100 Must-Read Books About Monsters

Humans have long been fascinated with monsters and fearsome creatures. They can be found in all manner of literature and popular media like movies, TV shows, and more.

Table of Contents Show
100 Must-Read Books About Monsters

Monsters represent our deepest and darkest fears as a society, and the monsters are usually those fears and desires in disguise. Monsters often represent the dangers of society, power, transgression, and disgust, which is why we are so drawn to them in the books that we choose to read!

I love a good monster novel, so if you are looking for your next exciting and thrilling read, mixed with the horror of a gripping monster character, then I have 100 books about monsters for you. You are sure to find the next novel you want to add to your reading list!

100 Books About Monsters

Frankenstein By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Frankenstein

I have to kickstart this list with the iconic Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. Perhaps one of the best monster books of all time, Shelley tells the story of Frankenstein- a crazed scientist who uses body parts to construct a monster of his own creation.

The novel deals with themes of isolation, revenge, monstrosity, ostracization, and more in this chilling tale of the danger in the advancement of science and technology. 

Pros

  • Deals with the notion of monstrosity well, and has an interesting take on what makes a monster.

Cons

  • There are some gruesome moments and difficult themes.

Themes: Monsters, Science, Alienation, Ambition, Family, Societal Norms.

Dracula By Bram Stoker

Dracula: The Original 1897 Edition (A Bram Stoker Classic Novel)

Dracula is another iconic monster novel. The story revolves around Jonathan Harker, an English lawyer who travels to Castle Dracula in Transylvania. He goes to help Count Dracula, a rich nobleman who wants to immigrate to England and purchase an estate there.

Soon enough, all is not what it seems, and Jonathan tries to escape. He is entangled in a tale of sensuality, female vampires, debauchery, and evil. Jonathan and his friends, with the help of Van Helsing, vow to rid the world of Dracula for once and for all.

Pros

  • Stoker creates a masterpiece of horror with a world of darkness, vampires, vampire hunters and deals with the theme of Victorian suppressed desire very well.

Cons

  • Contains vivid descriptions of violence, blood, and sensuality.

Themes: Vampires, Monsters, Madness, Love, Horror.

Jurassic Park By Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park: A Novel

One of the greatest monster movies of all time is actually based on the book by Michael Crichton. Jurassic Park is a New York Times Bestseller and is one of the most beloved novels.

When a new technique to clone and recover dinosaur DNA is discovered, mankind is now able to recreate these magnificent creatures. Jurassic Park is built as an amusement park that all can pay to visit and admire the once-extinct dinosaurs.

But, one thing goes wrong after another, and soon you will be part of a cautionary tale about genetic engineering and its real-world implications.

Pros

  • An incredibly creative plot filled with suspense and terrifying dinosaurs.

Cons

  • Dialogue can be lacking at times.

Themes: Mankind and Nature, Technology, Power, Dinosaurs.

It By Stephen King

It: A Novel

‘It’ is a New York Times bestseller that has been turned into many film and TV adaptations. The story is set in a small town in Maine, which is haunted by a great evil that preys on children. Seven teenagers start to uncover this evil, which manifests in many ways- one of which is a terrifying clown.

They escape Its clutches as teenagers, but when they are grown up, have lived their lives, and have become successful, they reunite in their hometown. Children are once again being murdered, and it is down to those seven to battle the monster once again.

Pros

  • The protagonists come together and make their own ‘family’ of sorts, providing the love and support that they have always needed.

Cons

  • The ending can seem very strange and uncomfortable for some readers.

Themes: Childhood Trauma, Adulthood, Surrogate Family, Terror, Clowns.

Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde By Robert Louis Stevenson

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - the Original 1886 Classic (Reader's Library Classics)

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a well-known monster short novel. The story revolves around Dr. Jekyll, a well-respected and kind scientist who begins to meddle with the darker sciences. He wants to bring out his ‘other side’ to his personality.

Then, we have Mr. Hyde, a monstrous, animalistic man who commits evil crimes without any repentance or acceptance of responsibility. As you read on, you will see how the two are intrinsically connected. This is an excellent book about the duality of human nature.

Pros

  • Deals with the struggle between good and evil.

Cons

  • Mr. Hyde commits brutal acts of violence.

Themes: Forbidden Pleasure, Good vs Evil,  Human Nature, Evil.

Pet Sematary By Stephen King

Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary is about a doctor who takes a new role and moves to a rural town with his family. Everything is perfect, except the trucks that drive by too fast outside of his idyllic home.

Many pets have been killed on this road, as evidenced by the makeshift pet cemetery in the woods where people have buried their beloved animals over the years.

But there are old tales of another burial ground that offers ungodly temptations, and the doctor may find out the blood-curdling truth sooner rather than later… 

Pros

  • Deals with the notion of death well, and how humans struggle with loss and grief.

Cons

  • There are some very dark scenes that some readers may find upsetting.

Themes: Horror, Grief, Death, Life, Temptation.

Cujo By Stephen King

Cujo: A Novel

Another Stephen King classic is Cujo. Cujo is a novel about a beloved pet becoming a horrific nightmare. When a friendly family dog called Cujo is bitten by a bat, he becomes rabid, out of control, and conducts a reign of terror on a small town.

Pros

  • An intense and gripping horror story.

Cons

  • There are some truly terrifying scenes of a beloved dog turning into a living nightmare.

Themes: Family, Danger, Death, Mortality, Loss.

Red Dragon By Thomas Harris

Red Dragon (Hannibal Lecter Series)

Red Dragon is the first Hannibal Lecter novel. When an FBI agent is sent to track down the Tooth Fairy, a madman who has killed two families and is out for more blood, he decides to seek the help of Dr. Lecter- one of the most ingenious killers of all time.

Pros

  • This is a psychological, thrilling, horrifying, and entertaining book.

Cons

  • If you want to read it because of Hannibal Lecter, you should know he is not the main focus of the novel.

Themes: Evil, Murder, Serial Killers, Psychological, FBI.

Jaws By Peter Benchley

Jaws

The shark from Jaws is one of the most recognizable monsters that ever graced the silver screen, but the movie was actually based on the book by Peter Benchley. In this book, a small town is terrorized by a great white shark.

It is filled with suspense and horror that will make you never want to swim in the ocean again.

Pros

  • It is a fast-paced, exciting read.

Cons

  • It is a light read that you can finish in one sitting.

Themes: Mankind, Greed, Power, Monsters, Sharks, Threat.

The Exorcist By William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist: A Novel

Perhaps one of the most shocking and gruesome books of its time, The Exorcist lives up to expectations. The book revolves around the demonic possession of a child, where the characters struggle to rescue her from a horrific fate.

Pros

  • This book was revolutionary for its time as it deals with themes of vulgarity, religion, and controversial topics.

Cons

  • May not be as terrifying for modern readers.

Themes: Evil, Demonic Possession, Religion, Taboo.

Alien By Alan Dean Foster

Alien: The Official Movie Novelization

Alien is a movie novelization of the blockbuster of the same name. When the crew of the spaceship Nostromo is suddenly woken up from cryogenic sleep because of signals from a mysterious planet, the astronauts land on the planet to investigate.

One astronaut is attacked by an alien that sticks to your face, so the rest of the crew return to the ship and abandon their investigation, but the real horror is about to begin…

Pros

  • It is based on one of the most iconic sci-fi movies of all time. It is gripping, exciting, and terrifying at the same time.

Cons

  • Some readers find the book very short.

Themes: Aliens, Space Travel, Humanity, Morality, Teamwork, Alien Invasion.

Salem’s Lot By Stephen King

'Salem's Lot

A writer returns to Jerusalem’s Lot in the hopes of finding inspiration for his next book. But, when two boys go into the woods and only one comes out alive, he discovers that something more sinister is at play.

Soon, there are forces of darkness beyond his imagination, and the town must band together to contain the evil inside.

Pros

  • A must-read novel for all fans of horror fiction.

Cons

  • The ending can be lackluster for some readers.

Themes: Lies, Darkness, Mortality, Gossiping, Psychological, Community.

The Odyssey By Homer

The Odyssey

The Odyssey is a poem about violence and war, wealth, power, and poverty. This ancient poem is a must-read, for any Greek mythology fan. There are morals and monsters aplenty.

Pros

  • Odysseus is an admirable hero that must overcome many obstacles. His story, bravery, and passion are beloved by many readers.

Cons

  • Some details can be lost in translation.

Themes: Loyalty, Hospitality, Vengeance, Greek Mythology.

Interview With The Vampire By Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire

This is the first in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles, which follows the confessions of a vampire. This book is shocking, sensual, hypnotic, and mesmerizing, just like the vampire himself.

Pros

  • A truly spellbinding tale.

Cons

  • If you want to read the book because you enjoyed the movie, they are very different.

Themes: Gothic Horror, Vampires, Love.

The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit

The world created by J.R. Tolkien in The Hobbit is astonishing and filled with magical creatures and scary monsters. In this book, the hobbit embarks on a journey to steal an ancient jewel from a terrifying dragon.

Pros

  • Tolkien uses very descriptive and gripping language.

Cons

  • It is often considered not as good as The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, and is much shorter in length.

Themes: Friendship, Teamwork, Good vs Evil, Birthright.

Let The Right One In By John Ajvide Lindqvist

Let the Right One In

When the body of a teenager is found drained of blood, a small suburb in Sweden is rocked. A 12-year-old boy Oskar is hoping that whoever did it has come to enact his revenge upon the bullies that have ruined Oskar’s life. Meanwhile, a new girl has moved in next door, who only comes out at night…

Pros

  • A dark, chilling tale of friendship and revenge.

Cons

  • Much sharper and darker than the movie adaptation, so keep that in mind.

Themes: Bullying, Vampires, Alienation, Good vs Evil, Revenge.

The Lord Of The Rings By J. R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings 3-Book Paperback Box Set

Similar to The Hobbit, The Lord Of The Rings is a fantastic adventure novel filled with obstacles that may impede the protagonists’ journey. This novel is packed with monstrous entities, from the Balrog to the eerie Nazguls.

Pros

  • One of the most enchanting fantasy series ever written.

Cons

  • The whole series is very long and descriptive. It is not an easy read.

Themes: Fantasy, Quest, Monsters, Evil, Death, Power, Mortality.

Rosemary’s Baby By Ira Levin

No products found.

A young couple moves into a New York City apartment building that is known for having mostly elderly residents. Despite Rosemary’s concerns about the neighbors and the strange noises she hears, her husband takes a shine to them.

Soon, Rosemary is pregnant, and the neighbors now have a very deep and twisted interest in Rosemary and her baby.

Pros

  • A very different and iconic story of isolation and deception.

Cons

  • Some scenes can be very disturbing.

Themes: Horror, Satanic Ritual, Isolation.

The Mist By Stephen King

The Mist

Stephen King is a master of horror and this book is no exception. A mysterious mist threatens humanity, and soon enough the whole town is going to be engulfed by its terrifying denseness.

Pros

Cons

Themes: Fear, Horror, The Unknown.

Carmilla By J. Sheridan Le Fanu

Carmilla

If you love gothic fiction, you will enjoy Carmilla. This novel was first published in 1871 and follows the story of Laura as she starts a friendship with the beautiful and mysterious Carmilla. As time passes, Carmilla may not be who she seems and could have very dark and sinister secrets…

Pros

  • This is a classic vampire story that predates Dracula.

Cons

  • Some descriptions are very outdated and can be offensive.

Themes: Gothic Horror, Love, Desire, Vampires.

The Amityville Horror By Jay Anson

The Amityville Horror

In 1975, the Lutz family moved into their new home on Long Island. Just a few years before, the previous owners had been murdered by their son, so the house was up for sale for an absolute steal.

But soon, the Lutz family may realize that they have gotten more than they bargained for in this chilling and terrifying book.

Pros

  • A fascinating and frightening read.

Cons

  • It may be unnerving to know that this is a true story.

Themes: The American Dream, Horror, Family, Paranormal.

Van Helsing By Kevin Ryan

Van Helsing

This novel follows the story and the travels of famed vampire hunter Van Helsing as he tracks down monsters of all shapes and sizes.

Pros

  • The author will keep you on your toes and have you hooked.

Cons

  • There are some typos and errors in this book.

Themes: Monsters, Vampires, Hunters, Evil.

Pride And Prejudice And Zombies By Seth Grahame-Smith

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

This is an audacious retelling of one of English literature’s most famous novels. Complete with zombies, heartbreak, monsters, and more, it is a fun read that reanimated Austen’s original tale.

Pros

  • A quirky retelling of Pride and Prejudice complete with the threat of zombies makes for a very fun read.

Cons

  • The author does not add a whole lot to Austen’s original canon.

Themes: Zombies, Love, Monsters, Classic Literature With A Twist.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray By Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray: The Original 1890 Edition (A Oscar Wilde Classic Novel)

Dorian Gray is the subject of a full-length portrait. He understands that his beauty will fade, and desires to sell his soul so that the picture rather than himself will age. His libertine lifestyle and amoral experiences are recorded in the eerie portrait.

Pros

  • Deals with the notion that those who are beautiful are not necessarily good people in an interesting way.

Cons

  • While it is considered a classic, some find it very vain and macabre.

Themes: Mortality, Sin, Art, Youth and Beauty.

The Yeti By Mike Miller

The Yeti

In 1850, a British caravan crossed the Himalayan Mountains from India to China and vanished without a trace, along with the treasure it carried. Now, there is a battle to find the treasure first, filled with many obstacles including the vicious Yeti himself.

Pros

  • The Yeti is a formidable monster that stands in the way of the characters and the treasure.

Cons

  • Many errors and spelling mistakes.

Themes: Race, Class, Honor, Ambition, Fear, Monster.

The Strain By Guillermo Del Toro

The Strain

The Strain is a story of man versus vampire in an epic battle for survival. It is bold, bone-chilling, inventive, and unputdownable.

Pros

  • Written by famous film director Guillermo Del Toro.

Cons

  • It is short, but is the first book in a trilogy.

Themes: Vampires, Mankind, Survival.

World War Z By Max Brooks

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War

This book is an oral history of the war between humans and zombies. After surviving the zombie apocalypse, mankind is still haunted by the terrifying events. This spooky retelling of the zombie war from first-hand experiences is powerful and horrifying- it almost feels too real.

Pros

  • It is a New York Times bestseller that is gripping and exciting.

Cons

  • Some readers find it monotonous.

Themes: Zombies, War, Mankind, Humanity, Apocalyptic World.

A Deadly Education By Naomi Novik

A Deadly Education: A Novel (The Scholomance)

Novik has created a magical school that is not like Hogwarts. It is filled with sharp characters, fantasy, and darkness.

The young wizards that attend this school are under constant threat from the Mals- the creatures that want to suck out the souls of the students of the school. The students must battle to survive and chaos ensues…

Pros

  • It is a twisted ‘magical school’ story that is much darker than the likes of Harry Potter.

Cons

  • Some readers find the main character very unlikable.

Themes: Magic, Witches, Wizards, Evil, Survival.

Frankenstein: Prodigal Son By Dean Koontz

Frankenstein: Prodigal Son: A Novel

This book’s plot follows a New Orleans detective on the hunt for a serial killer called ‘The Surgeon’. Reports of such a killer attract the attention of Deucalion, the former ‘Frankenstein’s monster’ who believes his maker, Dr. Frankenstein has returned and is behind the attacks.

Pros

  • It is a retelling of the classic Frankenstein story.

Cons

  • It can vary greatly from the initial themes and plot of Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Themes: Death, Destruction, Police Detectives, Serial Killer, Frankenstein Monsters.

A Monster Calls By Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd

Conor has been having nightmares every night since his mother started her treatments. When a monster appears in his backyard, it is not the one he was expecting, and the monster wants something from Connor. Something darker and more terrible than he could imagine.

Pros

  • A gripping and sad tale of grief and loss.

Cons

  • Some themes of cancer treatments and grief can be upsetting.

Themes: Loss, Monsters, Imagination, Childhood, Darkness.

The House Of Asterion By Jorge Luis Borges

All I can say about this one is to read it. It is a very short story about a supernatural figure who is isolated in a house that is a kind of prison. Although everyone believes him to be trapped, he may not be.

Pros

  • This story deals with themes of monstrosity, death, and redemption in an excellent way.

Cons

  • It is one of Borges’ shortest stories.

Themes: Short Stories, Mythology, Historical, Fantasy.

The Bloody Chamber By Angela Carter

The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories: 75th-Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)

The Bloody Chamber is a collection of subversive tales of familiar fairy tales and legends like Bluebeard, Little Red Riding Hood, and Beauty and The Beast. These stories are filled with gothic elements, monsters, and evil.

Pros

  • Incredible feminist retellings of classic fairy tales.

Cons

  • There are some upsetting themes that could be uncomfortable for some readers.

Themes: Violence, Feminism, Sensuality, Virginity, Power, Monstrosity.

I Am Legend By Richard Matheson

I Am Legend

This novel by Matheson is a classic tale of fear and vampirism. It follows the last human on planet Earth, which is overrun by the undead.

Pros

  • A chilling tale of isolation and survival.

Cons

  • If you are coming to this book because you liked the movie, then it is very different. 

Themes: Vampires, Humanity, Survival.

Watchers By Dean Koontz

Watchers

On his 36th birthday, Travis Cornell hikes into the Santa Ana mountains. He comes across a dog that will not allow him to pass further into the woods. He could have never imagined that morning that he would soon find mankind’s darkest creation…

Pros

  • A fantastic thriller.

Cons

  • Characters are not very fleshed out.

Themes: Love, Friendship, The Past, Suspense.

War Of The Worlds By H.G. Wells

The War Of The Worlds: The Original 1898 Classic (Illustrated)

War Of The Worlds is a classic novel. It is the tale of humanity against invaders that is still relevant and thrilling despite its age.

Pros

  • This book set the precedence for nearly all science fiction alien stories, and is still able to thrill today.

Cons

  • Can contain inappropriate language for younger readers.

Themes: The Other, The Unknown, Order, Hierarchy.

Grendel By John Gardner

Grendel

Grendel by John Gardner is a much-praised retelling of the classic book Beowulf- but it follows the monster Grendel as he learns about humans and is tangled up in a war.

Pros

  • Is a retelling of Beowulf and offers a different perspective.

Cons

  • Some readers find it repetitive.

Themes: Monsters, Humanity, Loneliness, Isolation.

The Mummy By Anne Rice

The Mummy or Ramses the Damned: A Novel

In this novel, Ramses the Great lives. He is doomed forever to wander the earth but cannot quell his hunger and desires. He reawakens in Edwardian London, becoming Dr. Ramsay, an expert in Egyptology.

Before long, all he can think about is his great love, Cleopatra, and will commit an act that puts everyone at risk.

Pros

  • This book will captivate you from start to finish.

Cons

  • Some readers find that romance overwhelms the book.

Themes: Action, Adventure, Romance, Egyptology.

The Vampire Lestat By Anne Rice

The Vampire Lestat (Vampire Chronicles, Book II)

The Vampire Lestat is the second novel in the Vampire Chronicles series, following the aristocrat Lestat who lived in the days of pre-revolutionary France. Now, he lives in the bustling 1980s and spends his days searching for others like him for all of eternity.

Pros

  • Continues the story of Interview With The Vampire.

Cons

  • Some readers believe that the writing is lacking in style.

Themes: Vampires, Death, Desire, Purpose, Community.

The Rising By Brian Keene

The Rising: Author's Preferred Edition

The Rising is one of the best-selling zombie novels of all time. It follows the story of a father trying to battle his way across a post-apocalyptic zombie landscape, hoping to find his son.

Pros

  • Humans and zombies are not the only monsters in this novel.

Cons

  • There are some typos and errors. 

Themes: Horror, Zombies, Post Apocalyptic, Science Fiction.

Daughter Of Smoke And Bone By Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Around the globe, black handprints appear on doorways scorched by winged strangers who have crept into our world. Karou is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war filled with mystical creatures and monsters.

Pros

  • An exciting, thrilling paranormal read.

Cons

  • The plot can be lacking in urgency at points.

Themes: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Angels, Romance.

City Of Bones By Cassandra Clare

City of Bones (1) (The Mortal Instruments)

Uncover the world of the shadowhunters in this first book in the Mortal Instruments series. Shadowhunters protect the human world from daemon invasion, and our protagonist is suddenly caught up in the two worlds on the brink of colliding.

Pros

World-building is excellent, and the love-triangle trope is exciting.

Cons

  • It can be a slow burner at points.

Themes: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy.

Clickers By J.F. Gonzalez

Clickers

A peaceful seaside village is suddenly under attack when hundreds of creatures come out of the ocean. The residents must band together to save the town and drive the beasts back.

Pros

  • It is gruesome, gritty, and a fun read.

Cons

  • Some readers find it similar to a ‘B’ movie where giant monsters attack a small town.

Themes: Monsters, Community, Horror.

House Of Flies By Rosca Marx

House of Flies: A Catalyst and Progeny Novella

Two young sisters rebel against a drug that is killing all of humanity.

Pros

  • Marx creates a desolate world where people are willing to die for the ultimate high.

Cons

  • Wording can be very confusing at times.

Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Apocalyptic.

The Living Dead By George A. Romero And Daniel Kraus

Living Dead

If you want a zombie horror novel that is one of the biggest masterpieces today, then you have to read this novel.

Pros

  • It was first penned by George A. Romero- the mastermind behind The Night Of The Living Dead films.

Cons

  • Romero left it unfinished, so Kraus completed the work.

Themes: Zombie, Horror, Apocalypse.

The Changeling By Victor Lavalle

The Changeling: A Novel

This book is a dark fairytale of New York, filled with love, madness, loss, mystery, and magic. When the protagonist’s wife and child go missing, he begins a quest to find them, but all is not as it seems…

Pros

  • A thriller that you won’t be able to put down.

Cons

  • First half is very slow.

Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery.

Seven Deadly Shadows By Courtney Alameda And Valynne E. Maetani

Seven Deadly Shadows

This book is a fantastic retelling of the Seven Samurai, with a girl who is tasked with saving the world from eternal darkness. She is able to see yokai- the ghosts and demons that haunt the streets of Kyoto. Can she use her powers to save mankind from the Demon King?

Pros

  • Creates a very immersive experience and provides a taste of the culture and life in modern-day Japan.

Cons

  • The characters can be one-dimensional.

Themes: Paranormal, Mythology, Young Adult, Fantasy, Fiction.

Mongrels By Stephen Graham Jones

Mongrels: A Novel

In this coming-of-age story, an unusual boy struggles to survive in a hostile world that shuns him and his family. They are outsiders who live in the shadows. This is because they are mongrels- of mixed blood.

Now, the boy must decide which path he will choose, and which side of himself he will unleash.

Pros

  • Can be deeply moving at points, with lots of dark humor.

Cons

  • Some points can be very grisly.

Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Werewolves.

The Only Good Indians By Stephen Graham Jones

The Only Good Indians: A Novel

This story follows the lives of four American Indian men and their families, all of them haunted by a disturbing, deadly event that happened in their youth. Many years later, they find themselves being tracked down by an entity that is hellbent on revenge…

Pros

  • Provides an authentic view of indigenous life, as it is written by a Native American person. While it is a horror, it is a story of hope and finding one’s place in the world.

Cons

  • Some readers may find the reveal lackluster.

Themes: Psychological Horror, Identity, Tradition.

Dreamcatcher By Stephen King

Dreamcatcher: A Novel

25 years ago, in their haunted hometown of Derry, four boys worked together to save a mentally challenged child from bullies. Every year, they reunite for a hunting trip into the Maine woods. This time, something is different.

A stranger stumbles into their midst, mumbling about lights in the sky, otherworldly forces, and threat.

Pros

  • A riveting tale of friendship.

Cons

  • Stephen King fans believe this is one of his poorest works.

Themes: Alien Invasion, Paranormal, Horror, Thriller.

The 5th Wave By Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave: The First Book of the 5th Wave Series

Cassie runs from ‘Them’, the beings who look human, but roam the countryside killing anything in sight. There are very few survivors and it is best to trust no one. When Cassie meets Evan, he could help her find her brother, but can she trust him?

Pros

  • It is full of twists, turns, and is fast-paced to keep you reading.

Cons

  • Some inappropriate language and explicit references considering the ages of the protagonists.

Themes: Young Adult, Dystopia, Aliens, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction.

The Hatching By Ezekiel Boone

The Hatching: A Novel (1) (The Hatching Series)

An ancient species that has long been dormant is now very much awake. Accidents keep happening around the globe: a tourist is devoured by a beast in Peru, a plane crashes in Minneapolis, a nuclear bomb is dropped accidentally in an isolated region of China…something is afoot.

Now, a mysterious package from South America arrives in Washington DC, and something wants to get out of it.

Pros

  • An exciting and gripping read.

Cons

  • Jumps between characters, which can be jarring.

Themes: Horror, Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Monsters.

Monster By Frank Peretti

Monster

Reed and Rebecca hike into the woods. On their first night camping, an unearthly wail disturbs the forest. Then, something emerges from the dense woods…

Pros

  • Even more chilling when you realize that some monsters are real.

Cons

Themes: Fiction, Christian Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Mystery.

Parasite By Mira Grant

Parasite (Parasitology, 1)

In this book, humanity owes its good health to a humble parasite that is a genetically engineered tapeworm. When implanted, it can protect us from illnesses and boosts the immune system. Almost every human now has one of the most successful drugs living within them.

But, the parasites are getting restless and want to live their own lives.

Pros

  • A terrifying story that points out the dangers of genetic engineering.

Cons

  • It is the first of a series, which can make the ending frustrating.

Themes: Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller, Mystery.

Breeding Ground By Sarah Pinborough

Breeding Ground

In this horrific tale, women start giving birth to carnivorous spider-like creatures that want to use humans as food!

Pros

  • It is a quick and fun read- the story moves quickly and is entertaining.

Cons

  • Quite short at around 300 pages.

Themes: Horror, Fiction, Science Fiction, Monsters.

The Loch By Steve Alten

The Loch

When a Marine biologist has a near-death experience in Loch Ness, memories begin haunting him. He must find out the truth and uncover the secrets of the Loch. 

Pros

  • An exciting tale of the Loch Ness.

Cons

  • It has a very slow start.

Themes: Monsters, Scottish History, Mythical Creatures.

Annihilation By Jeff Vandermeer

Annihilation: A Novel (The Southern Reach Series, 1)

Area X has been long cut off from the rest of the world, and nature is starting to reclaim the last vestiges of human civilization.

Pros

  • It is the first book in a trilogy, and has been made into a successful movie.

Cons

  • It is well written, but there is a lack of emotion from the characters.

Themes: Mystery, Monsters, Isolation.

The Historian By Elizabeth Kostova

The Historian

In a suspenseful and breathtaking novel, a young woman is plunged into a world of secrets about her family’s past that concerns Vlad the Impaler and a horrific pact to keep his terrible work alive throughout the ages. She must search for the truth….

Pros

  • It is a fantastic vampire novel.

Cons

  • Some readers have claimed that the beginning is very slow.

Themes: Vampires, Myth, Thriller, Romance, Historical.

The Quick By Lauren Owen

The Quick

A shy poet from Oxford finds lodging with a young aristocrat. Due to their friendship, he is introduced to high society and finds love in an unexpected place. Then, without a trace, he vanishes.

His sister sets out on a journey to find him and starts to uncover the more sinister, hidden side of the city.

Pros

  • Owen creates a fantastical world that is both enchanting and terrifying.

Cons

  • The story can seem rushed at times.

Themes: Suspense, Magic, Victorian London.

Breed By Chase Novak

Breed: A Novel

Alex and Leslie lead incredibly charmed lives. But they want a child. When infertility treatments fail one after the other, they have one last attempt to become parents. They travel to Slovenia to undergo a painful and terrifying procedure, but it has disastrous consequences…

Pros

  • The author builds up suspense very well.

Cons

  • Some themes can be disturbing.

Themes: Horror, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery, Fantasy.

Red Moon By Benjamin Percy

Red Moon

In Red Moon, terrifying creatures live among us. They are our friends, lovers, mothers…When Claire’s front door is kicked down and her parents are murdered, she realizes that she is different from others.

So far, the threat has been contained and controlled by laws, medication, and violence, but the Red Moon is coming, and the battle for humanity will begin.

Pros

  • An epic tale of werewolves and monstrosity.

Cons

  • There are some very dark and upsetting themes that may be uncomfortable for some readers.

Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Supernatural, Werewolves.

The Circle By Bentley Little

The Circle

In this very unsettling novella, there are so many strange occurrences that disturb the inhabitants of William Tell Circle. A normally quiet community is suddenly plunged into a very real nightmare…

Pros

  • A very surreal and twisted story that will keep you on your toes.

Cons

  • It is very short, and you will finish it quickly.

Themes: Horror, Fiction, Short Story, Supernatural.

Hex By Thomas Olde Heuvelt

HEX

Anyone who is born in this town is doomed to stay there until death. Black Spring is a seemingly picturesque town but it is haunted by the Black Rock Witch, an evil woman whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut.

She walks the streets and enters homes at her own will. She stands at the end of your bed, and all who reside in this town know that if her eyes or mouth are ever opened, there will be terrifying consequences…

Pros

  • A brilliant and chilling novel that will stay with you long after you finish the final page.

Cons

  • Some readers may find some scenes uncomfortable.

Themes: Horror, Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller, Paranormal, Supernatural.

The Missing By Sarah Langan

The Missing

In a remote Maine community, a nightmare awakens when a schoolteacher takes the children on a field trip. In the abandoned woods, a young boy unearths an ancient horror- a plague that will turn all it infects into violent, hungry, inhuman creatures.

Pros

  • It is a creepy, thrilling, end-of-the-world tale.

Cons

  • There are some grotesque scenes.

Themes: Horror, Plague, Supernatural, Community.

Alice By Christina Henry

Alice (The Chronicles of Alice)

A woman sits in a hospital, unable to remember why she is in such a place. All she remembers is a tea party, rabbit ears, and so much blood. When the woman escapes, she starts to uncover the truth about what happened all of those years ago.

Pros

  • It is a fantastic retelling of the tale of Alice in Wonderland.

Cons

  • There is a lot of violence against women in this book.

Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Monsters, Fairy Tales.

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work Of Dr. Spencer Black By E.B.Hudspeth

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black

This is a macabre tale of dark fantasy about a man who is driven mad in his search for the truth with horrifying images and renditions of monstrosity. 

Pros

  • A different take on monsters and curiosities, and Hudspeth builds an interesting and extraordinary world.

Cons

  • Some readers do not like the fact that images make up a lot of this book.

Themes: Dark Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror.

Relic By Lincoln Child

Relic (Pendergast, Book 1)

When a huge exhibition opens in the New York Museum of Natural History, visitors begin to get savagely murdered in the dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies show that the killer cannot possibly be human…

Pros

  • The real-life setting of a museum makes this book more thrilling and fantastical.

Cons

  • Some characters can be very wooden and two-dimensional.

Themes: Horror, Mystery, Fiction, Thriller, Suspense.

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter By Seth Grahame-Smith

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

When his mother dies in front of him at a young age, Lincoln sets forward to devote his life to the study of mind and body. His mastery will serve one purpose only- to avenge her death and fight the forces of the undead.

Pros

  • A fun, fantastical and exciting retelling of Abraham Lincoln’s life.

Cons

  • Some readers find this retelling disrespectful to Abraham Lincoln.

Themes: Vampires, Monsters, Horror, Vampire Hunters, Thriller.

Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets By J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, Book 2) (2)

The Harry Potter novels have some incredible monsters. The second book, The Chamber Of Secrets revolves around the school of Hogwarts which is haunted by an ancient creature that seeks to murder all who do not have ‘pure blood’. Harry and his friends must race the clock to find out the truth before it is too late.

Pros

  • Harry Potter is filled with monsters and magical creatures, in a fantastical world that is built so beautifully by J. K. Rowling.

Cons

  • Some readers can find that the parallels with issues of race can be too much for younger readers.

Themes: Magic, Mystery, Monsters, Friendship, Witches & Wizards.

Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban By J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, Book 3) (3)

In the third Harry Potter novel, readers are introduced to Azkaban- a magical prison for evil witches and wizards who have committed horrible crimes. The prison itself is protected by some of the most terrifying creatures known to wizardkind.

When a prisoner escapes, these creatures are sent to search around the grounds of Hogwarts, terrifying everyone in their path.

Pros

Cons

  • This book can sometimes feel like a distraction from the overall plot of the Harry Potter series.

Themes: Magic, Mystery, Monsters, Friendship, Witches & Wizards.

Bird Box By Josh Malerman

Bird Box: A Novel

In a very tense and suspenseful novel, the world has been overcome with something terrifying that cannot be seen. With one look, a person is driven to deadly violence. Five years after the initial outbreak, Malorie is one of the survivors trying to find a safe haven for her and her two children.

But, to save themselves from a deadly fate, they must travel blindfolded…

Pros

  • It has since been turned into a major motion picture on Netflix starring Sandra Bullock.

Cons

  • Some readers do not like the ending as there are a lot of loose ends.

Themes: Suspense, Horror, Apocalyptic.

Eragon By Christopher Paolini

Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1)

When 15-year-old Eragon finds a blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is just a lucky discovery for a poor boy. When the stone hatches into a dragon, he realizes that he has stumbled upon an ancient legacy and a beast that will be his own loyal friend.

Pros

  • This book is a really fun, exciting read.

Cons

  • This monster novel is more suited to younger readers.

Themes: Young Adult, Dragons, Mythology, Magic, Adventure.

The Shining By Stephen King

The Shining

Jack Torrence takes a job at the Overlook Hotel with his family for a fresh start. He tries to reconnect with his writing, but as the winter draws in, the hotel begins to feel much more sinister…

Pros

  • It is a classic Stephen King novel, and is one of his finest works.

Cons

  • Does not really have monsters per say, but the monster in this book is a father falling into complete madness and monstrosity.

Themes: Madness, Horror, Suspense.

Patient Zero By Jonathan Maberry

Patient Zero (Joe Ledger, 1)

A detective is secretly recruited by the government to lead a task force to deal with the problems that Homeland Security cannot handle. They must prevent a group of terrorists from releasing a bio-weapon that could turn the whole of humanity into zombies.

Pros

  • This is a fast-paced novel that deals with genetically engineered zombies that can threaten the whole of humanity.

Cons

  • This is book one of ten which is a very long series to get invested in.

Themes: Zombies, Rot & Ruin, Horror, Genetic Engineering, Terrorists.

Phantoms By Dean Koonts

Phantoms

The town is silent, appearing abandoned. One hundred and fifty are already dead, with three hundred and fifty missing. A body is found swollen and still warm, but the terror has only just begun.

Pros

  • This is a gruesome and unrelenting novel that will have you hooked.

Cons

  • Some characters can seem incredibly cliche.

Themes: Supernatural, Thriller, Monsters, Mystery.

The Lost World By Michael Chrichton

The Lost World: A Novel (Jurassic Park)

Pros

  • This is the sequel to the first Jurassic Park novel that continues the thrilling tale of dinosaurs unleashed upon humans.

Cons

  • Some readers find that it is not as good as the first novel.

Themes: Horror, Dinosaurs, Mankind, Genetic Engineering. 

Lord Of The Flies By William Golding

Lord of the Flies

A plane crashes on an uncharted island, leaving a group of schoolboys abandoned. With no adult supervision, they feel free and want to celebrate. But soon, order begins to collapse, and a strange howling noise can be heard at night, leaving the boys wondering what beast has awakened on the island.

Pros

  • It is an unforgettable classic for readers of all ages.

Cons

  • It is a very short novel and a quick read.

Themes: Monstrosity, Community, Mob Mentality, Lost Innocence.

Nightcrawlers By Tim Curran

Nightcrawlers

Over 200 years ago, the village of Clavitt Fields was burned to the ground in the hope that whatever resided there was destroyed. But the monsters did not perish, they went underground. Now, for generations- they have bred in the darkness and are ready to rise to the surface. 

Pros

  • It is filled with bloodthirsty monsters, violence, and horror.

Cons

  • Some readers find the ending unsatisfying.

Themes: Horror, Suspense, Monsters. 

The Ritual By Adam Nevill

The Ritual: A Novel

When a group of friends are lost in the remote wilderness of Sweden, something supernatural lurks around them and threatens their very existence. They stumble across ancient artifacts, bones, and remnants of old rites and pagan sacrifices in the forest. Something is following their every footstep…

Pros

  • The mystery of an apex predator lurking in the woods will keep readers on their toes.

Cons

  • The beginning of the book is lacking in detail and can be tiresome at first.

Themes: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Supernatural, Cult.

John Dies At The End By David Wong

John Dies @ the End

This book will tell you all about the things that you don’t want to know. Things about the invasion, about the future, and because you have now touched the book, you are involved. You are being watched.

Pros

  • A fantastic, mysterious novel that will have you hooked from page one.

Cons

  • The set-up is brilliant, but the payoff can be lacking for some readers.

Themes: Dark Comedy, Horror, Thriller, Mystery.

Monstress By Marjorie Liu

Monstress Vol. 1

Set in matriarchal 1900s Asia, Monstress tells the tale of a teenage girl who is trying to survive the trauma of war and who has a psychic link to a powerful monster.

Pros

  • This graphic novel takes you into the story of ancient creatures, gods, humans, monsters, and more.

Cons

  • A very quick read at only 200 pages.

Themes: Graphic Novel, Monsters, Power.

Children Of The Corn By Stephen King

Children of the Corn (Kindle Single) (A Vintage Short)

This novel from the master of the supernatural and horror genre is about two people who are driving through the cornfields of Nebraska. When they run over a young boy, they start to wonder if his death was their fault and not the fault of something more sinister.

Pros

  • It is a terrifying and unforgettable classic horror story.

Cons

  • It is only a short story.

Themes: Horror, Short Story, Mystery, Thriller.

Christine By Stephen King

Christine

Christine is a frightening story of a teenager who falls in love with a vintage Plymouth Fury. But, he may have bought more than he bargained for with this peculiar vehicle.

Pros

  • Christine is a masterpiece by Stephen King. It will frighten you, shack you, and horrify you to no end.

Cons

  • Switching between perspectives can be irritating for some readers.

Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Supernatural, Mystery, Thriller.

Dragonfly In Amber By Diana Gabaldon

Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, Book 2)

In this novel, Claire Randal returns to the Highlands to reveal a shocking truth about the ancient circle of standing stones, secret love stories, and the legend of a Highland warrior.

Pros

  • This is a powerful tale filled with myth, history, and excitement.

Cons

  • This is the second book in Gabaldon’s Outlander series, so you may want to read the first installment before moving on to this one.

Themes: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Time Travel.

The Night Begins By Abigail F Taylor

The Night Begins (Luna Novella)

Darcy simply wants to repair a strained relationship with her mother. But, when she receives a letter from Althea asking for help, she is at first excited to reconnect. Then, her frightening memories of her childhood start to worry her, and the past is not the only thing that is haunting Darcy.

Pros

  • This book begins with a chill, but soon descends into full-blown terror.

Cons

  • It is a short novella that will leave you wanting more. 

Themes: Horror, Mystery, Memory, Secrets. 

The Wolf’s Hour By Robert McCammon

The Wolf's Hour (The Michael Gallatin Thrillers)

A Nazi strategy created to thwart the D-Day invasion is well underway. Michael Gallatin has been brought out of retirement for a secret mission to recover vital information that could destroy the plot. But he has a secret- he’s a werewolf.

Pros

  • It has an interesting storyline with a heroic spy with a deadly secret.

Cons

  • The supporting characters are not well developed.

Themes: War, Werewolves, Thriller, Spies.

The Shadow Over Innsmouth By H.P. Lovecraft

The Shadow Over Innsmouth

H.P. Lovecraft is a huge name in the horror genre. In this short story, a weird hybrid race of humans resides in the seaside town of Innsmouth.

Pros

  • Chilling, odd, weird, and enchanting.

Cons

  • Not gory by any means. This is not your typical horror, it is more eerie and creepy.

Themes: Monsters, Hybrids, Horror.

First Light By Adam Sigrist

First Light (Zombie Prophecies)

A worldwide plague, a government conspiracy, a bioweapon, a disaster and more fill the pages of this book. Donovan and his friends must cling to survival in this world where the undead, monsters, and other horrific creatures have taken over.

Pros

  • This book is an action-packed adventure that readers will enjoy.

Cons

  • The ending can be disappointing for some readers.

Themes: Zombies, Monsters, Lies, Secrets, Post-Apocalyptic.

THEM By James Watts

Them

Deep in the woods, something is beginning to stir. A small Southern town is about to be rocked by an invasion of ancient and evil creatures that need host bodies to survive. Ray Sanders’ mother has become the latest victim. When he goes home, he has no idea what monstrosity he is about to face.

Pros

  • From the moment you begin the book, you will be enthralled and ensnared by the story.

Cons

  • The storyline is great, but the writing often feels awkward and very wordy.

Themes: Horror, Supernatural, Secrets, Plague.

Spiderstalk By D. Nathan Hilliard

Spiderstalk

Adam Sellers is having a tough year. He broke up with his fiance, he survived a car wreck, and his brother’s family vanished without a trace. But, things are about to get so much worse. His quest to find his brother sends him to a remote area of the world. He discovers a monster more horrifying than he could ever imagine.

Pros

  • It is a classic monster story filled with critters.

Cons

  • Some plot lines can be confusing and tend to lead nowhere.

Themes: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Spiders.

The Curse Of The Wendigo By Rick Yancey

The Curse of the Wendigo (2) (The Monstrumologist)

Dr. Warthrop is trying to disprove that the vampire could exist when he is asked by a former fiance to rescue her husband from the Wendigo. The Wendigo is a horrific monster that starves even when it gorges on human flesh.

Dr. Warthrop does not believe that such a monster could exist but goes to find the ultimate predator in a thrilling tale of myth, reality, genius, and madness.

Pros

  • You will want to read this book in one sitting because of all of the threat, action, and mesmerizing characters.

Cons

  • Some readers believe that it is not as good as the first novel in the series.

Themes: Thriller, Mystery, Myth, Monsters. 

Darkfall By Dean Koontz

Darkfall

A huge blizzard brings the whole city to a standstill but provides ease for evil to be unleashed. With four corpses in four days, the city lives in terror. While the whole city is paralyzed by a blizzard, something stalks in the night.

Pros

  • This book is scary, thrilling, and will keep you turning the pages.

Cons

  • The writing can be simplistic and predictable at times.

Themes: Thriller, Horror, Monsters, Demons.

Monstrosity By Edward Lee

Monstrosity

Clare thinks that her new home is a paradise, and her new job seems almost too good to be true. Soon, something else begins to invade her life. Clare feels stalked or as if she is constantly being watched. But not by something human…

Pros

  • Lee weaves an interesting tapestry around the mysterious archeological dig all those years ago, and the present-day murders that plague the protagonist.

Cons

Themes: Horror, Fiction, Science Fiction, Monsters.

The Terror By Dan Simmons

The Terror

The men on board the HMS Terror, part of the Franklin Expedition, are stranded in the cold landscape of ice and darkness. They struggle to survive, and supplies are dwindling. But the cold is the least of their worries. There is a predator out there that is clawing to get inside of the ship.

Pros

  • A wonderfully chilling novel.

Cons

  • The jumps in chronology can be frustrating at points.

Themes: Historical, Horror, Thriller, Monsters.

The Funhouse By Dean Koontz

The Funhouse: A Thriller

A young girl runs away to join a traveling carnival. She married a man she could not stand, and gave birth to a child she could not ever love.

The child was so monstrous that she killed it herself. Now, 25 years later, she has a new life, a new husband, and two normal children. But, the carnival is coming back to town…

Pros

  • This book will have you on the edge of your seat, with a spine-chilling tale of revenge.

Cons

  • Some can find the storyline a little weak at points.

Themes: Thriller, Horror, Revenge.

Castaways By Brian Keene

Castaways

In this novel, the characters travel to a deserted island to compete on a reality TV show. They all want to be the last to leave in order to win. Now, they just want to stay alive as the island is not as deserted as they once thought. As contestants start disappearing, they begin to realize that this is not part of the show at all.

Pros

  • This is a savage tale of survival.

Cons

  • There are some horrific scenes that could be upsetting for some readers.

Themes: Horror, Thriller, Mystery, Survival, Monsters.

Down The Drain By Daniel Pyle

Down the Drain

Bruce has lost everything that he holds dear, even his cat. Now that he thinks that he is entirely alone, something is clawing its way out of the plumbing in his home to keep him company.

Pros

  • A dark tale of unexpected terror and horror.

Cons

  • It is a short story, but a fun, quick read.

Themes: Monsters, Horror, Short Stories.

Khost By Vincent Hobbes

Set in 1984, when the Soviet Union is locked in a war with Afghanistan against the Mujahideen. With all hope nearly lost, they become desperate. To win, they create a chemical weapon that can enhance their soldiers on the battlefield. What could go wrong?

Pros

  • The book is fast paced and filled with action.

Cons

  • There are some errors in the book that can distract the reader.

Themes: War, Horror, Military Fiction, Monsters, Zombies.

The Witching Hour By Anne Rice

The Witching Hour: A Novel (Lives of Mayfair Witches)

If you are looking for a monster book about witches, then you are in luck. The Witching Hour is another classic horror by Anne Rice. Rowan Mayfair is a beautiful woman, who has special powers.

She is unaware that she is from an ancient line of witches. She sets out to uncover and solve the mystery of her past, where an intricate tale of evil begins to unfold.

Pros

  • This book moves through time from modern San Francisco and New Orleans to the Civil War era, and to Louis XIV’s France.

Cons

  • There are a lot of explicit themes that can be uncomfortable for some readers.

Themes: Gothic, Horror, Paranormal, Witches. 

Dweller By Jeff Strand

Dweller

Toby was only 8 years old when he discovered a monster in the woods behind his house. It is a horrid creature with claws, fangs, and a love of human flesh. But Toby has now bonded with the creature, and it is his secret that no one else knows about.

Pros

  • This book deals with themes of loneliness, despair, loss, and isolation, while also being about a boy and his monster.

Cons

  • This story is not really a horror, but more of a tale of friendship.

Themes: Monster, Isolation, Coming Of Age, Secrets, Horror.

The Cellar By Richard Laymon

The Cellar (Beast House)

So many tourists flock to Beast House, but not many ever return. Behind those doors must be a creature of pure evil and terror.

Pros

  • The story goes in many different directions that you may not see coming. You will be wondering what is going to happen next.

Cons

  • There are some truly horrific scenes.

Themes: Violence, Horror, Terror, Beasts.

Final Thoughts

Humans have long shared folk tales and stories of horrifying monsters that seek to threaten normality. There are so many books out there with excellent storylines, thrilling plots, terrifying creatures, and important messages. With this list, you are sure to find your next monster book to add to your reading list!

Frequently Asked Questions

What Famous Monster Is From A Book?

Popular culture is full of monsters and eerie creatures. Many monsters that we see on the silver screen come from literature. One of the most famous monsters is Frankenstein’s Monster.

There have been many movie depictions of the ‘monster’ from Mary Shelley’s incredible book.

What Is The Best Monster Book Author?

One of the most well known monster books is The Mist by Stephen King. Stephen King is a master of the horror genre, and his books are filled with monsters of all kinds.

Whether it is an evil child returned from the dead in Pet Sematary, a murderous father losing his mind in The Shining, or actual demonic creatures like It- Stephen King is a master of his craft.

Noah Burton