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5 Book Series That Were Better Than Their Movies

In general, I’d say I prefer movies to books. Being able to sit down and consume an entire story in one sitting is something I truly enjoy. But movies have their limits. The same convenience that comes with a neatly packaged 2-hour film also offers far less room for details.

While I enjoy watching endless Netflix movies to pass the time, there are quite a few films out there that just aren’t nearly as good as the books they came from. So if you find yourself looking for something to read, here are 5 books I’ve read that were better than their movies.

The Davinci Code (Robert Langdon Series)

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Dan Brown has become one of my favorite authors due to his incredible ability to keep you guessing. Everything he writes seems real, researched, and makes you feel like you are right there with the characters trying to unravel a puzzle. However, I didn’t think the movie gave off the same feeling as his writing. Despite a convincing performance by Tom Hanks in both The Davinci Code and Angels and Demons, it’s hard to overcome the standard Dan Brown’s writing has set.

If you liked the movie, I highly recommend you read the books. Beyond The Davinci Code, there are 4 other books in this series and each one is worth a read.

The Hunger Games Series

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Suzanne Collins first published The Hunger Games in 2008, and it quickly caught fire among young adults at the time. The actual movie adaptation of the film didn’t arrive until 2012, and to me, it really didn’t do the book justice. Like any book-to-movie adaptation, the biggest thing lost in translation was character development. Being able to feel emotionally connected to the other tributes beyond Katniss and Peta was one of the key aspects of the book that made it so good.

Alongside that character development, the books were also far more violent than the actual film. These were teenagers trying to kill each other for the entertainment of others, and the gravity of that is hard to portray with PG-13 restrictions. All in all, I liked both the movies and the books, but if I had to choose between the two, the book series is a clear winner.

The Harry Potter Series

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Ignoring J.K. Rowling for a moment, it’s hard for me to say anything negative about the Harry Potter franchise. If you are someone who has only seen the Harry Potter movies, please do yourself a favor and read the books. You are doing yourself a disservice by thinking you know Hogwarts and all it has to offer. The rich character development, side stories, and world-building that is featured in the novels are worth getting invested in.

The movies were also pretty good, but it’s really like comparing fast food to fine dining. If you truly want to feel for Harry, Ron, Hermione, and many less important characters, you’ll need to read the story rather than watch it.

The Maze Runner Series

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I watched this movie before I ever read the book and loved it. However, after reading the novel I became aware of many things the movie lacked. The main thing it was missing was a look into the minds of the characters. The Glade was a terrifying place, not only because of the dangers they faced but because of the struggles within each individual. While the movie did try to make this apparent, it felt a lot more real as a reader than a viewer.

There are some other key differences that I don’t necessarily want to spoil for anyone, but if you thought the film adaptations of The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure were a bit lackluster, it’s worth trying the books.

The Lord of The Rings Series

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The movies were what drew me in, but the books were what truly satisfied my craving for The Lord of The Rings. However, one thing to note about the books is that they are a tremendous commitment. Tolkien created a masterwork of intricate details that are supported by a world’s history built beyond both the books and the movies, so the novels can be pretty hefty.

If you are looking for a more heroic Frodo or are interested in finding out who Tom Bombaldi is, reading the books is worth it. Not to mention all of the poems and songs you’ll get to read that never made it into the films.

If you are looking for more book suggestions, we’ve found the best sci-fi books, non-fiction books, and mystery books.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Kienlen
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Jacob Kienlen was a culture writer for The Manual. Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, he has considered the Northwest his…
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