Top Five Saturday: Trilogies

This Top 5 series is back! Top Five Saturday is a meme hosted by Devouring Books to discover and share books that all have a common theme. Previously on the blog I have focused on witches, werewolves, thrillers, faeries, fairy tale re-tellings, high fantasy and many more. I am going to try and bring this series back for every Saturday.



  • 14th March – Books with Beautiful Covers
  • 21st March – Magic Realism
  • 28th March – Murder Mystery

So, trilogies. Why are they so popular? It”s become almost a trope in its own form in some young adult series (Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, Infernal Devices, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children…) and of course the iconic Lord of the Rings, Star Wars trilogy of trilogies. Does it arise from the echoes of the Aristotelian tripartite narrative structure? Is is a response to publishers’ perception of audience expectation? They can work wonderfully! They can also struggle, especially in the middle book which sometimes has the unenviable job of bridging entries one and three.

So my rules for this are that: there must be a central core of three books, deliberately crafted together as a unit with a full and complete narrative arc – whilst some of the entries in the list have spin-offs, they are separate and distinct narratives. And I must have read all three.

The List

The Wolf Hall Trilogy, Hilary Mantel

Whilst we seem to have a few Queens to be made and disposed of still in Mantel’s masterpiece, the focus of the novels is Cromwell, not Henry VIII, and only a few years of his story to cover in the final entry, The Mirror and the Light released this week.

The Chaos Walking Trilogy, Patrick Ness

An exceptional and thoughtful YA trilogy set on a distant colonised planet where a war with the indigenous species resulted in the Noise, an unfiltered broadcast of every thought in men’s head, revealing us to be the Chaos Walking of the title.

What Ness does with these novels is manage the transition wonderfully between them, posing existential and philosophical questions about how we operate as a species and individuals.

The Mistborn Trilogy, Brandon Sanderson

Fun. Utter, sheer fun. Sanderson is always a reliable go-to author and the Mistborn trilogy was my first introduction to him and I loved it: the central precept wondering whaht would happen if the hero failed and evil reigned tyrannically after the quest for salvation.

The three books expand the mythology of the world book-by-book as our characters develop from rebels hiding in the streets to rulers and finally to something transcendent. Oh Vin! Oh Kelsier! The subsequent novels where the original trilogy has passed into legend and myth are also cracking fun!

The Millennium Trilogy, Stieg Larsson

Wonderful powerful character is what drives these novels in the form of Lisbeth Salander – antisocial, dangerous, loyal, savant with an unerring moral compass. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was self-contained in its entirety (if I remember rightly) but Salander’s story was what sold the other two books.

I have but as yet have not begun to read the posthumous Lagercrantz novels.

The His Dark Materials Trilogy, Philip Pullman

Another stunning YA entry, a trilogy where I recall reading them both out of order and simultaneously on a variety of trains. Lyra Bellacqua, the armoured bears, daemons, the magisterium, Will… and Mrs Coulter and her golden monkey daemon is one of the best antagonists around!

The critique of the Catholic Church is, perhaps, a little obvious, but the echoes of William Blake and of John Milton and the sheer imaginative delight of Lyra’s Oxford is a joy.

The Links

12 thoughts on “Top Five Saturday: Trilogies”

  1. I loved Chaos Walking Trilogy as well! I am a bit reserved on the His Dark Materials Trilogy though. Haha! I also want to read the Wolf Hall Trilogy and the Millennium trilogy. But you know, I arelady have so many books to read. I guess I’ll get to them once I cut down my TBR list.

    Interesting list! Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

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