Unlike manga and manhwa, horror light novels are a completely different story. To create a haunting scenario with eerie and scary instances and instill fear among the readers is a tough job. Nevertheless, using words only takes a considerable effort. Horror light novels take the responsibility of giving you minor heart attacks (only for the sake of argument, probably) with their spine-chilling and terrifyingly painted picture of words.
Below are some creepy and terrifying horror-light novels to give you an unforgettable haunting experience with various horror types.
Let’s start the list of horror with a thrilling, creepy, and mysterious story. If you are a crazy reader, you might have already read this amazing horror light novel. If not, you might have seen the anime version of this popular series. However, this dark, famous, and mind-boggling story started from words only and grasped the readers with its picture painted with horror.
A regular 15-year-old named Kouichi Sakakibara transfers to a new high school in Yomiyama town because of some circumstances. First, an accident occurs, and he misses the first week of school. The story is pretty much ordinary till here, but the moment his school life begins, strange things and occurrences surround Kouichi’s life.
He befriends a lonely girl named Mei. Even though there are bizarre rumors around her, Kouichi doesn’t bother. However, ignoring the rules only calls for chaos, and the same happens with Kouichi. Their class dismissed Mei to keep the student headcount to a specific number. The moment that number increases, death arrives mysteriously.
Now, the question is why it is Mei and how this duo will solve the cursed mystery and stop the deaths confronting them at every point.
If you haven’t had the chance to read this horror light novel, you might feel it isn’t what a horror story takes. But, rest assured, once you start reading it, the haunting and mysterious aura of horror will slowly envelop you, and you will be bewitched. The story is undoubtedly a masterpiece, with the suspense and twisted mysteries adding to the charm of horror. So, try it if you have the guts to deal with a scary thriller.
Check out these recommendations too:
9. Ousama Game
This is both a horror light novel and a japanese style text novel. Death may not scare a few, but if it’s a death game, then it becomes alarming. Anime and manga regarding death games are always popular because of the cold shivers they transfer. However, with a light novel based on the theme of a death game, the creeping terror is on another level. Ousama Game, aka King’s Game, is one such horror-light novel that brings death as an unavoidable consequence of the bloody game.
Nobuaki Kanazawa is a regular high schooler. The gore horror begins with him as a center. In the middle of the night, he receives a message that says, “King’s Game has begun.” Not paying any attention, he dismisses it. However, the next thing he knows, his 32 classmates have been looped in the exact text.
If it wasn’t for the death of one of the class fellows, no one would have taken the text seriously. After losing one of their own, they begin to ponder, but to no avail. To follow the King’s order is the basic rule. The person who doesn’t follow dies within 24 hours. Sadly, even if the students try to complete the order, they fail, resulting in a gruesome and cruel death that leaves fear dominating everyone.
Can someone end this death game, aka the King’s Game? You have to read this one for the answers, and just so you know, you will be baffled. The novel is truly a genuine piece that instills fear and terror bit by bit, with suspense tailing it. You might feel your stomach turning at many gore moments. So, just a heads up, read this horror light novel only if blood doesn’t scare you.
8. Angels of death
Horror and death go hand in hand. Death lurking around makes the said genre terrifying every time. Talking about horror light novels, it is impossible not to mention Angels of Death. The said series got popular when its game version came in first and later was adapted to manga and anime. However, not many know that it all began with pages colored with words. To see Angels of Death having so many adaptations was nothing less than a blessing for the one who read its original horror light novel.
The messy and suspenseful horror begins with a girl named Ray, Rachel. With distorted memories, she opens her eyes to an unknown place. The first thing she witnesses is a mysterious and scary man named Zack holding the scythe. With no memories of her life, she asks Zack to kill him. Not that he wasn’t, but she just pushed him to. However, something strikes Zack, and he chooses not to do so with a warning if he finds her attractive.
As the duo moves to find a way out, they encounter scary and uncanny beings on each floor of the closed building. On every floor, the pair faces death and a mystery about why they are there. Finally, Rachel discovers the secrets of her past. The story may not sound scary at first as horror should. But the idea of a girl with a mad man and psycho killers around in the dark is undoubtedly enough to scare you.
The novel is full of suspense and thrill, with fear and mini heart attacks at every turn. The story is unique, yet the horror light novel lacks at some points. The characters, however, are exceptionally well developed given the short period. Each character holds a presence and is unforgettable. This novel will undoubtedly leave you wondering once you finish it, be it the fear, the mysteries, or the innocent yet obsessive romance between the leads.
7. Ghost Hunt
If supernatural activities and paranormal mysteries entice you, then Ghost Hunt is for you. Ghost Hunt is on the mild side of horror, starting from a straightforward thriller to a mysterious and eerie mystery. Unlike others, this one will give you many jumps scares and be a shocker for you in many instances.
The story begins with Mai, a high school girl, in a strange situation. She has a psychic ability, and her dreams hint at the happenings in reality. However, her mundane life takes a supernatural twist when she encounters Shibuya, the Shibuya Psychic Research Center manager. She somehow becomes a partner in Shibuya’s research and his attempt to solve the paranormal cases around town.
They encounter creatures and beings with uncanny powers and strange circumstances, including both supernatural and paranormal. Amidst all this, Mei’s incredible psychic abilities help Shibuya to solve the cases. As the duo works on the mysteries, they grow close together, revealing many secrets about their lives.
This horror LN may not be a tremendous and spine-chilling horror for you. But the chills are genuine in this one! Ghost Hunt comprises many short stories ranging from psychological horror to paranormal activities and encountering Draculas’. So, I would suggest you expect the unexpected for a fun time, and if you find it to your liking, you can also try its anime.
6. Boogiepop series
If you want to challenge your mind with mind-bending mysteries and instances, try reading Boogiepop. This Horror LN (with a few other genres mixed in) is one of the most famous series, with a whole franchise staging at the top of the polls. Boogiepop is renowned for being one of the oldest and best Japanese horror light novels that throw a mesh of multiple genres.
This is also marked as the reason behind its popularity. The plot is twisted and thrilling compared to horror; still, fear will shake you up and bring you down on many events. The story is based on a myth. Some call it a legend of the Shinigami who brings pain to those who are evil. Some stories create heat by mentioning the ruthless Shinigami.
However, in reality, the Shinigami takes out the evil creatures that wreak havoc. The story introduces several concepts at the same time, including split personality disorder. The said Shinigami Boogiepop, who likes to whistle and strangely gives a shiver to the ones around him, is the alter ego of a regular school-going Touka Miyashita. Fighting evil from the dark, solving mysteries, and then disappearing into nothing, he is the series’s charm.
The story of this horror LN is a collection of cases that Boogiepop solves, some with force and some with fear. As I said, the tale is a collection of different genres, including romance, action, suspense, psychological, and much more. Boogiepop has multiple books in various settings focusing only on the titular protagonist.
This Light Novel guarantees a bone-chilling experience to its readers, so rest assured, you will feel the chills. It isn’t much horror like Another, but it is based on the same demographics.
5. Higurashi When They Cry
Light novels don’t get much attention when faced with manga and anime adaptations of the series. Yet the light novels undoubtedly bring the story to light for the first time. Contrary to that, Higurashi, When They Cry is a light novel everyone has heard of. Let’s suppose you didn’t; then you got to update your to-read list and come out of your cave. This light novel gained immense popularity and came out multiple times with alternate endings only to satisfy the readers.
The plot begins with an everyday high school boy named Keiichi Maebara. Just a thing, but transferring to schools in a remote area is always a piece of bad news. For Keiichi, however, things were pretty smooth and attractive. Hinamizawa is a village with many mysteries, and Keiichi lands there and befriends four girls in no time.
His fun and happy life dramatically turn when the legends of a murderer on a killing spree rise again. Keiichi discovers that there have been multiple murders in terrific yet mysterious ways. His suspicions arise when his beautiful and charming girlfriends refuse to let out any information. The fact that he knows something terrible will happen, but he doesn’t know what and when will keep you at wit’s end.
Higurashi is a compelling horror light novel that spans over a few volumes, each with a different story and characters but with a basic setting like in this one. Even though, at times, the horror story feels like the representation was poorly executed still, the intriguing story, the creepy hunches, and the fear of a gruesome death make this one a horror worth the hassle.
Think of the horror light novel as a lab where a scientist will leave a biologically engineered deadly rat with some cats to test its viability. He enjoys the bloody horror for amusement and knowledge without pitying the crying cats. Did that freak you out or perhaps give you an awful feeling? Well, Higurashi is simply more than a lab experiment.
4. Kirisame Ga Furu Mori/ Forest of Drizzling Rain
The next entry on my list is for the ones who love a budding romance between two opposites when fear and ghosts surround them. It is undoubtedly a typical dramatic love novel lighted by familiar ghost stories. Yet the horror light novel is fascinating because of the mysteries and suspense that lead the protagonists to fall for each other.
The cliché begins after the tragic accident where Shiori Kanzaki loses her parents. To bring her distorted memory back, she decides to visit Azakawa; as per her idea, it is her home village. LOL, I bet we all can guess that the horror part is just going to begin. She encounter’s a peculiar man named Suga who communicates through notes.
With no place to stay, she somehow ends up staying with Suga. What looks serene at first is the calm before the destruction. The legend of the demon woman arises, and unfortunately, Shiori is drawn to the dark forest. She hears voices calling out to her; the worst part is that no one can listen to them except her.
The predictable yet unexpected horror story of a man who has no voice and a woman that hears voices no one can begins in the forest haunted by a demon woman. The story is interesting, characters develop with time, and the author pays more attention to characters and their past than other elements. The fear of dark and oblivion rules the story, and the romance is a bonus.
3. Shingeki No Kyojin: Before the Fall/ Attack on Titan: Before the Fall
Explaining this would be embarrassing because every avid reader, anime fan, or manga addict has heard about Attack on Titan. Many AOT fans have skipped this one as a canon, yet it is worth your time if the idea of human-eating giants scares you. This one comes in with gross and gore situations that creep you out.
The AOT light novel is set long before the original Attack on Titan happened. It is a perfect combo of determination and desperation to survive. The plot centers on two individuals; a scientist named Altonen and a Kuklo, the one called the Titan’s Son. Altonen is desperate to create a technology, a weapon that can kill a titan so that he can save his loved ones. However, his research lacks something crucial.
Kuklo, on the other hand, has no reason to live, but the thought of understanding a titan motivates him, and he joins the survey corp. Honestly, he had the stupidest ideas, but if he didn’t, we wouldn’t get to see the bloodshed and the fear of being eaten alive.
Like AOT, this horror light novel is also full of action, thrill, and carnage. However, it does not bring the fear that will keep giving you nightmares or jump scares at times. Still, you might lose your appetite after reading about all the butchery and stuff. The canon light novel didn’t get as much attention as the manga or anime version. Yet, for fans who like AOT, regardless of the adaptation type, you will enjoy this one with a touch of history.
2. The Witch’s House: The Diary of Ellen
After watching all the superhero movies with witches and magicians, I can guess they don’t scare you. Well, the next horror light novel on my list will completely change your thoughts about witches and fear. The Diary of Ellen is a masterpiece with mind-bending mysteries at every step and fears that will make you gulp in fear.
A seven-year-old Ellen and a mysterious cat are the centers of the story. The sickly and lonely Ellen has to become a witch if she wants to have her body healed. But, sadly, she couldn’t enjoy her childhood like an average person. So to regain everything, she takes up the mysterious cat’s tempting offer.
However, little does she know that her wish to regain her healthy body will cost her many bodies piling up around her. The series of deaths begin, and the toll rises, suffocating Ellen in the open grounds. She is haunted by the ones who lost their lives only for her wish to come true. But, can Ellen stop these deaths and free herself of this cursed life?
The Witch’s House was a prequel to the game of the same name. Its perfect representation of dark imagery and gruesome deaths makes it a masterpiece. This one bestows delight while reading horror. The hair-raising, detailed portrayal of the scenes and the fear of death lurking around are exceptional. The story is unique and saddening at times. You will feel pity for the lead, yet at some time, she will frustrate you to the limits. Try this one for a different experience than your regular horror light novels.
1. Ao Oni
Finally, my number one pick for the best horror light novel of all time! If someone runs after you, do you lose strength in your legs, and somehow it becomes scary, or is it just me? A horror story is incomplete if the protagonists don’t run in fear with someone at their tails. If you like game-themed horror novels, then, dude, trust me, you have to read them. It takes the game of tag to a new and dangerous level. The story gets on the beat with our boy joining the school. Shun, the protagonist, is a transfer student in a school, and to his dismay, he becomes the target of the school bully.
His expectations of a happy school life flip with this one bully at his tail. However, it isn’t scary for him. What troubles him is that he, along with a few of his classmates, has found their way to an abandoned, rundown building. In the dark of night, with cold sweats and shaking bodies, the group discovers they don’t have a way out of this unknown place.
What comes next is something unpredictable. The group is chased by a shapeless, ugly, scary blue creature. There are many possibilities of the beast being an alien, a ghost, a Shinigami, a magician, or perhaps the dead friend who died because of the bullying. The thing that makes it mysterious is that they don’t know why someone is chasing them. To top it all off, what is it? However, along with Shun, everyone knows they will die when the creature gets its hands on them. So the thrilling and deadly game of tag begins with horror pushing the kids to their limits.
No matter what kind of horror stories you like, this one will undoubtedly give you jump scares, mini heart attacks, and cold sweats. The idea of death following in a rundown building may be typical, but the way the story is executed by connecting events and adding mysteries is utterly delightful. The series became famous because of the death game flag and got its anime adaptation in the form of a movie. So listing light horror novels and missing this one is genuinely regretful.
Conclusion on best horror light novels
Phew! I am alive. No matter how scared I am, reading horror-light novels is always worth the time. Surviving the scary and thrilling creeps gives the feeling of a victor after a massive battle of wits.
With the death game and horror, the above list contains the creeping terror of serial killers, psycho characters, supernatural beings, and paranormal activities. So evading fear is just impossible.
Try reading at least one of the above-recommended light novels, and let us know if you did feel the chills and fear that a light horror novel has. Since we are on the topic, I have to ask, did you ever see a ghost or perhaps witness paranormal activity? Wanna share?