Top Ten Tuesday: End of the World Books I Recommend

Posted March 24, 2020 by Lisa Mandina in Top 10 / 26 Comments

As usual, this is being hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. So, I had nothing planned to blog today, and at first I thought I’d do TTT with last week’s prompt, top 10 books on my Spring TBR. But then, there have been a lot of books that this whole Coronavirus/Social Distancing/Quarantine stuff has made me think about. So I decided to pick my top 10 of those!

Of course the first book that comes to mind is The Stand. And while normally I’ll just grab a copy of the book cover from Goodreads, I wanted to share the picture of my own copy, one that I read over and over when I was in high school. In case you don’t know the story, here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published.

Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read

A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge–Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them–and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.

I had to also share a picture of my personal copy of the second book on my list, Swan Song, as you can see it has also been read over and over. Now, it is about a nuclear war, but still, it’s a story that always stuck with me. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

An ancient evil roams the desolate landscape of an America ravaged by nuclear war. 

He is the Man with the Scarlet Eye, a malevolent force that feeds on the dark desires of the countless followers he has gathered into his service. His only desire is to find a special child named Swan—and destroy her. But those who would protect the girl are determined to fight for what is left of the world, and their souls. 

In a wasteland born of rage, populated by monstrous creatures and marauding armies, the last survivors on earth have been drawn into the final battle between good and evil that will decide the fate of humanity….

Of course we have to have The Hunger Games on the list. Surely you’ve seen the whole meme about what district will we be assigned to? In case you don’t know what this is about, here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Collins delivers equal parts suspense and philosophy, adventure and romance, in this searing novel set in a future with unsettling parallels to our present.

For those of you who wanted zombies in your end of the world book, I have to totally recommend the YA series that starts with Rot & Ruin. I love the author, and love the story, and what’s funny, there was a scene in one of the last seasons of The Walking Dead that I watched that was extremely similar to a scene written in one of the later books in the series. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn’t want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Another great YA end of the world book is Ashfall, actually about a giant volcano that explodes under Yellowstone Park. It’s part of a series, but each book is really big with lots of stuff happening! Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to search for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster. 

I would be remiss not to mention Divergent. Loved this first book, even if at the time I found it definitely violent. And the rest of the series didn’t necessarily hold up, especially the final book and ending, at least hold up to my enjoyment. And the movies? Well other than the actor who plays Four, don’t bother. Just in case you actually haven’t heard of this one, here is the blurb from Goodreads:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Yet another YA book made into a movie was The Maze Runner. Another series, I liked the first two books and the others kind of lost me. The first movie was good, but the others don’t fit what I pictured in my head, so yeah. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Remember. Survive. Run. 

This is another zombie series, beginning with The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I really liked it, and the short stories that go with it, that I’ve read are also pretty good. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

In Mary’s world there are simple truths. 
The Sisterhood always knows best. 
The Guardians will protect and serve. 
The Unconsecrated will never relent.
And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. 
But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
Now, she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Maybe a little too close to present times is a story about a future after a virus has hit called Eve. It was right about the time I got into blogging that this one came out, but I really enjoyed the whole series, and it is still quite often checked out from my high school library. Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

Where do you go when nowhere is safe?

Sixteen years after a deadly virus wiped out most of Earth’s population, the world is a perilous place. Eighteen-year-old Eve has never been beyond the heavily guarded perimeter of her school, where she and two hundred other orphaned girls have been promised a future as the teachers and artists of the New America. But the night before graduation, Eve learns the shocking truth about her school’s real purpose and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Arden, her former rival from school, and Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust… and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life. 

In this epic new series, Anna Carey imagines a future that is both beautiful and terrifying.

This is a series that I still need to finish, but I LOVED all the books so far. When I started reading Poison Princess, not all the books in the series were out yet, so I’ll use that as my excuse. I highly recommend it, although you might fall in love with Death! Here is the blurb from Goodreads:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world–or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline”Evie” Greene leads a charmed life–until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future–and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

In Poison PrincessNew York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces a dark and intriguing world, full of unspeakable danger and irresistible romance.

Oh, and I have to add one more series that I also love!

Yeah, it’s a Christian end of the world, but the Left Behind series is one that really, really stuck with me! If you haven’t heard of it, here is the blurb from Goodreads:

An airborne Boeing 747 is headed to London when, without any warning, passengers mysteriously disappear from their seats. Terror and chaos slowly spread not only through the plane but also worldwide as unusual events continue to unfold. For those who have been left behind, the apocalypse has just begun…

Hopefully I haven’t depressed anyone with my list, I know some people might shy away from this type of read these days. But these books are on my mind right now, so they worked perfectly for this week’s topic. If you joined in to TTT, give me a link to your post below. And if you want, I’ve got a giveaway going on right now if you go HERE.

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26 responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: End of the World Books I Recommend

    • Lisa Mandina

      I think I will? But it will depend on when I get a hold of it and how much time I have. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      This was a fun if not scary week to do this one! But I had been thinking of them, so had to choose them. Thanks for visiting!

  1. Kay

    Great list! I’ve read and loved many of these. The Stand, The Hunger Games, are favorites. It’s been a while but I also remember loving The Forest of Hands and Teeth.

  2. I liked The Stand but I read the extended version and honestly thought I’d be reading it for the rest of my life. I’m really looking forward to Whoopi in the upcoming adaptation!!

    I looooooved Divergent when it came out but I could have set the last book on fire, luckily it was on my Kindle so it remains unscathed, but the ending was just so infuriating. The rest of the series was amazing though! Awesome list 🙂

    • Lisa Mandina

      I don’t know if I read the extended version? But I am also excited for the new movie! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I tend to the light and fluffy, but I used to read my daughter’s book, dystopians, back in the day. I had read Divergent (loved until the ending), but both the book and movie of The Maze Runner were DNFs for me. My daughter tried to tell me to push through the beginning, but I just could not. Hope you and yours stay well during this ordeal

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, not sure how much I want to actually read those dystopian and disaster books these days, more enjoying the happy stuff, but there was a time that was what I was reading! Thanks for visiting!

    • Lisa Mandina

      Stephen King used to be an auto-buy and I’d read all his books, until lately. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Lisa Mandina

      The Left Behind series is really good! Definitely slanted in the religious way of the authors, but still really good. Thanks for visiting!

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