Recently I made a post about how my love for Fallout 4 helped to inform my love for Cinder by Marissa Meyer, and in turn, The Lunar Chronicles as a series. But of course, The Lunar Chronicles and Fallout are not the only books and video games with similarities. If you’re a gamer and you’re looking for a good read (or vice versa), check out the list below for some recommendations based on your favorite video games.
There are only four video games on today’s list, but if I don’t hit on any of your favorites, just let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to curate some suggestions and do a part two!
So, without further ado…
If you love Fallout 4
You might like to read:
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
If you want to know more details about how these two remind me of each other, you can read this blog post which goes way more in depth. But both Fallout and The Lunar Chronicles take place in a world which has been rebuilt after being destroyed (in Fallout, by a nuclear war, and in The Lunar Chronicles, by the fourth world war), both heavily feature androids as companions, and both have a running theme of humans who are “synthetic” or manufactured in some way (synths in Fallout, cyborgs in The Lunar Chronicles) being somehow less than. And if you love sarcastic, strong female characters like Cinder, you can create a strong female character in Fallout and pick out all the smartass responses in your dialogue (trust me, it is so worth it. It’s absolutely hilarious).
The 100 Series by Kass Morgan
The cast of characters in The 100 is a bit different from the cast of characters in Fallout 4. The main players in The 100 are a group of juvenile delinquents who are sent to colonize Earth after spending their lives living in a space station orbiting far above the planet. But both do take place after a major nuclear war has ravaged the planet, and both of them take place at a time when society is in the process of being rebuilt, and humans are still in the fairly early stages of learning how to be a functioning society and how to live on Earth again—and it is not an easy process. So if you love post-apocalyptic tales about getting society back on its feet again, Fallout 4 and The 100 could both be a good fit for you.
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
The 5th Wave is a YA sci-fi novel about Cassie, and, like the Sole Survivor in Fallout 4, Cassie is figuring out how to live in a world that has been destroyed—but in Cassie’s case, her world hasn’t been destroyed by nuclear war. It’s been destroyed by aliens.
There are no aliens in Fallout 4, of course, but you certainly have your fair share of enemies, and, like Cassie’s, the world has become a veritable battlefield. I can definitely see how fans of Fallout could be fans of The 5th Wave, as well. So if you’re looking for something that’s similar to Fallout but doesn’t involve nuclear war, think of checking out this sci-fi novel.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
So far every book on this list has been YA, but I realize not everyone enjoys reading YA. If you prefer a more adult novel, don’t worry, I’ve got one for you. The Road by Cormac McCarthy is a Pulitzer Prize winning novel about a father and son making their way across America, but America looks very different from what we know. In this post-apocalyptic setting, the nation has been completely destroyed, and the main characters are focused on making their way to the coast in hopes that it will be a better place to make their life. They have nothing but each other and a pistol as they learn how to survive and figure out exactly what they’re made of. Be aware: this one is pretty emotional.
If you love Dead Island:
You might like to read:
Monster Island by David Wellington
Seems like an obvious one, right? Monster Island, like Dead Island, takes place on an island, and that island is infested with zombies—because most of the world is a mass of zombies after a mysterious global disaster wipes out life as we know it. Only a few non-zombie humans remain, and Monster Island is the tale of a team trying to obtain vital medicine needed to keep some of the last remaining people alive.
Zombie by J.R. Angelella
If you’re playing Dead Island, there’s a good chance you love zombies and zombie stuff—but there’s no way you love zombie stuff as much as Jeremy Barker, the main character in this novel by J.R. Angelella. Jeremy lives his life by his very own Zombie Survival Code, which he has assembled based on the plethora of zombie movies he’s devoured over his short fourteen year life. But even a Zombie Survival Code can’t prepare him for what he discovers when he does some snooping following some suspicious behavior from his dad. This novel is one of the best examples of “that escalated quickly” (but in a good way) that I’ve read in a while, and if you like gore, you’re going to get some toward the end of this one. I promise.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
If you kind of feel bad about virtual zombie slaying and you prefer your zombies with a little more…compassion, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion might be a good fit for you. Warm Bodies is about a young male zombie who goes by R (because he can’t remember what his full name was before he was a zombie) who meets a young woman who is not a zombie named Julie. Even though R is a zombie, he still has some feelings and some sensitivity remaining, which only intensify as he gets to know Julie, and feels compelled to protect and take care of her, rather than, you know, bust her head open and eat her brains and all that. Some consider this one a Romeo and Juliet of the post-global-disaster variety.
And as a bonus, it’s been made into a movie starring Teresa Palmer, who is freaking fantastic.
If you love The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim
You might like to read:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
If what you like about Skyrim are the epic journeys, traveling through gorgeous landscapes, and hi, dragons, then you may also enjoy reading the high fantasy novel The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. And speaking of Tolkien…
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
I would be shocked if you told me that you love Elder Scrolls: Skyrim but don’t love Lord of the Rings. Truly. Shocked. There are some pretty epic journeys in Skyrim but arguably nothing is as an epic a journey as the one in The Lord of the Rings trilogy. And with a myriad of races of creatures, formidable foes, and a healthy helping of magic, there’s no way you won’t get your Skyrim vibes from reading Lord of the Rings—or major LOTR vibes from playing Skyrim.
The Game of Thrones Series by George R.R. Martin
Okay, so admittedly, I haven’t actually read the Game of Thrones books, nor have I ever seen a single episode of the show (don’t jump down my throat!!), but I do feel like I would remiss if I didn’t draw this parallel. A medieval setting, dragons and magical creatures, constant battle for power—it definitely sounds like if you’d like Game of Thrones if you enjoy playing Skyrim. But be forewarned—Game of Thrones, the novels and the show, are certainly not for the sensitive or the faint of heart, and are a lot more graphic than the Elder Scrolls games (in a lot of ways).
If you love The Evil Within
You might like to read:
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
The events of the Evil Within are just happening inside your head, right? Or…are they real? What’s really going on here? If you enjoy the ambiguity aspect of the game, you might like A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay, which is both spooky and keeps you guessing, much like The Evil Within. This book is about the journey of a family when the older sister begins behaving strangely and claims that ghosts are inside her head terrorizing her and telling her what to do. Her psychiatrist, however, diagnoses her with acute schizophrenia—quite the opposite approach from the priest her dad contacts, who believes she is possessed by demons and wants to perform an exorcism. It’s creepy, it’s bloody, and it will definitely keep you on your toes until the very end.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Lots of people have heard the phrase “Jekyll and Hyde”, used to describe a person who seems to have two very different personalities or two sides to themselves, but if you haven’t actually read this classic novel from 1886 and penned by Robert Louis Stevenson, I recommend it. After more than two centuries, pretty much everyone knows the big twist in this one, but in case you don’t, I’ll try not to spoil it. I think you’d enjoy this one if you enjoyed The Evil Within because, like the video game, the driving force behind this one is a doctor conducting some, shall we say, misguided experiments. Of course, he doesn’t end up creating a horrifying spider-like, Samara-esque, screeching monster that bursts out of the floor and destroys your life, but…you know, he still does some messed up stuff.
The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares edited by Jason Blum
And to round out the list, I’d like to recommend this collection, curated by one of the modern godfathers of horror movies himself, Jason Blum (the producer behind such smash hits as Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge, Get Out, and literally dozens more). The Evil Within is straight up nightmare fuel (did you see the picture of that monster above? Did you see it?) and The Blumhouse Book of Nightmares, as the title suggests, will serve the same purpose for you. Featuring short stories by writers like Eli Roth, Ethan Hawke, and Scott Derrickson, you can pick your poison with this one. The stories are all different, but they’re all scary or creepy in their own way, so if you like horror, you’re sure to find at least one that you like (but probably more).
So what does everyone else think? Are there are any books you’d recommend based on your favorite video games? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to let me know your favorite games if you’d like to see a part two! You know I’d love to talk <3