If you love horror stories or creepy monster tales, chances are, you’ve encountered a few werewolves and shapeshifters in your reading.
These staple characters in scary stories fascinate us with their total body transformations, whether to the ferocious werewolf or to any other creature, even if they are tame and docile in their human form!
Next time you want to be spooked out of your pajamas, try taking one of these novels under the covers. Chances are, you won’t look at the full moon the same way again!
Best Books About Werewolves and Shapeshifters
Here are our top picks for books that feature werewolves or shapeshifters. We’ve included classic horror novels as well as romances with shapeshifters to stir up your imagination.
1. The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice
Who better to take us into the world of werewolves but the one who brought us witches and vampires in all their gory? And this is not just a stand-alone book; you can even read the whole series. Rice reimagines this transformation as a gift rather than a curse. The first book follows a man attacked in the darkness by a beast he can’t see.
2. Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King
Master storyteller Stephen King brings us this graphic novel following the terror that comes to an isolated town in Maine. The first to be attacked was the snowbound railwayman, then a woman in her own bedroom. When the full moon returns, who will be next?
3. Skin Trade by George R.R. Martin
In this graphic novel, Randi Wade is following in the footsteps of her policeman father, but the past comes back to haunt her. Take a look at this unique modern-day spin on werewolves, murder, and bladed demons, brought to you by the bestselling fantasy author of the Song of Ice and Fire series.
4. Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
This novel features Vivian Gandillion, a 16-year-old female werewolf grieving the death of her father, which left her pack leaderless and chaotic. She’s desperate to live a normal life. But what happens when she falls in love with a human?
5. Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
One of the classic tales about shapeshifting, this novella follows the story of Dr. Henry Jekyll and his strange link to the evil Mr. Hyde, known for brutally killing people. Investigations lead people to wonder why Dr. Jekyll seems to be defending Hyde.
Later we find out how the doctor had used a serum to transform himself into the selfish, uncaring, and evil creature, initially controlling the transformations but later losing all control.
6. The Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett
Part of the Discworld series, bestselling fantasy author Terry Pratchett dips into the world of werewolves, trolls, vampires, and other mythical beings in this book, following Commander Vimes as he investigates an attempted murder and a theft.
7. The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
As the last werewolf at over 200 years old, Jake Marlow loves his books, Scotch, and other pleasures of the flesh, including a desperation for human meat at full moon. Driven to despair by his dual existence, he wants to kill himself, but two vicious groups have much at stake to keep him alive.
8. Red Moon by Benjamin Percy
This take on the classic werewolf tale imagines these shapeshifters living normal lives among ordinary people: first, there’s Claire Forrester, whose parents are murdered by government agents. Then, there’s Patrick Gamble, who gets on a plane only to get off it hours later as the only passenger alive. Laws have kept the threat at bay, but what happens when the red moon comes?
9. Raised by Wolves by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
What happens if a werewolf killed your parents, but the alpha of the werewolf pack adopts you? This is the life that 15-year-old Bryn grows up in, with little to complain about… until the day she finds Chase, a teen kept behind bars in their basement. Bryn sees him transform into a werewolf, triggering memories of her parents’ murder.
10. The Hyde Effect by Steve Vance
When a series of violent deaths occur within just a few hours of each other, the blame is put on some unidentified savage animal. But when Meg Talley survives an attack and claims her attacker was a strange, monster-like creature, nobody believes her—except a horror novelist, a journalist, and a private eye, who team up to conduct an investigation.
11. Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright
This novel tells the tale of two werewolves, female Taryn Warner and alpha male Trey Coleman, who form an uneasy alliance in order to connect their two packs in a political union. But what if they end up with more than they bargained for and find themselves falling in love?
12. Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend
Alpha-aspirant Keil Lynus meets his destined mate in the Yukon wilderness, but the only problem is that his mate doesn’t even know she has werewolf genes. Keil must deal with a clumsy younger brother, this potential mate who’s deaf and brings an attitude, and a deadly duel, all in one week.
13. The Wolf’s Hour by Robert R. McCammon
Set in Nazi-occupied France, this dark fantasy classic follows Gallatin, the only agent qualified to search for an informant closely monitored by the Gestapo to obtain vital information and thwart the Nazis’ Iron Fist plan. The catch? Gallatin is a werewolf.
14. The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore
This classic werewolf novel, first published in 1933, follows Bertrand Caillet as he journeys through pre-Revolutionary France to quiet the beast inside him. Endore writes with candid frankness about his eerie visions, becoming a voice of influence on the next generations of science fiction and horror authors.
15. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
In this second book of the Twilight series, Bella loses her vampire-lover Edward Cullen and finds comfort in her friendship with Jacob Black, whom she later discovers unwillingly becoming a werewolf. The book escalates into tribal wars and treaties made between vampires and werewolves, with Bella caught right in the middle.
Reading Fantasy Books
Reading fantasy books that include eerie shapeshifters is a great way of looking at things from a different perspective. For example, British Library acclaims Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as an insightful look at the tension between one’s public and private self, as well as between social duty and personal desire.
If you’re curious about the folklore behind werewolves and other shapeshifters, this book list is a good way to wet your feet. The good thing is that many of these books are also part of a series, so you can really delve into the characters’ lives over a longer timeframe!
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Yen Cabag is the Blog Writer of TCK Publishing. She is also a homeschooling mom, family coach, and speaker for the Charlotte Mason method, an educational philosophy that places great emphasis on classic literature and the masterpieces in art and music. She has also written several books, both fiction and nonfiction. Her passion is to see the next generation of children become lovers of reading and learning in the midst of short attention spans.