Monthly Recs: Best First Book in a Series

The January topic for the Monthly Recommendations Goodreads group is best first books in a series, and wow, did I struggle with this one! I mean, obviously the first book has to be good enough to get me hooked, but in a lot of my favorite series, the first book isn’t necessarily my favorite.

I also realized that in a lot of series, I like the different installments equally but for different reasons, while others I actually don’t remember the individual books well enough to distinguish them individually and say which I think is best. So apologies for having a rather short list this month!

I’m also just going to give you a heads up: a lot of the books I picked for this list just barely count as my favorites, so sorry if you see me say that a lot!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

The Lion the Witch and the WardrobeEven though I haven’t reread these books as an adult (yet), they’ll always hold a special place in my heart. I enjoy the series as a whole and appreciate how the different installments expand the world, but there’s just nothing like visiting Narnia for the very first time in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

And yes, that is the first book. I don’t care if The Magician’s Nephew takes place first chronologically in the world of Narnia and if American publishers label The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as the second book in the series. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is definitely the book to start with when reading The Chronicles of Narnia for the first time.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Hunger GamesOk, so I was obsessed with this entire trilogy in high school and college and they’re still very near and dear to my heart, but the first one has always been my favorite. Don’t get me wrong, I love how Catching Fire and Mockingjay expand the world and introduce more characters and generally escalate everything, but The Hunger Games was just so unique when it was introduced and it was a very focused story that was well contained within a single book. Plus, when the whole world revolves around the Hunger Games, how can the first book that introduces them and sets the groundwork for Katniss’ experiences not be your favorite?

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved BeforeI’m so torn about including To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on this list because I really liked Always and Forever, Lara Jean, which was the concluding book in this trilogy. But it’s the first one that made me fall in love with Lara Jean and her family, and the premise of Lara Jean being forced to deal with her former crushes receiving old love letters is still just so funny and cute. I love this entire trilogy and highly recommend all of them, but I think the first one is my favorite by just a tiny little bit.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of CrowsOk, so Six of Crows is making this list by only a smidge because I also loved Crooked Kingdom and thought it was an excellent conclusion to this duology, but there’s just something about Six of Crows that I like a bit more! I think a lot of it is because you’re just being introduced to all of the characters and it’s very focused around that one heist and watching this group of misfits become a team. But then in Crooked Kingdom you get Wylan’s perspective! But Six of Crows doesn’t have such a heartbreaking ending. But there is a brutal cliffhanger! Ugh, idk. I just slightly, slightly prefer Six of Crows, but I highly recommend both books in this duology (which is why they’re both on my Favorite Books of 2017 list!).

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

GracelingI really love all of the books set in the Graceling realm and, while at first I was disappointed the later ones didn’t directly follow Katsa and Po, I later came to appreciate how cool it was that they follow different characters in the same world. But as much as I enjoy the later books, I think Graceling is still my favorite. I just loved Katsa and Po so much and you don’t get a relationship like theirs in the later books! And I love the concept of the Graces and just really enjoyed their introduction in this first book. I love all three of the books in their own way, but Graceling is the book that first introduced me to this world, and I think it’ll always be my favorite.

A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet

A Promise of FireI really enjoyed this entire trilogy and highly recommend it if you love fantasy and romance, but the first one will probably always be my favorite of the three books. I just really loved watching Cat and Griffon fall in love and become a team, plus I always appreciate the first book in a series for introducing me to a world and making me love it, and A Promise of Fire is no exception. The second and third books are good and I think they do a good job continuing the fantasy aspect of the story, but they just can’t compete with the first book in terms of setting up Cat and Griffon as a couple, which is why this one is my favorite in the trilogy.


Ok, I think those are the only first books in a series that I can say I think are my favorites. Do you have any books that spring to mind as the best first book in a series? Let me know in the comments!

And if you’d like to see more of my monthly recommendations posts, check them all out here.

11 thoughts on “Monthly Recs: Best First Book in a Series

  1. Love this post idea! The 3rd Lara Jean book was my personal favorite, but I also loved the first one. And I’m kinda on the fence for The Hunger Games. Mockingjay was just amazing for me- it ripped my heart out (the whole time I was thinking, “now she loves him and he doesn’t love her anymore and ahhh no!”), but I also love how in the first book you get introduced to everyone and everything is so fresh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was fun, but sooooo hard to put together! And honestly, it might depend on the day for which books in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Hunger Games are my favorites because they’re both just such good series!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Choosing between Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom is tearing me apart inside right now. Haha. They belong together! But also the end of Crooked Kingdom destroyed me. I could keep waging this internal war forever, I think.

    I do think I agree with you wholeheartedly on The Hunger Games though. I really liked the second two books, but there’s something about the first one that just completely captures everything great about the world.

    As for Narnia, I legitimately did not realize that people think you should start somewhere besides The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Those people are WRONG. Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom absolutely belong together! Seriously, if you ask me in another month, I might say I prefer Crooked Kingdom, or I might refuse to answer.

      And do your Narnia books (assuming you own a set) not label The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as number two in the series? Because mine do, and it always confused me because I thought that’s where you’re supposed to start, but it’s labeled as the second book. It’s a whole thing about what order they’re meant to be read in. I think C.S. Lewis himself recommended chronological order (though it’s up for debate), but I’m team publication order all the way.


      • I need to find my bind up copy because I’m not sure. I read them separately first, so I must have just gotten lucky and started in the right place. I think that was a library book? All of my childhood books are in boxes at my parents so that’s a struggle. I need a house and a library of my own. Haha

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know the feeling! I have boxes of books at my parents’ house too. One day I’ll have room to have all of my possessions with me instead of retaining my closet in Fargo!


  3. Pingback: Monthly Recs: Mash Up | Dani's Bookshelf

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