The Resident Evil franchise, known as Biohazard in Japan, is a multimedia horror franchise.
The franchise originally started with its well-known zombie survival horror shooting games, many of which actually shaped the general horror gaming genres at the time.
The first Resident Evil game coined the term ‘survival horror’ in the gaming industry, and we wouldn’t have games like Telltale’s The Walking Dead series or The Last of Us without the road pathed by Resident Evil.
Since the success of the original game series, a number of novels were developed. Some are standalone stories, while others are novelizations of the games or films.
In this article we will cover the order of the novels and their plots. Find out more about the Resident Evil books below.
About Resident Evil
The events of Resident Evil circulate around the actions of the Umbrella Corporation.
The latter organization was a pharmaceutical company that bioengineered viruses, what is called the ‘T-virus’ in the series, with the goal to use it in biological warfare.
As their research grows the virus itself leaks out into Racoon City, a fictional midwest town in America.
Most of the games and their subsequent novels focus on members of Racoon City’s original tactical unit STARS tasked with dealing with the original, and subsequent global developments, of the T-virus.
Notable characters are Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, and Rebecca Chambers as well as the later antagonist Albert Wesker.
In the novels, a notable character is Trent, who does not exist in the games but has a behind-the-scenes role in the novels.
Resident Evil Books In Order
Keep reading to learn the chronological order of the books in the Resident Evil franchise, written by S. D. Perry
The original, and first, Resident Evil game, which the book retells, provides the story of how Chris Refield and Jill Valentine originally uncovered the conspiracy of the Umbrella Corporation.
Multiple murders around Racoon City that remain unexplained are investigated by the city’s STARS team, split into the Alpha team, which includes Redfield and Valentine, and the Bravo team.
When the Bravo team goes missing and Redfield and Valentine come across their crashed helicopter near an abandoned mansion, it is up to the Alpha team to investigate their disappearance by entering the mansion, which is covered in what is revealed to be T-virus mutants.
The novel actually includes some prequel narratives from the Japanese original novel, only released for the pre-order of the original game and no longer available to commercially buy, that explores the disappearance of Chris Redfield’s friend Billy Rabbitson.
- Retells the original game’s story well.
- Provides insight that the game doesn’t.
- Has some prequel narratives.
- Some deviation from the original game’s plot does lead to inconsistencies with the game down the line.
- Lacks the game’s suspenseful and explorative gameplay.
This is an original Resident Evil story, created by S. D. Perry, which is set just after the events of the first novel, but before the second game’s plot begins, filling in the gap between the first and second games.
The remaining members of the original STARS Alpha team attempt to warn the world of the Umbrella Conspiracy they uncovered.
Yet these remaining members are declared outlaws by those who trained them, leading them to take their war against the Umbrella Conspiracy to new frontiers.
It seems the conspiracy has already spread to new corners within the nation as Rebecca Chambers, the sole survivor of the Bravo team, remains within the STARS force and joins a new team.
Tasked with finding a new Umbrella experiment in the rocky cliffs of Caliban Cove, Maine, Chambers must fight against a madman seeking to unleash an army of the undead on the world.
She must navigate the maze of a lighthouse in Caliban Cove, but she may fall short of her goal as the virus begins to start infecting her own team.
- Bridges the gap between the first two games.
- Includes new characters.
- Some find that the story and its antagonists aren’t actually that scary and don’t really fit well within the main storyline of the games.
This is a pretty direct retelling of the second game.
Leon Kennedy is a rookie cop who enrolled in the Racoon City police squad, but finds the city deserted, occupied only by the undead T-virus victims.
With Chris deemed as ‘missing’, his more reckless sister Claire Redfield goes to Racoon City to find her brother and learn what happened to him – at any cost.
Two months after the events of the original game, Claire and Leon must navigate Racoon City, attempting to find out what happened, while the city’s inhabitants are now turned into T-virus zombies.
This leads them to Umbrella’s underground facility known as ‘The Hive’; what they uncover is both promising and also terrifying.
- Introduces new characters.
- Develops the Umbrella Conspiracy a bit more.
- Many find that the second Resident Evil, both game and novel, is just too similar to the original game and its story.
This is another original novel written by S. D. Perry bridges the story gaps between the second and third games, while also combining his own characters from Caliban Cove with the canon characters.
Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield meet up with the survivors of the Caliban Cove mission, notably Rebecca Chambers.
They are en route to Europe to rendezvous with international STARS teams when Trent, the behind-the-scenes character of Perry’s novels, turns their plane around for Utah.
Trent tells them of a facility in Utah used to train and test biological weapons.
The facility’s owner, a man named Reston, holds a codebook they need to unlock the true secrets behind the Umbrella Conspiracy, and they are tasked with finding him and ending the conspiracy after all.
- Shows Perry’s storytelling abilities within this franchise.
- Outside of the franchise, the book is reviewed to be quite a thrilling and fun action thriller.
- Some of the creatures in the novel are a bit far-fetched and silly.
A direct novelization of the third Resident Evil game. Carlos Oliveira is sent alongside his fellow military personnel to Raccoon City for what they are told is dealing with a chemical spill.
They are eventually met by the aftermath of what has occurred in Racoon City, with the real intention of sending them there is to test the ability of trained military soldiers against Umbrella’s mutant creations.
Meanwhile Jill Valentine begins her attempt to escape the doomed Racoon City, with the goal of finally putting Umbrella’s conspiracy to bed.
Yet, she soon finds herself prey to Nemesis, an evolved version of its Tyrant predecessor, whom Jill and the military must combine forces to kill.
- Direct novelization of the original game’s plot but does add some fun extra stuff too.
- Novel is compelling and fast-moving.
- Due to plot changes by Perry, an Author’s Note lays out some continuity errors between the game and the books.
Claire Redfield continues her desperate search for her brother, leading her to a remote island.
On the island, she finds a mad genius who has filled it with all the T-virus creatures he has at his disposal with the goal of ending Redfield.
Meanwhile, Chris Redfield is on his own mission and one-man war to fight against Umbrella and their creations.
This finally sets him on a collision course with the man who outlawed him and betrayed his team.
- Continues the original story of Chris Redfield.
- Doesn’t do many favors for the already badly-written antagonist to Chris Redfield.
In the final Resident Evil novel they return to the event of the original game and book and basically tell us what actually happened.
We follow an Umbrella employee before the events of the first game as he investigates patient zero of the T-virus.
The book also tells the story of the STARS team Bravo from the first game novel, and what really happened with their disappearance.
We meet Rebecca Chambers again in this prequel fashion and follow the Bravo team as they are stranded in the Arklay Mountains.
- Shines some light on the early events of the series.
- Goes back to the origin of the virus.
- Strong inconsistencies with the chronological follow up which would be the first novel, The Umbrella Conspiracy.
The Resident Evil novels are made for superfans of the Resident Evil series, and fans of fast-paced gory horror.
If you expect them to follow the original games to a T, pardon the pun, they don’t really.
Perry makes a few changes to the original storyline but doesn’t keep track of them well and certain books in the series have an apologetic author’s note explaining certain inconsistencies that exist within the novel series, as well as inconsistencies with the game itself.