What Makes Me Quit a Book Series

Friday, January 17, 2014

As my most of my bloggy friends and followers know, I rarely DNF books, but I also rarely review entire series on this blog. That's not to say that I don't actually read the entire series most of the time. It's simply indicative of the volume of books that I read and review. However, there are times when I stop reading book series, and while I generally hate to do it, it's also what ends up keeping me sane. 

Over the past four years of book blogging, I've seen the good, the bad and the ugly, and I've learned that there isn't always a ton of merit in forcing yourself to read something your heart and mind just aren't feeling. Take, for example, Sophie Jordan's Firelight series. I absolutely loved the first installment of the series, but I felt that my excitement began to wane after the first series, and I got to a place where I honestly felt almost ambivalent about the book. Does that mean the following books in the series were bad? Heck no. It did, however, mean that I wasn't completely invested in the series anymore, and I doubt that I would be able to objectively read and review the novel after that. 

There are a lot of other factors that will make me discontinue series, as well, though. In the case of The Mortal Instruments series, I enjoyed the setup and the first four novels of the series, but I grew tired of the incessant repetition of the same storyline throughout. In the case of Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush series, I stopped reading after Crescendo because I felt that the characters weren't actually evolving in any good manner. In fact, I felt as though Patch, in particular, was regressing into this shell of what I once really fell for as a character. In terms of the Shiver series by Maggie Stiefvater, I didn't actually read past Linger because even though I felt the second installment was stronger than the first, I still didn't believe the first book actually had to be a lead in to a series.

Generally speaking though, if an author wants to captivate me and keep me invested in a series, this is what I'm always on the lookout for:

  • Consistency throughout - I want to know that while, yes, things are evolving and changing, we're still following the hook and the original characters with whom we first interacted.
  • Growth of the characters - It's great to give us characters that we love in the first installment of a series, but I want to see these characters transform into something bigger, better and more powerful.
  • Reason - This might seem like a confusing one, but it really isn't. I need a reason, or a motivation why this series is continuing, which will be the driving force behind the series.
  • A build in power - It's great to have a solid setup and action in the first book, but if you start well, I want to see each installment get even better and more enticing.
  • Expansion of the plot - There is something to be said for the original plot morphing into something bigger and more "all-encompassing." Raise the stakes, and I'm guaranteed more investment.

I never actually enjoy abandoning book series, and more often than not, I'll give them a go at a later day again, but sometimes it just isn't worth it. Just a few examples of series that have me hooked and kept (or still keep) me reading are the Mara Dyer series by Michelle Hodkin, The Lying Game by Sara Shepard and the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. And, it must be said, the reason I read the entire Redwall series from Brian Jacques long past my youth was simply because it never wavered or faltered, but it continued to deliver the same recipe for success again and again.

What makes you quit a book series and/or what makes you remain invested?

13 comments:

  1. When I read the first book in a new series and it doesn't hook me, most of the time I won't pick up the rest of the books unless I can get it at my library. I have read countless first books that I considered 3 stars and I still haven't picked up the next one.

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    1. Definitely agree with you, Christy. If it doesn't get me from the start, it usually won't get me on the second or third installments.

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  2. I have only read the first book of MANY series. I think I get the feel for the series, and then can recommend it appropriately to my students. I only finish a series if I want to. If I enjoy it enough and want to know what happens. I find, though, that that is happening more and more!

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    1. I know what you mean, Annette! I've kind of become pickier with series, too, because I don't want to commit my time with abandon.

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  3. Well, for starters, if I didn't like the first book but everyone raved about the second one, I probably still wouldn't read it. So I'd quit after book one and not bother with the apparently better numero 2.

    Also, if characters are being completely changed just to suit the story. That bugs me endlessly.

    Aaaand if a love triangle ends up being brought in. That's just ... GOD I HATE IT SO MUCH. Because I get invested in a pairing and then in book two or three BAM, an awesome story gets turned into a love triangle and all focus goes on that. It's so ridiculous. This happened with Shatter Me, but I figure since there's only one book left I may as well just keep reading, if for nothing else than to see how it all ends.

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    1. Oh, I'm right there with you, Allie. Love triangles are pretty much the kiss of death for, simply because they become the entire over-arcing plot!

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  4. all those things mentioned are why I quit them too. I quit two series about the same time and for different reasons. One series , the books there wasn't any growth with the character that I could see. The other was that way too many people to keep track of..But both of these were with the 7th book. I also have become more picky about books , and DNF if I can't get into them. I have also found that 2nd books in series will make or break a series for me to read onward.

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  5. I seem to suffer 2nd book syndrome a lot, sometimes I try again, sometimes not

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  6. This is such a thoughtful post, Melissa! I loved reading your thoughts on what makes you decide to quit on a series. I don't know if this makes me a horrible person, but I often quit on series after the first book! I usually can tell if I liked a story (or a character) (or the lore) enough to continue or even be curious about what happens next. Otherwise, it's an immediate drop for me. I also know that time in between books (usually a year) also diminishes my interest sometimes.

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  7. Wonderful, well thought out post Mel! Like you, I rarely DNF a book but these days I do it more often that not especially when it comes to a series I didn't really enjoy. There's too many awesome books out there to waste time on the ones you won't enjoy.

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  8. I agree with your points completely, Melissa. I've often quit romance series because I lose interest and the plot never seems to go anywhere meaningful. With fantasy books, though, I have a lot more success as there are consistent growth arcs for the characters side-by-side with an engaging plot. Great post! :)

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  9. I agree, Melissa. I also tend to stop with a series when they're getting too long winded and when I feel like the author is stretching out the series on purpose--it just gets so boring!

    Fantastic post, hun! <33

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  10. Great post. Have a great week! =)

    Following you on Bloglovin. Can you please return the favour? =)

    Opinionated Cupcakes


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