If a book starts out with a happy tone and then shows that “nothing is what it seems” and goes dark, but then goes back to a happy tone, can that book still be dark fantasy?
Does dark fantasy always have to have dark elements in the beginning to set the tone? I looked up “dark fantasy books” on Google and you know how they suggest photos of books? Well, the first one was Shadow and Bone. And I remember how it begins: not dark. It does eventually get dark, but it takes a while for it to get there.
Maybe we don’t trust Google then, what about websites that suggest dark fantasy books? White Stag by Kara Barbieri was listed as one. And I went on Amazon. It begins with a haunting castle and the first chapter has a sudden fight scene with blood and everything (which seemed to come out of nowhere for shock value, but that’s just my opinion and I haven’t read the entire book). It did give the sense that it would continue to be dark.
So, yes, that IS dark and fantasy, so it’s dark fantasy, right?
But can you have a book that is continuously dark? Wouldn’t you get exhausted reading? If there’s no rest from the unknown, the horror, the fear, the tension…isn’t that just kind of depressing?
That’s why something like Shadow and Bone which doesn’t begin dark is considered dark fantasy.
- Off the top of your head, what are some other dark fantasy books you can think of?
- Would you consider His Dark Materials trilogy as dark fantasy? Harry Potter as dark fantasy? Warrior Cats as dark fantasy? Where do you draw the line between “this fantasy is kinda dark, but it’s not in the dark fantasy genre” and “this is in the dark fantasy genre”?