By Ellie White
Disclaimer: The following review may contain some spoilers revolving around the plot and background. The review is simply my own opinion; you may disagree.
Summer is coming up fast and a perfect way to distract from the summer heat is to jump into a new book series. The following book series are series I have read that I have really enjoyed. I strongly recommend all of these series, but they will be ranked one to five. One being the highest.
- The Maze Runner Trilogy (plus two prequels) by James Dashner
The Maze Runner series is a series that I found to be an incredibly interesting. This series is yet another series focusing on a dystopian world. This series takes place in there nearby future where a deadly solar flare has made most of Earth unlivable, between deserts and swelling oceans. On top of which a deadly virus has been released called the Flare, which drives people nuts to the point of self-mutilation, cannibalism, and extreme violence. The first book starts with the main character of the series named Thomas, who is a teenage boy, trapped in a giant maze with about twenty other teenage boys. The series is incredibly dark, as it contains the deaths of many young children and the reality of how far humanity will go to survive. The reason this series is number five, is that Thomas is an incredibly boring main character. He is mainly a window for the reader to see the events unfolding in front of him. However, almost all of the other characters carry the story very well. The other reason is that the series will drag sometimes. I will admit my favorite of the series is actually the first prequel, the Kill Order. I enjoyed all the world building that went on in the Kill Order. I strongly recommend this series if you are a Hunger Games or Divergent fan, or if you enjoyed the movies. Recommended order: Prequel #1: The Kill Order, #1: The Maze Runner, #2: The Scorch Trials, Prequel #2: The Fever Code, and #3: The Death Cure.
- Dorothy Must Die Series (there are 13 books) by Danielle Paige
This series is an interesting modern look at the Wizard of Oz, featuring more of the original book series by L. Frank Baum with a bit of a dark turn. There are four main books in the series currently, they follow the other girl from Kansas, Amy Gumm. Much like Dorothy, she is whisked off to the magical world of Oz. However, there is not a wicked witch terrorizing Oz this time, instead it is Dorothy herself. There is powerful magic in Oz, and such magic appears to corrupt people from the regular world. This is a fascinating series on Oz, which is actually far closer to the original series than many other adaptions. There are nine short prequels on other characters in Oz, which explains their motives. My favorite book in the series is the original Dorothy Must Die; it does a great job of introducing the plot to the reader. The main issue with the series and reason it ends up at number four is that it drags, much like the Maze Runner series. This series is also disturbing, and if you would rather not have your childhood image of the Wizard of Oz ruined, I do not recommend this series. This is a book series for fans of retellings and anything fantastical. Recommended order: #1: Dorothy Must Die, Prequel #1: No Place like Oz, Prequel #2: The Witch Must Burn, Prequel #3: The Wizard Returns, #2: The Wicked Will Rise, Prequel #4: Heart of Tin, Prequel #5: The Straw King, Prequel #6: Ruler of Beasts, #3: Yellow Brick War, Prequel #7: Order of the Wicked, Prequel #8: Dark Side of the Rainbow, Prequel #9: The Queen of Oz, and #4: The End of Oz.
- The John Cleaver Series (6 books) by Dan Wells
This is probably one of my favorite series of all times and the only reason it is number three is because of its disturbing topic. The series follows a young man named John Cleaver, who much like the first book’s title suggests (I Am Not a Serial Killer), is a sociopath who knows he is probably destined to become a serial killer. John is desperate to change this fate and does everything in his power to prevent himself from committing inhuman acts. John is a fascinating character and if you are a fan of Hannibal or Dexter, you will probably enjoy him as well. What makes the book so good is that is that John is character that struggles with an internal conflict and an external conflict, in this case another serial killer. This a great series, but sometimes I do wish that the major twist in the middle of the first book, which impacts the rest of the books, hadn’t come straight out of left field. The books can get pretty disturbing, as it depicts many characters dying. I strongly recommend this if you enjoy anti-heroes and psychological mystery thrillers. Recommended order: #1: I Am Not a Serial Killer, #2: Mr. Monster, #3: I Don’t Want to Kill You, #4: The Devil’s Only Friend, #5: Over Your Dead Body, and #6: Nothing Left to Lose.
- The Lunar Chronicles (6 books) by Marissa Meyer
Anyone who has previously read my past reviews will know my praise for Ms. Meyer. The Lunar Chronicles is a sci-fi retelling on four of the most famous fairytales every kid is familiar with, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. These fairytales are turned into kick-butt females, Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, respectfully. I really enjoyed this series because these girls are not the damsels in distress, expect maybe Winter, and because of how creative this world is. For instance when Cinder loses her shoe running from the prince, she doesn’t just lose her shoe, she loses her whole foot. Cinder is a cyborg. The main villain, Levana, is terrifying and amazing well-developed, but I don’t want to spoil anything. This is a great series, my only problem is the sudden shift in perspective in the sequels. It was a real surprise to me, and it almost made me give up the series altogether. Otherwise, I’d strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys sci-fi, retellings, and humor. Recommended order, #1: Cinder, #2: Scarlet, #3: Cress, Prequel #1: Fairest, #4: Winter, and selection of short stories called Stars Above.
- Rick Riordan
Why is Rick Riordan the author by himself without his books? Because I have really enjoyed the majority of his work. He has written five series up to this point, and all of them have been critically acclaimed. Most of his work focuses on famous mythology. It has humor, but can also deal with serious topics such as death and family issues. Riordan is also known for being a young adult author who addresses LGBT characters as well as characters of different ethnicities in a serious and respectful way. Rick Riordan is always a joy to read and one of my favorite authors. I would personally start with his first series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I’d strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys young adult series or funny, clever books.
Unfortunately, this is the last book review I will do this school year, but fear not bookworms. The book reviews will continue next year; I’m already looking at some books to review for next August. Until then, all of these book series are available in the McNicholas Library, so go pick one up if you’re looking for a summer read. Do you have a book that you would like me to review? Please suggest it in the comments or send me an email via Ellinore.email@example.com.