published Grimdark Fantasy novels around the world, and the difficult-to-define subgenre has become my personal favorite to read. However, I haven’t had the pleasure of reading many Grimdark novels written by women – it’s time to correct this travesty.
In the grim darkness of the far future there is only WAR.
Nobody really knows. And that’s why it’s so wonderful. It can simply be viewed as the gritty polar opposite of heroic fantasy. Or we can (but we won’t) go into all the finer details. It has often been described as a grim and…dark, often nihilistic and misogynistic, subgenre of speculative fiction featuring dystopian environments, violent themes, and morally gray characters. While I can see the reasoning and evidence behind these allegations, I personally believe Grimdark allows authors to examine the atrocities that plague our world, and bring attention, albeit in a magnified manner, to the wrongness we try to pretend doesn’t exist.
Damien Walter of The Guardian has described Grimdark as “bigger swords, more fighting, bloodier blood, more fighting, axes, more fighting” – I mean, who doesn’t want bloodier blood? However, he also adds it’s a “commercial imperative to win adolescent male readers” – which I cannot necessarily agree with. My response: let’s show them this is a niche that should be revered by all, and we’ll begin by celebrating the incredibly talented Ladies of Grimdark.
What initially began as a read-a-thon has evolved into a new Whispers & Wonder review series, because there are simply too many amazing books to cram into a single month. Each month I hope to read at least one Grimdark (or very dark fantasy) book written by a female author, and I already have a nice healthy stack to choose from. Each book will get a read and review, adorned with an extra special badge of honor, then get added to this central hub to be shared with you all.
Please feel free to add some recs in the comments below – I’m always looking for new great authors to read.
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Interview with ML Spencer, and a review of Chains of Blood
READ THE SPOTLIGHT