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July 11th, 2007, 02:12 PM #16
The only people who write "lite" fantasy are the comic fantasy writers and even they slip in heavy stuff frequently. Lynch's Lies is definitely not light. It has some humor in it, but mostly it's black humor and there's plenty of violence. Guy Gavriel Kay's stuff is definitely not light and Novik's story, which is about war as much of fantasy is, doesn't sound light to me. Butcher's stories are not at all light and have quite a lot of violence and gore. Fantasy is predominantly battle and suspense fiction, so light really doesn't enter into it.
Where books differ, and get the gritty label, is in the amount of raw, graphic content they contain -- how much you see versus how much happens off-stage and in how much detail and how violent what you are seeing might be and how frequently such violence occurs. If a novel is "gritty," it's very graphic and there's a lot of violence throughout the story and its described in full detail.
Based on gritty content, then, with the least amount of gritty content first and then in increasing order, it would be:
Farseer (and others like Liveship, etc)
Song of Ice and Fire
Malazan Book of the Fallen
Prince of Nothing (yes, it's really gritty)
But Hobb's stuff has plenty of grit in it. If you are dealing with stories about war, sabatoge, dark magic, dangerous creatures, deadly diseases and corruption, then it's going to be gritty. If you don't want much in the way of violence, then I'd recommend Peter S. Beagle's "A Fine and Private Place" and Kij Johnson's "The Fox Woman." Other than that, enjoy the grit.