The Problem With Series

The Problem With Series

Big me and little me have a lot of differences. Little me adored this one thing when it came to books: Series. Big series, small series, series that hadn’t finished coming out, and series that had. When I started a book, I was prepared for a possibly long term (but usually not because I had time then and practically speed read) commitment. If it was standalone? I didn’t want it. I didn’t see the fun in that. A mere 300 pages and it was over.

Big me hyperventilates at the size of series. Big me still reads them, but does something that would have appalled little me.

She doesn’t always finish reading them.

Power Puff Girls That's The Evilest Thing I Can Imagine GIF

I have this huge difficulty with series these days. But I have plenty of good reasons for it.

Sequels disappoint me.

I was just talking to Bobbie yesterday and we were discussing which books of 2014 we were waiting for. On my list, of course, were a bunch of sequels and series continuations. And something came to me during that conversation. I was not excited as I originally claimed to be.

I mean, I have all these books I need to read! Divided by Elsie Chapman, The Rules of Breaking by Ashley Elston, Where Silence Gathers by Kelsey Sutton, etc. But I’m almost scared to pick them up. Why?

I don’t want to be let down.

Padme You're Breaking My Heart GIF

I spend a whole year after book one waiting for the sequel to come out. During that time I build up some mighty big expectations. Then the blurb comes out and. . .wait. . .what. . .where’s my precious? Because of my high opinions of first books, I find it really hard to continue the series.

I mean, take Dualed by Elsie Chapman. I was so impressed with it despite the really mixed reviews it got. It was about a girl in a dystopian world who did what the government wanted instead of trying to demolish them. It was unique and fresh! I loved it! Now I’m just scared that the next book, Divided, will let me down. Dualed has become like a special standalone book to me.

I just don’t want a previous five star rating to seem less right by continuing.

Series are time consuming.

Sleepy Boo GIF

I hate to sound whiny, but they are. I mean, I have had to wait years to complete The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan. It’s been four years already and I’m in the middle of year five to wait for the next book. While this series hasn’t lost me, some do.

A lot can happen in five years time. For all I know, I might not like reading books about Greek and Roman mythology come five years. In some ways, people do change.

There are so many things coming out.

I could most likely dedicate a whole post to this alone. I mean, there are so many series out now that sometimes all the popular ones just utterly CONSUME your reading list. I mean, how do you get much chance to read anything else if you’re cramming down all the must read series? There are must read standalones waiting for me too.

But all of this doesn’t mean I don’t read series. I just have a problem with going on sometimes. Maybe I don’t want to make that kind of a commitment to something that might disappoint me. Maybe it’s a matter of time. Maybe it’s all of the above. That being said, I cannot wait for Cress, book three in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer, to come out this February.

How do you feel about series? Tell me down below!


37 thoughts on “The Problem With Series

  1. I’m trying to get through some more series this year. I want to get up to date with some ones I’ve wanted to read for such a long time. I also long for standalone books now! Too many series!

  2. I 100% feel what you feel Kelsey, I struggle with both series and standalone and just because they’re so different. I’m currently in the process of reading sequels, and I feel very nervous to pick them up in case they let me down, where-as standalones, if I didn’t like, it’s only 250 pages of my life gone. This is a fantastic topic, could I do my own post about it? It’s a great discussion starter 🙂

    1. Absolutely! I’d love to see all your thoughts on the topic!

      Yeah, I have a lot of sequels coming out this year and it’s kind of making me nervous. I find myself flocking more to standalones. I mean, even if I only somewhat liked book one, I almost feel obligated to keep going. But a standalone is different. It’s there, it’s done, it holds a special place in my heart. Series do too, but it’s different in a way, you know?

      1. I really do understand. It’s like, you keep thinking ‘maybe the series with improve’ rather than ‘there’s other series out there for me’, where-as standalones are there and you either liked them or you didn’t 🙂
        I’ll be putting the post up in the next week or two 😀

  3. Even with excellent series, my sense of trepidation as I read the second book — for fear it will somehow retroactively wreck my experience of the first book — tends to pull me out of the story.

  4. I have reached a point where I am equal parts excited and afraid each time I pick up book two of a series. There were a couple of series endings in 2013 that REALLY disappointed me, and in both cases book one was a strong 5 stars, book two was significantly less amazing than book one, and book three left me stabby and feeling cheated. And in both cases I’m dismayed to find that after reading the whole trilogy, I just don’t love book one with the same burning fire that I did when there was ONLY book one. Sad. 😦

    And that’s not even addressing the series that didn’t really ever need to be more than one book to begin with.

    In short: when it’s perfect (Harrrrryyyyyyy Pottttterrrrrrr!) a series is the best, most magical rainbow unicorn there is. BUT SO FEW ARE PERFECT.

    1. Just yes. That sums it up EXACTLY. And I agree with Harry Potter. It’s beautiful. Magical rainbow unicorn is like the epitome of it. You have such a way with words.

      Like, the His Dark Material’s series by Phillip Pullman? I LOVED The Golden Compass, but the other two books rather disappointed me and tainted the love I had for book one. It’s so sad.

  5. Oh gosh. I am SO with you! It’s frustrating. I barely ever finish series. I always read ONE book and then move on. (I think I can count the series I’ve finished on one hand.) Plus, I do get bored waiting. And I forget! I have a horrific memory…I had to reread Divergent/Insurgent before I could read Allegiant! And don’t get me started on all 12 of the Ranger’s Apprentice books…gosh! I had to go into book 12 (like, 5 years after I started the series) not remember most of what had happened. It’s very frustrating. I’m trying to remedy this more, this year, though. I’ve already read 4 Spiderwick books (woohoo for me) and 2 Gallagher Girls and 2 Harry Potters. *phew*

    1. That is me. I forget too much. Except I find it a waste of my time to have to reread a series just to read the next book. I either go into the book and figure it out as I go or read a summary of the previous books online (I’m lazy, okay?). Yeah, I honestly haven’t finished that many series either. . . And yay to the series you’re working on! I did read the Harry Potter series when I was younger. I only read book one of the Spiderwick books because the library never had book two in when I wanted it and I eventually got bored. And I’ve been meaning to start the Gallagher Girls and I just haven’t done it yet. And yipes. I can imagine how the Ranger’s Apprentice series was. I read book one and never went to book two for some reason. . . I should probably actually make myself reread that one.

  6. YES. ^^ THIS POST RIGHT HERE PEOPLE. 😉 I ADORE series. don’t get me wrong. especially if they are amazing and worth the wait (CRESS WAS FABULOUS. *strokes cover* ;)) HOWEVER, i hate waiting. i am not patient whatsoever and sometimes the hype around the next book in a series coming can make you doubt whether it will live up to expectations etc – because you have the TIME you doubt…
    STANDALONES. well. sometimes i love them. if they’re written well and the endings are not rushed and i feel like i know the characters etc then thats awesome!
    (p.s I LOVE THE GIFS.)
    also. if you want some standalone recs? ::
    between shades of gray//out of the easy by ruta sepetys
    the book thief by markus zusak
    the night circus by erin morgenstern
    a little piece of ground by elizabeth laird
    rose under fire // code name verity by elizabeth wein. 🙂

    1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s the wait that gets to me. And YES. I cannot wait for Cress! Scarlet is one of the few second books that I loved just as much as the first so I CAN’T WAIT.

      I never read standalones for years, but I have been lately. How I feel with them varies. Like you said, they have to be written well, have lovely characters, and non-rushed endings.

      Ooh, thank you for the recs! I’ve actually been wanting to read a few of these, but just haven’t gotten there yet. I haven’t heard of A Little Piece of Ground before. I must go look that one up.

  7. Totally agree! For me the biggest issue is that by the time I read book 2 I have forgotten a LOT about book 1, and often lost my connection to the characters and the feels towards the romance etc, so book 2 is not as good. And yes very long series are intimidating and makes me not really want to start it >.<

  8. Aw maaaaan I’m in the same boat as you. I adored Delirium so much and built it up so much that when I read Requiem, I was so angry at how much it let me down 😦 There are so many series out lately, that I’m trying to focus more on standalones or series that are finished. Otherwise it’s easy to burn out under all of the waiting time. Brilliant post 😀

    1. It is. I mean, if I read book one the day it comes out (or, possibly even worse, in ARC form) I have to wait a whole year for the next book. And, I’m sorry. I’m probably going to read a billion books that are not that beloved book one. The commitment doesn’t always last. Sometimes we have to move on.

  9. I’m only disappointed if I read all three books in a trilogy and the third one just goes off the rails. That’s happened to me a few times recently. If I don’t like the first or second book, I can just quit reading … or I can do what my friend Jen @ Some Like It Paranormal does — she just invents her own ending…..

    1. I’ve done things like that in the past. I usually quit if I don’t like book one. Book two? I might feel an obligation to continue, but it depends on my mood at the time. Inventing your own endings sounds fun!

  10. I think long as the books in a series get better with each one they’re great, they give us more time to savour the characters and world we love. But sometimes they can be exhausting, I feel like at times authors deliberately drag their story across a whole trilogy just to keep it up for longer and get everyone is excited, when the actual story only needed to last one or two books. Then the trilogy ends up compromising the whole story. I do love stand alone novels, they give me more satisfaction sometimes, to know it ends at the end of that book. Really my main problem is that the series books in YA are everywhere now, I think authors should remember that quality is a whole lot more important than quantity.

    1. Yes, yes, yes. Quality versus quantity is such a good point. I could probably do a whole new post on just that. And you’re right. If the series gets better with each installment, there is a good series. But soooooo many these days just feel like they’re drug out for the sake of being drug out. I mean, since when are we so focused on series? Used to be that almost everything was standalone. Now it feels like the series might outweigh the standalones sometimes. I’m actually not sure on that, though.

    1. Good luck! I’m trying to work on some series I’ve started, myself. And start a few more. I was given Gone by Michael Grant and Legend by Marie Lu for Christmas and I still haven’t gotten around to reading them.

    1. It’s just completely and utterly sad. Book one is usually always my favorite of the series. With a few exceptions like the Harry Potter series or A Series of Unfortunate Events.

  11. I like series but I have noticed that I’ve let a lot of them fall at the waist side. Even series with first books I loved, Like Starcrossed and Mara Dyer. I think a huge part of it, besides it being time consuming, is that I forget so much that happened while we wait in between books. And anything that is complex I just end up putting off and off and off…*sigh* I do like to think someday I will finish them though.

    1. It’s the same for me. There are multiple first books that I’ve read that I never continued for whatever reason. The Maze Runner, for example. My sister is about to make me read The Scorch Trials, though. I let her read my copy of the first book and now she’s gotten a copy of the second. But I’m the same. I like to think I will someday. *reluctantly looks at all the series she never finished*

  12. Omg! You are pretty funny. I can understand the problem though… I had some issues as well, but I’m participating in a Series Challenge this year because I want to finish them pretty series! Sometimes they suck… sometimes they are badass and make me want to scream from the rooftops about the amazingness (aka. Crown of Midnight).

    Point is, I’m just going to stop reading the first book in a series and just never get to the other books… (Unless I hate them!) I want to know what happens and even though I hate waiting, I just need to finish them (I am telling myself to do so!)

    Great post!

  13. I have mixed feelings about series. I feel like YA is dominated by trilogies therefore my reading is dominated by trilogies and often times the middle book is a disappointment. I really want duologies to gain more momentum to get rid of that problem. I agree that if I love a world, I typically want more than one book. But it’s nice to get a good standalone too.

    Since I started blogging, and my TBR pile has gotten out of control I’ve learned to let series go if I didn’t love them or I’m not excited by the prospects of reading the next book. I figured I’ll either get to it eventually or not, sometimes I’ll wait till it comes out on audiobook.

    Great discussion. You are not alone in your feelings!
    Nicole @ The Quiet Concert

  14. I am always so nervous going into sequels, too! And always a bit surprised/relieved if it turns out to be good, I guess we’ve all been burned too many times. I think series are often longer than they should be, which explains why there’s often that dreaded middle book syndrome.

    I used to finish all series too, but the longer I’m around the less time I want to spend on stuff that is chancey. I sometimes wait for the series to be finished so I can read books 2 and 3 at once, though.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    1. I think so too. Sometimes I think they’re lengthened just for the sake of having more books. It just weakens the series, though.

      Yeah, I think I’d be happier if I waited to start series when they were over. But then I don’t want to touch some because the internet will have flaunted spoilers at my face. I’m not fond of being spoiled.

  15. So many people have this thing with series! I’m weird because there are dozens of series that I’ve read book 1, it was okay or meh or even bad, and I have zero compunction about not picking up the rest. Ever. The need to finish what you started makes sense, but not if it’s not going to make you happy. At least, that’s always been my take.

    The only exception I will make to this is a series that you started out liking and that’s either gone for so many books that you’re invested in the idea of finishing the series more so than the actual story.

    I think it’s good that you don’t guilt yourself about not finishing series that just aren’t doing it for you. There are too many great books out there! Too much in the TBR pile, so much unread in the world! There’s no time to waste on books that don’t make you happy. 🙂

  16. I love series especially if it’s already completed because that means I don’t have to wait anymore for the next book. LOL.

    Actually, I’m having an issue with one series I started four years ago. It was good and one of my favorite back then but I was only able to read until book 2. I had to wait for the final book for a year but then I already forgot to read it until now. Basically, I don’t know what the story anymore so I lost interest on finishing it. I think I have to read the first two books again just to finish this series.

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