As you might already know, I am an avid fantasy reader and don’t often find myself really loving a contemporary or thriller. As I do love the vibes of spooky season, I wanted to recommend some books that bring that spooky or grim atmosphere, but also have at least some fantasy elements to them.
Let’s jump right into the 20 recommendations I have for you. I’ll start out with some books that I have already read and loved in the past. I’ll have all the goodreads pages for the books linked as well so you can check it out if you want to know more about them.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong: While the blood feud between two rival gangs keeps on going, a contagion, a madness is overtaking the streets of 1920’s Shanghai and there are sightings of a monster in the shadows. I was filled with tension while reading it and just couldn’t put it down. You can read my full review here.
In the Ravenous Dark by A.M. Strickland: What else do you need than this tagline: “A pansexual bloodmage reluctantly teams up with an undead spirit to start a rebellion among the living and the dead”. My full review for it can be found here.
The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino: Set at a creepy library where grimoires are stored and two students accidentally summon a demon. It is haunting and delves deep into the characters and their development. You can read my full review here.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: Oh how this book managed to grip me… with its eerie atmosphere, its too real characters that are scarred and surviving, its brutally realistic portrayal of society, the occult practices, the unlikely allies, the tension that was built up with the past and the present storylines and the mystery of it all. I just want more of it.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas: Also a bit more of a contemporary fantasy, but here the main character lives at a cemetery and has summoned a ghost and it is set around Día de Muertos and I completely loved the obscure vibes of it.
Afterlove by Tanya Byrne: Not as much as a fantasy, but it does deal with reapers, leading the death to the afterlife. I had a fun time with it, but it was just a bit too contemporary for me. My review for it will be up next Monday.
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson: It isn’t necessarily creepy, but I did get some eerie vibes when I read it. The audiobook for this is phenomenal and only adds to the atmosphere. You can read my full review for it here.
And here I have some books that I have not yet read, but that do seem quite intriguing as October reads. I’ve mainly looked through reviews of these books to see what vibes people mainly got from them, so I hope they will live up to my spooky expectations whenever I manage to get to them.
A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee: A dark academia at a spooky boarding school where the main character is struggling with her mental health. Supposedly very atmospheric and ful of mystery.
The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake: A dark academia about a secret society of magical academicians.
Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff: It’s Jay Kristoff, so I can’t imagine it being anything else than dark and gritty. I’m looking forward to see how he writes vampires.
The Ravens by Kass Morgan and Danielle Paige: This one is a contemporary fantasy about a sorority full of witches.
The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco: A dark fantasy with scorned witches, sinister curses, undead monsters and necromancy.
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia: Described as a pulse-pounding neo-noir that reimagines vampire lore. It is supposed to be really bloody and features mafia-like vampire gangs.
The screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud: The first book in the Lockwood & Co. series, about a country that’s affected by an epidemic of ghosts. This is a middle grade full of supense, humor and terrifying ghosts.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig: This book supposedly has a creepy atmosphere with lots of tension and mystery.
Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone: Described as a lush gothic fantasy about monsters and magic, set on the banks of a cursed lake that supposedly creepy and atmosperic, encompassing both horror and romance.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness: About a centuries-old vampire, a spellbound witch, and the mysterious manuscript that draws them together.
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones: About a grave digger, risen corpses, a curse, and deadly mountains that were once home to the fae.
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik: About a school for the magically gifted full of demons where the students either graduate or die.
Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson: About a girl possessed by a demon and different causes of death will result in different kinds of spirits.
I hope this list can give you some inspiration and if you have any more great fantasies that give you the spooky vibes, do let me know!
3 thoughts on “Spooky/atmospheric reads for the fantasy lover”
House of Salt and Sorrows was so good, and I adore These Violent Delights so much! Thanks for the recs!
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Such a great list! Certain Dark Things is still one of my favorite books, the vampire lore is so unique😁
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Nice! It’s just so hard to pick from this list. I’m not sure yet which ones I’ll actually be reading in October. Probably the ones I already have a physical copy of.