Angels and demons represent one of the oldest mythological pairings in the history of human civilization. Is it any wonder that they're so thoroughly involved in fiction, even today?
Good and evil, light and darkness—we see this dichotomy in mythologies, folklore, and religions around the world, and it's often personified through angels and demons.
Traditionally, angels and demons war with one another on behalf of greater forces (e.g. God and Satan). More recently, angels and demons have been made fresh with new tropes and twists.
Here are my picks for the greatest novels about angels and demons, from thrillers to romance, from classics to modern hits.
10. Murder Mysteries
Authored by Neil Gaiman
First published in 1992
64 pages — 4.06 on Goodreads
Written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by P. Craig Russell, Murder Mysteries is a fantastic example of the noir fantasy genre.
In this story, Gaiman posits that God didn't create heaven and earth alone. Rather, he was helped by his angels. And why not? It was an enormous task, after all, and casualties have occurred.
In the City of Angeles, an angel is murdered. Raguel must find out who's behind this heinous act and the reasons behind it.
Murder Mysteries is one of Gaiman's older works so it doesn't have the honed edge of his later stories, but it's still an interesting work that merges religious beliefs with the murder mystery genre.
Authored by Donald E. Westlake
First published in 1992
335 pages — 3.62 on Goodreads
Many around the world believe that God created us and that he loves us as his own children. Well, this book sees it slightly differently.
In Humans, the Almighty sends one of his best angels to Earth to collect some humans. They are the chosen ones... who will lead the species to extinction and the end of the world.
Luckily, there are demons—sent by the Devil himself—who are trying their best to save mankind and stop God's plan.
Written by Donald E. Westlake, Humans subverts the concepts of good and evil in an interesting rendition of the apocalypse.
8. Hush, Hush
Authored by Becca Fitzpatrick
First published in 2009
391 pages — 3.93 on Goodreads
The first book of the saga written by Becca Fitzpatrick, Hush, Hush centers on Nora Grey, who was never really into boys. But everything changes when she meets Patch.
What she doesn't know is that Patch isn't like other boys. He's protecting her from something dark and dangerous, which would be a lot easier if their forbidden attraction wasn't getting in the way.
This mysterious love story is made all the more interesting by how it engages with religious stereotypes about supernatural creatures.
Authored by Neil Gaiman
First published in 1996
370 pages — 4.17 on Goodreads
I already mentioned Neil Gaiman before, but I'm including another one of his books: Neverwhere.
In Neverwhere, Richard just happens to be in the right place at the right time. He saves a girl who's covered in blood and injuries from two murderers—who didn't seem quite human.
The more Richard learns about the girl and her assailants, the darker reality becomes for him.
Neil Gaiman has a knack for stories that blend religious mysteries, the supernatural, and the unknown. Balancing fantasy and realism, Neverwhere is emblematic of his ability to immerse readers.
6. Dante's Journey
Authored by J.C. Marino
First published in 2010
368 pages — 3.99 on Goodreads
In Dante's Journey, detective Joe Dante finds himself in Hell, even though his journey started in Boston.
The tone of this story starts off as quite bleak, with the detective on a path to finding the drug lord who killed his family.
Helped by a mysterious guide named Virgil DiMini, Joe must navigate Hell, which is structured exactly like Dante Alighieri's Inferno in Divine Comedy. Why is he there? Will he find answers?
5. Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu
Authored by Mercedes M. Yardley
First published in 2013
174 pages — 4.12 on Goodreads
In Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu, Montessa Tovar is walking home one night when she's abducted by a serial killer named Lu.
But instead of becoming a victim of Lu's anger, Montessa and Lu become allies and subject the country to their plan of revenge.
Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu is not a book for readers who prefer lawful good characters and non-violent plots. It blurs the line between good and evil while engaging with questions like "What makes a demon, a demon?"
4. God's Demon
Authored by Wayne Barlowe
First published in 2007
352 pages — 3.97 on Goodreads
God's Demon is a dark fantasy novel written by Wayne Barlowe. In the aftermath of Lucifer's war, entire legions of angels were damned to hell for all eternity.
Those damned angels are no more than ancient memories for many who have lost hope, but one Demon Major named Lord Sargatanas still believes things can change.
Doomed to build his city of Adamantinarx, he makes a decision that will change his fate forever: he wants to rebel and go back home, where he feels he still belongs—and anyone who wants to follow him is welcome, both demons and souls.
3. From Away
Authored by Phoef Sutton
First published in 2018
320 pages — 4.06 on Goodreads
Sammy, her sister Charlotte, and her daughter Maggie are all that's left of their family after everyone else was killed in an accident.
They get back to their old family home on Fox Island, Maine, and for a moment it seems like everything is going to get better. But demons from their past come to disrupt the serenity of their lives and put their existence in danger.
Between the dynamics of their family and the deeply mysterious yet perilous forces that swirl around them, Phoef Sutton's From Away is one of the most addictive novels with demons ever written.
2. The Library of the Unwritten
Authored by A. J. Hackwith
First published in 2019
384 pages — 3.83 on Goodreads
The Library of the Unwritten is the first book in the Hell's Library fantasy series by A. J. Hackwith. It centers on Claire, the Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing, a space in Hell where unfinished books rest.
Not all stories are okay with being relegated to that section, though, and one of her main tasks is to capture characters who try to put those books back where they belong.
It gets even more complicated when the angel Ramiel attacks Claire, her assistant Brevity, and their demon courier Leto because he thinks they're keeping the Devil's Bible.
The Library of the Unwritten is one of the best fantasy books to come out in the past few years, proving that the fantasy genre hasn't yet run out of ideas and that books about angels and demons can still be fun.
1. This Present Darkness
Authored by Frank E. Peretti
First published in 1986
376 pages — 4.23 on Goodreads
This Present Darkness, written by Frank E. Peretti, is one of the most classic novels about demons and angels.
Ashton is a small town where nothing much ever happens. One day, however, a Christian preacher and a newspaper reporter share the feeling that something big is about to happen.
As the plot develops, dark secrets and evil plans come to surface. They know that someone wants to take over their local community before taking over the world—but who's behind it all?
If you love classic novels and you're itching for a story that blends angels and demons with apocalyptic flair, then This Present Darkness is a must-read to add to your collection.