Question: First Books in a Series that Knocked Your Socks Off

Posted September 4, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 136 Comments


I’m a series addict, and as much as I look forward to reading an author’s next installment, there’s just something extra special about discovering a fictional world and the characters who inhabit it for the very first time. And, I don’t mean “Yeah, that was good, I’ll check out the next one” but rather “OMG! I want to crawl inside this novel and live there!” (But, only if I can either A- be the heroine, or B- be an equally kickass chick. Otherwise, I probably wouldn’t even survive a day in most of these universes. LOL)

It’s questions like this that make me super grateful for GoodReads, and its stats because otherwise, I’d be racking my brain trying to remember them all. The below list is in no way all inclusive, but I think I got the main ones. So, with no further ado, my favourite book #1’s are as follows (in no particular order):

This post turned into a top 10 without me even realizing it. Ha! Anyway, I showed you mineβ€”your turn!

What First Book in a Series Knocked YOUR socks off?

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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136 responses to “Question: First Books in a Series that Knocked Your Socks Off

  1. A lot of mine are from older series. There are a ton of series that knocked my socks off, but maybe not the first book. Just like here, the first book was great, but the entire series might not end on a bang. For example, The Witching Hour was the only book that I liked in that trilogy, but that book was great and is still on my favorite books. I want to reread some time. I wish they had it on unabridged audio.

    Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K Hamilton
    Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice
    The Witching Hour by Anne Rice
    Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha
    The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Bitten by Kelley Armstrong
    Written in Red by Anne Bishop
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Unborn Audiobook by Amber Lynn Natusch (Review)

    • Oooh, yes! How could I forget Outlander!! And, pre-GoodReads. *sigh* I thought about putting Dark Lover up there, but I’m still pissed after The King, so I didn’t. LOL Great picks!

  2. Dolly  

    Some of these will date me but they definitely had an impact on my reading at different times in my life. These are in addition to other some named and in no particular order. ; )
    1. The Stand by Stephen King
    2. Sky O’Malley Series by Bertrice Small
    3. Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson *they made me laugh
    4. Naked in Death by J. D. Robb
    5. Cast In Shadow by Michelle Sagara
    6. Term Limits by Vince Flynn
    7. Written in Red by Anne Bishop
    8. The Other Side of Midnight by Sidney Shelton
    9. Blood Wager by Connie Suttle
    10. Ill Wind by Rachel Caine

    • Nice! I really enjoyed the first three CV books too, and I’m happy to see that Frost & Armstrong’s first installments made your cut as well. Great picks!

  3. Bitten, of course. Kelley Armstrong is my favourite forever, and the Women of the Otherworld series has a special place in my heart. AND KINDLING THE MOON! Seriously, more people need to read Jenn Bennett’s stuff. You’re totally right Carmel – basically the only way I’d survive demon attacks and murderous parents is if I were Cady herself. Plus that way I’d get both Lon and Jupe, so it’s not exactly a hardship! πŸ˜‰

    I’d also add Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews and Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. Kickass ladies abound!
    Danya recently posted…Tough Traveling: Turncoats

    • Woohoo, another WOTO fan-girl! I 100% agree that more peeps need to read Bennett’s books, and I’m so sad that that Cady only got 4 installments. I liked Magic Bites, but I didn’t LOVE it; however some of the later novels in that series are a different story entirely. Hehe

  4. Oh god this is hard. Hmm i’ve had a few but i always worry when first books completely knock my socks off because what if the next few don’t?
    Mine are:
    Altered by Jennifer Rush
    Black City, Elizabeth Richards
    Deception, CJ Redwine
    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin
    Lily recently posted…Deeper(Caroline & West #1):Review

    • Nice! Thanks for the YA recommendations; it’s always helpful to know which are the best-of-the-best, especially considering I read so few books in that genre.

  5. Susan S.

    Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep
    Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
    A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix
    Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

  6. Janet  

    Skinwalker by Faith Hunter, First Grave by Darynda Jones, the first of Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresdan novels and the first of Karen Marie Moning’s Fae series.

    • Cool. I adore KMM’s books, but the first installment didn’t wow me because of the heavy world-building. I really liked Skinwalker too, and Jones’ audios are one-click MUSTS.

  7. Hmmm, I always go into a 1st book ready to give the author a break because so many of my favorites series have really bad first books. Off the top of my head:
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    Soulless by Gail Carriger
    Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen (the only book out so far but had me completely hooked)
    Kristina D recently posted…Some Thursday Randomness

  8. I love series too, but I can only name a few that have knocked of my feet with the first book, I can think of: Written in Red, Dark Lover, Outlander, The Siren, Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake) Bitten, and just one more I can think of right now, Daughter of the Blood….LOL
    I have a lot favorite series, but those are the first books that got me hooked instantly.
    Lupdilup recently posted…Unborn Audiobook by Amber Lynn Natusch (Review)

  9. Ooooo yes to Halfway to the Grave and Spider’s Bite!!!! Two of my all-time favorites Carmel:) The rest I’ve yet to read which makes me way out of the loop and is completely unacceptable:) Even though one might not consider it a first book, ICED would top my list of books that knocked my socks off, but I can’t tell you how upset I am about the changes she announced for BURNED. I liked Dani as the MC! *sobs*

    • Haha Today’s real challenge is keeping your list to a minimum. I just listened to Poison Princess a couple of weeks ago, and fell head-over-heels in love with it. I can’t wait to start Endless Knight.

  10. Seeing a lot of mine like Hounded, Beyond Shame, and Kindling the Moon here but gotta throw a few others in the mix that blew me away…

    Dead on the Delta by Stacey Jay
    A Brush of Darkness by Allison Pang
    Luck of the Dragon by Susannah Scott
    Dark Vow by Shona Husk
    Moonlight by Lisa Kessler
    North of Need by Laura Kaye
    Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan
    Rhianna recently posted…Book Blast: A GENTLEMAN AND A ROGUE by Stephanie Burkhart [Excerpt + giveaway!]

    • It’s always good to spread the love around a bit, so thanks for sharing your list, Rhianna. I’ve only read Moonlight; I guess that means that I have my work cut out for me.

  11. Krista

    Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (from the very first page) and Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison (after about the halfway point).

    • I’m sure I’d feel the same way about Darkfever if I re-read it, but my first impression wasn’t as strong. Jessica LOVED The Hollows series, so I can definitely understand why it’s on your list even though I haven’t checked them out myself.

  12. Trix

    Only the last two are paranormal, but even so…

    KING PERRY by Edmond Manning
    DIVERSION by Eden Winters
    HOT HEAD by Damon Suede (I forget it’s a series, but #2 is coming, they say)
    SPELL CAT by Tara Lain
    BURN WITH ME by RG Alexander

    • They don’t have to be paranormal, I just read mostly that, and my readers expect it. If I threw out Life of Pi, I’d probably get a lot of WTF comments. Hehe

  13. For me, the most recent first book success was House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter. It was fabulous. Hounded and Written in Red are also on my list, but so is Gameboard of the Gods for example. I can’t think of any others at the moment, but there are plenty. Still, the latest book really stands out.

    • I loved Mead’s Georgina Kincaid novels, and almost put Succubus Blues on my list, so I can understand why book 1 in her Age of X series is among your favs. She’s a very talented author.

  14. Awesome list of firsts, Carmel πŸ™‚ Halfway to the Grave gave me the exact same reaction, and so did Silver by Dannika Dark, and Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison. Oh, and Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane… heh, it seems I could make my comment into a top ten as well. First books in series need to be totally kick-ass, then I just want to stay in that universe forever as well πŸ™‚
    Happy reading.
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss #1) – Nalini Singh

    • I didn’t immediately hit it off with Stacia Kane’s novels, but now I am a total Downside fan-girl. Never ask a book blogger to pick just one title, it’s IMPOSSIBLE!!

    • Frost hooked me with her first installment, and now because of it I can’t resist one-clicking any of her titles. Shelly Laurenston’s series is on my wishlist… somewhere.

  15. Jess1

    The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook. I just started to read Moon Called (Mercy Thompson) by Patricia Briggs, and liking it a lot.

  16. Stephanie H.

    I definitely agree with Kindling the Moon. And Halfway to the Grave. I have Spider’s Bite, Poison Princess, Written in Red, and Kiss of Steel and just need time to read them! I bought Hounded on audible for the hubs and he loved it so much he woke me up in the middle of the night for our audible password so he could buy book two! I would also add Dead Witch Walking, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and Obsidian.

  17. Mary from BookSwarm  

    Can I just say YES to all of those fab books on your list? Maybe throw in Stacia Kane’s series (though I started in the middle (I know you’re surprised by this) and really didn’t like it until someone told me I had to start at the beginning and then I was blown away) and JR Ward’s series (though I haven’t read that in a while).
    Mary recently posted…Speed Date with Will: Evernight by Kristen Callihan

    • Hey! No stealing my list! πŸ˜‰ Reading the Downside series in order makes a HUGE difference; I actually think that book 1 might have made the cut had I read the prequel first.

  18. Hmmm, very interesting question! I think not many first books would get a let’s say 5 stars from me right off the bat, even if some do. Mostly as long as I enjoy the book and it intrigues me enough, I’ll continue the series!
    Pili recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday #58!!

  19. Nathan ( from reviewbarn)  

    The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie, A Game of Thrones by GRRM, Devices and Desires by KJ Parker were all starts to series that I loved that started with a bang.

    I am trying to think of some that had a strong first book I fell in love with yet fell apart later. I know this has happened but am drawing a blank.
    Nathan ( recently posted…Tough Travels – Turncoats

    • I enjoyed A Game of Thrones, but in all honesty the books are too big, so I’ll just let HBO do the heavy lifting for me. I know, I know, it’s not the same thing…

  20. Oh my! I have a lot of series to check out. Bitten and Halfway to the Grave would definitely top my list. Magic Bites and Stray (Rachel Vincent) would as well. Actually, I think Vincent’s My Soul to Take would make it on the list too. πŸ™‚

    Now I’m off to add your list to my tbr. πŸ™‚

  21. Berls from Fantasy is More  

    Hmmm, quite a few of the books on your list are still on my TBR! O_o
    My list (off the top of my head) would be:
    Crimson Night by Marie Hall
    Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
    Uninvited by Sophie Jordan
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    The first book in Fever Series (I get them confused) by KMM
    Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
    Touch the Dark by Karen Chance

    And… I think that’s it! I’m kinda all over the place, but I’m realizing I like YA more than I thought!
    Berls recently posted…“The Gathering” S1:E4 | Outlander Thoughts

  22. Anj Garcia  

    Here’s mine:
    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
    Angelfall by Susan Ee
    Legend by Marie Lu
    Divergent by Veronica Roth
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
    Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

    I love dystopian/ya books if you noticed. πŸ˜€

  23. Oh jeez, let me think. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, of course. Then there’s Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, Croak by Gina Damico, The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.. my brain stops here, but that’s a nice list!
    Inge recently posted…Review: The Prediction by Darren Sugrue

  24. Oh, Carmel!It’s such a difficult question. I’m going to talk only about recent series, because it’s too many books otherwise…
    Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid
    Burn For Me by Ilona Andrews
    Written in Red by Anne Bishop
    Beg by C.D. Reiss
    Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland
    The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
    In a Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener
    A Soldier’s Duty by Jean Johnson
    The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
    A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter
    kara-karina recently posted…Contemporary Romance Joint Review: Beauty and The Mustache by Penny Reid

    • Burn for Me isn’t even out yet, cheater! πŸ˜‰ I’ve read Darkfever, Moon Called, Some Girls Bite, and Pleasure Unbound, so that’s pretty darned good! Adding the rest to my wishlist…

    • See, I’m the reserve, I adore the later installments in Andrews’ series, but Magic Bites didn’t make my list of top firsts. Moon Called seems to be a popular pick!

  25. Aly P

    This is hard :))
    Nalini Singh’s Angel’s Blood
    Kresley Cole’s A Hunger Like No Other
    Lorraine Heath’s In Bed With the Devil
    Patricia Briggs’ Cry Wolf

    Unfortunately this is all that comes to mind at the moment πŸ˜€

  26. Tina B

    I am totally with you on Poison Princess!! LOVED it!!
    Holding the Cards by Joey Hill, Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon (my start to romance reading).
    These are a few that I can think of at the moment.

  27. Lots of great books listed, need to add several to my list!! It’s hard to narrow it down, but here goes:
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
    Hunger Games
    Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
    The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
    Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore
    The Queen’s Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
    Stray by Rachel Vincent
    City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
    tricia recently posted…Do You Sneak a Peek?

  28. I agree with Halfway to the Grave, who wouldn’t want more Bones in their lives!
    I also rather enjoyed:
    Dark Lover
    The Hunger Games
    The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer
    Mine Till Midnight
    and so many more.
    Alexa recently posted…If I Stay

  29. I just saw the tweet for this post. I guess i am little late to the ball for this answer, lol. I loved Alison Tyler’s series A story of Submission. It is not a cliffhanger, but I still couldn’t want for the next and the next and the next (I am there now). Dark Secret Love.
    I also really liked Gemma James series starter Torrent. I can’t wait for Rampant to come out.
    Karen Blue recently posted…I moved!