Welcome to part two of my “new year, new series” list! By now you may be thinking I’m posting an awful lot of dystopia/fantasy/etc. kind of stuff, and it’s true. There are three reasons for that. One, I know a lot of you love these books, so I’m going with what seems to fly off the shelves. And two, I like these books! It’s the old “write what you know.” But I do try and shake things up sometimes, I promise. And three, speculative fiction (my favorite catch-all term for fantasy, urban fantasy, sci-fi, dystopia, post-apocalyptic, paranormal, etc. etc. books) has a lot of series. Anyways, on to part two of the list. Let me know if you end up loving (or even hating, though I hope not!) any of these series!
If you loved The Hunger Games try The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau – In the world of The Testing, the only chance a teenager has at a college education and a prosperous future is to compete in the Testing. Those in the Testing must eliminate one another for a select few places (sound familiar?). And as main character Cia navigates the deadly Testing, she must decide if her childhood friend and ally is trustworthy or not (sound familiar?) Yes, the premise is similar The Hunger Games, but The Testing is its own book, featuring a unique post-apocalyptic society and a strong, engaging protagonist in Cia.
If you loved The Maze Runner try Incarceron by Catherine Fisher – Like Maze Runner, Incarceron feature large-scale imprisonment and a girl that acts as a catalyst for change. Incarceron is a prison – a terrifying, gigantic prison that has its own personality and character, and this prison is where Finn has grown up. But Finn believes that he has not always been inside Incarceron’s walls, though he cannot remember much of the world outside. In the outside world, the warden’s daughter Claudia feels stifled by her life. When Claudia and Finn simultaneously find a matching device that allows them to communicate, they begin to plot Finn’s escape.
If you loved Perfect Chemistry try Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry – The troubled girl and the bad boy meet, dislike each other, but eventually connect and fall in love. It’s been done over and over, but much like Perfect Chemistry, Pushing the Limits does it really, really well. Echo and Noah are both well-developed, likable characters. And their initial reaction to each other, and the romance that follows, rings true. Noah and Echo each have their own personal and emotional struggles which make them interesting separately. And together, you might swoon for them as much as you did for Brittany and Alex.
If you loved Graceling try Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. Because no series list would be complete without me mentioning two of my absolute favorite series in one paragraph. Admittedly, Girl of Fire and Thorns has more in common with Fire or especially Bitterblue than it does with Graceling, but like all three of Cashore’s books, it features rich world-building and fantastic characters – especially the women who are central to all these books. In Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa relies not on her physical powers, but on her mental ones. She must contend with being thrust into politics and leadership that she is not prepared for, and learn what she is truly capable of.
Honorable Mentions (aka other speculative fiction series starters I think are great but couldn’t quite fit in!): Antigoddess by Kendare Blake; The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima; Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta; Legend by Marie Lu; Seraphina by Rachel Hartman; Terrier (or really anything else) by Tamora Pierce.