It’s scary to think about a world that turns post-apocalyptic as a result of some kind of devastating war or disease that completely obliterates all life on Earth, but there are many books that bring the excitement of those topics in a harmless manner such as a fiction novel.
There are all kinds of books that describe a different post-apocalyptic world and all kinds of deadly and thrilling scenarios. The books that you get to see in this review of some of the best post-apocalyptic books out there will definitely be great choices if you enjoy thrilling stories such as these.
Best Post-Apocalyptic Books
The Stand by Stephen King
In The Stand, the story doesn’t begin immediately with a post-apocalyptic world as it is first a normal one which later turns apocalyptic and finally post-apocalyptic. The result of the devastating events that you are about to read in this book by the great Stephen King was initially caused by an accidental release of the deadliest strand of the influenza virus that the world has ever seen.
This mistake costs a huge 99.4% of the world’s population to be killed within a month. It definitely fits into one of King’s many thrilling horror stories as you get to read about truly horrifying things that humanity has to suffer through.
You also get to meet a set of unique characters one of which happens to be immune to the totally resilient strand that not one vaccine can stop and he immediately becomes the number one most important person on Earth as everyone chases him to extract a cure from his immune body.
There is no doubt that this novel fits among some of the best post-apocalyptic books ever as you get to read about the long and exciting journey of how the infection spreads and how everyone deals with these horrible events. The book is approximately 1200 pages long which means that you have a long and exciting journey ahead of you as well if you decide to check out this gem.
Just be prepared for the mind-boggling events that are present in this book as a lot of death and suffering can be seen that consume an almost entire world in such a short period of time. The book is very well written as you get to read about the complex relationships that the characters inside develop and much more.
The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Cormac McCarthy writes this astonishing and heartbreaking story about a boy and his father who both remain unnamed throughout the whole story as they try to survive in a catastrophic and post-apocalyptic world in which survival is very hard to sustain. If you like McCarthy’s work as much as we do, check out our selection of the best Cormac McCarthy books!
The reason for this devastating world is also not explained but at least the author manages to perfectly describe how it looks. The scene couldn’t be more clear about what kind of world these two characters live in as they make their journey for the shore in hopes of finding a better life there.
These characters are the only sane ones left that you read about throughout the whole story as everyone else they meet has been drawn and reduced to cannibalism and almost everything else that is needed to survive.
Everything and everyone that the boy and his father see in their journey on the road is definitely something that can mess with someone’s mentality as a world such as that one is hardly one to offer any hope for survival, let alone a better life.
It is a long journey indeed, but these two prove strong even though they don’t have much left in this world. All that they possess is the clothes on them, a gun that can only go so far in protecting them against bandits and all sorts of dangers, and their relationship with each other which is the main thing that keeps them going.
McCarthy has definitely managed to create one of the most heart-breaking stories which you will see why at the end of the novel in this what is considered to be one of the best post-apocalyptic books out there. If you are interested in this book, you must take a look at our The Road book review.
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This novel is also nicely written and narrated by author Emily St. John Mandel as she tells another story about a world that starts out normal and later becomes one of the most devastating and tragic stories. Learn more about the story in our Station Eleven book review.
The events that are about to happen to this world all have something to do with a man with whom the book starts out with a famous Hollywood actor who has a big heart attack on stage and dies at the beginning of the book.
Later, you meet a bunch of characters who take you on the journey that follows as after the show ends in which this actor died, the people go outside and witness an event that is destroying everything around them. Life begins to expire in this story that often jumps in between timelines and tells a story back and forth which later, in the end, becomes more clear.
One more character who proves crucial to the plot of the story is an actress called Kirsten who you meet at the beginning of the book and then later 15 years after when the story jumps ahead in time.
She has joined a traveling band of entertainers who call themselves the Traveling Symphony as they go around the settlements and entertain the survivors of the catastrophic events that happened 15 years ago. Emily tells you a really exciting story in this one who later becomes much clearer when you meet a grumpy and violent prophet who explains a lot.
World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Behold one of the best post-apocalyptic books ever written that describes a devastating event caused by one of the most feared things by mankind, zombies. World War Z is a horror and post-apocalyptic fiction story written by Max Brooks who tells a horrifying tale of how zombies manage to infect and take a huge portion of the world’s population.
He writes the story as if he was there and after a while of reading, the story even starts to feel like it really happened sometime in the history of humankind.
The story takes you to many places starting from the location where everything began, a village in New Dachang, United Federation of China. This is the place where this horrible threat occurred when the twelve-year-old Patient Zero was infected.
If you like thrilling action just as much as the scary story that is in this book, then you are in a huge amount of luck as this novel packs a lot of action and battles that will make sure you stay for the entire read. We covered this book in our selection of the best zombie books, too. Do not hesitate to check it out!
It’s definitely a scary story to think about and it’s not a very unrealistic one as a thing such as this might even be possible if we are not careful. No matter what happens one thing is for sure, reading this book will definitely be a time well spent.
Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon
Swan Song is another great post-apocalyptic fiction book that tells a story in which an ancient evil has emerged that is hungry for power and it seems like it has found the perfect target which can supply it with an astonishing amount of power.
Swan Song is a novel written by Robert R. McCammon and tells a story about a few characters of which only 3 are the main ones, but the number one most important character of the book is a special girl named Swan.
Swan is accompanied by her mother and they later add one more to their band, a pro wrestler named Joshua Hutchins. Swan has a strange power flowing through her capable of healing or destroying so much and it depends on who is using it.
Swan uses her powers to heal those wounded and affected by the devastating world in which this evil continuously grows its army of wounded and weak people and turns them into horrifying monsters.
Its main target now for it to grow in power is Swan and when it finds out about her and what she possesses, Swan becomes the biggest target in this thing’s path and a huge battle between good and evil unavoidable.
Josh and the rest of the people, that they meet along the way, prepare for what is to come as everyone does what they can to protect the girl who offers the most hope for the people of this wretched world to survive.
Her mother also helps as well as she manages to find a powerful glass artifact while they were in the ruined streets of Manhattan but the story is not without casualties and loss as tragedy is all around in a world such as the one they live in.
If you are a fan of thrilling stories like this one, then you won’t be disappointed in this novel by Robert which is among the best post-apocalyptic stories ever written.
Alas, Babylon by Harry Frank
Alas, Babylon is a fiction story of the same sort as the ones above and is written under the pseudonym of Harry Frank, Pat Frank. In this book, you get to find out about the lives of two brothers, Mark and Randy Bragg, and the rest of the United States as a nuclear war manages to turn this world and a thousand years of civilization in ruins and an unrecognizable place filled with death and suffering.
Though, as bombs rain over every major city in the United States by the hands of the Russians, one small town in Florida remains unaffected as the only thing that manages to get there is it being disconnected from the rest of the world when Orlando is bombed and all of the power is cut off from it.
Mark is an officer in the US military and he sends his wife and kids to his brother’s house in the town of Florida when he gets first-hand information about a nuclear war that will hit America any time now. They manage to get there safely right before the bombings start but they are not out of danger yet as
food supplies and everything else starts running out in the small town, the people begin to panic and chaos starts raining on everyone. We wrote a standalone article about this book, too. For more information, check out our Alas, Babylon book review!
The people then must decide whether they will face what has happened to them or let it destroy them and their civilization once and for all. People from all backgrounds band together and forget their differences as they desperately try to survive. Definitely check out this book as the story is a bit different from the rest, but still unique and packed with a whole lot of action and thrilling suspense.
Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
Earth Abides is a novel written by author George R. Stewart and he writes about a character named Isherwood who manages to make the most out of a world that quickly turns post-apocalyptic. Take a look at our Earth Abides book review for more info.
His story starts when he is in the mountains working on his graduate thesis in geology when a rattlesnake bites him and he becomes sick with a disease that looks something like measles.
After finding a wooden cabin and laying low until he gets better, he goes back into civilization only to find out that the world has crumbled and turned into a chaotic place of death and destruction. A new and mysterious type of disease had spread over the entire globe and wiped out a huge portion of the population.
Isherwood doesn’t know how to react and after a series of events when he goes back to his home in California, he decides to start a new life despite everything that is currently going on. He meets a girl who is surviving near him and they decide to be a married couple and have children.
The story in the book spans for many years as they do have children who grow up and have children of their own. Eventually, this story becomes one in which a new civilization is born who has the chance of rebuilding the world the right way if that is at all possible. Maybe not everyone will agree, but this is definitely a unique and great ending to one of the best post-apocalyptic books ever written.
If you like any of the books that are described in this article, then be sure to give them a shot as they are considered by many to be some of the best books about post-apocalyptic worlds that describe truly thrilling and fascinating stories filled with a lot of action and mystery.