5 Books Where The Hero is Supposed To Be the “Villain Character”, But is Actually Not


This mainly focuses on books where the male hero is generally a character that everybody fears, has a reputation to be ‘heartless, cruel’ and generally a monster. More specifically, these books would include heroes where when they show affections to the heroine, it’ll basically shock everyone. Basically, that side is not shown often. I made this list because I absolutely love books with characters like this, so I want to share my list of books which I came across to be this kind. The heroes in these books can also be described as ‘misunderstood villains’.

If this list seems interesting to you, you might also want to check out my Characters Like Rhysand list!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #1

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Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Why I recommend it:

Rhysand is a classic example of this amazing character who live up to his ‘villain roles’, because the world expected him to be a villain. And of course, that is not the case. So if you are looking for a hero who always wears another face to the public because he’s suppose to be, not because he actually is, you’ll love this. And of course, if you love sassy hot AMAZING love interest characters.

Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Series: Shatter Me #1

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One touch is all it takes. One touch, and Juliette Ferrars can leave a fully grown man gasping for air. One touch, and she can kill.

No one knows why Juliette has such incredible power. It feels like a curse, a burden that one person alone could never bear. But The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, sees her as an opportunity. An opportunity for a deadly weapon.

Juliette has never fought for herself before. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, she finds a strength she never knew she had.

Why I recommend it:

Warner is more different than Rhysand. Rhysand is raised well (thanks to his mainly his mother), and he only puts on a facade not because he truly is raised as a villain, but he is just showing the world what they want and expect to see. On the contrary, Warner is actually a man (or boy) with psychological problems, and a villain with the potential to be good, but on is who he is today because of how he was raised and treated as a child. But of course he is not abusive, and does have boundaries. Which makes it possible to like him.

Air Awakens

Author: Elise Kova

Series: Air Awakens #1

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A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

Why I recommend it:

Aldrik is like if Warner and Rhysand slept together and had a baby-

I’m sorry, I just had to. But that analogy is absolutely perfect, for anyone had read Shatter Me, ACOTAR, and Air Awakens.

For those who don’t know, Aldrik is the absolute perfection for a character with both Warner’s and Rhysand’s character combined.

The Wrath and The Dawn

Author: Reneé Ahdieh

Series: The Wrath and The Dawn #1

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One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Why I recommend it:

Khalid in The Wrath and the Dawn is a perfect “ani-villain-love-interest” for this list. Everyone thinks he’s the monster (and of course he was misunderstood), so his love for Shahrzad is constantly being used against him from his many enemies.

Paper Princess

Author: Erin Watt

Series: Paper princess #1

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From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.These Royals will ruin you…Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.He might be right.Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Why I recommend it:

Unlike the rest of the books on this list, this is book has a contemporary setting and ‘human’ characters. However, Reed fits on this list perfectly, just like all the other heroes I’ve mentioned. Although he’s just a popular boy, his reputation be cold ‘and the leader’, made his public PDA toward Ella absolutely shocking. I love scenes like that.

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