This month I’m celebrating the release of Evolution, the conclusion to my young adult sci-fi series that began with my debut novel, Extraction. It’s an exciting and scary time for me, and probably also for my readers. So many of their questions have yet to be answered. So many of their favorite characters stand a chance of not surviving all the way to the end of the final chapter. (Spoiler alert: Some of them won’t.)
Trust me, readers, I know the beautiful torture of finishing a book series. I, too, have had my soul ripped to pieces by too many authors to count. I’ve cried reading the endings of these books in public. I’ve cackled in glee at villains finally receiving their righteous reward. I’ve wrung my hands over unanswered questions and sobbed over unbearable deaths.
So, why do we keep reading books knowing they’ll probably rip our hearts out? Because the characters in these stories become like family. When we follow them across forests and oceans and outer space, we learn we’re not alone when facing demons and dragons and warriors in our own lives. We learn how to be brave like Harry Potter and Katniss and Percy Jackson. If nothing else, we always have the familiar characters in these series to help us escape and to welcome us home.
If you’re in the market for more series conclusions that will leave you devastated by the final chapter, here are five that should satisfy your craving:
Monsters of Men, Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking Series)
This book and the books preluding it are roller coaster rides of moral ambiguity and impossible stakes. They follow Todd, a young boy on the cusp of manhood who lives in a town where no man’s thoughts are secret from anyone else’s. But there is a secret in his town, and when Todd discovers it, he ends up on the run from an incredibly dangerous man and his army. Every time you think things can’t possibly get any worse for Todd, they will, and you will both hate and adore Patrick Ness for giving you so many feelings.
Flame, Amy Kathleen Ryan (Sky Chasers Series)
The Sky Chasers series manages to capture the vastness and adventure of a space adventure while also exploring riveting moral questions. In the series, fifteen-year-old Waverly and a group of fellow young women traveling aboard a generation ship from Earth, the Empyrean, are kidnapped by the leaders of a second gen ship dealing with a very serious problem: None of their crew members have been able to conceive offspring. Waverly and the other girls from the Empyrean were all conceived in space, so they should be able to help solve the gen ship’s problem. Of course, it’s the last thing the girls want to do for strangers who’ve just stolen them away from their families. The danger only gets worse for the girls throughout the three installments of the series, finishing with a conclusion in Flame that doesn’t disappoint.
Ruin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha Trilogy)
A Tsarist Russia-inspired fantasy, the Grisha trilogy sits at the pinnacle of YA fantasy in the last few years. Alina Starkov, a young orphan girl, discovers her untamed power and rises to the top of the court of the magical Grisha, training to save her war-ravaged land from darkness and the mysterious man who wields it. This series combines the magic of Harry Potter with the lavish world building of the likes of Tolkien and V.E. Schwab. Ruin and Rising brings the Grisha trilogy to an end in a pulse-pounding conclusion.
Shades of Earth, Beth Revis (Across the Universe Series)
If you can’t already tell, I’m a major sucker for sci-fi stories involving generation ships on their way to new worlds. The Across the Universe series is yet another, but what makes this one stand out from the rest is the mystery aspect of the story. Seventeen-year-old Amy signs up with her parents to be put to sleep in a cryo chamber and hauled aboard a spaceship, expecting to wake up in three hundred years when the ship reaches Centauri-Earth. Instead she wakes up fifty years early, trapped in a strange civilization in deep space with a trail of secrets surrounding her and a possible murderer on her trail. In Shades of Earth, Amy finally reaches Centauri-Earth, and even more secrets are revealed. This is one sci-fi series you don’t want to miss.
Champion, Marie Lu (Legend Series)
The Legend series is a Les Miserables story set in a futuristic Los Angeles. (Sounds awesome already, right?) June, a fifteen-year-old military prodigy, and Day, the country’s most wanted criminal, begin the series as enemies, but soon become allies against the Republic ruling their world. The series will hook you from page one with action, mystery, and romance. Champion brings June and Day’s story to an action-packed, heart-wrenching close. Let’s just say I’m still not over it.
Stephanie Diaz wrote her first novel, Extraction, while studying film at San Diego State University. She has since written two sequels, Rebellion and the forthcoming Evolution, which hits shelves September 8th. In her spare time she fangirls over TV shows and writes music. Visit her online at her website.