Reading a stand-alone book is an adventure in itself, but there’s something magical about immersing oneself in an expansive series. Delving into a multi-book narrative allows readers to deeply connect with characters, explore intricate worlds, and commit to epic journeys that span volumes. For voracious readers, there’s nothing like the thrill of finishing one book and knowing that the adventure continues in the next installment. This guide explores some of the best book series to get lost in, from timeless classics to modern masterpieces.
The DCI Ryan Mysteries by LJ Ross
LJ Ross has captivated the hearts of mystery lovers with her DCI Ryan series. Set in the enchanting landscape of Northumberland, England, these novels combine chilling mysteries with endearing character development. Starting with “Holy Island,” we’re introduced to Detective Chief Inspector Ryan as he unravels a web of crime in the seemingly peaceful community. The intrigue grows with each book, and to fully appreciate the interconnected plots, it’s advisable to read them sequentially or if you’re really committed, buy the LJ Ross books in order.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
Before it was a groundbreaking television series, “A Song of Ice and Fire” was an epic fantasy novel series that captured the imaginations of readers worldwide. Martin’s intricate world-building, coupled with a vast ensemble of characters, makes this a heavy but rewarding read. It’s a tale of power, betrayal, love, and the inevitable battle between good and evil. Dive into the complex politics of Westeros and Essos, and experience a saga where no character is safe, and every chapter promises a twist.
The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
No list of epic reads would be complete without the series that introduced millions to the wonders of reading. The Harry Potter books, beginning with “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” chronicle the life of a young wizard and his friends as they battle the dark forces of the wizarding world. J.K. Rowling has a genius that lies not just in her imaginative spells and creatures but also in her portrayal of universal themes: friendship, love, sacrifice, and the age-old battle between good and evil. Whether you’re a child or an adult, the magical world of Hogwarts awaits.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (and later Brandon Sanderson)
This high fantasy series comprises 14 main novels (with a prequel and several shorter works). It’s a tale of the Dragon Reborn and his companions as they prepare for the Last Battle against the Dark One. Jordan, an international bestselling author, created an expansive world filled with diverse cultures, complex magic systems, and a history that feels as real as our own. After Jordan’s unfortunate passing, Brandon Sanderson took the reins to complete the series, staying true to Jordan’s vision and delivering a satisfying conclusion for fans.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Tolkien’s magnum opus remains an unparalleled masterpiece in the fantasy genre. Beginning with “The Fellowship of the Ring,” readers journey with Frodo Baggins and his companions as they attempt to destroy the One Ring and vanquish the Dark Lord Sauron. Tolkien’s meticulous world-building is evident on every page, from the intricate Elvish languages he developed to the detailed histories of Middle Earth. It’s a tale of heroism, friendship, and the enduring battle against evil.
The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon
Time travel, romance, history, and adventure merge seamlessly in the Outlander series. Starting with “Outlander,” the story follows Claire Randall, a 20th-century nurse who inadvertently time-travels to 18th-century Scotland. There, she meets Jamie Fraser, a gallant Scottish warrior, and an epic love story ensues. Gabaldon masterfully intertwines historical events with her narrative, making it a treat for both romance and history enthusiasts.
The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov
Science fiction enthusiasts will relish Asimov’s Foundation series. Set in a future galactic empire, the story revolves around the mathematician Hari Seldon, who develops a theory of predicting the future. Foreseeing the empire’s collapse, Seldon creates the Foundation to preserve knowledge and guide the future. Asimov’s exploration of sociology, politics, and human nature makes this series a thought-provoking read for those intrigued by the potential directions of human civilization.
The Dark Tower by Stephen King
Stephen King, predominantly known for his contributions to horror, ventured into the realm of fantasy with The Dark Tower series. This epic encompasses eight novels, beginning with “The Gunslinger,” and introduces readers to Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, on a quest toward the enigmatic Dark Tower. King’s narrative is a unique blend of Old West motifs, Arthurian legend, and intricate world-building, peppered with references to his other works. While it offers thrills typical of King’s style, it also delves deep into themes of destiny, sacrifice, and the eternal battle between good and evil.
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
A cornerstone in children’s fantasy literature, The Chronicles of Narnia is a seven-book series that starts with “The Magician’s Nephew.” These tales take readers to the magical world of Narnia, where animals talk, magic is real, and battles between good and evil ensue. Lewis effortlessly integrates profound theological and philosophical themes with engaging adventures, making the series an enlightening read for both children and adults. From the heroism of the Pevensie siblings in “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” to the final battle in “The Last Battle,” Narnia promises enchantment with every revisit.
The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
This ten-book series stands as a behemoth in the realm of epic fantasy. Erikson’s world is colossal, with an extensive cast of characters, intricate magic systems, and a history spanning millennia. Beginning with “Gardens of the Moon,” readers find themselves plunged into a complex web of politics, war, and ancient powers. Erikson doesn’t hold hands, which means readers are in for a deep dive, but the rewards in terms of plot depth and character evolution are unmatched. It’s a masterclass in world-building and a testament to the vast scope of human imagination.
The Expanse by James S.A. Corey
For fans of space opera and thriller novels, The Expanse is a must-read. Initiated with “Leviathan Wakes,” this series, written by the pseudonymous James S.A. Corey (a collaboration between authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck), is a gripping tale of interstellar politics, alien technologies, and the fragile nature of human alliances. Set in a future where humanity has colonized the solar system, tensions between Earth, Mars, and the Asteroid Belt teeter on the brink of war. As the series progresses, a greater extraterrestrial threat emerges, testing the limits of human adaptability and unity.
The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance Trilogy, kicking off with “The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms,” is a refreshing take on the fantasy genre. The series delves into the lives of mortals and gods alike, presenting a complex web of politics, love, and power struggles. Jemisin’s world is richly diverse, both in terms of culture and magic. Her innovative narrative style and profound character development make the series stand out, offering readers a tale where gods are as flawed as mortals and where power dynamics are constantly in flux.
Concluding Your Epic Journey
Embarking on an epic reading journey is more than just flipping through pages; it’s about traveling to distant lands, making lifelong friends with characters, and experiencing the vast spectrum of human emotions. These series offer expansive universes to get lost in, characters to love and loathe, and narratives that remain with the reader long after the final page is turned. Choose your adventure wisely, and may your journey through the pages be as thrilling as the tales themselves.