How Often Do You Complete Series? My Thoughts On Why it’s Okay to be a Serial Series Quitter.

I was inspired to write about series due to Jackie @ Death by Tsundoku who wrote about the vast number of series we have in progress. She has some neat recommendations as to how to keep on top of reading your series. I especially love the library one. Hitting the library is my go to when I’m uncertain if I want to buy a book or not.

By the way, this Fangirl loves series.

I wanted to start out with a truth that seems at odds with being a serial series quitter. As a reader I love the idea of falling for characters and a world so deeply that I don’t want to leave. A series is an opportunity to go on more than one adventure with them. To learn more about a world that I’ve enjoyed exploring and want to know more about.

So why do I find myself rarely finishing a series?

There are so many brand new books.

Each year hundreds of books come out in our favorite categories and genres with many of them about premises that compel us to want to read them. Many of these are the first books in a series. It’s a cornucopia of the shiny, brand new unknown! I’m even distracted from reading series I want to finish.

And a lack of excitement to explore more.

Did I only tolerate the protagonist? Was the world developed but not enough to leave me with questions? Can I already guess what’s going to happen? Or worse I realize I just don’t care what happens next. I enjoyed the first book for what it was, an introduction. But it didn’t wow me enough to commit to a second book.

Plus there wasn’t enough going on to sustain a series.

There are times when I really love the characters and world but not much happens with them. In other words an idea isn’t substantial enough to span 3 books but it’s pulled into that shape anyway. The thing is I get it. For publishers they need a set number of pages to make a book worth printing. Period. There’s no if ands or buts. If authors want to keep publishing they fit their story to the requirements.

Or the sequel seriously disappointed.

Many sequels are only a bridge between the beginning and the end of a character’s journey. They’re also, many times, the sophomore effort of a new author on their first deadline. This can be a recipe for disaster. A middle story in the hands of a writer who doesn’t have the experience to flesh it out as well as it needs in the time they have. And if the bridge isn’t good… I never make it to the final book.

It’s natural to read a ton of first books. You’re being introduced to characters and their problems. You need to spend time to get to know them. It’s also natural to lose interest in over half of these series as you await sequels and find the idea of returning to that world and character isn’t as compelling as you thought.

I’m okay with being a serial series quitter. Sometimes a world isn’t fascinating enough to need a series. One book is enough.

How often do you Finish series?

24 comments

  1. I love this blogpost! I usually decide after the first book to continue or not. I don’t quit very often in the middle… It just gets me nervous or something? I did quit the Calendar Girl series after 5 or 6 books, I couldn’t do it anymore.

    I didn’t really like the Royals series either, but it was easy to listen to, since I had them as audiobooks… So yeah…

    Thanks for writing this! It really made me think and maybe I should reconsider some of the series I’m reading…

  2. ‘It’s natural to read a ton of first books.’

    Me: *reads book 16, followed by book 5, then book 1*

    Me: *laughs nervously* Yeah, it’s totally natural to read a ton of first books. That is 100% what I do. *shifty glances*

  3. Dani! I thought you’d disappeared from blogging! *hangs head in shame* I’m glad you’re still here and I’ve just been a numpty. 🙂

    I’m not really a series quitter if I love the first couple of books. However, I much prefer reading a series when all books (or most of them) are published so I can just binge it. Because of this, I end up buying books in a series I think I’ll like, as they release, but not reading them until there are quite a few built up (or it’s complete) and then I feel committed to reading them even if I probably wouldn’t have continued because I own them, lol.

  4. I don’t read many series, but when I do, I often find myself buying 2 (or even the whole 3) books at a time if they’re out already. But since I have to be committed and I research all my books thoroughly before I buy them (my library doesn’t have the books in English that I want to read, so that’s not an option, and buy I have to), it wouldn’t make sense for me to only read Book 1 LOL. If I’m committed, I’m committed! and I would hate not to know what happens next anyway.

    • I can see that! I think the commitment, in general, gives people pause about reading a series. Being a committed sort of person is a good thing. I agree wholeheartedly about researching beforehand especially since you’re stuck buying all you read. ♥️

  5. When I first started pleasure reading again, I was reading all my daughter’s books – a lot of SFF stuff = a lot of series. Those were great, because all the books were already published, and I just binged them. Now, though, I don’t want to commit. I found I don’t like waiting for the next book, and often, like you mentioned, by the time the next book comes out, I have lost interest. I have a lot of unfinished series (though not as many as Jackie)

  6. I won’t lie… I haven’t thought much about quitting series until recently. But your post has inspired me! I’ll definitely be going through the series I am in progress with and see if I can whittle down the list based on some of these criteria. You’re right — life is too short to read bad books. Or to plan to read them eventually, even. 😉

    Great post, Dani!

  7. For me, the biggest compalint I have about series is when there isn’t an “end” to a book. So many series have a book that doesn’t seem to have a BOOK plot, just the SERIES plot. (Established authors do this as well as novice ones, so no excuses there.) I think that’s my biggest series pet peeve.

    That said, I do love getting to revisit a world and characters that I’ve already come to love from prior books. I get invested in series, and so am more likely to forgive small annoyances if I’ve read more than just the first book, and will keep going beyond when I would have given up if the book was a standalone.

    • Yeah I agree it’s pretty essential for books to have book plot with series plot just extra. The only exception is probably the final book of a series. Though there needs to be form to that series plot that should still feel like your typical book plot. Great thought Nicole! ♥️

  8. I struggle with finishing YA trilogies. Sometimes I pre-ordered the last book and then let it sit on my shelf for so long I forget the details and end up donating all three books. I well with adult series, UF and SciFi. I have been trying to make it a point to read the last book as soon as it arrives.

  9. I agree with all of these points!! Especially if the story doesn’t really have a lot going for it :< Even if I love the first book though sometimes it's just tiring to continue the series especially if I have forgotten it XD Lovely post Dani!

  10. I think I’ve finished maybe 5 series in my 25 years. I’m also extremely bad at them! The thing that usually makes me discontinue a series is because it takes forever for the next book to come out. Sometimes it takes so long that I don’t even remember what the book was about. There are also so many great books to read that I don’t want to reread a book just so I understand a sequel. AH. So frustrating. Series can be so much fun though! I agree!

    -Amber

    • That’s definitely a reason I could add to my list Amber. I refuse to reread a first book so if the sequel can’t inform me enough to get back into it then I would quit the series. And I also agree about waiting for sequels… it can take so long that I’m not sure I’m excited anymore. 🙈

  11. Not often at all. Yea, sometimes it’s because I don’t want to leave the world either but a lot of times it’s because I get distracted by something new, lol.

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