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.