One of the great joys of reading is the escapism it provides, so it can be lots of fun to mix up your book choices so that you’re transported on a totally new kind of journey every time you start on page one.
That said, sometimes it’s equally enjoyable to delve right into a certain story and get to know its characters inside out over multiple books. For that reason, a good book series is a must-have on the shelf of any bookworm.
Some of the most beloved literary characters in the world come from popular book series - just think about the likes of Harry Potter, Lyra Belacqua and Arya Stark - and there’s a reason that many of these characters’ stories have been adapted to big budget film and TV productions. They have the luxury of time to reel you in and make you feel like you’re part of the world they’re depicting. The result is that you’re totally invested in the characters and their journeys, and you’re always left wanting to know more.
If you’re in need of a franchise to dive into, here’s our pick of the best book series of all time.
The Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy by Kevin Kwan
This popular series explores the outlandish world of high society with buckets of humour. New Yorker Rachel is unaware that her boyfriend Nicholas also happens to be Singapore’s most eligible bachelor and likely heir to a massive fortune. When she spends the summer in Nick’s home, her life unexpectedly becomes an obstacle course of old money, new money, nosy relatives, and scheming social climbers. Enjoy these books before tuning into the movie adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians, featuring a stellar cast.
The Will Trent and Grant County series by Karin Slaughter
If you've never read Karin's work, she has a lengthy back catalogue for you to dive into. The best-selling writer serves up gripping thrillers again and again, featuring detective Will Trent and paediatrician and part-time coroner Sara Linton as they work to solve grisly crimes.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Whether you’re revisiting the books for the first time since childhood, or picking them up as an adult who’s never experienced them before, the Harry Potter series is a magical, action-packed, poignant journey all about the power of love and friendship. Chances are you’ll have seen the films, or maybe the West End play, but it’s definitely worth reading the original books to appreciate Rowling’s brilliant writing in all its glory.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Martin’s fantasy series, about the bloodthirsty fight for power and control in the fictional realm of Westeros, inspired a globally huge TV adaptation starring the likes of Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington, so you’ve probably heard of it, if not seen it on screen. If you appreciate the highs and lows of the series, you’ll enjoy Martin’s lengthy and unabridged telling of the epic tale.
The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood
Typical of Atwood’s dystopian work, this trilogy is set in a future world that has been forever altered by plagues, floods, and genetic engineering, with only a few humans left fighting for survival. If you enjoyed Margaret’s most commonly-known works – The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments – these should be next on your to-read list.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
The His Dark Materials trilogy is one many readers first come to when they’re children, but it still holds value for adult readers, too. With its depiction of corrupt leadership and the battle between morality and greed, the themes present are perhaps even more timely than when Pullman first wrote the stories. Plus, you’ll fall in love with headstrong protagonist, Lyra.
Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman
This Young Adult series cleverly turns the tables of racism and prejudice and depicts an alternate world where white people (noughts) are subjugated by black people (Crosses). In the first book, readers are invited to see the injustices happening through the eyes of young lovers Callum, a nought, and Sephy, a Cross. While ideal for teen readers, Blackman’s created a story that should be enjoyed and pondered over by adult readers, too.
Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French
The popularity of this murder mystery series is proven by the fact it was recently adapted into a hit BBC series. Each book follows a different detective character, all of whom are connected by working in the same murder investigation squad in Dublin, as they work to solve crime.
Millennium by Stieg Larsson
This gripping series of thrilling crime novels follows Lisbeth Salander, a computer hacker with poor social skills, and Mikael Blomkvist, a magazine publisher and investigative journalist, who are brought together by a mysterious murder. Larsson penned the first three books, but after his sudden death, author David Lagercrantz took on the job of continuing the series he started.
The Wolf Hall Series by Hilary Mantel
For fans of historical fiction, The Wolf Hall series is a must-read. Mantel’s trilogy - featuring the newly-released The Mirror and The Light - takes readers into the court of Henry VIII, telling the story through the eyes of one of the king’s most trusted advisors, Thomas Cromwell.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
With a big budget film adaptation starring Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth available to watch, you’ve likely tuned into a film or two. Collins’ trilogy, set in the dystopian nation of Panem is perfect for teen readers, with its fiery lead Katniss Everdeen, who fights to the death in an attempt to reclaim her community’s liberation from the corrupt and cruel whims of the Capitol.
The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein
This collection of work definitely isn’t the easiest to describe in a nutshell, given the sheer volume of words used by Tolkein, but in essence it follows Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits’ epic battle against Gandalf, Gollum and plenty of other dangerous creatures, in their quest to destroy the One Ring.
All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness
With elements of historical fiction as well as magical goings on and a love story at its heart, this series certainly has versatility. Sky is adapting the novels into a hit TV series, but if you haven’t tuned in yet, make sure to acquaint yourself with Harkness’ original material first.
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