The best book recommendations for fans of The Last of Us

The Last of Us (TLOU) has captivated audiences for weeks with epic action and devastating heartbreak, but it's finally time to close the curtain on season one of the TV show.

These thrilling reads will keep you entertained while waiting for The Last of Us to return.
These thrilling reads will keep you entertained while waiting for The Last of Us to return.  © Collage: IMAGO / Picturelux & Unsplash/@kapfii

The HBO adaptation of the massively popular video game has been a hit with gamers and non-gamers alike.

Led by Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey, TLOU pulls from all the best elements of the post-apocalyptic genre.

As fans anxiously await updates on season two of the series, here are some reads that will fill the void during the hiatus!

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Station Eleven was also adapted by HBO.
Station Eleven was also adapted by HBO.  © Screenshot/Instagram/@alicebookcastle

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel follows an eclectic cast of characters navigating the wasteland left behind in the wake of a devastating flu pandemic that has killed most of the population.

The critically-acclaimed novel, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award in 2015, travels through time as the survivors attempt to maintain resilience in the face of horror.

With poignant and insightful prose, Mandel's novel is perfect for fans of TLOU's emotional side.

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Station Eleven has also received an HBO adaptation, which earned seven Primetime Emmy Awards nominations in 2022.

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Survivor Song has similar zombie-like infected individuals to The Last of Us.
Survivor Song has similar zombie-like infected individuals to The Last of Us.  © Screenshot/Instagram/@questsandcrimes

Paul Tremblay is a powerhouse in the horror genre, and fans of TLOU will find themselves particularly drawn to his 2020 novel Survivor Song.

This chilling read is set in Massachusetts, where a horrifying virus is spreading rapidly.

The infected are driven to madness almost instantly and soon go on the hunt to bite and infect others.

Survivor Song follows a pregnant woman named Natalie who was bitten after trying to save her husband, who was killed by an infected neighbor.

If you're craving that edge-of-your-seat feeling and the always-enticing atmosphere of a rapidly spreading pandemic, this one is for you!

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

The Fifth Wave was adapted as a film in 2016.
The Fifth Wave was adapted as a film in 2016.  © Screenshot/Instagram/@thecrazybookishgirl_

If you're looking for a different kind of apocalypse, The Fifth Wave is for you!

Rick Yancy's 2013 novel details the aftermath of a five-part alien invasion.

The persistent atmosphere of suspense will have you hooked from page one as the book dives deep into a chilling fight for survival.

The Fifth Wave's protagonist, Cassie, is desperate to save her brother and to do so, she may have to take risks she never could have imagined.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Scythe has two sequels: Thunderhead and The Toll.
Scythe has two sequels: Thunderhead and The Toll.  © Screenshot/Instagram/@caitsbooks

Scythe is an innovative title in the dystopian genre.

Set in a future in which technology has eradicated disease and natural death, the story follows two teenagers who are selected to become Scythes – individuals tasked with killing others to stem population overgrowth.

Navigating many of the same themes of survival and humanity as TLOU, Scythe is an unforgettable read that will stay with you long after the last page.

A film adaptation of the novel is also in the works, with iconic filmmaker Stephen Spielberg on board!

For more TV-inspired book recommendations, check out TAG24's picks for fans of Wednesday and House of the Dragon!

Cover photo: Collage: IMAGO / Picturelux & Unsplash/@kapfii

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