A couple of months ago, I posted a blog about popular YA Dystopian books that I want to read. It is a genre that I am into back in the days, and I want to relive the feeling and the nostalgia of reading about this kind of story line.
Looking back at all the YA Dystopian books that I have read, I realized that I read fewer series than I expected. And out of the blue, I have the urge to rank each series that I completed.
But before diving into my ranking, I wanted to mention that this ranking is solely base on the completed series that I have read. In addition to that, since reviving a series is a trend these days, I will be ranking these series based on the original trilogy or series. Furthermore, the rank was based on the whole series and not by each book.
I have eight trilogy/series that I want to talk about, so let’s get into it!
Rank 8 – Matched Trilogy
The premise of the Matched Trilogy was quite interesting. It is about a society where people do not have a choice about anything; what they do, where they work, even who they love is decided by the government. Seems very interesting, but the execution of the story was underwhelming. I don’t know how 18-year-old me managed to finished this trilogy, but I applaud her for her patience.
The first book was quite okay. It has a lot of room for development in the upcoming books in the trilogy. The story is quite vague and a bit boring at times in the beginning, but it is doable. I even gave it a 3 out of 5 rating. I can’t remember anything from the second book, though if my recollection is correct, there is an exploration of the rebellion and the flaw of their society. But the third book is so frustrating. Nothing happens other than the main characters hiding inside the cave or playing hide and seek with each other. It’s like a frustrating scene in a movie or a TV show where both characters are in the same place, and yet they have not crossed paths. That scene was so vivid in my mind because it frustrates me the most. Furthermore, the story ended with the main characters meeting, but they have not resolved any issues or fought any battles. The rebellion feels like a joke and the main characters ran away. Oops spoiler.😶
Rank 7 – The Selection Trilogy
Like the Matched trilogy, I like the premise of this. But the political aspect of the story was overshadowed by the romance. I wish the author explores the rebellion more in the story, rather than using it as a side-plot. I can’t say that I enjoyed the book as well since I am annoyed by all of the characters, especially America and Maxon. To be honest, I read this quite fast for a book that I don’t enjoy. It was an interesting read. I clearly understand why most people consider it a guilty pleasure read. And an unpopular opinion, I like the spin-off better, romance-wise, rather than the original trilogy.
Rank 6 – Divergent Trilogy
This might be a very controversial ranking because of this trilogy. I know that some may object with how low it ranks, but hear me out. I pick the first book, and I did not expect to like it as much as I did. The premise is interesting and unique. It is action-packed, and I am quite excited to know how the story would progress in the following books. Then Insurgent came, and I thought that it is just a second-book-syndrome. The characters felt a bit out of character compared to the first book, and their choices became quite frustrating, but I endured their foolishness as I am still interested in the world. Then Allegiant came, and I have the urge to throw the book out of my window because of the ending. I appreciate the author’s boldness to end the trilogy like that, but I felt like the main character deserves way better than that kind of ending. Imagine being immune to all those stuff and just died in a bullet. The only reason why I gave it a 4 out of 5 rating is because of the big reveal about their society. I could have ignored Insurgent, but that ending is just not for me. On a side note, the author probably regrets killing her main character as she did not foresee the revival of the other dystopian novels.🤣
Rank 5 – Legend Trilogy
Speaking of endings, Legend is another trilogy whose ending did not sit well with me. I am well aware that my issue with this trilogy is because of my personal preference. Like Divergent, I appreciate the author’s boldness to include that kind of twist in the ending. However, I have seen that plot twist quite often in Teleserye (a term for TV Drama or series in my country), and I never thought I would see that kind of twist in a YA Dystopian novel. It might have work for me, but the reasoning behind it makes it more of an easy way out rather than something more meaningful and worthwhile.
On the other hand, I like the political aspect of the story. I like the patriotism of the characters, which I rarely see in a dystopian novel since most revolves around taking down the present ruler or government. This trilogy would have been higher on my list if not for the ending.
Rank 4 – Shatter Me Trilogy
People might think that I am out of my mind for putting this trilogy above the others in this ranking. But among most YA fantasy novel that I have read where the protagonist has an untapped potential, this trilogy is by far one of the best when it comes to character development.
I am not one who has a story preference. I like character-driven or plot-driven equally. This trilogy is more of a character-driven story. The romance is quite overpowering when it comes to the plot, but underneath that, you can see the character development of Juliette. And unlike other series, you would notice the lack of world-building in the story, yet that is not the case for me in this trilogy. Even though the world and the politics in it were not well-developed or explained in the original trilogy, I found myself enjoying this dystopian novel nonetheless. I enjoyed the friendship of the characters and watching Juliette develops not only her powers but also her characteristic and mindset.
I know that this trilogy is not for everyone, and as I reread this trilogy before to dive into the next book in the series, I understand why most people do not like it. I, myself, am afraid that I would not love these books as much on my reread, but it made me realized what I love about it. It’s probably one of my guilty-pleasure series.
Rank 3 – Red Queen Series
This series is the only recent dystopian novel on my list. Like I said, I felt like every good plot for a good dystopian has already been explored. I am well aware that some people are pointing out the recycled aspect of the first book. I can see that, but there is also another element to it that hooks me into this book.
The first book was so good, especially the plot twist. The second book was indeed a letdown, and I know most people DNFed the series after that. On the other hand, the third book was beautiful, yet heartbreaking at the same time. The fourth book could have been a masterpiece, if not for the open-ending. I have no issues with that open-ending. However, the author decided to wrap it up in the novella after the fourth book, like an afterthought. But this series would surely break your heart.
Rank 2 – The Darkest Minds Trilogy
Superpowers, a lovely group of friends, a thrilling and action-packed story, and a romance to root for; this trilogy has it all. If you have not read it yet, do it now.
I only read this trilogy two years ago, but it gives me the 2012 nostalgia of the YA Dystopian novels that I used to love. It has all the elements that I love in a series, and the characters felt like my babies. The flow of the story is unpredictable; one second it was happy, then it became action-packed or sad. There are also plot twists and heartbreaking scenes. In addition to that, we not only get to know the characters’ backstory, we also explore the mystery of the children’s powers and the involvement of the government in it. There is good world-building and character developments not only to the main character, but also to the side characters.
If you like a sci-fi-ish YA dystopian novel, be sure to check this out. Highly recommend.
Rank 1 – The Hunger Games Trilogy
Are you even surprised?
I love The Hunger Games so much. It is the trilogy that opened my eyes to dystopian novels and YA fantasy in general.
The gripping story from the very beginning up until the end hooked me. There is nothing I would change about this trilogy, even the third book. I know that most people did not like the Mockingjay, but I truly enjoyed it. The third book shows us the aftermath of being a teenager who has been through a lot, and yet she keeps fighting in her little ways to save the people that she loves. I can feel Katniss’s emotion in her words. Not only that, it gives us an insight as to what Haymitch and the other victors went through growing up. The games were fun to read as well, and I also like how the author wraps up the whole trilogy even though some beloved characters die in the process.
I know not everyone loves this trilogy, and I respect their opinions about it. But for me, this is not just a top 1 for the YA Dystopian list, but an all-time favorite trilogy.
That is all for my ranking of all the YA Dystopian series that I have read. If you have a favorite that is not on my list, do recommend it to me in the comments down below.
Until next time!