Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic YA Trilogies

  1. The Queen of the TearlingErika Johansen tearling

At first glance, this does not appear to be a post-apocalyptic novel. However, it becomes quite apparent that this is a post-apocalyptic tale wrapped up into a fantasy adventure. The narrative follows Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn’s journey to reclaim her throne and to defeat the powers of the Red Queen. While she travels to reclaim her throne, Kelsea is accompanied by the Queen’s Guard and the mysterious Lazarus. This is a debut novel and is the first installment in a planned trilogy. As a result, some of the characters are frustratingly under developed and the backstory is hazy. I hope the next books delve deeper into the background of the Tearling, the Red Queen, and Lazarus. On the plus side, Kelsea is a wonderfully well-developed heroine. She is complex, overwhelmed, and desperately trying to do the right thing in the face of opposition. Kelsea is not a typical Young Adult heroine. Instead of being drop dead beautiful, she is quite plain and plagued by almost crippling self-doubt. I think she is a relatable heroine. Also, the world building is some of the best I have read in a debut novel. Based upon the first book, I have high hopes for the next two installments.

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  1. The Maze RunnerJames Dashner maze-runner-trilogy

I have not seen the movie adaptation of this book as of yet. However, I think the novel is an interesting twist on the post-apocalyptic genre. In this novel, Thomas wakes up one day to find himself trapped in a maze with no memories. All the boys trapped with him have also lost all knowledge of their life beforehand. The girl arrives and everything changes. The Maze Runner is the first book in a trilogy. But each installment puts the main characters in a different situation, so the story never goes stale. This narrative takes place in a maze, hence the origination of the title. One of my main critiques is that the story is quite similar to The Hunger Games. And this was distracting at times. But the narrative moves quickly and contains a lot of well-executed action scenes. Dashner does an excellent job in creating a complex and believable character in Thomas. Depicting a strong and faceted male character is just as hard as depicting a female one. Thomas is brave, capable, and vulnerable. He is a believable teenager stuck in an impossible situation. I think this is a nuanced and complex story that is told in a captivating manner.

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  1. The Hunger GamesSuzanne Collins hunger

By now I think everyone is familiar with the plot points in this story. Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take her sister’s place in Panem’s annual Hunger Games.  Along the way, she makes enemies out of some powerful people and irrevocably changes the course of Panem’s future. Out of the three books, the first one remains my favorite. The narrative is fast paced, well written, and relatively original. Katniss is a hotheaded but complex heroine. Peeta is an excellent foil to Katniss’ combative personality.  My favorite scenes are the ones where Katniss and Peeta interact. One of my problems with this trilogy is the overly contrived love triangle. While Gale is an interesting character and I understand the attraction, we all know that he will never get the girl. After the trauma of the arena, Katniss and Peeta have too strong of a bond for Gale to break. Katniss just takes some convincing. Dragging the triangle out over three books really dilutes the emotional impact of Katniss rescuing Peeta. Also, I wished that Collins had given President Snow some more character depth. He is a rather too convenient villain and his interactions with Katniss feel slightly forced. Otherwise, I think this is an excellent addition to the genre.

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  1. Earth GirlJanet Edwards FotorCreated

This trilogy is different from the others on the list. Instead of exploring a dystopian type society in the aftermath of an apocalyptic event, Earth Girl explores an intergalactic civilization. When Earth became too small for humanity, we moved on and civilized space. Only the “throwbacks” live on Earth; these are people who did not develop the mutated immune system required for intergalactic travel. Jarra is one such person and all she wants is some respect. So she creates a new identity and attempts to convince everyone that she is a military kid. What I enjoy about this novel is its fresh approach to space exploration and societal disdain. The citizens of Earth are considered to be inferior to the rest of the universe and are derided by humanity at large. Edwards explores the issues of classism and racism. I think the narrative strikes a good balance between lightheartedness and philosophical discussion about the pitfalls of galactic civilization. Overall, the narrative is fast paced and the main characters are fleshed out well. This new world feels both familiar and alien at the same time. My greatest complaint is that the books are too short. The narrative would have benefited from a little more backstory.

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  1. Under the Never SkyVeronica Rossi 5eed7-undertheneverskytrilogy

When I first read this trilogy I was not fond of the story. But I think my impression was partly influenced by some outside factors. So I decided to give the trilogy another try and I enjoyed it the second time around. In this new world, most of society now lives under the protected domes of the Reverie. The populace is entertained by living their lives via a virtual reality accessible through a SmartEye. When Aria’s mother goes missing, she will do anything to find her. This leads her to being thrown of the dome and condemned to the wasteland. Then Aria meets Perry and the wasteland becomes even more mysterious. Of all the trilogies, this one is definitely more of a love story than an exploration of post-apocalyptical society. The majority of the narrative explores the evolution of the relationship between Aria and Perry. Some of the scenes are painful to read and I felt the narrative was clunky in some areas. The narrative does not move as quickly as it should; Rossi tends to linger longer than necessary in some parts. However, this is an interesting read and the narrative does a good job exploring how people sometimes make decisions based upon inaccurate perceptions. Rossi’s world building is the strongest element in the trilogy. This is an enjoyable, if slightly slow, read.

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2 Comments on “Top 5 Post-Apocalyptic YA Trilogies

Life of Chaz

Welcome to My Life

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

What's She Reading?

Because the only thing better than reading is more reading.

Unabashedly Poetic

A blog about life

Life of Chaz

Welcome to My Life

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

What's She Reading?

Because the only thing better than reading is more reading.

Unabashedly Poetic

A blog about life

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