100 Must-Read Books About Monsters

While we at the Riot take some time off to rest and catch up on our reading, we’re re-running some of our favorite posts from the last several months. Enjoy our highlight reel, and we’ll be back with new stuff on Tuesday, January 3rd.

This post originally ran September 21, 2016.


 Monsters under the bed. Monsters in the closet. Monsters in the woods. Sea monsters. Otherworldly monsters. When we want to drive home how horrible a person’s actions are, we call them a monster. The old explorers and cartographers marked off unexplored areas with the ominous phrase, “Here there be monsters.” We reminisce fondly about the classic monster movies of the 1930s and ’40s. Monsters, man. They’re everywhere.

We never outgrew the monsters of our childhood. They just moved from the closet to our reading materials. So I’ve put together a list of 100 monster stories, organized by type (or breed, if you will) for your reading pleasure.

A couple notes about this list: I tried to stick as close to horror & dark fantasy as I could, and I chose not to include a lot of well-known titles & authors on this list, because we all know Dracula and Frankenstein and Cujo. Hopefully you’ll find something new here!

Aliens

1. The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

2. Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

3. In the After by Demitria Lunetta

4. The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

5. Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell

 

Biological Horrors

*Includes plants, animals, and parasites

6. Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

7. Breeding Ground by Sarah Pinborough

8. The Caretaker of Lorne Field by Dave Zeltserman

9. Clickers by J.F. Gonzalez

10. The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

11. Jaws by Peter Benchley

12. The Loch by Steve Alten

13. Monster by Frank Peretti

14. The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea

15. Parasite by Mira Grant

16. The Ruins by Scott Smith

17. Seeders by A.J. Colucci

18. Slither by Edward Lee

19. The Troop by Nick Cutter

 

Demons

20. Come Closer by Sara Gran

21. Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

22. The Gates by John Connolly

23. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

24. Mr. B. Gone by Clive Barker

25. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

26. Netherworld by Lisa Morton

 

Humans

27. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

28. The Collector by John Fowles

29. Off Season by Jack Ketchum

30. Out by Natsuo Kirino

31. Perfect Days by Raphael Montes

32. Succulent Prey by Wrath James White

33. Survivor by J.F. Gonzalez

34. We Are Monsters by Brian Kirk

Vampires

35. Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

36. Dark Corner by Brandon Massey

37. Fledgling by Octavia Butler

38. The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

39. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist

40. My Soul to Keep by Tananarive Due

41. The Night Wanderer by Drew Taylor Hayden

42. The Quick by Lauren Owen

43. The Passage by Justin Cronin

44. The Strain by Guillermo del Toro

Werewolves

45. Breed by Chase Novak

46. The Devourers by Indra Das

47. The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

48. Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones

49. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy

50. Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow

51. Wilding by Melanie Tem

52. The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

 

Witches

53. A Choir of Ill Children by Tom Piccirilli

54. The Circle by Bentley Little

55. The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

56. Gideon by Alex Gordon

57. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

58. Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova

59. Nazareth Hill by Ramsey Campbell

60. Wytches Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder

Zombies

61. Dead of Night by Jonathan Maberry

62. Feed by Mira Grant

63. The First Days by Rhiannon Frater

64. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan.

65. Jesus Freaks by Andre Duza

66. The Missing by Sarah Langan

67. The Rising by Brian Keene

68. World War Z by Max Brooks

69. Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Various, Miscellaneous, and Sundry

70. Alice by Christina Henry

71. Bird Box by Josh Malerman

72. Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

73. Bonechiller by Graham McNamee

74. Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

75. Clay by David Almond

76. Dead Bitch Army by Andre Duza

77. The Devil in Silver by Victor Lavalle

78. Dweller by Jeff Strand

79. Gil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez

80. The Grin of the Dark by Ramsey Campbell

81. The Hollower by Mary SanGiovanni

82. John Dies at the End by David Wong

83. Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

84. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

85.  Monstress by Marjorie Liu

86. The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

87. North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud

88. NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

89. Paper Girls, Vol. 1 by Bryan K. Vaughn

90. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child

91. The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

92. The Revenant Road by Michael Boatman

93. The Ritual by Adam Nevill

94. Roosevelt’s Beast by Louis Bayard

95. The Shapeshifters by Stefan Spjut

96. She Walks in Shadows by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (ed.)

97. Summer of Night by Dan Simmons

98. The Terror by Dan Simmons

99. Threshold by Caitlin Kiernan

100. Unnatural Creatures by Neil Gaiman et al.

 

Do you like podcasts like This American Life, RadioLab, or Planet Money? Annotated is kinda like those, but for books. Go here to find out more, or click the image below:
Katie McLain: Katie's parents never told her "no" when she asked for a book, which was the start of most of her problems. She has a BA in Creative Writing from Lake Forest College and is working towards a master's degree in library science at U of I. She works full time at a public library reference desk in northern IL, specializing in readers’ advisory and general book enthusiasm, and she has a deep-rooted love of all things disturbing, twisted, and terrifying. (She takes enormous pleasure in creeping out her coworkers.) When she's not spending every waking hour at the library, she's at home watching Cubs baseball with her cats and her cardigan collection, and when she's not at home, she's spending too much money on concert tickets. Her hobbies include debating the finer points of Harry Potter canon, hitting people upside the head who haven’t read The Martian, and convincing her boyfriend that she can, in fact, fit more books onto her shelves. Twitter: @kt_librarylady