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Gritty Fantasy Books

Gritty fantasy is all the rage these days. One of the first authors to bring gritty fantasy to the table was Glen Cook with his Black Company series. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire helped to make realistic fantasy “popular.”

Characteristics of Gritty Fantasy

  • Level of Magic

Generally pretty low, and what there is of it is not attractive. The villains who tend to use it most are diminished by their reliance on it.


  • Level of Characterization

Moral ambiguity is the name of this game. Heroes and villains may be hard to distinguish, apart from the fact that one has a quest and the other is trying to stop its attainment. There can be a lot of characters.


  • Level of Plot Complexity

Many plot lines, all made complex by their lack of moral straightforwardness. Readers who dislike anti-heroes are advised to seek out Hero Fantasy instead.


  • Level of Violence

The level of violence, sex, and violent sex are high in this sub-genre, and is mainly what differentiates this sub-genre from other related types.

Popular Gritty Fantasy Books Books