If you are in the mood for a book with antihero characters as protagonists, some books I’m about to list may be what you need. Anti-heroes are protagonists who lack the common characteristics of a traditional hero.

Antihero protagonist characters.
Antihero protagonist characters.

Traditional heroes take every action for the right reasons. While antiheroes do things for their own interest. They do good things, but only when the outcome benefits them and bad things for the same reason.

Antihero protagonists are selfish, greedy, and violent. They are morally grey characters that readers are encouraged to root for. Some antiheroes do good and bad things with a clear motivation. While other antihero characters do good and bad things without clear motivations.

I love antihero protagonist characters because they reflect reality. Most people are not completely good or bad. And most times we do things for selfish reasons. But reality may not be as extreme as the stories told in books. Here are some antihero protagonist characters I love.

Antihero Protagonist Character Book #1: Nevernight By Jay Kristoff

Mia is an antihero trying to become an assassin after her father was killed for being a traitor. The antihero protagonist joins a school of assassins to avenge her father’s death. This book is filled with fantastic worldbuilding, assassins, magic, and strange creatures.

Mia is an antihero protagonist character.

Antihero Protagonist Character Book #2: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Kaz Brekker is an antihero protagonist character. He is focused on being the biggest gang leader of Ketterdam. As the protagonist of the story, Brekker would do anything to become rich and powerful. Brekker and his gang of outlaws receive a proposal to complete a deadly heist. This heist could make them rich beyond their wildest dreams.

Kaz is an antihero protagonist character.

Antihero Protagonist-Book #3: Tiger’s Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera

This story has two fantastic protagonist characters, Shefali and O-Shizuka. The two characters are antiheroes. Shefali and O-Shizuka take on their tasks in the book for selfish reasons. The protagonists are lovers and warriors.

Shefali and O-Shizuka are antihero protagonist characters.

Antihero Protagonist Character-Book #4: Winner’s Curse By Marie Rutkoski

Kestrel is the protagonist of the Winner’s Curse trilogy. Kestrel is a beautiful, intelligent character that would do anything to get her way. She blackmails, manipulates, lies, and cheats her way to win. As an antihero, Kestrel does bad things in this book for the right reasons. The Winner’s Curse is about Kestrel, the daughter of a general of a vast empire that enslaves people. Kestrel is supposed to join the military or get married, but she had other plans.

View this post on Instagram

Author copies!

A post shared by Marie Rutkoski (@marierutkoski) on

Kestrel is an antihero protagonist character.

5) Antihero Protagonist Character-Book #5: Blood Red Road By Moira Young

Saba is an antihero protagonist in a post-apocalyptic Western world. She is a rough around the edges antihero character that has to survive in a cruel world. Saba just wants to save her brother, so she is a reluctant hero. In this book, Saba embarks on a quest to get her twin brother back. She uses cunning tricks to survive at all costs.

Saba is an antihero protagonist character.

These books are amazing. If you want a book different from the traditional hero protagonist, you should try antihero protagonists.