15 Duology, Trilogy, and Series Entries for YA Collections | Series Update

Many duologies and trilogies wrapped up in the last couple of months, and there are always those titles that got lost in the busy summer reading shuffle. If you’re struggling to stay on top of recent YA series, we’ve got a list for you!


On this list, the “Star Wars” titles can stand alone if readers have some familiarity with the franchise, while the rest are best enjoyed by reading the preceding installments in their series.

Anders, Charlie Jane. Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak. 320p. (Unstoppable: Bk. 2). Tor Teen. Apr. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250317391.
Gr 9 Up–Tina Mains has joined the Royal Space Academy, but she’s neither the heroine they were expecting nor as center stage as she was in Victories Greater Than Death. Rachael Townsend, Tina’s best friend and an accomplished artist, took control of an alien weapon with her mind which has left her unable to create art. Elza, Tina’s trans love interest, is determined to enter the ­Palace of Scented Tears and leave it a princess. With the worldbuilding established, Anders here sets a larger plot in motion, and readers will be pleased to find that while everyone is preparing for war, our queer heroes are determined to find joy in their lives. VERDICT Anders improves upon her first installment with tighter writing and deeper characters; recommended for general purchase.

Aveyard, Victoria. Blade Breaker. 592p. (Realm Breaker: Bk. 2). HarperTeen. Jun. 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062872661.
Gr 8 Up–The Companions—Corayne and her fellow ragtag heroes—have managed to kill a giant kraken and close one Spindle, the portals leading to another world. She is ready to accept her heritage and take up her father’s sword, but Queen Erida has taken the evil Taristan as her consort and all his monsters are at her disposal. Aveyard has nailed the balance of political maneuvering and action sequences, avoiding the middle book slump. There is diversity in the main cast and worldbuilding, as well as easy ­acceptance of queer and nonbinary characters. VERDICT Aveyard’s fans will be awaiting this sequel. A first purchase.

Bayron, Kalynn. This Wicked Fate. 320p. (This Poison Heart: Bk. 2). Bloomsbury YA. Jun. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547609208.
Gr 8 Up–Briseis must find the last piece of the Absyrtus Heart if she wants to have any chance of saving her mother but finding the missing piece will mean facing gods and monsters. Bri’s grief is compelling but not overwhelming as she and Marie embark on a globe-spanning quest. Bayron’s writing strikes the perfect balance, moving away from The Secret Garden elements of This Poison Heart; the story has found its feet in Greek mythology. The quest and magical creature elements give this story sapphic “Percy Jackson” vibes, while lush writing and attention to detail make the story shine. Main characters are Black. VERDICT Bayron’s duology lives up to its potential and is recommended for general purchase.

Bowman, Akemi Dawn. The Genesis Wars. 400p. (The Infinity Courts: Bk. 2). S. & S. Apr. 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781534456549.
Gr 8 Up–It’s been 10 months since the end of The Infinity Courts, and Nami is trying to save humanity from an afterlife run by a vicious AI named Ophelia and her Four ­Infinity Courts. Ophelia created other ­Resident AIs to run the courts, and the humans who are trapped in the afterlife are treated as servants—or worse. Mistakes and betrayals have put Nami on the back foot, and now she must make it through hostile courts where no one can be trusted. The first book balanced metaphysical questions like what it means to be ­human with a high stakes plot, but after a slow start this sequel is near nonstop action that nevertheless retreads old ground. The highlight of this book is Nami’s character growth as she comes into her own power. Nami is biracial white and Japanese. VERDICT An exciting sequel that ultimately suffers from middle book syndrome.

Chupeco, Rin. An Unreliable Magic. 464p. (A Hundred Names for Magic: Bk. 2). Sourcebooks/Fire. May 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781492672692.
Gr 9 Up–Magic and mischief take over this folklore-filled contemporary fantasy. While the end of Wicked As You Wish left the way clear for Tala’s best friend, Alex, to become King of Avalon, it turns out forswearing the enchanted Nameless Sword isn’t enough to get Tala the life of peace and quiet she wants. Pulled back into the political scheming of the high court, Tala and her band of misfits need to stop the Snow Queen before she can release more horrors and destroy Alex’s reign before it has truly begun. Quests, quips, and well-developed characters make this an irreverent fantasy perfect for those who enjoy their adventures packed with humor. VERDICT Pure fun with a Filipino-inspired flair.

Kemmerer, Brigid. Defend the Dawn. 448p. (Defy the Night: Bk. 2). Bloomsbury YA. Sept. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781547610075.
Gr 8 Up–After the events of Defy the Night, the country of Kandala is running out of Moonflower, an ingredient required to cure fever sickness. Tessa Cade has gone from Robin Hood–style Moonflower hunter to the Royal Apothecary, but her quest to find a new cure for fever sickness is in jeopardy until the neighboring nation of Ostriary comes into play. Dual points of view often go over the same plot points, slowing down the pace. The ending sets up more story, but for the moment the series remains a duology. The cast has a variety of skin tones. VERDICT A secondary purchase, unless Defy the Night is flying off your shelves.

Klune, TJ. Heat Wave. 384p. (The Extraordinaries: Bk. 3). Tor Teen. Jul. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250203731.
Gr 9 Up–While the end of Flash Fire dropped readers off a cliff, the beginning of the finale of this trilogy is slow to start. The summer before Nick’s senior year is more than college applications and boyfriend drama—he’s also training to be a vigilante superhero and master his telekinesis. Many readers will look at the first third of this book and ­wonder if they’re remembering book two correctly—there is a reason for this confusion, and it leads to a satisfying ­conclusion. Still, those unknown elements leave the novel slightly off-kilter until it picks up about halfway through. Nick and his boyfriend have healthy conversations about their relationship throughout, modeling open communication and boundaries. The main couple is white, with racial diversity in the supporting cast. VERDICT Worth having for libraries that own the rest of the series.

Levenseller, Tricia. Master of Iron. 400p. (Bladesmith: Bk. 2). Feiwel & Friends. Jul. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250756824.
Gr 9 Up–Ziva, an anxious blacksmith who creates magic weapons, has captured a warlord at a terrible cost. Desperate to save her sister, Ziva is on the trail of a magical healer who has been kidnapped by a rival prince. When Ziva and her love interest get ­captured, she’s forced once again to make magic weapons or see Kellyn tortured to death. In Blade of Secrets the forge was where Ziva was safe before her adventure, but in Master of Iron it imprisons her as the very war she was trying to avoid comes to a head. Readers who signed up for adventure may be let down by the politics that slow the story’s pacing. ­VERDICT Levenseller neatly wraps up the political and romantic plots of her duology; recommended as an ­additional purchase.

McGee, Katharine. Rivals. 400p. (American Royals: Bk. 3). Random. May 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780593429709.
Gr 9 Up–Beatrice has been crowned queen and the League of Kings hands Beatrice the first challenge of her rule and sets the American royals on a global stage. This book retreads familiar romances as Samantha tries not to repeat mistakes of the past and Jefferson’s love triangle strives to bring down a new rival for his attention. This book does a better job of tackling gender roles, racism, and privilege than its predecessors, but ultimately, it’s about royalty and McGee indulges readers with the glamor they’re looking for. The royals are white, with diversity relegated to the secondary cast. ­VERDICT Readers will need a fourth installment if they were hoping for resolution, but this ­latest title is worth having.

Mikuta, Zoe Hana. Godslayers. 416p. (­Gearbreakers: Bk. 2). Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250269522.
Gr 8 Up–In Gearbreakers we learned that ­victory has a steep cost; this follow-up begins after the devastation of Heavensday with Eris still imprisoned and Sona alive but barely the girl Eris loves. The Gearbreakers had nearly succeeded, but with a Zenith still pushing ­Godolia into executing its Windup Pilot ­Program and our main characters back on opposite sides of the war. The narrative mirroring of the first book one raises the stakes rather than feel repetitive, and the tight worldbuilding keeps readers hooked as our heroines work to find their way back to each other. Mikuta plays with tropes throughout the series and executes her action sequences to great effect, but some readers may find the pacing of this one heavy on battle scenes. VERDICT This mecha dystopian has a ­diverse, witty cast; a worthy purchase for libraries that own Gearbreakers.

Munda, Rosaria. Furysong. 496p. (The ­Aurelian Cycle: Bk. 3). Putnam. Aug. 2022. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780525518273.
Gr 8 Up–With inspiration from classical Greek epics, Munda has crafted an exquisite fantasy world with high stakes, strong characters, hard questions—and, of course, dragons. Griff is facing execution, Lee is forced into diplomacy, and Annie has the fate of Callipolis on her shoulders. Socioeconomics play a key role in the character conflict, and this novel takes the aerial battles, political machinations, and a back burner romance of the second book and brings them to a roaring finish. Munda’s emphasis on the ­characters means that every choice they make has consequences—some expected, some ­devastating. VERDICT A highly underrated YA fantasy trilogy worth having on ­library shelves. Readers will devour this finale.

Older, Daniel José. Midnight Horizon. 496p. (Star Wars: The High Republic: Bk. 3). Disney Lucasfilm Pr. Feb. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781368060677.
Gr 7 Up–Reath Silas has come a long way from the aspiring scholar readers met on Coruscant, having lost mentors and friends in the fight against the Nihil raiders who dominate the Outer Rim. Older dives into Jedi ideology, the Light, and PTSD as many characters try to reconcile the calm of ­Starlight Beacon with the violence of the galaxy and find balance in the Force. When the elite of the planet Corellia begin to disappear, the Jedi are sent to investigate a possible Nihil operation in the heart of the Republic. Older juggles a large cast of familiar characters and subplots—some more successfully than others—to create one of the more contained installments to the expansive series. VERDICT Recommended only where “Star Wars” collections circulate.

Smart, Ciannon. Empress Crowned in Red. 768p. (Witches Steeped in Gold: Bk. 2). HarperTeen. Jun. 2022. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062946010.
Gr 9 Up–Jazmyne has taken the throne of ­Aiyca, but the magic she should have inherited from her deceased mother has not yet come. Her position is tenuous until she can get the approval of her people. Iraya has taken her revenge and now seeks to free Aiyca for her people, but a new enemy is on the horizon. She and Jazmyne will have to become temporary allies once again—better the enemy you know—to stop the nightmare army. The Machiavellian machinations create a lot of plot threads to keep track of, which rewards a careful reader. Smart’s prose is occasionally burdensome, but overall, the story proceeds apace. VERDICT This Jamaican-inspired fantasy is unique in the YA space, but given its length, it’ll likely appeal only to dedicated fantasy readers. An additional purchase.

White, Kiersten. Padawan. 416p. (Star Wars: Bk. 2). Disney Lucasfilm Pr. Jul. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781368023498.
Gr 7 Up–With Obi-Wan Kenobi taking over Disney+, this novel features some never before seen backstory for young Obi-Wan and the beginnings of his relationship with ­Master Qui-Gon Jinn. Obi-Wan sets off alone to a mysterious planet and finds a feral group of teen Force-users, while Qui-Gon struggles to find out what is wrong with the Force on this planet. Obi-Wan wrestles with the question of whether he should be a Jedi at all. ­Ultimately, this is a coming-of-age story about finding yourself and where you belong. Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon are both white and the only main human characters. VERDICT With Obi-Wan a cornerstone of the “Star Wars” franchise with a recent blockbuster show, this title is recommended for general purchase.

Zhao, Amélie Wen. Crimson Reign. 496p. (Blood Heir: Bk. 3). Delacorte. Mar. 2022. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780525707875.
Gr 9 Up–Ana and her friends must undertake separate quests in this last book of the trilogy. Ana heads for Cyrilia to confront her aunt, the tyrannical Empress Morganya, and fight for her throne—but without her blood magic, she no longer knows how strong she really is. Ramson investigates siphoned ­Affinities and whether they can be reclaimed. This bloody finale is stronger for bouncing between characters and asking hard questions. While the villain is unsatisfyingly two-dimensional and leads to a lackluster ending, readers will likely be happy where their favorite characters end up. VERDICT Zhao’s series closer doesn’t quite stick the landing, making this strictly an additional purchase.

Emmy Neal is a teen librarian at Lake Forest Library, IL

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