Trilogy Spotlight

by Jessica on March 9, 2018

By Rebecca

Hello Literary Enthusiasts!

Let’s talk about a word that makes all book lovers giddy: trilogy. It’s that word we all hope to hear after we’ve finished a particularly good book and are praying for a sequel. It’s the neat package that great stories, especially fantasy stories, come in. So what is about trilogies that makes them so appealing? Could it be the promise of a fascinating story continuing on? Or maybe it has to do with knowing exactly what sort of ending we’re heading towards. Maybe it’s just the tidiness of the number three. Whatever it is, here is a list of some of the best trilogies out there.

The Lord of the Rings

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t read these books as a child. I read The Hobbit years before I read the trilogy which, in a way, is fitting considering the 17 year gap between the publication of The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring. Just about every reader of fantasy knows that this series is the benchmark that set the standard for the future of the genre. The Lord of the Rings is what made trilogies cool, so to speak. In terms of world-building and just a wealth of detail, Tolkien is unsurpassed. Of course, part of what makes this series so brilliant is that it appeals to the reading-for-pleasure crowd as well as the scholarly crowd. After all, Tolkien was an expert in Medieval Studies and used medieval culture as the inspiration for Middle Earth. There is plenty for academics to focus on, but Tolkien isn’t trying to show off how smart he is. You don’t need to be a history major to get wrapped up in the story.

The Magicians

Often referred to as “Harry Potter for grown-ups,” The Magicians trilogy uses tropes familiar to the fantasy genre, but turns them on their head. We have a group of young adults attending a magic college. We have a beloved children’s book series featuring a magical land that turns out to be real. Sounds familiar, right? It might seem so at first, but author Lev Grossman specifically writes within these well-known parameters of the genre in wonder to satirize them. It’s not all wonder and magic-fixes-everything in Grossman’s world, but not for a moment is this series dull. Though the set-up is familiar, the story doesn’t follow a predictable pattern. If you love those types of stories but are looking for something original and inventive, The Magicians trilogy is well worth the read.

The Passage

This is the sort of post-apocalyptic story that doesn’t feel the need to sugar coat the end of the world. Think McCarthy or Atwood. A military experiment decimates the population. North America is a wasteland. Infected people stalk the landscape. This series provides no guarantees as our heroes fight for their survival in an unrecognizable world. Author Justin Cronin keeps the story engaging with an interesting, detailed backstory to the apocalypse and the fighting spirit of the main characters. The series is dark without being depressing and keeps the reader invested. Plus, Stephen King said it was “one of the greatest achievements in American fantasy fiction.” I mean, if that doesn’t convince you what will?

All Souls

Witches, vampires, daemons, and ancient magical manuscripts? Yes please! I’ll admit it, I’m a sucker for a story involving a hidden world of magic existing unseen within our own world. I mean, it’s completely possible, right? Author Deborah Harkness’s background in academia gives the story it’s grounding in the real world. Even if you’re not an expert in ancient texts, you can tell she knows what she’s talking about which gives the story even more depth. It always sounds like a cliché when people say they couldn’t put a book down, but I was so wrapped up in this story that there was something disappointing about closing it and re-entering the ordinary world. If you love the fantasy genre, this is one of those series that should not be missed.


Consider this my nod to a trilogy of the future in terms of my reading career. I haven’t yet started this series, but it is the next one on my list. Knowing Margaret Atwood’s work, I can’t imagine it’s anything short of brilliant!


What other trilogies have you loved/wept over/raged at/gotten overly invested in?