Encouraged by how much fun I had making a list of the most entertaining film trilogies, here is a humble list of the ten best literary series I can think of. Did I miss any? Let me know!
10) Discworld, by Terry Pratchett
The Discworld Series is massive – seriously massive. There must be over 25 books taking place in the Discworld universe by this point, and although I haven’t read all of them, I know they are all entertaining. Set on a planet in the shape of the disk riding through space on the back of four elephants standing on top of a giant turtle, each book is generally a satire ranging from jingoistic foreign policy (Jingo!) to a critique of the banking system (Making Money). Wonderfully, the books never sacrifice characters for message; and trust me, there is a plethora of characters ranging from caricatures of German Barons in Uberwald to the all knowing Patrician of Ankh-Morpork to the Death of Mice (who only ever says SQUEAK.). Really, with so many books in this series, it would be extremely difficult to find a book you didn’t enjoy.
9) Abhorsen, by Garth Nix
This series take place in an amazing parallel universe which is divided in half by an ancient wall. On one side of the wall is a universe completely akin to our own, while across the wall is a savage world of magic, necromancy, and old forgotten gods. The series, although not fabulously written and intended for a younger audience, is amazingly innovative. The general story arc follows the Abhorsens, a family of benevolent necromancers dedicated to ensuring that the dead do not rise again. Although the plot does not seem original, the overall style – necromancers using bells to command the dead, the image of death being a river that has a stronger and stronger current the further in you progress, etc – is riveting and unique. For anyone interested in fantasy, this is a must read.
8) Narnia, by CS Lewis
Out of the seven Narnia books that CS Lewis wrote, I only truly enjoyed three of them – The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. These three books, though, are epic in scope and truly capture the imagination: who doesn’t want to believe, at least at some point, that a wardrobe or a painting can act as a passage to another world, to adventure. The Magician’s Nephew is particularly impressive both in terms of chronology – it was the last book written, yet was a prequel explaining everything – and the vastness of the worlds explored, from dead and forgotten Charn to turn of the 20th century England, to the origins of Narnia. Some may be put off by the sometimes heavy handed Christian themes in the books, but that is really no reason to not enjoy an otherwise great series.
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