Third day into this reading challenge! So it’s asking me my favorite series and that’s…harder than the last two prompts. Because I have several and it spans out between my childhood and adulthood. I’m going to list up to ten, give myself five for my childhood favorites, and five for my adulthood favorite series. Ready, steady, go!
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite series being the “His Dark Materials” series. Phillip Pullman really pulled me into the realm of Lyra’s Oxford, as well as the collective worlds of those books. It’s funny because the story behind my reading “The Golden Compass” is that I read it by accident. My twin sister checked the book out of the library (and it was one of those editions with a slim backing, beautiful cover, and small text. It looked like this:
Suffice to say, it took me a few sittings, but I couldn’t put it down, and eagerly bought the installments as they were released. Though I read it as a child/teen, I still hold it as one of my favorite series and look back on it with fond memories.
Another series I read as a child (and loved in the vein of fantasy) was Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising”. I remember reading “The Dark is Rising” in 7th grade and ended up reading the whole series in a sequence over several lunch periods while staying in the library. I think I need to do a re-read of this series at some point because it’s been so many years since I picked it up, but I remember loving it, and it definitely contributed to my love and influence from fantasy series.
I’m going to feature two series from Madeline L’Engle: her Time Quintet and Meet the Austins series. Both of them had an influence on me personally – the first being an influence on me from a fantasy spectrum. I loved getting to know Meg, Charles Wallace, the twins Sandy and Dennis, Calvin and the rest of the cast. “A Wrinkle in Time” is one of my favorite books from the sequence. I also really enjoyed “Many Waters” – which was an offshoot of the series where Sandy and Dennis are thrown back in time to the days of Noah’s Ark.
Madeline L’Engle really impressed me with her “Meet the Austins” series as a collection of stories focused on the aforementioned family in multiple dimensions. “A Ring of Endless Light” remains one of my favorite coming of age stories of all time, and I’ll admit I enjoyed other installations of the series including “The Young Unicorns” and “Troubling a Star”.
The last series I’ll list as a favorite from childhood probably won’t be recognized by a lot of people, and it’s only a duology. “Time Windows” and “Pale Phoenix” by Kathryn Reiss fascinated me as both a ghost and time travel series of stories. Many people I talked to didn’t realize that “Time Windows” wasn’t a standalone book. I loved both books, though I think my preference would lend to “Time Windows” because it had such an impact on my reading. I think I need to re-read both.
Other series I read as a child and would mention as favorites, but they weren’t featured here: Cynthia Voigt’s Tillerman Cycle, Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain (“The Black Cauldron,” etc.), C.S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia”, L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz”, Carolyn Keene’s Nancy Drew series, and Virginia Hamilton’s “Justice and Her Brothers” Trilogy.
All right, now I’m getting into my favorite series from adulthood, and honestly, this is hard, because I have so many favorites from different genres and I’m having to pick just five.
Some honorary mentions of favorite series I’ve read as a teen/adult that I’m not featuring on here are E. Lockhart’s “Ruby Oliver” series, Lisa Kleypas’s “Travises” series, Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” (I haven’t finished it yet!), Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, Brandon Sanderson’s “Mistborn” trilogy (haven’t finished) and Anne McCaffery’s “Pern” series.
I also have quite many favorite manga series, including Fullmetal Alchemist, NANA, Monster, Rose of Versailles among others, but I think my favorite manga series may warrant its own post for another time.
With that, let me feature these five series that are among my favorites:
J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter”. Need I say more? I have a profound respect for Rowling for this series. Granted, I haven’t read the 7th book because I was spoiled silly and I figured before I tackled that, I’d like to do a full reread of the series from the beginning and give each book a proper review. Some of the books struck me better than others (Prisoner of Azkaban and Goblet of Fire are probably the two I would say are my favorites of the series, but I’m going strictly from memory and it’s been a while.)
J.R.R. Tolken’s “The Lord of the Rings.” This is kind of another one where I would say “Need I say more?” But Middle Earth never ceased to fascinate me and I remember reading this series in its entirety in college. Took me a while, but I did it. =)
Mira Grant’s “Newsflesh” trilogy – I couldn’t put any book of this series down. It’s more of a recent read on this collective favorites list. I really enjoyed the mix of zombie infection, survival and political thriller aspects of “Feed,” “Deadline,” and “Blackout.” The collective series kept me on my toes, and made Mira Grant an author for me to watch in the future. (I also ended up loving “Parasite” as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing where that series goes.)
William Gibson’s “Sprawl” trilogy – Many people recognize the title “Neuromancer” in the vein of cyberpunk, but “Pattern Recognition” and “Mona Lisa Overdrive” are also a part of this series. I would consider myself highly influenced by this series in my writing and love for the genre, though I’ve only read the first two books (I’m trying to do a re-read of both of them before the end of the year, as well as read the third in the series).
Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking” Trilogy: I was very impressed with Patrick Ness’s “Chaos Walking” trilogy and would indubitably include it among my favorite YA dystopic series, as well as favorite series in general. I loved following Todd and Viola through the dark turns of this series, and I’ll admit it gut punched me in many turns. The first book is among my most re-read, so indubitably, I would say it deserves a feature mention among my favorites.
That’s pretty much it. Long post, and while there may be some series that are missing from this list, it may be because I prefer certain individual books versus citing the collective series. I’ll post the next day’s challenge sometime tonight.