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?