20 Books You’ll Love If You Enjoyed The Last Of Us

If you're one of the many fans who loved The Last of Us with Pedro Pascal on HBO or the original video game, you may be on the look out for more stories with a similar tone and theme. So we’ve compiled a list of 20 books that are sure to satisfy your craving for post-apocalyptic adventures, emotional storytelling and even some fungi!

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If you're one of the many fans who loved The Last of Us with Pedro Pascal on HBO or the original video game, you may be on the look out for more stories with a similar tone and theme. So we’ve compiled a list of 20 books that are sure to satisfy your craving for post-apocalyptic adventures, emotional storytelling and even some fungi! From dystopian classics to exciting modern bestsellers, these books will challenge your perspectives on humanity, survival, and hope. 

Here are 20 books you’ll love if you enjoyed The Last Of Us:

The Children of Men - PD James (2006)

The Children of Men is a science fiction novel written by British author PD James, first published in 1992. The book was later adapted into a feature film directed by Alfonso Cuaron in 2006.

The story is set in England in the year 2021, in a world where humans have become infertile, and no children have been born for nearly 25 years. The book follows the character of Dr. Theodore Faron, a former professor of history and the cousin of the warden of England, Xan Lyppiatt, who is the dictator of the country.

The novel explores the emotional and social implications of a world without children, where the hopelessness and despair of the human population have led to the collapse of civilisation. The story takes a dramatic turn when a young woman named Julian, a member of a group of revolutionaries called the Five Fishes, reveals to Faron that she is pregnant. The revelation sets in motion a series of events that challenge the political and social order of the world and ultimately lead to a dramatic climax. This one-of-a-kind child will remind you of Ellie’s improbable birth and significance in The Last Of Us.

The Children of Men is a thought-provoking novel that explores themes such as infertility, hope, mortality, and the value of life. It also delves into complex ethical and political issues, including authoritarianism, revolution, and the right to reproduce. James' vivid and engaging writing style, combined with her well-crafted characters and a compelling storyline, make this book a powerful and unforgettable read.

Station Eleven - Emily St. John Mandel (2015)

Station Eleven is a post-apocalyptic novel written by Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel, first published in 2014. The book received critical acclaim and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

The story is set in the Great Lakes region of North America, 20 years after a global pandemic known as the Georgian Flu has wiped out most of the world's population. The novel follows the lives of several characters, including a former Hollywood star named Arthur Leander, a young actress named Kirsten Raymonde, and a group of traveling actors and musicians known as the Traveling Symphony. The Last Of Us fans will enjoy the post apocalyptic parallels including the population being wiped out by a virus and it being set in North America.

The novel weaves together the stories of these characters, both before and after the collapse of civilisation. It explores the power of art and culture in a world where everything has been destroyed, and the importance of human connections and community in the face of adversity.

Mandel's writing style is lyrical and evocative, and her characters are well-drawn and complex. The novel is a meditation on memory, loss, and the human spirit, and it offers a poignant and hopeful vision of what humanity is capable of in the face of disaster.

The Girl With All The Gifts - Mike Carey (2014)

The Girl with All the Gifts is a science-fiction, horror novel written by British author Mike Carey, first published in 2014. The book was a critical and commercial success, and was later adapted into a film directed by Colm McCarthy in 2016.

The story is set in a dystopian future, where most of humanity has been wiped out by a fungal infection that turns people into zombie-like creatures known as "hungries." The novel follows the character of Melanie, a ten-year-old girl who is infected with the fungus but shows signs of intelligence and self-awareness. The Girl With All The Gifts is one of our recommendations with the most similarities to The Last Of Us. The apocalypse has been caused by a fungal infection and the main character is a remarkable girl who is being tested on to find a cure like Ellie.

Melanie is held captive in a military facility along with other infected children, where they are studied and experimented on by scientists in the hopes of finding a cure for the infection. The story takes a dramatic turn when the facility is overrun by hungries, and Melanie, along with a small group of survivors, must navigate their way through a dangerous and hostile world.

The novel explores themes such as identity, morality, and survival in the face of extreme adversity. Carey's writing is engaging and suspenseful, and his characters are well-drawn and complex. The book also challenges the traditional zombie narrative, offering a unique and thought-provoking take on the genre.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy (2006)

The Road is a post-apocalyptic novel written by American author Cormac McCarthy, first published in 2006. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and was later adapted into a film directed by John Hillcoat in 2009.

The story follows a father and his young son as they journey through a barren and desolate landscape in a world that has been destroyed by an unexplained cataclysmic event. The father and son, whose names are never revealed, are trying to survive in a world where food and water are scarce, and danger lurks around every corner. As they travel south towards the coast, the father and son encounter a series of harrowing obstacles and meet other survivors, some of whom are friendly and helpful, while others are violent and cruel. The novel explores themes such as survival, morality, and the bond between a parent and child in the face of extreme hardship.

Fans of The Last Of Us will enjoy the parent and child dynamic in The Road despite it being father and son rather than daughter. It also follows the themes of survival and duty as a parent.

McCarthy's writing is spare and haunting, and he creates a vivid and evocative portrait of a world on the brink of collapse. The book's characters are well-drawn and fully realized, and their journey is both harrowing and deeply moving.

City Of Thieves - David Benioff (2008)

City of Thieves is a historical fiction novel written by American author David Benioff, first published in 2008. The novel is set during the Siege of Leningrad in World War II and follows the story of two young men, Lev and Kolya, who are tasked with finding a dozen eggs for a Soviet colonel or face execution.

The story takes place over the course of a week, as Lev and Kolya embark on a dangerous mission to find the eggs in a city under siege. Along the way, they encounter a variety of colorful characters and face numerous challenges, including hunger, cold, and the constant threat of death.

Despite the bleak setting, the novel is filled with humor and humanity, as Lev and Kolya bond over their shared experiences and struggle to survive in a world that seems intent on destroying them. The book explores themes such as friendship, loyalty, and the human cost of war.

The Last Of Us fans will enjoy the friendship between Lev and Koyla and the fact that they are also on a mission like Joel and Ellie.

Benioff's writing is vivid and evocative, and he creates a richly detailed portrait of life in Leningrad during one of the darkest periods in human history. The characters are well-drawn and complex, and their journey is both suspenseful and deeply moving.

What Moves The Dead - T Kingfisher (2022)

What Moves the Dead, a haunting retelling of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," is the latest work by the Nebula and Hugo award-winning author of The Twisted Ones.

When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives news of Madeline Usher's terminal illness, they hasten to the Usher family's ancestral home in the secluded Ruritania countryside.

Upon arrival, they encounter a terrifying landscape teeming with fungal growths and possessed wildlife, encircling a dark and throbbing lake. Madeline suffers from sleepwalking and bizarre vocalizations at night, while her brother Roderick is consumed by a mysterious nervous disorder.

Assisted by a formidable British mycologist and a perplexed American physician, Alex must uncover the enigma of the House of Usher before it devours them all.

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, And Shape Our Futures - Merlin Sheldrake (2020)

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds, and Shape Our Futures is a non-fiction book written by British biologist Merlin Sheldrake and published in 2020. The book explores the fascinating world of fungi and their impact on the environment, human culture, and the future of our planet.

The book is divided into three main sections, each of which delves into a different aspect of the world of fungi. The first section focuses on the role of fungi in the natural world, exploring their complex relationships with other organisms and the crucial roles they play in ecosystems around the globe.

The second section of the book examines the cultural and historical significance of fungi, from their use in traditional medicines to their role in mythology and folklore. The author also discusses the ways in which humans have cultivated and manipulated fungi for their own purposes throughout history. It is the ways in which humans have manipulated fungi that we believe that fans of The Last Of Us will particularly enjoy along with the final section which pontificates the use of fungi in scientific research.

The final section of the book explores the cutting-edge science of fungi, including recent research on the potential of fungi for addressing environmental challenges such as soil degradation and climate change.

Throughout the book, Sheldrake's writing is engaging and informative, and he weaves together scientific research, personal anecdotes, and cultural insights to paint a vivid and compelling portrait of the world of fungi. He argues that fungi are far more important and influential than we often realize, and that understanding their role in the world is crucial for addressing some of the biggest challenges facing humanity today.

Charon Docks at Daylight - Zoe Reed (2013)

Charon Docks at Daylight is a lesbian romance novel written by Zoe Reed and published in 2013. The book tells the story of Sarah, a young woman who has just started college and is struggling to come to terms with her sexuality. When she meets Laura, a confident and charismatic older student, she is immediately drawn to her and begins to explore her own desires and emotions.

As Sarah and Laura's relationship develops, they face a number of challenges and obstacles, including disapproving family members and the prejudices of their classmates. However, they are determined to be together and find a way to make their relationship work despite the difficulties they face.

We wanted to recommend an empowering story of young lesbian women who are exploring their sexuality and have faced prejudice from their friends and family. The Last Of Us episode “Left Behind” explores Ellie’s relationship with best friend Riley and the pair kiss during their time in the mall. The Last Of Us fans may enjoy reading about a young lesbian couple in Charon Docks a Daylight.

The novel is a powerful exploration of love, desire, and self-discovery, and offers a nuanced and realistic portrayal of a lesbian relationship. The characters are well-developed and complex, and their struggles and triumphs are portrayed in a way that is both engaging and relatable.

Reed's writing is engaging and emotive, and she creates a vivid and compelling portrait of college life and the challenges faced by young women coming to terms with their sexuality. The book is also notable for its frank and open portrayal of sexuality and desire, which is both refreshing and empowering.

Wranglestone - Darren Charlton (2020)

Wranglestone is a young adult post-apocalyptic novel written by Darren Charlton and published in 2020. The book is set in a world where a zombie-like virus has ravaged the planet, and humanity has been forced to retreat to small, isolated communities in order to survive.

The story follows Peter, a young orphan living in a settlement called Wranglestone, which is located in the midst of a frozen wasteland. As winter approaches, Peter and his fellow settlers are preparing for the annual migration of the undead, who come down from the mountains in search of fresh meat. However, when a group of outsiders arrive at the settlement, Peter finds himself drawn to a boy named Cooper, who seems to know more about the outside world than anyone else in Wranglestone. As the two boys grow closer, they become embroiled in a dangerous adventure that takes them beyond the safety of the settlement and into the heart of the zombie-infested wilderness.

The Last Of Us fans may enjoy the relationship between Peter and Cooper and how much Cooper teaches Peter about life outside Wranglestone. It may remind you of how Joel teaches Ellie about life before the Infected as she was born after the world had ended.

The novel is notable for its vivid and atmospheric world-building, which creates a sense of unease and tension from the very first page. Charlton does an excellent job of depicting the harsh realities of life in a post-apocalyptic world, and the dangers that lurk around every corner.

At its core, Wranglestone is a coming-of-age story about friendship, love, and survival. The relationship between Peter and Cooper is both tender and fraught with tension, and the novel explores the complexities of first love in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

Wilder Girls - Rory Power (2019)

Wilder Girls is a young adult dystopian novel written by Rory Power and published in 2019. The book is set on an isolated island where an all-girls school has been quarantined due to a mysterious disease known as the Tox. The Tox has caused the girls to mutate in strange and terrifying ways, leaving them with supernatural powers, animalistic features, and even lethal abilities. Wilder Girls is a gripping read and is one The Last Of Us fans will love as the “Tox”, much like Cordyceps, mutates its victims to have super-human abilities.

The story follows three girls - Hetty, Byatt, and Reese - as they try to survive in this dangerous and isolated world. When Byatt goes missing, Hetty sets out to find her, teaming up with Reese and uncovering shocking secrets about the school and the island along the way.

Power's writing is hauntingly atmospheric, creating a sense of foreboding and unease that permeates every page. The island is described in vivid and haunting detail, with the girls' mutated bodies and the toxic landscape creating a sense of otherworldly horror.

The novel is also notable for its portrayal of female relationships and power dynamics. The friendship between Hetty, Byatt, and Reese is complex and nuanced, and the novel explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and sacrifice in a way that is both emotional and thought-provoking.

After Love - Tanya Byrne (2021)

After Love is a contemporary fiction novel written by Tanya Byrne and published in 2021. The book is a poignant exploration of family, identity, and the power of love.

The story revolves around the life of 17-year-old Marianne, who is struggling to come to terms with the death of her mother. Marianne is a British Pakistani who has always felt like an outsider, unable to connect with her family or her culture. When she discovers that her mother had a secret life, including a relationship with another woman, Marianne begins to question everything she thought she knew about her family and herself.

The Last Of Us fans will enjoy After Love as it also revolves around a young woman who last lost her mother. It’s a tale of grief including of life as we know it. After Love also has flashback scenes which we got to see of Ellie’s life during the HBO series.

The novel is told through alternating perspectives, with Marianne's story unfolding in the present day, and her mother's story told through a series of flashbacks. This dual narrative adds depth and complexity to the story, as the reader is able to see the impact of the past on the present. Byrne's writing is beautiful and evocative, with vivid descriptions of the setting and characters. She explores themes of love, loss, and identity in a way that is both nuanced and emotionally resonant.

All That’s Left In The World - Erik J. Brown (2022)

A queer romance novel about courage, hope and humanity that fans of They Both Die at the End, The Hunger Games and Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda will enjoy.

In a world decimated by the Superflu, Jamie and Andrew are two of the last remaining strangers on Earth. Uncertain of what lies ahead on their treacherous expedition, they might just find each other in this courageous, hopeful, and humane queer romance.

Jamie is living alone in a forest cabin after the pandemic wiped out most of humanity, until he encounters an injured stranger on his path. With the world now a perilous place, Jamie aims his gun, but something about Andrew stays his hand. Jamie takes him in, and as they venture out into the bizarre new reality, their bond develops into something more than mere friendship.

Yet, danger lurks around every corner. As the duo embarks on a hazardous journey towards the south, they will confront a world in shambles and a shattered society. Ultimately, what or who will be waiting for them at the end of this journey?

Southern Reach - Jeff VanderMeer (2014)

Southern Reach is a science fiction novel written by Jeff VanderMeer and published in 2014. It is the first book in the "Southern Reach Trilogy," which also includes "Authority" and "Acceptance."

The novel is set in an isolated region of the United States called Area X, which has been cut off from the rest of civilization for decades. A secret government agency known as the Southern Reach has been tasked with investigating the area and uncovering the mystery behind its unusual flora, fauna, and strange, supernatural occurrences.

The story follows a team of four scientists - the biologist, the surveyor, the psychologist, and the anthropologist - as they enter Area X on a mission to explore and document its secrets. However, as they journey deeper into the wilderness, they discover that the dangers of the area are far greater than they ever could have imagined.

VanderMeer's writing is highly atmospheric, with a dreamlike quality that adds to the sense of mystery and unease. The novel blends elements of science fiction, horror, and surrealism to create a unique and immersive reading experience.

The book is notable for its exploration of themes of identity, memory, and the nature of reality. As the characters delve deeper into the mysteries of Area X, they begin to question their own identities and the reliability of their own memories.

Overall, "Southern Reach" is a gripping and thought-provoking novel that offers a fresh take on the science fiction genre. It is a must-read for fans of speculative fiction and anyone looking for a captivating and mind-bending adventure.

The Secret Life Of Fungi: Discover From A Hidden World - Aliya Whiteley (2020)

The Secret Life of Fungi: Discover from a Hidden World is a non-fiction book written by Aliya Whiteley and published in 2020. As the title suggests, the book explores the fascinating and often mysterious world of fungi, shedding light on the important roles they play in our ecosystem and their potential for scientific and medical breakthroughs.

The book is organized into twelve chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of the world of fungi. Whiteley covers a wide range of topics, including the evolution and classification of fungi, their ecological importance, and their role in human culture and mythology.

The author also delves into the latest scientific research on fungi, exploring their potential for applications in areas such as medicine, bioremediation, and agriculture. For example, she discusses the promising research on the use of fungi in developing new antibiotics and their potential for biodegradable materials.

One of the strengths of the book is Whiteley's engaging writing style, which blends scientific information with personal anecdotes and observations. Her passion for the subject matter shines through, and she manages to make even the most complex scientific concepts accessible to the lay reader. The Secret Life of Fungi is a fascinating and informative exploration of the hidden world of fungi. It is a must-read for anyone interested in the natural world and the potential of science to unlock its mysteries.

The World Without Us - Alan Weisman (2007)

The World Without Us is a non-fiction book written by Alan Weisman and published in 2007. The book explores the question of what would happen to the Earth if all humans suddenly disappeared, offering a thought-provoking and sometimes unsettling look at the relationship between humanity and the natural world.

Weisman takes a scientific approach to the question, examining the likely impacts of human disappearance on various aspects of the environment, including the built environment, ecosystems, and climate. He draws on a wide range of scientific research, as well as interviews with experts in fields such as engineering, biology, and geology.

One of the key themes of the book is the interconnectedness of all living things, and the ways in which human activity has disrupted the delicate balance of the natural world. Weisman illustrates this point through examples such as the Chernobyl disaster, where the absence of humans has allowed nature to reclaim the abandoned city and surrounding area.

At the same time, the book also acknowledges the many positive contributions that humans have made to the world, such as the development of renewable energy technologies and efforts to preserve endangered species.

The World Without Us is a fascinating and thought-provoking book that raises important questions about the impact of human activity on the planet. It is a must-read for anyone interested in environmental issues and the future of the Earth.

The Enemy - Charlie Higson (2009)

The Enemy is the first book in a post-apocalyptic horror series for young adults, written by Charlie Higson and published in 2009. The story is set in a world where all the adults have been killed by a mysterious virus, leaving the children to fend for themselves in a world overrun by zombies.

The book follows a group of children who have taken refuge in a London supermarket, led by the tough and resourceful leader, Arran. As they struggle to survive in a world where danger lurks around every corner, the group is forced to confront not only the zombie hordes but also the darker side of human nature.

Higson's vivid and gruesome descriptions of the zombie attacks and the children's fight for survival make for a thrilling and terrifying read. However, the book also delves into more complex themes, such as the nature of leadership, the importance of trust and loyalty, and the impact of trauma on young people.

One of the strengths of the book is the diverse range of characters, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, fears and desires. From the brave and determined Maxie to the fragile and vulnerable Jester, the characters feel real and relatable, adding depth and complexity to the story. The Enemy is a gripping and suspenseful read that will appeal to fans of horror and post-apocalyptic fiction. The book's engaging characters and thought-provoking themes also make it a compelling read for young adult audiences.

Mexican Gothic - Silvia Moreno Garcia (2020)

Mexican Gothic is a gothic horror novel written by Silvia Moreno-Garcia and published in 2020. The story is set in 1950s Mexico and follows Noemí Taboada, a young socialite who is sent to a remote countryside mansion to check on her cousin, who has sent a distressing letter to her family. Once there, Noemí finds that the family who lives in the mansion, the Doyles, is strange and unsettling.

As Noemí begins to uncover the dark secrets of the house and the family's past, she is plagued by terrifying dreams and visions, and she starts to question her own sanity. With the help of a local doctor, she delves deeper into the mysteries of the house, and she learns about a fungus that grows in the mansion and affects the minds of those who inhale it.

The book is full of gothic tropes, such as an old, decaying mansion, a creepy family with a sinister history, and a heroine who must uncover dark secrets to save herself and others. However, the story also subverts these tropes by placing them in a Mexican setting and exploring themes of colonialism, racism, and misogyny.

Moreno-Garcia's prose is beautiful and atmospheric, and she creates a vivid sense of place and mood. The book is both a thrilling horror story and a commentary on social issues, making it a compelling and thought-provoking read. Overall, "Mexican Gothic" is a highly acclaimed novel that will appeal to fans of gothic horror, as well as readers looking for a fresh take on the genre.

Dread Nation - Justina Ireland (2018)

Dread Nation is a young adult novel written by Justina Ireland and published in 2018. The story is set in an alternate history where the Civil War ends with the rise of the dead, and the United States becomes a nation besieged by zombies.

The novel follows the story of Jane McKeene, a biracial teenage girl born to a white Southern mother and a black father. Jane is sent to Miss Preston's School of Combat in Baltimore, one of several schools set up to train black and Native American children to fight zombies, who are referred to as "shamblers." As a result of the war and the zombie threat, social norms and expectations have been drastically altered, and Jane must navigate a world where her race and gender are still sources of discrimination.

As Jane trains to become an Attendant, tasked with protecting white society from zombie attacks, she uncovers a sinister plot that threatens to upend the precarious balance of power. Together with her friend and fellow student, Katherine, and a rogue journalist named Jackson, Jane must fight not only the zombies but also the corrupt political forces that seek to control the fate of the nation.

The novel combines elements of horror, steampunk, and historical fiction, and is notable for its exploration of race, gender, and class issues. Ireland deftly weaves in commentary on the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow segregation, while also delivering a thrilling and suspenseful story. Overall, "Dread Nation" is a thought-provoking and entertaining novel that will appeal to fans of both horror and alternate history.

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff (2004)

How I Live Now is a young adult novel written by Meg Rosoff and published in 2004. The story is set in an alternate version of the present day, where a group of teenagers must learn to survive in the aftermath of a devastating war.

The novel follows the story of 15-year-old Daisy, an American girl who is sent to England to live with her cousins on a remote farm. Initially resistant to her new surroundings, Daisy begins to fall in love with her cousin Edmond and learns to embrace the unconventional lifestyle of the family. However, their idyllic existence is shattered when war breaks out, and the cousins are separated and forced to fend for themselves.

Daisy and her younger cousin Piper embark on a dangerous journey across a war-torn England in search of safety and reunification with their family. Along the way, they encounter both kindness and cruelty, as well as their own inner demons.

The novel is known for its unique narrative style, which is written in Daisy's stream-of-consciousness voice and lacks quotation marks. This style creates an intimate and immediate reading experience, allowing the reader to fully immerse themselves in Daisy's thoughts and emotions.

"How I Live Now" is a powerful exploration of love, survival, and the resilience of the human spirit. It has been widely acclaimed for its vivid and haunting portrayal of a world torn apart by war, as well as its portrayal of complex and authentic teenage characters. The book was awarded the Printz Award in 2005, which is given annually to the best book written for young adults.

Earth Abides - George R. Stewart (1949)

Earth Abides is a post-apocalyptic novel written by American author George R. Stewart and published in 1949. The novel tells the story of Isherwood Williams, a survivor of a catastrophic disease that wipes out most of humanity and civilization.

The story begins with Isherwood, who is studying in the mountains when the disease strikes. He returns to the city to find that almost everyone has died, and those who are left are struggling to survive. Isherwood eventually meets a small group of survivors and forms a new community with them.

As the years go by, Isherwood and his community must learn to adapt to a world without technology or modern conveniences. They must learn to hunt and farm for food, find shelter, and protect themselves from wild animals. They also face the challenge of preserving knowledge and culture in a world where books and written records have become scarce.

The novel explores themes of civilization, adaptation, and the cyclical nature of human history. It also raises questions about the meaning and purpose of life in the face of such devastation.

"Earth Abides" is considered a classic of the post-apocalyptic genre and has been highly influential in shaping subsequent works in the genre. It has been praised for its realistic and thought-provoking portrayal of a world after a major disaster. The book has won several awards, including the inaugural International Fantasy Award in 1951.

The Last of Us is an incredible series and video game that has captivated players with its immersive storytelling, bond between the characters, and its post-apocalyptic setting. You can prolong your enjoyment of the series by reading one of our book recommendations that explore themes of survival and the end of the world. Whether you're looking for a thrilling adventure story, a thought-provoking exploration of the human condition, or an emotional beautiful tale of survival, there's something on this list for you.

The Last Of Us Book Recommendations - 20 Books You’ll Love If You Enjoyed The Last Of Us

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