Happy (belated) World Book Day!
In honor of this lovely occasion, I thought I’d round up a few of my favorite book series, in case you were looking for something to read the next time you go to the library or get an amazon giftcard or whatever. All spoiler free, and in order.
#10 The Chemical Gardens Trilogy by Lauren Destefano
Imagine living in a word where females die at the age of 20, and males die at the age of 25 (sucks, right?). That’s the future this series is set in; a dystopic reality in which humans pulled an Icarus and flew to close to the sun (in terms of curing all diseases), and in doing so they accidentally condemned the future of humanity to have super short life spans (oops ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
Rhine only has 4 years left to live when she’s kidnapped and forced to become one of the many wives of a rich man’s son (reproduction is the key to humanity’s survival when everyone dies so young). She is thrust into a new, elegant world of wealth and glamour, while the life she left behind withers (pun intended). One of her sister wives loves their new home (that’d prob be me tbh), one must become pregnant, and one is dying. But, beyond the glitz of the mansion, her new father-in-law, bent on finding the cure to save his son, has secrets of his own. Can she escape before her time runs out? And if she does escape, what is left in a dying world?
The writing and world building of this series are masterfully executed (like, have you ever gotten made because something is so beautifully written and when you try to write it’s like word vomit on a page? yeah, it’s like that). The elegance of the prose reflects the facade of beauty that is Rhine’s new world, a mansion of illusions and masks (eh, eh? how’s that sentence sound… pretentious?). As humanity whimpers, and the world withers, sisterhood, family, and the looming presence of death are front and center. I was blown away by the originality of this trilogy and its tragic beauty. The series is complete and can be found here.
#9 Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi
Juliette’s touch kills, and unfortunately, it has (yikes). Locked away for murder, Juliette is unable to touch anyone, and she has nearly given up on life. But the Reestablisment, the new governing body of (yet another) dying world, has other plans for her. She will be a weapon in their war, forced to kill as they see fit, or she will die (but that doesn’t stop a hot villain from trying to lock that downnnn).
This brilliant series by Tahereh Mafi takes the classic YA distopic future trope and turns it on its head. Sure, it’s another “rebel agaisnt the tyrannical government” series, but it should not be ignored. The writing itself is very unique, subject to
many sentences such as this, to reflect our narrator’s thought process, a clever device I have never seen before ( and was super jealous I didn’t think of it first). This series also does something I have never seen before in terms of the character’s love interests, and to this day, I’m still trying to find a series that follows in its footsteps (yet I still haven’t, aaargh). The characters are rich: layered and complex. Plus, it also features one of the most laugh-out-loud funny characters I’ve ever read (looking at you, Kenji). This series is truly unique and oh-so-hard to put down. This series is also complete, you can check it out here.
#8 The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy by Carrie Ryan
In Mary’s village, you stay away from the fences. Amongst them are the hands and teeth of the dead – even the dead that once lived with them behind the fence (which is pretty fucked up, if you ask me). The villagers, living similarly to a 19th century country village, live within the rules of the Sisterhood, whilst listening to the moans of the “unconsecrated” constantly pushing agaisnt their fences, yearning for food. Mary’s life is going as expected (or, like, as expected as a life in a zombie apocalypse can go), until one day the fence breaks and everything changes.
This series, three books in three different perspectives, show a very different, and very psychological, version of a world ridden with zombies. Each book, though set in the same world, shoes a different version of what a society within a zombie apocalypse can be, yet the characters are all connected. Normally, I am not very attuned to zombie novels or tv, but this adaption is different; it highlights the physiological aspect of a zombie apocalypse. Each book had me on the edge of my seat, wondering who will survive, and what their world would become. Carrie Ryan isn’t afraid to be brutal (srsly, there was A LOT of crying my end). Bonus: Maisie Williams (Arya!) has been cast as Mary in the film adaption of the first novel, though it has no release date at this time. The series is complete and you can check it out here.
#7 Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard
In this world, there are two types of people: those with red blood, and those with silver. The Silvers, each having their own distinct superhuman power, rule the land, while the Reds, lacking said powers, serve them. Mare has lived her entire life in the same small Red town, watching as her older brothers go off to fight in the Silver’s war, but one day she is hired at the palace, where the Silver King, Queen and their two sons live (*sly grin*). While there, Mare discovers, though she bleeds red, she has power. Her very existence threatens everything the Silvers hold true, but they decide the best course of action is to hide her in plane sight, and mascarade her has a Silver. Yeah, sounds like a great plan, guys.
The Red Queen series reads like a movie. It’s non-stop, heart pumping action (as the overly hyped critic’s say). It actually was proposed as a screenplay originally, but producers suggested it would be better as a novel (and it rocketed to the NY Times best seller list). The world is unique and the series itself is constantly twisting and turning, shocking you whilst dazzling you. Aveyard constantly puts her characters in impossible situations, and you always wonder, ‘how the hell are they going to get out of this? There is literally no way they can.’ But damn, is this series unpredictable.
The fourth and final installment is due out next year (and I don’t know how I’ll be able to wait that long), but if you’re interested in catching up before then, check them out here.
#6 The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
I won’t say much here, considering I’m sure you’ve already heard of this series, or at least seen the films.
I read this series (prior to the movies’ release) in a week. I could not put it down. I absolutely loved Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch. Each character is so distinct. The world itself is a brilliant commentary of our own society, and Collins’ is not afraid to be brutal. The ending left me feeling completely numb, not a feeling I’m familiar with when finishing a series, but that’s the only way I can describe it.
Even if you’ve seen the movies, I highly recommend the series. “The books always better” really is always true (though Catching Fire might have been the best movie adaption of a novel I’ve ever seen). Read more here.
#5 The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
The Infernal Devices are a prequel/companion series to The Mortal Instruments. Its world has now grown to include The Dark Artifices and the Shadowhunters TV show on Freeform (though, uh, you could just ignore that one), and another book series if planned.
London, 1878, Tessa Gray is swept away into underground world of the Shadowhunters (a demon-slaying half-angel race, obvi) and the Downworld (vampires, werewolves, the fae and warlocks), in search of her missing brother. She quickly realizes she as not as human as she once believed, and that the entirety of London is at stake.
I enjoyed the Mortal Instruments, but I found this series to be much, much better. It has the classic love triangle, but done in a way I’ve never seen before (and in a truly heartbreaking fashion). Two of my favorite characters of all time exist in this series, Tessa & Will, but the entirety of the cast is fantastic. It’s a beautifully tragic tale, much more exciting and touching then TMI. By the time I picked up the last book, I thought there was absolutely no way it could have a happy ending… If you want to read the entire world of the Shadowhunters, I recommend at least reading this series before you read the final TMI book (City of Heavenly Fire). Tears will ensue.
#4 A Darker Shade of Magic series
I haven’t read such a magical series since Harry Potter. The imagination of V.E. Schwab is truly unmatched. This world of magic is entirely its own – completely new and incomparable to so many series.
There are four Londons: Grey London, Red London, White London, and Black London, (or as Lila says, “Dull London, Kell London, Creepy London, and Dead London”) and there are only two people who can cross between them all. Kell is the Antari from Red London, capable of traveling between the four Londons with his blood magic. He has a bad habit of smuggling merchandise between worlds, and what begins as a simple act of smuggling followed by pickpocketing explodes into a cross world adventure, demanding the most of all the magicians within each world.
Never have I read such a unique take on magic and its balance. Never have I read of such a world where magic has a soul. V.E. Schwab is truly a master of words and imagination; she has quickly become my new favorite author. The characters are extremely rich, the world building is incomparable, and the story never once leaves you bored. I really cannot recommend this series enough; it is breathtaking. The rights to the movie have recently been purchase by Gerarld Butler (!) and his production company. Check the first book out here.
#3 Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Please forgive the covers… and title… Richelle Mead would want you to.
Rose Hathway is a normal teenage girl. She’s boy crazy, hot headed, doesn’t think before she speaks… oh, and she’s on the run. She is a Dhampir, a vampire-human hybrid born to serve and protect the Moroi. Her best friend, Lissa Dragomir, is technically a princess, and the last of her family line, and Rose is determined to save her from whoever, or whatever, is chasing them. Did I mention Lissa and Rose are bonded? Rose can see into Lissa’s mind, which is convenient when trying to guard her, but not so convenient in much else (like, say, when she’s trying to hook up with a guy). Eventually, they are caught and forced return to their school, St. Vladimir’s, where Rose is paired with a (much older yet still very hot) tutor, Dimitri, to train her in the art of fighting and protecting the Moroi. Soon, it becomes apparent that Lissa truly is in danger, and the truth Rose’s bond begins to dig into a dark revelation. This kick starts the 6-part series of a truly remarkable story of friendship, love and power.
Rose Hathway is my favorite character ever written. Never have I identified with a character like I have with Rose. She feels so real. She is flawed, strong, hard headed, boy crazy, and hilarious. Most series fall short in terms of female friendships, choosing to instead focus on the love interest, but this story doesn’t short either relationship, each and complex and beautiful.
I laughed, I cried, I gasped, I cheered. This series has it all. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, while still being able to break your heart or make you laugh out loud. The world Mead has created is rich and unique (plus the Russian inspiration is a pretty cool addition). It led to a spin off series following some minor characters of VA, The Golden Lily, and a movie (which I love, by the way). Don’t judge a book by its cover (or title…), this series is WORTH THE READ. The twist at the end of book three will leave you breathless and begging for the next one. All six books are published, including that of the spin off series. Check out the first book here.
#2 A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Again, I will be brief.
You’ve probably seen the show, which is ASTOUNDING. Alas….
The books are better. The books are always better. I don’t fully believe GRRM made this series up out of thin air. It feels like reading an actual history lesson. I’m convinced he came from Westeros himself to tell the tale of what happened there. This series gets first place in world building, character development and plot development.
If you don’t believe me, take it from Ben Wyatt:
#1 Harry Potter series
What else did you expect? It goes without saying. Or explanation. Carry on.
Honorable mention: John Green books
Okay, so, technically this is not a series, but John Green’s book are consistently amazing. I have loved each and every one, for different reasons. My favorite, and also the first of his I read, is Looking for Alaska. It’s a controversial novel, but it’s worth the read. All of his novels could be categorized into ‘coming of age’ stories, but they are relevant to all ages, and the meanings and beauty behind each of them will touch you, no matter where (or when) you are in your life.
So there you have it! I hope you are inspired to pick up at least ONE of these books. They are all worth the read.