Are you tired of the same old heroes always coming out on top? Do you find yourself more fascinated by the darker side of literature? If so, we’ve got just the list for you. In this article, we’ve compiled the 20 best books about villains and anti-heroes that will make you question everything you thought you knew about good and evil. From classic novels to contemporary thrillers, these villains and anti-heroes books will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you rooting for the “bad guys”. So, get ready to delve into the dark and complex world of literature’s most captivating characters.
- 1 Vicious
- 2 Gone Girl
- 3 American Psycho
- 4 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
- 5 The Talented Mr. Ripley
- 6 The Secret History
- 7 You
- 8 The Count of Monte Cristo
- 9 The Picture of Dorian Gray
- 10 The Silence of the Lambs
- 11 The Killer Inside Me
- 12 The Wicked King
- 13 The Lies of Locke Lamora
- 14 The Blade Itself
- 15 Prince of Thorns
- 16 The Poppy War
- 17 The Broken Empire Trilogy
- 18 The First Law Trilogy
- 19 The Dark Tower Series
- 20 The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
- 21 Conclusion
by V.E. Schwab
Vicious by V.E. Schwab is a thrilling book about villains and anti-heroes that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. In this captivating story, Schwab explores the dark and twisted minds of extraordinary individuals who possess supernatural powers. Prepare to be enthralled by the morally gray characters who blur the lines between heroes and villains. Schwab’s masterful storytelling and intricate plot will leave you questioning the nature of good and evil. This is not your typical superheroes and supervillains tale. With its gripping narrative and complex characters, Vicious is a must-read for anyone who loves a thought-provoking and action-packed story. Get ready to dive into a world where the line between hero and villain is blurred beyond recognition.
by Gillian Flynn
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is a thrilling and twisted tale of deception, manipulation, and the dark secrets that lie within a seemingly perfect marriage. This gripping novel delves deep into the psyche of its characters, exploring the complex and often sinister nature of both villains and anti-heroes.
by Bret Easton Ellis
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis is a gripping and controversial book on villains and anti-heroes. Set in the late 1980s, the story follows Patrick Bateman, a wealthy investment banker in New York City, who leads a double life as a sadistic serial killer. With meticulous attention to detail, Ellis explores the dark and disturbed mind of Bateman, delving into his obsession with materialism, violence, and the superficiality of the yuppie culture that surrounds him. The novel offers a chilling and satirical critique of society, as it blurs the line between reality and Bateman’s twisted fantasies. This book about villains and anti-heroes pushes the boundaries of morality and challenges readers to confront the depths of human depravity.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson is a captivating book about villains and anti-heroes. Set in Sweden, this thrilling crime novel follows journalist Mikael Blomkvist as he investigates the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy industrialist’s niece. Teaming up with the enigmatic and fiercely talented hacker Lisbeth Salander, they uncover a dark web of corruption, deceit, and violence. With its intricate plot, complex characters, and themes of justice and revenge, this villains and anti-heroes book keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Larsson’s masterful storytelling and attention to detail make The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo a must-read for anyone who enjoys delving into the dark and twisted world of crime fiction.
The Talented Mr. Ripley
by Patricia Highsmith
The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith is a gripping book on villains and anti-heroes. Set in the 1950s, it follows the enigmatic Tom Ripley, a charismatic and cunning young man who will stop at nothing to achieve his desires. When he is given the opportunity to travel to Italy to bring back the wealthy and privileged Dickie Greenleaf, Ripley becomes obsessed with assuming his identity and lifestyle. As the lines between reality and fiction blur, readers are taken on a thrilling journey into the mind of a sociopath. Highsmith’s masterful storytelling and complex character development make this book about villains and anti-heroes an absolute page-turner. Prepare to be captivated by Ripley’s dark charm and disturbing actions as he delves deeper into a world of deceit and manipulation.
The Secret History
by Donna Tartt
The Secret History by Donna Tartt is a captivating book about a group of college students who become entangled in a web of secrets, deceit, and murder. This thrilling and dark novel explores the lives of these complex characters, delving into their journey from ordinary students to self-proclaimed “villains” and “anti-heroes.” With its richly detailed prose and intricate plot, Tartt creates a mesmerizing world where morality becomes blurred and the line between good and evil is often crossed. This book on villains and anti-heroes challenges our understanding of right and wrong, forcing us to question the motives and actions of these fascinating characters. As the secrets unravel, readers are left wondering who the true villains are and whether redemption is ever truly possible. The Secret History is an intense and thought-provoking read that will leave you questioning the nature of morality and the lengths we are willing to go to protect our darkest secrets.
by Caroline Kepnes
You by Caroline Kepnes is a gripping and chilling book on villains and anti-heroes. This psychological thriller takes you deep into the mind of Joe Goldberg, a seemingly ordinary bookstore manager with a twisted obsession. Joe becomes infatuated with Guinevere Beck, a beautiful aspiring writer, and his obsession quickly turns into a dangerous game of manipulation and control. As the story unfolds, Kepnes masterfully explores the dark depths of Joe’s mind, blurring the lines between love and obsession, and forcing readers to question their own perceptions of right and wrong. With its unique perspective and complex characters, this villains and anti-heroes book will leave you both disturbed and captivated, unable to look away from the chilling world Kepnes has created.
The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas is a riveting tale of revenge, betrayal, and redemption. This captivating book on villains and anti-heroes follows the story of Edmond Dantès, a young sailor who is wrongfully imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. After spending years in a dark and despairing dungeon, he emerges as the enigmatic and wealthy Count of Monte Cristo. Driven by a burning desire for vengeance against those who betrayed him, Dantès manipulates his way into the lives of his enemies, leaving a trail of destruction in his wake. As the plot unfolds, the reader is drawn into a web of intricate schemes, moral dilemmas, and unexpected twists. The Count of Monte Cristo is a timeless masterpiece that explores the depths of human nature and the thin line between heroism and villainy.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde is a captivating book on villains and anti-heroes. Set in the glamorous world of 19th-century London, it tells the story of Dorian Gray, a young and handsome man who becomes obsessed with his own beauty. When a portrait is painted of him, he makes a Faustian bargain that allows him to stay forever young while the painting ages in his place. As Dorian indulges in a life of debauchery and sin, the portrait becomes a grotesque reflection of his moral decay. This book about villains and anti-heroes explores themes of vanity, corruption, and the consequences of one’s actions. Wilde’s rich prose and sharp wit make this a truly mesmerizing tale of the dark side of humanity.
The Silence of the Lambs
by Thomas Harris
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris is a gripping and bone-chilling book about villains and anti-heroes. This psychological thriller introduces us to the brilliant and sinister Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a cannibalistic serial killer who becomes an unlikely source of information for young FBI trainee Clarice Starling. The story follows Clarice as she delves into the twisted mind of another deranged murderer, Buffalo Bill, in a race against time to save his next victim. With its intense cat-and-mouse game, complex characters, and a captivating narrative, The Silence of the Lambs is a masterclass in suspense and psychological terror. Prepare to be captivated and disturbed as you dive into this unforgettable villains and anti-heroes book.
The Killer Inside Me
by Jim Thompson
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson is a gripping and disturbing book about villains and anti-heroes. Set in a small Texas town, the story follows the twisted mind of Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford, a seemingly ordinary man with a dark and sinister secret. Ford’s facade begins to crumble as he embarks on a violent and sadistic killing spree, revealing the true depths of his malevolence. Thompson’s masterful storytelling delves deep into the psyche of a psychopath, exploring the blurred lines between good and evil. With its shocking plot twists and morally ambiguous characters, The Killer Inside Me is a captivating and chilling exploration of the dark side of human nature.
The Wicked King
by Holly Black
The Wicked King by Holly Black is a captivating book about villains and anti-heroes. In this enthralling sequel to The Cruel Prince, the story follows Jude Duarte, a young human girl who finds herself embroiled in the dangerous and deceitful world of Faerie. Filled with political intrigue, betrayal, and a dash of forbidden romance, this book will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Holly Black’s vivid and imaginative writing brings to life a world where the lines between heroes and villains are blurred, and the characters you thought you knew can surprise you at every turn. If you’re looking for a thrilling and darkly enchanting read, look no further than The Wicked King.
The Lies of Locke Lamora
by Scott Lynch
The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is a captivating book about cunning and deceit, filled with a cast of colorful characters who blur the lines between villains and anti-heroes. Set in the city of Camorr, a place ruled by crime and corruption, this novel follows the adventures of Locke Lamora, a master thief with a knack for elaborate cons and schemes. With wit and charm, Locke and his crew navigate a dangerous world of thieves, nobles, and assassins, constantly one step ahead of their enemies. Packed with action, suspense, and unexpected twists, this book on villains and anti-heroes will keep you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end.
The Blade Itself
by Joe Abercrombie
The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie is a gripping fantasy novel that delves into the dark and gritty world of villains and anti-heroes. Set in a war-torn land, the story follows a cast of morally ambiguous characters, each with their own hidden agendas and troubled pasts. From the cunning and manipulative mastermind to the ruthless and bloodthirsty warrior, this book explores the complex and flawed nature of its characters. Abercrombie’s writing is sharp and full of wit, keeping readers on the edge of their seats as they navigate through a treacherous landscape of political intrigue, brutal battles, and unexpected alliances. With its richly developed characters and intense plot, The Blade Itself is a must-read for anyone seeking a thrilling and thought-provoking villains and anti-heroes book.
Prince of Thorns
by Mark Lawrence
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence is a dark and gritty book about a young anti-hero named Jorg Ancrath. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, the story follows Jorg as he seeks revenge against those who murdered his mother and brother. With a band of ruthless followers, Jorg embarks on a journey filled with violence, treachery, and moral ambiguity.
This captivating book on villains and anti-heroes explores the depths of human nature and challenges traditional notions of heroism. Jorg, with his cunning intellect and brutal methods, becomes an intriguing protagonist who keeps readers on the edge of their seats. Lawrence’s writing style is compelling and his world-building is exceptional, immersing readers in a grim and unforgiving landscape.
If you’re looking for a villains and anti-heroes book that pushes boundaries and delves into the darker aspects of humanity, then Prince of Thorns is a must-read. It will leave you questioning your own notions of good and evil, and eagerly anticipating the next installment in the series.
The Poppy War
by R.F. Kuang
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang is an epic book on villains and anti-heroes that will captivate you from start to finish. Set in a world inspired by Chinese history, this dark and gritty fantasy tale explores the depths of human nature and the blurred lines between good and evil.
The Broken Empire Trilogy
by Mark Lawrence
The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence is a captivating series that delves into the world of villains and anti-heroes. Set in a post-apocalyptic fantasy world, the books follow the story of Jorg Ancrath, a cunning and ruthless protagonist who stops at nothing to achieve his goals. Through Jorg’s perspective, readers are taken on a dark and twisted journey filled with betrayal, revenge, and redemption. Lawrence’s writing is both gritty and poetic, painting a vivid picture of a morally ambiguous world where the line between heroes and villains blurs. With its complex characters and gripping plot, this trilogy is a must-read for anyone who enjoys books about morally ambiguous protagonists and the darker side of human nature.
The First Law Trilogy
by Joe Abercrombie
The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie is a gritty and captivating series that delves deep into the world of villains and anti-heroes. This epic fantasy saga introduces readers to a cast of morally ambiguous characters, each with their own hidden agendas and dark pasts. From the ruthless and cunning Inquisitor Glokta, a former soldier turned torturer, to the barbaric and bloodthirsty warrior Logen Ninefingers, the story is populated by complex and flawed individuals who exist in shades of gray. Abercrombie masterfully weaves together political intrigue, brutal battles, and unexpected alliances, creating a narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. If you’re looking for a villains and anti-heroes book that will challenge your perceptions of good and evil, The First Law Trilogy is an absolute must-read.
The Dark Tower Series
by Stephen King
The Dark Tower Series by Stephen King is an epic saga that takes readers on a thrilling journey through a post-apocalyptic world. This series is more than just a book about villains and anti-heroes, it is a captivating tale of redemption, sacrifice, and the battle between good and evil. Follow the enigmatic gunslinger Roland Deschain as he embarks on a quest to reach the mythical Dark Tower, a place that holds the key to saving his dying world. Along the way, Roland encounters a range of fascinating characters, both allies and adversaries, who add depth and complexity to the story. With its rich world-building, intricate plot, and thought-provoking themes, The Dark Tower Series is a must-read for fans of fantasy and those seeking a thrilling adventure.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
by Stephen R. Donaldson
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant is a mesmerizing fantasy series by Stephen R. Donaldson that delves deep into the realm of dark characters and morally complex protagonists. This epic saga is a must-read for anyone who is fascinated by villains and anti-heroes. Set in the Land, an enchanting yet treacherous world, the series follows Thomas Covenant, a leper who possesses an incredible power called wild magic. As he navigates through a rich tapestry of political intrigue, betrayal, and redemption, Covenant’s struggles and inner conflicts will keep readers on the edge of their seats. This book about antagonists and morally ambiguous characters will captivate your imagination and challenge your perceptions of good and evil. Enter the world of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and prepare to embark on an extraordinary journey through the minds of villains and anti-heroes.
In the realm of literature, there is an undeniable allure to exploring the darker side of humanity. From cunning villains to complex anti-heroes, these characters captivate our imaginations and challenge our moral compass. The 20 best books about villains and anti-heroes offer readers a thrilling journey into the depths of human nature, examining the blurred line between good and evil.
Whether you seek a chilling tale of a diabolical mastermind or a nuanced exploration of a flawed protagonist, these books have it all. Dive into the twisted minds of literary icons like Hannibal Lecter in “The Silence of the Lambs” or embark on a morally ambiguous adventure with Raskolnikov in “Crime and Punishment.” Each page will leave you questioning your own perceptions of right and wrong.
With their intricate storytelling and rich character development, these books provide a unique perspective on the complexities of the human condition. They remind us that even the most despicable villains can possess a certain allure, while even the most virtuous heroes may harbor hidden flaws. So, whether you crave a thrilling journey into the heart of darkness or a thought-provoking exploration of moral ambiguity, these 20 books about villains and anti-heroes are sure to satisfy your literary appetite.