10 Dark Fantasy Novels That Will Send a Shiver Down Your Spine

Fantasy isn't all helpful fairies and pretty unicorns. Stories about magic and mythical creatures that aren't afraid to get dark have been entertaining readers since the days of the Brothers Grimm. The ten novels listed here are sure to capture your imagination and send a shiver down your spine. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Dark Fantasies: Our 10 Picks

Title Author(s)
1. Blood Oath Raye Wagner & Kelly St. Clare
2. Soulkeeper David Dalglish
3. Generation V M.L. Brennan
4. Song Jesse Teller
5. The Heretic Joseph Nassise
6. Tethered Carlyle Labuschagne
7. Deadmarsh Fey Melika Dannese Lux
8. The Spiral Heart Simon Williams
9. Scratch Steve Himmer
10. Curse of the Black Axe D.P. Prior

Fun Activities For Fantasy Fans

8 Great Fantasy Horror Movies

  1. The Craft (1996)
  2. Underworld (2003)
  3. Trick 'r Treat (2007)
  4. Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010)
  5. The Devil's Carnival (2012)
  6. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
  7. Krampus (2015)
  8. Dracula Untold (2014)

The Mythology of Monsters

In Depth

Kids love fantasies about fairy godmothers and handsome wizards, but some readers want something a bit more unsettling. Featuring intense danger and terrifying creatures, the titles on this list blend expansive worlds with frighteningly real emotions. Adding a dark twist to the genre, here, in no particular order, are ten books that will have you sleeping with the light on.

In the #1 spot is "Blood Oath" by Raye Wagner and Kelly St. Clare. In a town ruled by an evil king and patrolled by dragon shifter Lord Irrik, a band of rebels is planning a coup. When Ryn is caught breaking curfew, she is suspected of being part of the outlaw group and is thrown into the castle's dungeon. Ryn's plans to escape are complicated by the mysterious force she feels growing within her. She is attracting dangerous attention, as Irrik takes notice of something special about his new prisoner.

At #2 is "Soulkeeper" by David Dalglish. An ancient dragon has awakened and opened a portal for supernatural monsters to enter this realm. Soulkeeper Devin, once a peaceful preacher and healer, becomes a hunter and slayer of the malicious beings attacking his world. But not all the new creatures are evil, and he meets some magical allies who help him on his quest to save humankind. This first entry in the "Keepers" trilogy introduces readers to a myriad of mythical characters as the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

Soulkeeper Devin, once a peaceful preacher and healer, becomes a hunter and slayer of the malicious beings attacking his world.

Next, at #3, is "Generation V" by M.L. Brennan, which introduces readers to Fortitude Scott, a vampire who is slowly coming to grips with his full abilities. Although he belongs to a family of vampires, he has close relationships within the human world. When young girls disappear in his territory, he suspects a new vampire has moved into town. His connection to humans gives him a sense of obligation to help, despite his family's objections. His powers are not fully developed, but with help from his shapeshifter friend, he tries to hunt down this predator.

#4 on the list is "Song" by Jesse Teller. A villainous group known as the Black Cowl has released some dangerous prisoners, and an attack on the king is expected. Rayph, a powerful but retired wizard, must intercept the escaped group of villains, but he needs help if he is to succeed. Bounty hunter Konnan agrees to join the cause, but his interest does not lie in saving the monarchy. His daughter is dying, and this job offers the money he needs for her treatment. When Rayph discovers someone is targeting him as well as the king, his heroic quest becomes more difficult.

Next, at #5 on the list, is "The Heretic" by Joseph Nassise. After a fallen angel known as the Adversary kills his wife and leaves him for dead, SWAT officer Cade Williams joins the Templar, a group of knights that hunt down supernatural villains. His brush with death has left him with special abilities, which he plans on using to avenge his wife's death. He searches for years without finding any trace of the angel, until his Templar team encounters a necromancer with ties to the Adversary. Blinded by vengeance, he puts his combat unit's mission at risk for his personal vendetta.

Blinded by vengeance, he puts his combat unit's mission at risk for his personal vendetta.

In the #6 spot is "Tethered" by Carlyle Labuschagne. After discovering a cover-up that is keeping a serial killer free, brothers and FBI agents Liam and Aaron go rogue in order to find the Devil's Breath Killer. Willow is a girl who has recently received a heart transplant from the black market, and, with her new heart, can sense the killer's urges and see images of his victims. All these new feelings and visions are taking a devastating toll on her sanity, but she is the brothers' best chance at solving the case.

#7 is "Deadmarsh Fey" by Melika Dannese Lux. Roger has always spent happy summers with his family at Deadmarsh, a manor on the moors. This year, when he arrives, he finds the grounds and house are unkempt, the servants are gone, and his family is acting strangely. He discovers a curse haunts the manor, and creatures called the Jagged Ones have taken over. Roger must find out what these creatures want from the family before it's too late.

At #8 is "The Spiral Heart" by Simon Williams, the fourth book in the "Aona" series. In a world where humanoid races are enslaved and murdered, renegade Watchers rise up to fight against a much larger power. Lines between good and evil are blurred as the warring groups try to protect their own. Ilumor is prepared to fight against the invasion of his home, unaware of the terrible forces that await, as this complex tale continues to build on its already rich mythology.

In a world where humanoid races are enslaved and murdered, renegade Watchers rise up to fight against a much larger power.

In the #9 spot is "Scratch" by Steve Himmer. When Martin moves to a new town to work on a housing development, he hears tales of a shapeshifter called Scratch. He dismisses the stories as local lore, but is soon forced to reconsider after being entranced by a wild fox. Unable to stop himself, he follows it into the forest and gets lost, eventually falling asleep in the woods and encountering a bear. As people go missing, the townspeople blame Martin for disturbing the creature, and Martin's intense nightmares cause him to question his own involvement in the attacks.

#10 is "Curse of the Black Axe" by D.P. Prior, the third entry in a series about a character known as the Nameless Dwarf, who is forced to wield a murderous axe that he cannot control. He wears a helmet of magic ore that keeps him safe from the evil axe, but is a slave to its powers. He will be freed from his obligation once he gathers three items that can destroy the weapon. As Nameless gathers a team to help him complete his quest and break the curse, his teammates each have ulterior motives for joining him, one of which involves an unbreakable contract to kill Nameless.