The best dark fantasy books with unique monsters

Who am I?

I love reading about monsters as much as I love writing about them. Unfortunately, it also means I’m super picky about the dark fantasy I read. These authors don’t disappoint. Dark fantasy is a genre that I continue to return to, whether it’s aimed at teens or adults. I’ve had to deal with many monsters in my life and I understand that they can take many shapes and forms. These books are some of the very best I’ve read and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I have. 

I wrote...

The Seeking

By Marlena Frank,

Book cover of The Seeking

What is my book about?

Each Seeking, the magic that protects the town of Carra must be renewed, which means the children of the Exalted Family must go into hiding. Whether through disguise or bribe, through trusted friends or perfect hiding places, every child of the Priest family must avoid capture for the full day of The Seeking.

When things go wrong with the renewal, it’s up to seventeen-year-old Dahlia, the middle child of the Priest family, and her girlfriend, Bisa, to escape Carra and find the magical beings responsible for the protection. They must learn who would require such a cruel game every year and if the protection of the Gray People is really worth such a price. What they will discover is far worse.

The books I picked & why

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The Bone Valley

By Candace Robinson,

Book cover of The Bone Valley

Why this book?

Let me emphasize how gorgeous this book is. Imagine a Tim Burton world filled with bones and two skeletons having a heart-wrenchingly beautiful love story. That is the landscape of The Bone Valley by Candace Robinson. This book gets quite gory and dark but is absolutely my favorite of her books for its sheer originality and incredibly unique world. Not to mention the horrible villain who literally takes over the underworld just so she can torture people. Yeah, it’s dark. Robinson is known for her incredible balance of romance and horror nestled within a beautiful world, and this book is the epitome of that.

The Library at Mount Char

By Scott Hawkins,

Book cover of The Library at Mount Char

Why this book?

This is one of my favorite dark fantasy books. This book is filled with acolytes that are imbued with the power of great deities doing the bidding of a cruel godlike being. It takes some time to unravel the truth in this book simply because the kids we follow don’t understand it themselves. I am still in awe of this beautiful, complex storyline. This is a book that isn’t talked about enough. Once you get to the talking lions, you start to understand how it all fits together like a thousand-piece puzzle. Once you finish it, you’ll be begging for a sequel just like me.

Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds

By Peter Adam Salomon,

Book cover of Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds

Why this book?

A dystopian novella that seems confusing at first but makes sense as you continue along. It requires piecing together broken memories, broken friendships, and flashes of emotion that are rarely understood. Each glimpse lasts only eight minutes and thirty-two seconds. It’s quite an incredible feat of storytelling. I read this in one sitting with the sun setting outside and me barely even noticing that time existed. I was fortunate enough to know and work alongside Salomon before his recent passing and this was a book I was privileged to provide a blurb for. I was blown away by the story that unraveled before me. I promise you will be too. 

White Death

By Christine Morgan,

Book cover of White Death

Why this book?

Yes, this book is based on the Great Blizzard of 1888, but trust me when I say this isn’t a historical document. Morgan introduces a wicked new twist with supernatural creatures known as the Wanageeska. This book had me gripped from the very first chapter, and in true Morgan fashion, drew me in deep until I was in over my head. This book is gruesome, intense, and fast-paced, serving as a testament to the dangers of mother nature. Morgan easily blends the fantastic with the historical into one incredible tale that I continue to think about years after reading it.


By C. Vonzale Lewis,

Book cover of Lineage

Why this book?

Talk about intensive world-building, Lewis takes the cake with her impressive magic and gruesome villains in her novel, Lineage. Nicole Fontane, our protagonist, drew me in with her rage against corporate smoke and mirrors. Then came the incredible magical systems and magic users. And then on top of that, there are deities walking the very earth. Every time I thought it couldn’t get more intense, it did, and it’s a heck of a dangerous ride along the way.

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