Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

Discussion: Series

14 comments
Book series are big. Well established series equal built in marketing and audience for the latest release. When you like book one, you're likely to look for and check out book two, and so on.

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And series are big across age groups. For kids, you pick up every Amelia Bedelia, Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew and Diary of a Wimpy Kid title. For MG, it's Harry Potter, Rick Riordan, some Jessica Day George and Margaret Peterson Haddix. YA has trilogies and duologies galore, and Adult genre fiction is brimming with series. Mystery, historical, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, a couple more whose names I'm spacing on. A lot. :)

Series can be great! When you find one you like, you don't have to ponder what to read next. You know, and because you know what kind of writing/characters you're getting, you get all excited! Of course, I also know readers who feel compelled to finish series, even when they don't enjoy the first or second book. They have to stick around until the very end.

I approached series with that mindset back in middle school and high school- reading them all the way through even when I didn't love them. Now, due to time constraints (and declining patience levels ^^), I'm much less generous. If a series doesn't grab me, if I'm not invested in where the story goes next, I cut out and look for something I'll like more.

What about you guys? Do you prefer series or standalones? Do you stay with a series til the bitter end, just in case it turns out brilliantly at the last second? Or do you terminate your relationship with a series midway if it's not working out?

14 comments :

  1. I do generally prefer stand-alones to series because series are too hyped. But if I really, really like a book, I don't complain when there's a sequel. I try to finish out a series, even if I don't like it, but I don't have time to do that anymore. There's so many other books I would rather read.

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    1. Agreed. If I really like a book, I'm usually glad to see the story continue. :)

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  2. I really prefer series since I love really rich worlds and character dynamics, and it just doesn't seem like that can be done in a standalone without said standalone being ridiculously long and overwhelming, haha. I'm also strange, however, in that I don't feel particular pressure to continue/finish a series in any certain amount of time. I have lots of series that I'll read the next book when I'm in the right mood for it, and it doesn't bother me ;-). I'm also just fine with firmly breaking up with a series by admitting to myself that I have no interest in ever reading that next book :D. One problem that series sometimes run into though is that the tone should probably stay fairly consistent, and there are some series where each book has such a different tone that no one seemed to love the series overall and disagreed about which book was the best because such different readers liked each of the books for different reasons. The main series that is in my head for this is Daughter of Smoke and Bone since I honestly have run into people that HATE the second book, whereas I LOVED it because it was much much darker, but then the third book was different from both the first and second in tone, and it was just kind of weird over all >.>

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    1. Series do give you more time to slowly develop plot and characters and setting. That's great that you can pick up or put down a series whenever. :)

      Inconsistency can be a real problem. I only read Daughter of Smoke and Bone (and probably won't continue), but I can see how vastly different tones would make the series feel disconnected or at the very least create up and down reactions in readers.

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  3. I have no idea to be honest. I think I like loosely connected series as much as anything, and trilogies are fine. But long never ending series a la A Song of Ice and Fire or Jordan's are just real damn hard to catch up on if you are already behind.

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    1. That's true! I keep hearing about all sorts of great series, but I'm a little hesitant to start when I'm 15 books behind. On the bright side, if I really like the series, I can read lots of it without waiting a year in between books. ;)

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  4. I totally used to be a completion it's and stick with it....but now I cut and run when I stop enjoying. If a series starts with a three star then I seriously consider whether or not to continue. With adult books I usually continue because I've learned they do get better. But with YA books I've experienced they don't for me. If the first is a three all of them will be or will get worse typically.

    I love stand Aline's...and I wish there were more ya standalones seriously there are too many damn ya trilogies.

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    1. Ditto. I don't have as much experience with adult series, but, for the most part, a YA series starting at three stars will give me pause. Do I really like the idea or the characters enough to continue?

      I am definitely a fan of well done standalones. When it wraps up just right, there's no waiting or worrying that the next book will destroy all your happiness. :)

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  5. Ooh, I love series. I love the feeling of meeting old friends.
    That said, I will finish a series if it's decent but have no problem in quitting it if it's bad. I do think series have become too widespread, especially in YA fantasy - some stories get stretched out just to make a trilogy and it makes the story worse.

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    1. That's a really good point! Some stories don't have enough meat for three or four books, and then at least one of them winds up feeling like useless filler.

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  6. I don't have a preference for stand-alones or series; I enjoy them equally. :) Though a series DOES need to give me reasons to be invested for the long run. If a character (particularly the protagonist) or the plot doesn't work for me, I will quit it. And I've done it a few times in the past...

    To add to the YA fantasy series bit: Sometimes that might be more of the publisher's influence than the author's. I've read in a few places that publishers frequently offer multiple-book deals to debut authors - and quite often, the result is expanding on the first novel and creating a trilogy or longer series. *shrugs* I don't know if this adds anything to the discussion, but I thought I'd throw it out there.

    Btw, I noticed which book you're reading right now. Hope you're enjoying "Storm Siren"! I liked it a lot.

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    1. Agreed! There's no sense continuing a series if you're not enjoying it anymore.

      I've noticed a lot of PW acquisition announcements noting the same- a 2-3-book deal from debut author X- and I've seen debut authors talking on Twitter and their blogs about rushing through drafts/revisions for the sequels. That could indicate that a contract is determining how long the series will be, which may or may not wind up coinciding with what the story needs once it's all written...which could lead to the dreaded filler arcs.

      I finished Storm Siren recently and I did enjoy it!

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  7. I prefer stand alone novels, but they seem so hard to find. So, I inevitably start series. I don't approach them with the mindset of HAVING to finish the series. I'll continue on it the first book really wows me, but if I think it's just a good book, I usually don't bother reading on. I generally don't feel like I'm missing out on anything either.

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    1. Standalones do seem rarer these days, especially in YA. That's great that you don't feel compelled to finish a lackluster series!

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