Book Review: The Grand Dark

THE GRAND DARK | Richard Kadrey
06.11.2019 | Harper Voyager
Rating: 3.5/5 stars


The Great War has ended. In its wake Lower Proszawa has turned to decadence, hedonism, and drugs to squash the underlying feelings of despair. They turn their backs on those who were injured saving their lives in order to avoid eye contact or staring too long at the disfigurement maring their bodies. Each day is a struggle to survive as intelligent automata have taken over many jobs. Those that work or come into money typically spend it unwisely.

Largo stands apart from the crowd with his ambitions to better himself and ultimately become more than a bike messenger. Coming from the slums, Largo has seen the life that he wants to stay away from. He has worked hard to get where he is today. He has a beautiful girlfriend, drugs to help him through the day, a recent promotion at work, and an offer that could just change his life altogether and bring him closer to the elite class where he wants to be a member of. As Lower Proszawa gets stranger, Largo can feel the shift in those around him turning dark. Will he be sucked into this darkness or can he prevail and make for himself the life he has always wanted?

The most dangerous monsters are always the most charming. That way you won’t notice as they slip you down their gullet.

Fantasy and science fiction are two genres that I typically don’t read much of. I find myself drawn to these genres more in film and television. When I read the premise for THE GRAND DARK it sounded like something I would love to watch and I figured, why not take the chance?

THE GRAND DARK launches with a lot of worldbuilding and character development for Largo. I greatly enjoyed learning more about Lower Proszawa, Largo, and those he comes into contact with. It was a little hard for me to imagine everything right away, but eventually I found my footing thanks to Kadrey’s magnificent attention to detail. I can see why readers enjoy getting to travel to new places and worlds with fantasy and science fiction books!

The premise surrounding The Great War and what has happened is fantastical, but also not too over the top to make it unrelatable. There are always similar scenarios that stem from war and countries being left to clean up the mess. Certain groups of people are always affected more than others. These truths are all included in THE GRAND DARK, simply applied in unique ways.

Open your eyes a bit. What you see might not make you happy, but it will make you more human.

The character of Largo is truly what sold me on this story and the book as a whole. Largo comes equipped with a not quite rags to riches story. As in, he hasn’t made it to the riches yet, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t trying. In a world and environment where most people seem content to just get by or have had luxury handed to them, Largo stands out with his larger than life ambitions. His new promotion at work has finally given him the keys to his possible success, but is the time right? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!

THE GRAND DARK is a slow burn trip into a fantasy tale that will take you on an exciting adventure! There are plenty of interesting characters to keep the reader and Largo on their toes throughout the story! The pace may be slower, but there is a reward at the end. Don’t be put off if you’re confused at first where this story is leading. Hang in there and enjoy the ride!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: Thank you to Harper Voyager and TLC Book Tours for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Grand Dark

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