Starter Guide: Best Books with Great Villains by Mayté Losada


[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcome author Mayté Losada to the site today. She’s sharing some great books, all of them with great villains. Take it away, Mayté!]

There are several genres in the book universe. There’s science fiction, there’s history, there are crime thrillers and mysteries. Not to forget, of course, romance, comedy, a mix of the two, and a personal favorite of mine, fantasy. Throughout the years and the hundreds of books I’ve read, I’ve gotten a pretty good idea of my ideal books (which include fantasy of course, a little romance and mystery and a lot of adventure, and a whole lot of dark magic). These kinds of books were the ones I turned to for inspiration when writer’s block would strike. 

So, for any of you who are fans of similar books, I would a thousand percent recommend these. They include morally-grey characters, magic and creative villains.

The A Darker Shade of Magicseries by V.E. Schwab

…which I first picked up during my third year of high school because of a friend’s recommendation. I ended up buying all three books at once, something I rarely do, and reading them all in the span of a month. From the first page, Schawb pulls you into the world she’s built. Lila quickly became my favorite, Kell’s coat quickly became something I wished I could pull out of the ADSOM universe. The magic as well! Schwab crafted a book that has everything I love and I often found myself turning to this series to see how she was able to create such a detailed world while writing my own.

The Villains Series by V.E. Schwab

…which I picked up because I fell in love with her writing style. By now I own most of her books and have reread a few, including this series. Different from the ADSOM universe, the Villains series explores humanity and the near-death experiences some go through that make them more than human. I loved the usage of duel timelines which show the past and the present, and how both stories intertwined to tell the tale of two best friends turned enemies. For anyone who likes superhero stories, I recommend these books. 

The Nevernight Chronicles by Jay Kristoff

…which is something I decided to read after reading the next series on this list. As someone who loves morally grey characters, dark fantasy and blood/gore, this series was enjoyable for me and might be as well for anyone who likes the same. My favorite part of the book had to be the daemon that came in the shape of a cat called Mister Kindly. In my opinion, while the plot was beautiful, the storytelling even more so, he was easily the best part of this series. This story is the closest to mine, in regards to genre. This may be the first dark fantasy I ever read.

The Illuminae Files by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufmann

…which I picked up solely because the lines “This morning, Kady thought breaking up with her Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do today. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.” You can say her life ]did a full 180°. The best part of this series though? Probably AIDAN (the sassy, slightly maniacal and morally grey artificial intelligence operating system) and the fact that it’ll keep you on the edge of your seat at all times. Which is something I wanted to sprinkle into my own writing, because edge-of-the-seat books are always very entertaining. 

The Stalking Jack the Ripper series by Kerri Maniscalco

…which I picked up because the I loved the idea of books featuring famous killers from history, a forward-thinking man in late 1880s and a young woman who likes dissecting the dead more than being a “lady”. From this series, I enjoyed the author’s take on the famous killers and the way I got to travel the world in the 1880s along with the characters. The second book is easily my favorite, taking place in a huge, dark-academia like castle in Romania. But overall, the characters, who were perfect (and very real) for each other, along with the amazing story-telling, vivid descriptions and plot twists were what made this series really enjoyable. 

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

…which I got after years of staring at the red shoe on the cover. If any of you are fans of fairytale retellings like me, then Meyer’s futuristic takes on Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White will probably be right down your ally. When I finally got the books, I began reading them right away. The idea of a deadly virus and a world filled with magical people on the moon were the some of the best parts of this series. It felt so real yet so fantastical at the same time. 

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

…is also a retelling, this time of the Queen of Hearts from Louis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. Everything about this story is perfection and it’s one of my top stand-alones of all time. Here, you’re able to see just how heartbreaking the story of how the Queen of Hearts came to be is. After all, Meyer does not hold back. So, while I did shed a few tears, this book gave me the story of a villain, who never wanted to be one, which I always appreciate. And the ending (the very last sentence) was absolute perfection and probably my favorite part in the whole book. 

The Ember Quartet by Sabaa Tahir

…which I picked up by random and am very glad I did. This series tells the tale of warring people without leaving out the ugly parts. You see the messy rebellions and the evil commanders and the vengeful fallout. I know nothing of war, but this book gives me an idea of what it could be. I appreciate its honestly more than anything, though the characters and plot are beautiful in their own way. Tahir makes me wanting more (all the while breaking my heart and soul), so I can say this is one of my top fantasy series. 

About the Author:

Mayté Losada is the debut author of the A Darkness So Blessed and Wicked trilogy. Born in an Italian canton in Switzerland, she later moved to Canada and the US. Losada currently resides in Pittsburgh with her family while being a student at the New York Film Academy. She is working on a BA in fine arts, focusing on cinema and acting. Read more at

Magic in Blood by Mayté Losada, out now!

In a magical realm, the enemy kingdoms of blood mages and soul mages, Meris and Lysmir, are unexpectedly on the brink of war after two mysterious royal murders. The two royal families quickly cast blame on each other, but not everything is as it seems. Princess Sivrehya of Meris and Prince Ivar of Lysmir separately vow to determine the truth.

Unbeknownst to each other, the mortal enemies journey to the Twin Cities of the solar and lunar mages to search for a mythical and deadly monster that cannot lie and knows all. During their quest, Sivrehya and Ivar strive to uncover what really happened to their families while fighting the urge to kill each other along the way.

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