Hello world! Today, I am talking about those series that you absolutely need to finish in order to fully appreciate the very first book. No, I am not referring to those series that get better as you on, or those series whose first books were so bad that the series could only get better (ahem, The Magicians!). No, I’m referring to those first books that were either good or great, but took the entire series to fall for me to in love with.
Of course, this is a purely subjective list, but I hope you enjoy regardless. Cheers.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Finale quote: “The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”
Gasp! Sacrilegious of me to put this book on the list! But I truly think that the first book wasn’t as mind-blowing as the rest. Sure, it’s leaps and bounds above most other children’s books, but it was only after reading a good portion of this series that I finally came to respect just how beautifully humble Harry’s beginnings were. This first book is terrific as it is, but it’s reading the rest that makes me worship it.
The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman
Finale quote: “And then what?” said her dæmon sleepily. “Build what?”
“The Republic of Heaven,” said Lyra.”
Can I just admit that I didn’t like this book at first? It’s well-written, but even after giving it three consecutive chances to redeem itself, it just didn’t speak to me. But after finally slogging through the entire series, I finally got it–the finale has balls, and knowing that there’s consequences to the series really made re-reading the first book worthwhile.
The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Final quote: “Right to the end, he didn’t give me a chance to get a word in edgeways. Which is a pity, because at that last moment, I’d have liked to tell him what I thought of him. Mind you, since in that split second we were, to all intents and purposes, one and the same, I rather think he knew anyway.”
Ohhh, I live for this finale. The first book is great as it is, but I didn’t realize just how amazing it was until finishing the series. The conclusion is one of the best series endings I’ve read period, and it spurs me to go right back to the first book and start my masochistic journey all over again.
The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White
Finale quote: “The cannons of his adversary were thundering in the tattered morning when the Majesty of England drew himself up to meet the future with a peaceful heart.”
Ahhh, an incredibly light first book. I really liked it as it was, but it was only after reading the last book and understanding where its heavy conclusion lie that I came to see the first book with new eyes. It’s a book that gets better with each subsequent read!
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Final quote: “Holding these things in his head, he climbed up on to the roof and gazed up at the sky. Then he closed his eyes and began to dream.”
Another unpopular opinion, but I had an excruciating time getting through the first book. The plot didn’t move, the characters took themselves way too seriously for their age, and I just didn’t see any point. But by the third book, I was sold–the first book still has pacing issues in my opinion, but looking at the series as a whole, it’s fantastic now.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Final quote: “Her heart was a river that carried her out to the sea.”
The first book is fun, action-packed, and well-written, but it’s really the second book I think that solidifies the series: it fleshes out the rest of the cast, and I think after reading the second book, my fondness for the first definitely grew exponentially.
So that’s my list! I know that was short, but I don’t read series that often, and the series I do know of just don’t apply to the list. But if there’s any others that you think I should’ve put on here, do let me know in the comments below. Cheers, and happy December!
(By the way, I’m currently reading the Mistborn trilogy. Friends have told me that it’s one of the most satisfying endings ever, so maybe that applies to this list? Who knows. Fingers crossed!)