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Scary Fairy Horror Books to Lure You Into Another World

These Fair Folk are no small terror.

fairy horror book covers on a woodsy background
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  • Photo Credit: Johannes Plenio / Unsplash

The original fairies weren't sweet and magical, sprinkling fairy dust over hopes and dreams. The fairies of mythology and folklore were often mischievous at best, and malicious at worst.

These are not fairies flitting in tutus with magic wands. These are not the kinds of fairies you want to hunt dreamily in your backyard, with holes poked in the top of a mason jar.

You won’t want to meet these fairies. These fairies will psychologically ruin you, and change your life forever; as long as they choose to let you live, of course. 

Here are eight horror books featuring scary fairies.

You Let Me In

You Let Me In

By Camilla Bruce

In terms of scary fairy horror books, You Let Me In has it all: mental health trauma, a love story, a family drama, an engaging mystery, and, of course, an incredibly terrifying portrayal of fairies.

A little heavier on Scandinavian literature and pagan folklore to explain the fairies’ origins, the book has a seamless way of blending the world Cassie sees and the world everyone else sees into one. 

No one knows for sure if Cassandra Tipp is dead. The eccentric bestselling novelist has lots of skeletons in her closet, including an infamous trial she was acquitted of on the account of being insane, as well as her husband’s mysterious, unsolved disembowelment and the incredulous murder-suicide of her brother and father.

And strangely enough, she’s left nothing behind, not even a body, except for her massive fortune and one last manuscript. Cassandra Tipp will tell the story of what really happened in the woods, but it will come with a terrible price.

Dreams and Shadows: A Novel

Dreams and Shadows: A Novel

By C. Robert Cargill

A book that is part horror, part fantasy, and partly an atmospheric portrayal of what happens to you when you allow your hubris to lead your life, Dreams & Shadows is a horror book that may include some paranormal elements, but also tells a very real story with an all-too-relatable message. 

There is a world other than our own, a world that lives just beyond the veil. In their boyhood, Ewan and Cody found themselves beyond that veil, and their lives changed forever. Now adults, the two have moved on from their time in the Limestone Kingdom–but the Limestone Kingdown has not forgotten them.

A book that proves that you can never really outrun your fate, they quickly discover that the biggest horrors they face may lie within themselves. 

The Replacement

The Replacement

By Yovanoff, Brenna

As evidenced by the universally loved book cover, Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the human world in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a gloomy world of murky water, dark tunnels, and tattooed princesses.

He is a Replacement who was left in the crib of a baby stolen away by the Fey 16 years ago. The Replacements don’t normally live this long…but Mackie is desperate to live among us, and desperate to be loved, despite having fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground.

But when his crush Tate’s baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the world of Gentry in order to help her. Through fighting horrific and otherworldly creatures, he must find his rightful place in our world, or in theirs.

The Replacement is an eerie, atmospheric horror novel that teaches us that, after all, maybe ugly things aren’t quite as ugly as they seem. 

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: Blackwood's Guide to Dangerous Fairies

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark: Blackwood's Guide to Dangerous Fairies

By Guillermo del Toro

Guillermo del Toro's Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark is a classic example of fairy horror novels.

The book is a prequel to the incredibly popular movie, set 100 years before the movie begins. It features a young girl, living in an old New England house with her father and his girlfriend. As they recently moved in, they’re unaware that it’s haunted by a brood of small creatures, or fairies. 

Because the father is a young nature scientist, he doesn’t take his daughter seriously when she begins to talk of haunting creatures, and assumes they’re figments of her imagination. But he quickly begins to understand that there’s more to science than he originally understood–hopefully, he figures it out in time to get them all out alive. 

We Will All Go Down Together

We Will All Go Down Together

By Files, Gemma

A book riddled with fantasy creatures (though horrifying ones, nonetheless) We Will All Go Down Together actually has so many characters that it was written as a collection of short stories that comes together as a novel so that we’re introduced to everyone. 

They say every family has its monsters…but this family only has monsters. In the woods outside Overdeere, Ontario, strange occurrences keep happening; trees speak, hills swallow unwary travelers, and the village itself doesn’t even show up on a map, among other things. The locals have learned not to go there. But within this village, a violent confrontation is brewing; the clans from the Five-Family Coven are being brought together once more. 

Four hundred years ago, this alliance attempted to destroy and then recreate Earth in their own image, thwarted at the last minute by a betrayal that forced half of them to be burned alive. Though their descendants continued to feud, they also continued to intermarry and breed, leading to the current heirs who both love and hate each other simultaneously.

Though a team of murderous psychics, ex-possessees, defrocked changeling priests, shamans for hire, body-stealing witches, and monster-slaying nuns—the bastard children of a thousand evil angels, none of them can take on the ghost who haunts them all incessantly alone, and they must stand together once more.

The Glittering World: A Book Club Recommendation!

The Glittering World: A Book Club Recommendation!

By Levy, Robert

A deeply convoluted yet beautiful display of literature, Robert Levy’s The Glittering World is incredibly layered.

Michael “Blue” Whitney–former party boy turned up-and-coming Brookly chef–returns to the remote Canadian commune he was born in with three of his friends for a little New York getaway. But while he’s there, he discovers that his entire life has actually been a meticulously orchestrated lie, and he is in fact a whole different person than who he was led to believe. He is a not-quite-human replacement for a local boy who disappeared 25 years ago. 

Blue vanishes yet again, just like he did with his mother when they fled to America, leaving his friends to unravel the mystery. In a blend of psychology, folklore, and superstitious beliefs of old, the secrets of Starling Cove and its ancient race of creatures are revealed.

All four of them will not only face the demons within them, but also the demons among them, in an aching story of belonging and the supernatural. 

Albion Fay (Snowbooks Horror Novellas)

Albion Fay (Snowbooks Horror Novellas)

By Morris, Mark

Albion Fay is an expertly written book with beautiful yet accessible prose. It is heavier on the emotional horrors of life than the other books on this list, and puts the fairy lore almost on the back burner, but it’s a fairy horror book that deserves a spot on this list nonetheless. 

Albion Fay is a vacation home in the middle of nowhere in the English countryside. It’s a perfect opportunity for both relaxation and exploration. Frank Ryan and his sister Angie stayed there one summer with their parents in the 70’s. At a family funeral, Frank, a single, middle-aged man who is currently suspended from his teaching job, finds some pictures from this summer at the funeral.

Upon seeing the photos, he remembers back to this summer, and how the house was situated near a cave network that Angie got lost in. She never said what happened to her while she was in there; all the family knows is that she entered the cave vivacious and confident, and exited it withdrawn and damaged. 

It should have been a summer where nothing could go wrong. But something did. In Albion Fay, you’ll learn exactly what happened that summer. 

The Call

The Call

By Peadar O'Guilin

Another genre blend, The Call is a fantasy, horror, and folklore story where every teen is transported to Grey Land, a fairy world, for three minutes.

In those three minutes you face every horror you can think of, and those you can’t. With the sound of a horn, you know that the inhabitants of this hellscape have your scent, and the hunt has begun. All you have to do is survive. 

Featured image: Johannes Plenio / Unsplash