The best books about revenge

48 authors have picked their favorite books about revenge and why they recommend each book.

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Point of Impact

By Stephen Hunter,

Book cover of Point of Impact

This first in a series of 12 novels about Vietnam Marine sniper veteran Bob Lee Swagger. The book focuses on time after his return home and is set up as the patsy in an assassination plot. To survive and bring revenge and justice, Swagger has to rely on all the skills and knowledge he learned as a sniper in Vietnam. Hunter is a combat veteran of the war and knows about what he writes. He is one of the finest novelists of his generation.

Who am I?

I served as an infantry platoon leader, reconnaissance platoon leader, and rifle company commander in Vietnam and observed the direct results of snipers. I am the author of 30 non-fiction books on the military (six specifically about the Vietnam War), sports, and health that have sold more than 1.1 million copies in 15 countries and 12 languages.

I wrote...

Inside the Crosshairs: Snipers in Vietnam

By Michael Lee Lanning,

Book cover of Inside the Crosshairs: Snipers in Vietnam

What is my book about?

At the start of the war in Vietnam, the United States had no snipers; by the end of the war, Marine and army precision marksmen had killed more than 10,000 NVA and VC soldiers--the equivalent of an entire division--at the cost of under 20,000 bullets, proving that long-range shooters still had a place in the battlefield. Now noted military historian Michael Lee Lanning shows how U.S. snipers in Vietnam--combining modern technology in weapons, ammunition, and telescopes--used the experience and traditions of centuries of expert shooters to perfect their craft.

True Grit

By Charles Portis,

Book cover of True Grit

I watched the 2010 remake of this movie starring Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld and just had to read the book. Farmgirl Mattie Ross teams up with a hired gun, seeking someone with “true grit” to help her avenge her father’s murder. At turns comedic and somber, Mattie was everything I wanted my main character to be—gutsy, stubborn, and pragmatic, but also vulnerable and prone to be led astray by her own naivete.

Who am I?

I love a smart, capable, skilled, determined heroine who’ll risk it all for the people she loves and the things she believes in. History and popular culture have long overlooked, minimized, or outright ignored the contributions of women and girls, especially in times of strife or hardship. Writing the Devil’s Revolver series, I wanted women from all walks of life proactively working to change the world and their own circumstances, wherever their paths lead them. Throughout, my protagonist, Hettie Alabama, develops allyship and understanding with women who have their own ideas, opinions, dreams, and desires, and together, they shape their own destinies and the fate of the world.

I wrote...

The Devil's Revolver

By V.S. McGrath,

Book cover of The Devil's Revolver

What is my book about?

The first book in an epic, magic-clad series featuring a reimagined Wild West, The Devil’s Revolver takes off across the landscape after a brutal double murder and kidnapping — to which revenge is the only answer. Hettie Alabama, only seventeen, leads her crew of underdogs with her father’s cursed revolver, magicked to take a year off her life each time she fires it. It’s no way for a ranch girl to grow up, but grow up she does, her scars and determination to rescue her vulnerable sister deepening with every year of life she loses.

A sweeping and high-stakes saga that gilds familiar Western adventure with powerful magic and panoramic fantasy, The Devil’s Revolver is the last word and the blackest hat in the Weird West.

Best Served Cold

By Joe Abercrombie,

Book cover of Best Served Cold

It was really hard for me to choose which of Abercrombie’s books I’d suggest, since all of his female characters – scratch that – all of his characters in general, no matter their gender, are pretty brutal and violent. But Best Served Cold gives us the story of Monzcarro Murcatto, the Snake of Talins. I don’t know if I can sum it up any better than Sajaam does, when he says to Monza, “You were a hero round these parts. That’s what they call you when you kill so many people the word murderer falls short,” but I’ll try.

Monza wins the war for Grand Duke Orso, garnering herself acclaim and wealth, and Orso’s fear that she’s become more popular than he is. So, like all good leaders, he throws her down the side of a mountain… And like all great and brutal protagonists, Monza survives to come after him.…

Who am I?

I hesitate to call myself an expert on anything, except perhaps how to eat too many Pringles and Twizzlers while trying to plot a novel. But if there’s anything else that I’ve spent my life devoted to, it’s the idea that “strong female characters” don’t all fall into one category or another. Give me a world populated by both Chrisjen Avasarala and Bobbie Draper. Give me smart and calculating and deadly force. Give me brutality in all its forms, because men don’t hold a monopoly on viciousness. For a very long time, the heroines we got were Susan Pevensie and Eowyn, accidental sweethearts in a beautiful gown – and I love those characters, too. But frankly, I’m all for wearing that gorgeous dress while you disembowel your enemies and take over the kingdom from your evil step-uncle.

I wrote...

The Queen Underneath

By Stacey Filak,

Book cover of The Queen Underneath

What is my book about?

The Queen Underneath tells the story of the city-state of Yigris, purposefully divided into two sects – Above and Under. Under, home to thieves, assassins, sex workers, and pirates, has long taken care of the people of Yigris, while Above, populated by nobles and merchants, has ignored them. But there’s no chance that they can ignore what’s coming when the leaders of both factions die under suspicious circumstances on the same day.

Gemma wasn’t born to rule, but she’s trained for it her whole life. Tollan was born to be king, but he’s in way over his head. Together with an unlikely band of friends, they’ll do what it takes to save Yigris. Or die trying.

Keystone (Crossbreed Series Book 1)

By Dannika Dark,

Book cover of Keystone (Crossbreed Series Book 1)

Dannika Dark’s Crossbreed is just one of her many spin-off series but has quickly become my favourite. The relationship between Raven and Christian is slow-burn, with the books mainly focusing on Keystone, an organisation they are both apart of. In the first book Keystone, there is very little romance other than hints and teases, but when they do get together further in the series it’s intense and full of passion while still remaining true to the storyline. I find with many series that once a couple gets together their individuality disappears, but with the Crossbreed series you find Raven is still the main protagonist, and Christian only adds to her character arc. Heat level: 3/5

Who am I?

Hi there, I’m Taylor a British writer who instead of seeking help for my severe anxiety, decided to get lost in magical fictional worlds through books, and later on my own writing. To be fair, it’s worked out pretty well for me considering I now get to share the strange and wonderful stories that pop in my head. I’m sure you guessed that my favourite genre is both Urban Fantasy/PNR, mainly because they are very similar to one another but also because they both blur the lines between reality and imagination. Also because of werewolves. And sometimes vampires. 

I wrote...

Witch's Sorrow: A Witch Detective Urban Fantasy

By Taylor Aston White,

Book cover of Witch's Sorrow: A Witch Detective Urban Fantasy

What is my book about?

Paladin Agent Alice Skye didn’t think much of the contract forced upon her by Rexley Wild, Alpha of one of the largest packs in Europe. He hired her for one job. Find the missing wolf. Unfortunately for Alice, she might already be too late.

She's in way over her head, an inexperienced witch who has to use all her instincts to help the secretive and detached Alpha find his missing packmate. But it isn’t long before she realises something’s not quite right. It's not simply a missing person, it was something a lot closer to home, something that reignites nightmares that make her question her own, horrific past. Alice is in a race against time that forces her to face vampires, daemons, and anything that gets in the way, for she only has one thing to do, find the wolf before he turns up like the others. Dead.


By Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (illustrator),

Book cover of Matilda

Again, loved the play and the movie, but the book is still the best. Humor, wit, courage, love, action, terror, this book has it all. And who can beat Roald Dahl at telling a tale? Matilda is quite the intrepid heroine who overcomes an unloving, criminal family and a cruel and dangerous school headmistress to persevere in love and life. Still one of my favorites, especially as a read-aloud.

Who am I?

I was an elementary classroom teacher for more than thirty years and my favorite thing to do with my students was “read alouds,” which of course meant I got to read a lot of books. Then I read them to my kids and now my grandkids. I always wanted to read the best because time is so precious in a classroom. My daughter was born very premature and only survived thanks to God and her innate feistiness. She is an overcomer and inspires me to share similar stories. Of the books I’ve written for kids, 2 of the 3 protagonists are girls!

I wrote...

Love Puppies and Corner Kicks

By Bob Krech,

Book cover of Love Puppies and Corner Kicks

What is my book about?

Change, while challenging, often drives personal growth, as 13-year-old Andrea discovers. When her father announces the family is relocating to Scotland for a year, Andrea fears her new schoolmates will uncover her secret: She stutters. At home in the States, Andrea’s stellar soccer skills and occasional use of her fists have enabled her to suppress her insecurities. At Dunnotar Academy, Andrea faces the dual stressors of new surroundings and social situations. A place on the Tough Girls Football Club soccer team seems a perfect opportunity for Andrea to rely on familiar strategies to conceal her speech issues. However, a blossoming friendship with a less popular girl and a fledgling romance give Andrea the courage to confront her anxieties. Andrea can literally stay quiet and fit in or risk all by speaking up for herself and others. 

Hunted by the Sky

By Tanaz Bhathena,

Book cover of Hunted by the Sky

Filled with magic, prophecy, and ancient goddesses, Hunted By the Sky transports you to a world where a girl with a star-shaped birthmark seeks revenge for the murder of her parents, and a boy who is willing to do anything to save his father will soon meet. In this beautiful novel, you will find thoughtful worldbuilding and fantastical mirrors to our own reality, exploring identity, class, and love. 

Who am I?

I love books that take you to another world, stories that show you bits of our reality while exploring another. It’s thrilling to step into a world where anything can happen, where dragons exist, where our laws of nature may not apply. But also, I love seeing the familiar in fantastical places: love, friendship, and hope. Though the characters in books may inhabit worlds made mostly out of paper, ink, and imagination, their stories are universal.

I wrote...


By Jodi Meadows,

Book cover of Nightrender

What is my book about?

In the middle of nothingness is the Island of Salvation. Reality bends easily here. Villages disappear. Forests burn forever. Pockets of inconsistent time are everywhere, their boundaries strung with yellow ribbon. And the three kingdoms of Salvation have been at war for a thousand years. But the greatest threat is the Malice, an incursion from the demon plane slowly tearing its way through the world’s weakest seams. Seams that—once split—will lead to the total unraveling of night and day, light and dark, life and death. 
Not that the human world takes much interest.

Of more concern is the upcoming marriage of Rune Highcrown, Prince of Caberwill, and Johanne Fortuin, Princess of Embria—the serpent bride, a girl of famous cunning—which offers a possible end to the ancient conflict. But Rune has noticed the growing darkness, and he is determined to summon mankind’s only defense: Nightrender, the hammer of the gods, an immortal warrior more weapon than girl.
Will she save humanity from the Malice…or plunge it deeper into the fires of eternal war?

Great Expectations

By Charles Dickens,

Book cover of Great Expectations

I’ve already said how I want the characters in the stories I read to grab my attention, so much so that I want to learn how to write the great ones. In pursuit of my ambition, is there anyone as good as Dickens to learn from? There are so many Dickens described in his writing, but as I’m only allowed one of his to choose then it has to be—Magwitch. He was a gigantic monsters rising up from the mud in the graveyard that’s always smothered in a dank, cold mist and where the light from the lantern dances in the shadows of the gravestones.     

Who am I?

My father died before I knew him, when I was sixteen, but once he called me; deceitful. I took that as a compliment, as it came from someone who knew what was deceitful. He was part of an intelligence unit interrogating captured Axis troops at the end of WWII. He told some stories of these deceitful people. It left me to build on those I could remember using my imagination that was shaped, to some extent, by my time in the London Police Force. Most of those books I’ve recommended were rescued from Book Fairs held on rainy Saturday mornings, where the books smelled musty and the people; damp.  

I wrote...

The Desolate Garden

By Daniel Kemp,

Book cover of The Desolate Garden

What is my book about?

Harry Paterson receives a phone call from his estranged father, Lord Elliot Paterson saying he had discovered a vast quantity of money erased from the family-run secret intelligence services bank, dating all the way back to 1936. Mysterious initials and an address in Leningrad—a major port in former Soviet Union—are his only clues. A few months later Lord Elliot is found murdered.

Harry is summoned to London where he must work with the enigmatic Judith Meadows, from MI5, to unravel his father's mysterious death—and figure out the mystery that’s hidden in the files of the Royal Government Bank.

The Next Wife

By Kaira Rouda,

Book cover of The Next Wife

The grass is not always greener on the other side is the takeaway message from this novel. 

Talk about schadenfreude dripping from page to page. 

While the new wife is very easy to despise, the ex-wife comports herself with dignity when she has every right to be angry and pop Xanax like candy.  

Here we have a genuflecting husband begging to return to the marriage he destroyed. He’s had his fun and now he’s pining for the woman, who he finally realizes is his true soul mate. 

Like all good mysteries, there’s an “I didn’t see that coming” moment which in my humble opinion made this book shine. Twists are not easy to devise. As a writer, you can accidentally give the game away by offering hints that readers sniff out a mile away. Readers are an instinctive bunch. That didn’t happen in this novel, therefore kudos to the author.

Who am I?

As an avid reader, I’ve been reading novels longer than I’ve been writing them. Despite possessing an eclectic taste in fiction, I promised myself this year only to read current, chart-topping novels. And to that end, I must admit, it hasn’t been easy. There are so many unfinished novels on my kindle reader! I’m still stuck in the past. I adore the classics—from George Eliot to Somerset Maugham, Du Maurier, and Steinbeck. I’m just naturally drawn to descriptive language and exotic settings. The novels I reviewed, however, managed to hold my interest up to the last page. If I possessed half of these authors’ talent, I’d be blessed. 

I wrote...

Uncovering Love

By J.J. Sorel,

Book cover of Uncovering Love

What is my book about?

To escape an abusive ex, Scarlet Black takes on a new identity and accepts a role masquerading as an admin assistant. She moves to a secluded mansion in a small English coastal village working for the reclusive billionaire, Daniel Love, whose wife has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Scarlet soon forms a connection with her troubled but handsome younger boss, and together they descend into a torrid relationship. The deeper they delve into each other the more insatiable they become. The problem is if she breaks from her undercover role her ex, a rogue policeman, will find her. But if she stays, after winning the trust of this guarded and damaged man, the deep bond they’ve formed will be shattered.

Nevernight (Book One of the Nevernight Chronicle)

By Jay Kristoff,

Book cover of Nevernight (Book One of the Nevernight Chronicle)

This is one trilogy you may not be ready for. I certainly wasn’t! But I’m so glad I read it. When I first read Nevernight, I was blown off my feet by the sheer madness of this story. Protagonist Mia Corvere doesn’t give an inch in her quest for revenge, and it is an endless riot of blood, sexy times, sucker-punch plot lines, and laughter. 

Get ready to fall for the characters, even the ones you want to slap, but don’t get too attached because no one is safe in Mr. Kristoff’s worlds… damn you Jay! 

What I love most about this series is how Jay explores the concept of what makes a family. Is it blood? Is it experiencing things that bond you forever? 

This entire series has earned itself a place of honour on my bookshelf. Fearless, mad, magnetic… just a few words to describe what you’re…

Who am I?

I’ve been writing since before I can remember and my stories always edge towards darkness. If darkness is a cliff-face, I stand precariously on the edge, taking my readers with me and maybe… eventually… giving them a little shove. Sorry, not sorry. As a writer of dark YA fantasy, it is both my duty and privilege to read as many dark fantasy stories as possible. My series, The Relic Trilogy, isn’t all sunshine and happiness. Whenever I see a review where the reader admits they ended up in a puddle of their own tears, I celebrate because that is precisely what I’m here for folks. 

I wrote...


By Bronwyn Eley,

Book cover of Relic

What is my book about?

In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow. As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place. It’s an appointment that will kill her. As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.

Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series.

The Count of Monte Cristo

By Alexandre Dumas, Robin Buss (translator),

Book cover of The Count of Monte Cristo

The ultimate revenge story! At its core, this novel is an adventure story, but it also has a huge Gothic undertone, from the gloomy atmosphere of the prison to the dark psychology of seeking personal justice. While I loved the movies, I loved even more how the novel was darker, with Edmond Dantes setting up his nemeses like dominoes just to watch them fall. He not only inflicted justice, but he did it in such a psychological (and financial) way that it became even more damaging to those who wronged him, to the point that most succumbed to their own demises. Now that’s something I can get behind.

Who am I?

I’ve loved Gothic fiction ever since I was young. I grew up around avid murder-mystery fans, but being introduced to Edgar Allan Poe’s work is what started me on a path that led me to become a writer. With a background in psychology, my stories tend to involve dark fantasy settings with an emphasis on Gothic elements, mainly because it often leans into psychology for support. The dark sides of the soul and the way the mind plays tricks are often what bring out the horror that Gothic fiction is known for. This exploration of the human psyche is what both fascinates and inspires me as a writer.

I wrote...

The Illusory

By A.M. Dunnewin,

Book cover of The Illusory

What is my book about?

Skylar Mandolyn, last heir and first queen of Correnth, is still haunted by what happened during her imprisonment. Trying to stay focused on the impending war with Bellumortis, Skylar can’t help but see the shadow of the one who had caused her kingdom’s downfall, only recognizing him by his black-and-cream façade and his chin that drips with blood. Then, Bellumortis attacks, and suddenly the reality and fantasy she’s tried to keep separate become the same battleground. Ghosts become real, enemies become haunting, and Skylar begins to realize that this may actually be the end of everything… including herself.

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