Blog Widget by LinkWithin

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The problem with series

Like many (most?) other readers I have quite a few series that I enjoy. Lately I've been finding that the farther I am into the series, the MORE likely I am to quit it.  There seems to be two main reasons for this, first, the author takes the characters in a direction that I don't enjoy. An example of this is Laurell K. Hamilton. I don't believe that the Anita from book one (Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter),) which I loved, would have gone where the Anita of book 9 or so and later has gone.  This is also true of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series. I loved the first 6 or 7, but really hated Kay by about book 9 (Trace, I think).  While Kay did grow and change, she changed into someone unlikable and I didn't want to read any more of her.

The second reason I lose interest in a series is because it doesn't seem like each book is new. The best example of this is Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series (Starts with One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, No. 1) and runs up to Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum) at this point). Every book is pretty much the same as the previous book, with no changes to the characters themselves. They are living in exactly one moment in time and don't vary from that.  I think this is why I enjoyed the one in which she hooked up with Ranger so much (no idea which one that was, sorry, somewhere in the middle.)  This isn't a problem that is immediately obvious either. It seems that most series can handle 3 or 4 books before it crops up. I'm a bit worried that Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden is going to turn out a bit like this, but he still has time to show some growth (Starts with Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) if you're interested), as I'm only on book 4 or 5.

Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10)The reason I bring this up is that I recently realized that the reason I haven't reviewed Dead in the Family (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 10) by Charlaine Harris yet is that I couldn't really think of anything interesting to say about it. It was better than the one before (Dead and Gone (Sookie Stackhouse, Book 9)) but that's about all I could say. The characters have some minor changes- Jason for the better, Pam for the better, not so sure about Eric or Sam- but overall it wasn't thrilling or exciting. Oh sure, I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but once I was done it was just over.  I'll probably keep reading them so long as she's writing them, but I no longer feel the need to rush out to find a copy. (This is not true for Evanovich, I think I'm done there.) It almost seems like she's just writing on the surface of the world she built, but not bothering to expand or explore it any longer.  This is in direct contrast with Patricia Briggs's Mercedes Thompson series (starting with Moon Called (Mercy Thompson)) which I love love love.

There are still several series that haven't landed in either of these categories yet for me, series that I enjoy tremendously but just haven't had time to get current on, but I live in dread (as much as you can over a book series anyway) that they will one day fall into one of these groups. I'm curious, what makes you stop reading a series? Do you agree or disagree with any of my examples? I had a very hard time thinking of non-paranormal series for this post, aside from Evanovich. What non-paranormal, non-mystery series do you read and enjoy? Do you see either of these patterns there?

I am an Amazon Associate. As such, any purchase you make at after following a link from this blog will earn me a (tiny) percentage back as income. Thanks.


  1. I am SO with you on the Kay Scarpetta series. I really enjoyed the books up until Trace and then I couldn't stand her anymore! She was dark, gloomy, and melancholy ALL the time.

    Most series that I've enjoyed seem to end after 4 or 5 books, so it prevents things from getting old and mundane, but I do really like Tess Gerritsen's series. The latest (Ice Cold, I think...?) came out last month, but I have picked it up yet.

  2. I honestly don't really stop reading a series. I pretty much alway hold out hope that something will change and the author will "save" the characters. I still read Anita Blake, although I don't love it, I keep hoping that some of the original Anita will show through.

    I guess I am an optimist and am alway hoping it will work out well.
    I don't run out and get any books immediately though.

  3. I do enjoy some series, but I also know exactly what you're saying. A lot of the time they seem to rehash the same story over and over again.

  4. I have read several series, I thought it was me because the ones you have mentioned did the same thing to me...instead of waiting with bated breath for the next book I have stopped buying them all together. I love your insight as to why I have stopped reading my favorite series writers. I am now reading a new series and am only into the 3rd book, I'm curious if it will happen to me again. I'll keep you updated.

  5. Funny, I was just thinking about doing a post with similar complaining. (I won't now.)

    I just picked up The Teaberry Strangler by Laura Childs (#11? in the Tea Shop series). I'm not going to finish it, because I can no longer stand Theodosia. The first few chapters are just "bleh", too.

    There are several other series that I read, but I never, ever get to read them in chronological order. I know the books are in a series, but when they're read out of order, I sometimes have no idea what the author is talking about.

    What annoys me more than anything else are inconsistencies from one book to the next, such as where a character was born, or whether or not the character was married before, or an orphan or not, that type of thing.

  6. I'm not involved in any series I can think of at the moment. I tend to peter out after one book. Although, I hope I actually do read the next book after The Passage!

  7. I must say that I agree with you on the Scarpetta series - this year I have read books 2-10 in this series. When I hit #11, The Last Precinct, I got 100 pages into it and was like, this is not the same Kay Scarpetta that have enjoyed so much. I put the book aside and I'm not sure I will pick it back up or continue on with that series. I think that long-lasting series are nice, but sometimes the directions they take are not enjoyable. Sometimes it's best to end after 4-5 books while the author is still on their A-game.

  8. I've been reading a lot of series. I enjoyed every single book I read.

  9. I don't think I've ever read as far as book 9 or 10 in any series. I just started the Sookie Stackhouse one though and loved the first book!

  10. Well, I love your insight as to why I have stopped reading my favorite series writers.

  11. This is part of the reason why I don't read series. Finally, eventually, the series must come to an end--which is why I'm glad that Twilight Saga and Harry Potter are all over. Sure the stories could have continued but there's a reason why TV shows get cancelled.

    Plus, there's the time investment. I have the Evanovich books up to 12 or 13 (minus # 4 and 5) and I've only read 1--is she going to keep publishing these books FOREVER? Doesn't she have anything new and exciting to write about? Basically she's cashing in on a successful franchise.

    And then there's the series where it isn't entirely clear which ones come in which order without having to google it (like Jasper Fforde).

    It's all exhausting to me. Great post!


Thanks for visiting, please leave a comment! Whenever possible I reply to comments via email, so please leave an email address if you want a direct reply. Anonymous users, I'm sorry, but until you stop leaving spam, you can't comment.

  © Blogger templates Psi by 2008

Back to TOP