Do you ever get started reading a new series only to find that you’re eager to switch gears after a few books? Trilogies may be the answer for you! Trilogies allow the author plenty of space to create a sweeping story, but they also keep the author from being forever locked into the same characters. No matter what your age and interests are, there are great possibilities just waiting for you on our library shelves! The trilogies that I am going to highlight have the advantage of being complete, because there is nothing worse than waiting for years for the author to finish the story.
For adult readers, I chose a variety of genres to highlight. One of my favorites from many years ago is the Merlin Trilogy by Mary Stewart. This is one of the most enduring sagas of Merlin and King Arthur, and the copy on our shelf at the Dillsboro Public Library has the advantage of containing all 3 novels in one binding.
My son can’t stop raving about the The Red Rising Trilogy by Pierce Brown. Set in the future on a colonized Mars, the trilogy follows lowborn miner Darrow as he infiltrates the ranks of the elite Golds. A movie adaptation is currently in development.
For historical fiction, I can recommend the Last Hundred Years Trilogy by Jane Smiley. Beginning with Some Luck, these books cover the time period from 1920 to 2019 and focus on societal changes, particularly to farming communities. For an in-depth summary of the trilogy, read this review by Heller McAlpin, written for the L.A. Times.
Our Teen area has many trilogies that are popular with teens and adults. Some examples of YA books with adult appeal are the Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched books. The Looking Glass Wars, although several years old, is part of an ongoing trend of revisiting characters from classic literature. The Graceling books by Kristin Cashore are not, strictly speaking. a trilogy; they were written as companion books.
The Jenna Fox Chronicles explore questions of identity and medical ethics.
There are also lots of trilogy choices in the juvenile fiction area. For all lovers of superheroes, check out the Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface.
Can you imagine a world where characters hop in and out of books? Try these three books by Cornelia Funke!
If historical fiction is your favorite way to learn, the Seeds of America trilogy by Laurie Halse Anderson brings the American Revolution to life through the perspective of American slaves. These books have been critically acclaimed, but due to the subject matter, are probably best for upper elementary students or older.
Trilogies are very rare among picture books, but here are a couple outstanding exceptions. Notice the shiny medals on the covers of the first two by Jon Klassen!
This trio of books by Aaron Becker illustrates everything that is magical and thought-provoking about wordless picture books. Writing for School Library Journal, Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova wrote: “Becker’s stunning watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations depict a breathtaking world that captivates without a written narrative.”