Tag: grimdark

Support Independent Fantasy

Eric is one of my favorite guys blogging and writing Fantasy right now. He’s a starting author with a lot of the same tastes as me and going for the same Indy aesthetic that I am going for. He put out a 99 cent short story that I picked up and enjoyed. Go ahead and pick it up yourself, read it, enjoy, and continue to support independent writers.


“If you’re a fan of short fiction, be it fantasy short stories or episodic fiction, I am excited to say that my new story Forsaken is available today on Amazon. Forsaken is the first tale in The Exiled Crown series, a short fiction series I have several future stories planned for. I hope you’ll give Forsaken a try and I […]

via Forsaken (The Exiled Crown #1) — Eric S. Fomley

The Builders by Daniel Polansky


After about a year or so of hearing Daniel Polansky brought up whenever dark gritty fantasy was discussed I finally got around to reading some of his stuff. I picked up his Hugo-nominated novella, The Builders as a quick read between larger novels.

The Builders is an anthropomorphic grimdark western. A band of violent, gun-slinging, talking animals  goes on a suicidal revenge quest. It uses the standard plot of 7 Samurai and The Magnificent Seven; a leader, here a one-eyed scarred mouse named The Captain, gathers his band of violent comrades for a bloody showdown.

The Builders succeeds in fun and execution but falters in the end. The early scenes where each animal is introduced are pure fun. Bonsoir the French Stoat is the standout reminding me of Val Kilmers Doc Holiday. Unfortunately, it seems Polansky really enjoyed the idea of a violent western with anthropomorphic animals but was over it by the time finale which felt crowded and rushed.

Overall The Builders was a quick fun read well worth the time. It left me with a positive impression of Polansky’s writing; enough for me to push his other novels towards the top of my to-read list. I personally would have enjoyed these characters in a longer novel format.

I also enjoy the idea of the novella format itself. The length is ideal for a quick read over coffee and the 2.99 price point  for a polished product seems fair to me. I hope the trend of novellas being released on Amazon continues.

So if you enjoy anthropomorphic animals, gritty westerns, and a snarky written voice pick up The Builders and enjoy.

A Barbarian Book Update


I’m sitting here, petting my vicious dog, enjoying a nice cup of Earl Gray, and reading book two in Robin Hobbs Farseer Trilogy. You can feast your worthless eyes on the finished review for book one in the series Assassins Apprentice a few posts below. I decided to post in the middle of my reading to share how much I love this series. Every chapter I finish inches this series closer and closer to the top of my favorite Fantasy mountain. It’s a dark, brooding, complex, character driven plot that bounces from exciting action to contemplative heartbreak. Trust me, you want to read it along with me.

Most importantly the first book in the series is on sale in the Kindle store for $1.99 and the whole trilogy is on sale for 13 bucks. Click on the picture and buy it!

In other news trolling through r/fantasy I came across a link advertising Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself for $1.99. This is supposed to be one of the founding novels in the Grimdark sub-genre and one I have been wanting to read for awhile. I couldn’t resit the $1.99 price and the fact that it’s about some sort of badass barbarian and crippled torturer. As soon as I finish The Farseer Trilogy I will divert myself into the world of Logan Ninefingers and Inquisitor Glokta. So just like above, if you are in need of a read both of these books are really cheap right now.


This has been my good deed for the month, enjoy.

Prince of Fools (The Red Queen’s War #1)

prince of fools

“I’m a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play, or bravery.” -Jalan

I finished 2014 by reading and thoroughly enjoying The Broken Empire Trilogy so I thought it fitting to start 2015 with Mark Lawrence’s latest book Prince of Fools. After finishing it I can safely say that Prince of Fools is a fantastic piece of Fantasy and so far the best book by Mark Lawrence.  I enjoyed his previous work but with PoF Mark really nails dark fantasy, great characters, and exciting adventure.

Prince of Fools(The Red Queen’s War) tells the story of Prince Jalan Kendeth, a lecherous, skirt chasing, boozing, immoral, coward. Jalan is the 10th grandson of the ferocious and powerful Red Queen of the March and with so many relatives ahead of him he spends his days debauching and running up debts. But his days of shiftlessness abruptly end when he inadvertently attracts the attention of the Silent Sister, a mysterious hidden woman rumored to be the power behind the Red Queen. Dark Magic, rumor of undead raids in the North, a ill fated opera, slave fighting pits, and Jalan somehow ends up magically bound to a ferocious Viking named Snorri Ver Snagason. Together they set out towards the frozen undead infested north to break the spell binding them and avenge Snorri’s people.

Lawrence nailed the characters in this book. Jalan is a cowardly, selfish, and immoral, but extremely sympathetic. He lives in a brutal violent world and the rationalization he gives for his actions all make sense. Why be a hero when hero’s get easily killed, a sword kills a hero just as fast as it does a farmer. Why put your life on the line when you can spend it drinking and whoring. His counterpart Snorri is a fanatical Viking, a fearless killing machine bound by honor. As a team Snorri and Jalan balance each other making their friendship and adventure a fantastic read.

What puts this book over the top of awesome for me was the fact that at it’s core Prince of Fools is a old school fantasy adventure, two men traveling on a quest, chased by necromancers, witches, bandits, through a brutal unforgiving world. It’s exactly the kind of story that got me into fantasy in the first place but put through the dirty lens of 21st century grimdark Lawrence style.

The Liars Key (Red Queens War #2) is scheduled for June 2nd of this year and I can’t wait. I would gamble the locket holding the only picture of my mother to get my hands on this book early.