Do you like your magic on the sinister side? Do you find yourself rooting for the villain in your fantasy stories? Do you like your protagonists in shades of gray and your monsters with some real bite? Then Dark fantasy may be the genre for you. And luckily, it is also NoveList’s newest genre for adult, teen, and older children readers. 

Dark fantasy is often used to describe the place where horror and fantasy meet. Often, but not always, these stories are told from the perspective of the so-called monster. Supernatural beings such as vampires, werewolves, and ghosts are presented in a more sympathetic view but still maintain their horror trappings. Any “heroes” are likely to be morally gray anti-hero types. 

Typical tones include creepy, darkly humorous, disturbing, gruesome, and menacing. The writing style is often gritty, and characters are likely to be flawed or complex. However, there must still be an element of fantasy, supernatural, or the paranormal to qualify. So, while you will find plenty of creature feature and vampire menace horror here, you will not find your run-of-the-mill serial killer...unless, of course, they’re using black magic. 

Popular examples include Neil Gaiman’s Sandman graphic novels, Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone, both recently adapted into Netflix series, Michael Moorcock’s Elric: The Stealer of Souls, Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns, and Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul, also a popular anime. 

Ready to help yourself or a patron dive into the dark side? Simply search GN dark fantasy to see the list of books with this heading. Add in some of our subject headings to find your favorite “creature.” You can use the limiters on the left side of your screen to narrow down your search, OR you can combine the genre heading with some of your other favorite NoveList story elements to find a just-right title. 

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Christie Burwell is a Data Analyst/Taxonomist at NoveList. She is currently reading Yours Cruelly, Elvira by Cassandra Peterson, and Sundial by Catriona Ward.