Last Updated on February 17, 2023 by Jella Erhard
Welcome to our list of some of the most profound, exciting, and thought-provoking books about good and evil of all time. You’ll find here must-read classic, non-fiction, fiction, and fantasy good vs evil books.
PIN ME for later
Best Books About Good & Evil
*Disclaimer: Some links on AsianaCircus.com are affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase we may receive a small commission (at no additional cost to you).
Good vs evil is one of the most used and most beloved themes in literature. No matter what type of novels, or poetry you like you can easily find touching and thought-provoking books about good and evil that will help you understand human nature better.
Other than universal themes, and creative stories you’ll also be able to enjoy tales about some of the best villains in literature. We collected there some of the must-read classics, new tales, and poetry books filled with intriguing stories and ideas related to life, morality, death, hate, love, family, and of course, good and evil.
You’ll also find here more light-hearted and downright funny novels about good and evil that will surely make you laugh out loud. However, if you prefer something deeper and more concrete you can explore science and philosophy books about good and evil and how it shows in modern society.
These tales can be feel-good too thanks to some of the most magical good vs evil children’s books, and some of the most adventurous fantasy and YA books that tell the classic tale of the battle between light and dark. Let these enchanting and gripping tales and true stories help you explore the true meaning and concept of good and evil.
If you love accessible and vastly entertaining novels that’ll make you smarter then keep on reading. You can also visit our online Book Nook where you’ll find curated book lists filled with some of the best novels, series, and poetry books from around the world.
16| To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – Southern Gothic Novel, 1960
To Kill A Mockingbird is one of the most important and beloved novels about good and evil. This brilliant bildungsroman novel deals with heavy and difficult things in a way that’s accessible to younger readers. It’s a story about a girl named Scout and her father, Atticus. Scout and her brother Jem try to understand and relate to their father who is a lawyer charged with defending a black man falsely accused of raping a white woman.
The story explores many themes of racial prejudice, injustice, love, and the coming of age of Scout and Jem. One of its most important themes is the conflict between good and evil and readers can experience everything through the eyes of an innocent child who experiences the surprisingly dark side of human nature for the first time in her life. Jean “Scout” Finch is both the narrator and the protagonist of the novel which makes the reading experience much more impactful, emotional, and memorable.
15| The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – High-Fantasy Novel, 1955
The Lord Of The Rings is probably the most widely known book series on this list. While it’s an immensely enjoyable (both the books and the movies) and creative story, it also has many important themes and it mainly explores the confrontation between the forces of good and evil.
Spoiler alert: the One Ring is evil and it also has the power to turn even the most benign and well-intentioned characters into pure evil and pull them to the dark side. However, many previously good characters turn evil during the series for more power or out of fear.
It’s also an adventure series with larger-than-life conflicts, one-of-a-kind worldbuilding, and fascinating characters which makes The Lord Of The Rings one of the most thought-provoking fantasy books of all time.
14| Macbeth by William Shakespeare – Shakespearean tragedy, 1623
Macbeth explores the themes of good and evil through the inner conflicts of people’s morality. It explores many easily relatable and universal themes such as ambition, fate, guilt, as well as sin and retribution.
The story follows a Scottish general Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and how their personality and relationship change over a course of horrible events. Three witches tell Macbeth that he will be King of Scotland and he is further encouraged by his wife which leads to him killing the king and him becoming the new King of Scotland. Then Macbeth kills more people out of paranoia which leads to a civil war to overthrow Macbeth, resulting in even more death.
Even though Macbeth is considered a good man at the beginning of the play his thirst for power turns him evil. The play shows how evil can grow and flourish under certain circumstances and while it’s the opposite of humanity it’s still in every humans’ heart. It also shows just how easily can humans turn dark and do evil when our morality goes unchecked for a long period of time.
Macbeth is also one of Shakespeare’s simplest and shortest plays which makes it a great choice for those who are new to his works. If you’re new to Shakespeare you should check out ShakespearesWords where you can quickly just insert the word you’re not familiar with into their search bar and get a simple yet detailed explanation of it.
13| Moby-Dick by Herman Melville – Adventure Fiction, 1851
Moby Dick is an epic ocean adventure about nature and man, madness, limits of knowledge and through all that how evil and love are deeply intertwined. The story is told by a sailor named Ishmael, and it follows Ahab and his obsession with revenge. Ahab is a captain of the whaling ship Pequod and he wants to take revenge on Moby Dick, the giant white whale that bit off his leg at the knee on one of the ship’s previous voyages.
Ahab’s unwillingness to accept his own morality turns him into an evil and vengeful maniac who stops at nothing take revenge on Moby Dick. He’s willing to sacrifice everything including his fellow sailors’ life just to achieve his goal.
12| Of Love & War by Lynsey Addario – Photo Book, 2018
Lindsey Addario is an American photojournalist, who has been covering conflicts and humanitarian crises around the Middle East and Africa, and her first solo Photo album is one that everyone should read and experience.
Her compelling collection captures the chaos, evil, and beauty of everyday existence in war zones around the world. Addario traveled around the world for years to capture and expose the truth about the world’s most urgent humanitarian and human rights crises. Through more than two hundred photographs readers can get a profound understanding of the consequences of these current human conflicts.
11 | Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara – Fantasy Book Series, 1988
Dragon Sword and Wind Child is one of the most popular Japanese fantasy novels that introduces its readers to one of the great Asian-inspired fantasy worlds ever created. This fascinating story draws both on Japanese mythology and Western fantasy genre tropes which makes it a unique and exceptionally enjoyable read for fantasy lovers all over the world.
In this epic fantasy tale, the forces of the God of Light and the Goddess of Darkness have been at war for generations. The story follows Saya a 15-year-old girl who isn’t really bothered by the war since it feels far away from her. Things change when she finds out that she is the reincarnation of the Water Maiden and a princess of the Children of the Dark.
Saya was raised to only love the Light and detest the Dark. She not only has to deal with her heritage but has to choose between Light and Dark since she’s also the only mortal who can awaken the legendary Dragon Sword, the weapon destined to end the war.
This brilliant story explores themes of war, morality, and how good and evil aren’t always black and white.
10| Beyond Good And Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche – Classic Philosophy, 1886
If you feel like you’re ready for a hardcore philosophy book about good and evil then you should definitely pick up Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. It’s a comprehensive overview of his mature philosophy and it consists of 296 aphorisms, ranging in length from a few sentences to a few pages.
Nietzsche focuses his attention on the underlying basis of our moral assumptions, unleashing a powerful, polemical critique of the moral dogmas of the past and his own time. He argues that the concepts of good and evil are culturally constructed rather than inherently true since different cultures develop different moral laws in order to maintain social order.
It’s a fairly accessible philosophy book about good and evil, morality, and human nature that’s perfect for beginners too. If you enjoy reading philosophy books or want to read more about this subject then you can find more free essays on Good vs Evil online. This will help you get started and go deeper into the subject in a shorter period of time and is also a great choice if you’re looking for thought-provoking personal narrative essays about life and the meaning of it all.
9| The Lottery by Shirley Jackson – Dystopian Short Story, 1948
Looking for something short but thought-provoking? Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery is the perfect choice for you. The story is about a small American town’s annual tradition, a lottery in which every family must participate, and no one wants to win.
The Lottery is about the power of tradition and ritual as well as showing the dark side of people. It shows just how easily we can get involved even in brutal violence and still think it’s normal. It’s a thought-provoking short story that’ll surely make you think about good and evil as well as how we treat our fellow humans.
The Lottery was first published in The New Yorker in 1948 and you can still read it online for free on Newyorker.com.
8| The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness by Erich Fromm – Philosophy Book, 1973
In this provocative book, renowned psychoanalyst and social philosopher Erich Fromm examines the causes and effects of people’s violent tendencies. It’s the most complete and thorough research on the topic of aggression and will surely help you understand why people act the certain way they do or how they’re capable of committing horrible things.
If you’re looking for thought-provoking psychology books about good and evil that’ll help you understand better the human psyche then you should go with The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. Fromm’s style is engaging and is accessible for those too who never studied psychology or philosophy but are interested in these subjects.
7| Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt – Non-fiction novel, 1994
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil‘s plot is based on real-life events that occurred in the 1980s. However, it reads like a novel and that’s why it’s classified as a non-fiction novel.
It’s a story of John Berendt’s experience living in Savannah during a sensational murder trial. The novel explores many themes while creating a vivid picture of Savannah’s culture and unusual residents. It mainly revolves around the themes of illusion, deception, and good versus evil.
If you’re looking for a beautiful and mystery-filled yet thought-provoking book about good and evil then this true-story-based modern classic is the right choice for you.
6| The Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire – Poetry, 1857
Baudelaire is probably one of the most volatile and controversial French poets whose works have been banned multiple times.
His most famous work The Flowers of Evil is a confession of hopes, dreams, failures, and sins, and an attempt to extract beauty from the malignant. Through his poetry, Baudelaire explored many thought-provoking and dark themes including the desire for death, mankind’s fallen state, as well as Satan, and human nature.
You can find his works and other touching, profound, and thought-provoking poems for free online by Baudelaire and many other vital poets from around the world.
5| The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C.S. Lewis – Fantasy Book Series, 1950
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of the most beloved and thought-provoking YA books about good and evil of all time. Adults love reading and re-reading it just as much as younger book lovers. It’s an exciting and action-filled tale set in one of the most brilliant fantasy worlds ever created.
This beguiling tale is about four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, who are sent to live in the country with the eccentric Professor Kirke during World War II. The children explore the house on a rainy day and Lucy, the youngest, finds an enormous wardrobe. Lucy steps inside first but soon all the children find themselves in the strange, snowy, and magical world of Narina.
The book explores the themes of good vs evil, betrayal and forgiveness, courage, transformation, and the natural world. It’s an enchanting, thought-provoking, and feel-good fantasy book about good and evil that’s a great choice for adults and kids as well.
4| East of Eden by John Steinbeck – Fiction Novel, 1952
East of Eden is one of the most important classic novels that examine human nature and what we’re truly capable of. It’s a traditional age-old-tale about the struggle between good and evil. Steinback argues that good and evil must coexist because the great character couldn’t emerge without them.
The novel is set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley. It’s a sprawling and often brutal novel that follows the intertwined destinies of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons, whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel.
Steinbeck’s novel explores many universal human themes including good and evil, family, sin, free will, time, and loneliness among many others. If you’re looking for a generational classic novel that will help you explore and understand the human soul better then you should go with this literary masterpiece.
3| Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes – Sci-Fi Novel, 1959
Flowers for Algernon is the most famous and beloved novel by Daniel Keyes. It’s a touching and thought-provoking novel about Charlie. Charlie is a 32-year-old developmentally disabled man who has the opportunity to become the first human subject who undergoes a surgical procedure that will dramatically increase his mental capabilities.
The novel explores many ethical and moral themes including the mistreatment of the intellectually disabled, pride, cruelty, love, and sexuality.
Flowers for Algernon is a quick read that will surely make you think about human nature as well as good and evil in a new way.
2| Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman – Fantasy Comedy Book, 1990
Good Omens is a fascinating comedy novel about the birth of the son of Satan and the coming of the End Times. The main two characters are Aziraphale, an angel, and a demon Crowley who are attempting to sabotage the coming of the end times, having grown accustomed to their comfortable surroundings on Earth amongst humans.
Good Omens explores many universal themes such as good and evil, human nature, destiny vs. free will, and friendship and does it in an absolutely laugh-out-loud funny way. It’s certainly one of the funniest books about good and evil that will surely be a great read for adults and teens as well.
You can also check out its brilliant tv show version on Amazon with Michael Sheen and David Tennant.
1| The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan – Science Philosophy Book, 1995
Carl Sagan was an American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and one of the most popular science communicators of our time. In The Demon-Haunted World was written in defense of science and offers his advice on how we can incorporate more critical thought into our society.
Sagan argues for science’s place in education and popular culture and its themes include critiques of pseudoscience, organized religions, misuse of science, and these things negatively impacting humanity and all human life on the planet. It also serves as encouragement of critical thinking and explains that science is not just a body of knowledge, but is a way of thinking that we should all strive for.
Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World is one of the most important and must-read thought-provoking books of all time that will make you think about good and evil in a completely new light. It’s a compelling and considerably easy read since it was intended for the general audience.
PIN ME for later
THANK YOU FOR READING!