When anyone asks for my favorite anything of all time, I tend to forget everything I know.
Anyone else have that issue? Seriously, it’s the worst. Suddenly, I know nothing, even though I have to have favorites. Maybe it’s the pressure of ranking them? Or just trying to visualize what my shelves look like so I can pluck titles from a visual memory? Either way, Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads probably knows she put me and a bunch of other readers to the test with today’s T5T topic, the best series of all time.
Meeghan, somehow, I managed it. Please have mercy on me and don’t make me choose favorite children in this difficult a topic ever again. 🥺 That’s clearly what made this topic a week late, after all.
The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard
This series owns my entire heart. With a brilliantly intricate cast, plot threads that reach far and capture so much, and reveals that have consistently knocked my socks off, I recommend it to basically everyone. It’s a rare long series in a YA market that seems to favor duologies and trilogies, and I adore every single page. Each book feels better and more fascinating than the last, and it’s hard to believe the series has only one installment left now that Witchshadow is out!
If you like stories with an emphasis on the power of friendship, deep worldbuilding, cool creatures, and so much more, you’ll probably love the Witchlands series. Also, I’m just going to keep recommending it anyway.
The Truly Devious Series by Maureen Johnson
I am well and truly a sucker for a good mystery, especially a mystery that manages to stay one step ahead of me all the while. As much fun as it is for me to guess correctly about who the killer is or how they did it, it’s even more satisfying to be proven wrong, to have missed the critical foreshadowing. And the Truly Devious series delivers just that! Hindsight is 20/20 with this series, and I love the earnest, sometimes corny feeling to it. The characters well and truly feel like high school kids, but the mystery has an inescapable gravity to it that not even 100 years of sleuths could solve. At least not until Stevie Bell.
Always a go-to favorite when I’m in the mood for a mystery!
The Locked Tomb Series by Tamsyn Muir
“Lesbian necromancers in space” sitting on the very front cover of Gideon the Ninth should be enough explanation for you all. Except this series is so much more than that. It’s blisteringly sharp writing that always dances on the edge of unsettling, coupled with unexpected forays into memes (of all things!) that feel astonishingly natural for the scene. Every page is clever in its contents and what it sets up, and the emotional payoffs are brutal in the best ways! Cap that off with a neat blend of science and magic meeting in the middle, as well as unimaginable powers, and you have a gripping, masterful series.
And yes. It’s lesbian necromancers in space. That is a very important factor.
And extra yes, it’s now more than a trilogy! Alecto the Ninth has been moved to the fourth installment, and we’ll be seeing Nona the Ninth as the third title somewhere in 2022! 👀
The Shadow Game Series by Amanda Foody
Some people make the mistake of comparing the Shadow Game series to the Six of Crows duology. At most, they share some gambling and gangs, and it leads people to turn their nose up at Ace of Shades because nothing compares to the precious Crows.
As I said, this is a mistake, because the Shadow Game series is brilliant. It combines incredible magic with ruthless political maneuvering, and no one player ever holds all the cards. There’s always a thrill of danger lying over the story, and the characters have a certain brutality to them, a sharpness that lets them survive in a city that would rather see them choke.
Truthfully, I haven’t yet read Queen of Volts, partly because I need to reread the first two, and partly because I’m afraid of the final consequences. There’s no telling who’s going to come out of this series alive, and it’s thrilling.
The Age of Darkness Series by Katy Rose Pool
Last but certainly not least, the Age of Darkness series has earned its place on this list! Into the Dying Light releases today, in fact, and I am impatiently awaiting delivery of my preorder. Is it going to tear my heart out when I read it? Yes. But will I say thank you anyway? Also yes.
Anyway, inevitable heartbreak aside, I love this series because it’s inspired by the classical Mediterranean, which means my classics major heart is OVER THE MOON about the setting. More than that, though, it features a well and truly flawed cast, clever subversions of prophecy, and truly solid fantasy storytelling, from the world-building on up.
Plus, it has amazing covers. Each one is beautiful to begin with, and when you look at it after finishing? Suddenly so many things make sense.
Narrowing it down to the five best series of all time is basically impossible. If I were to do this topic again in a month, I’m sure my answers would change somewhat! After all, there’s too many excellent series out there to limit it to just five.
Right now, though, these are the ones that hold my heart. Are any of them favorites of yours, too? Or am I missing some that deserve the spotlight just as much? Let’s chat!