Thursday, June 16, 2016

Discussion: I’m A Series Hater

Feed Your Fiction Addiction and It Starts At Midnight host the 2016 Discussion Challenge.

Whenever I’m looking at the New Releases lists on Goodreads, I find myself scrolling past any book that’s part of a series. I never stop to read the synopsis, no matter how intriguing the title and cover are. If I come across an interesting book on a blog, it’ll automatically go in the “No” pile if it’s part of a series.

That's right. I’m a series hater.

I don’t like book series. Even as a kid, I didn’t like them. (Well, except Harry Potter, but those books seem to be the exception to every rule.) Before you come after me with torches and pitchforks, let me explain my reasons for avoiding series:

I don’t have a series-length attention span. I usually get bored with reading about the same characters, problems, and worlds. 
The books take too long to come out. If I’m going to read a series, I usually wait years for all of the books to be released, then I buy a boxset and marathon it. If I read the books as they come out, I usually forget important details while I’m waiting for the next book. I always feel like I have to reread the old books before reading the new one. I don’t have a lot of time for rereading.

“Bridge books” and “middle book syndrome.” Series often start and end strongly, but the middle books are kind of “Meh.” They’re just a bridge between the beginning and the end. I’d rather spend my time reading a strong standalone than a so-so middle book. 
Disappointing finales. If I spend a ton of time reading a series, I will have huge expectations for the finale. I’m often disappointed. Series have so many plot threads that it can be difficult for an author to wrap them all up. Also, some authors are so desperate to give all of their characters a happily ever after that the finale falls flat. 
My TBR is already too big. I have so many books that I need to read. My TBR will be out of control if I start adding whole series to it. 
Some authors don’t know when to quit. Some series don’t have a finale. The author just keeps going until the series is huge. If the books decline in quality, it can impact my feelings about the beginning of the series. 
It’s hard to review a series without spoilers. This is a petty reason for not reading something, but I like writing book reviews. It’s very difficult to review books #2+ in a series without spoiling earlier books in the series.

Even though I have a lot of reasons for disliking series, I’ve recently been reconsidering my series-hating ways. This year, I marathoned Neal Shusterman’s Unwind books and had a lot of fun reading them. I liked the sense of anticipation that the series created. I looked forward to reading those books more than I looked forward to reading all of the standalones on my TBR shelf. I also read the series a lot faster than I’d read a standalone because I was invested in the characters and the world.

Over the past few years, I’ve enjoyed two other books that were book #1 in a series. I didn’t know that they were part of a series when I started them, but now that I know, I’m interested to see what happens to the characters next. There’s something comforting about being back in a bookish universe that I know I like.

All of this reconsidering has made me wonder if there are awesome series that I’m missing out on. I’ve looked on Goodreads, but there are so many series that I don’t know where to start.

So, I’m asking for your help. What are your favorite series?

Let’s discuss: Are you a series lover or a series hater? What do you love or hate about reading a series?


  1. I am not super into series. I don't mind a duology or maybe a trilogy but I have found I lose interest in series if any longer than that. I agree about the wait times too. I do like kind of companion type novels where it is the same universe but a whole different story not a continuation. Great post!

  2. I'm ambivalent. I can read series or not, it only depends on their content. But I'll admit that - like you - I prefer to wait till all the books have come out...
    Do you take recs of older series too? I loved:

    Dark Passages by Ilsa J. Bick (though it's not for everyone...but I loved it to bits):
    It's only made of 2 books, too - though they are rather thick. Multiverse, metafiction and more!

    Cold Awakening by Robin Wasserman (3 books):
    Thought-provoking and full of action sci-fi.

    Thirst by Christopher Pike:
    The mother of all modern vampires. I'm not into vampires usually, but this one is peculiar. Five books so far, the last (or second to last, Pike is not sure) coming in August or September.

    There are others, but not all their books are out yet, so you would have to wait for the next installment(s) LOL.

  3. I LOVE series! I hate character development and backstory, and sequels have a lot less of that. Once I know characters, I am invested and want to know more about them. Some of my favorite series right now are: Harry Potter (of course), The Lunar Chronicles, The Selection, and The Naturals.

  4. Some series I enjoyed that are COMPLETE (I have listed the first book):
    Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
    Gregor the Underlander by Suzanne Collins
    Slow Dance in Purgatory (a duology) by Amy Harmon
    The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
    Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
    After the End (a duology) by Amy Plum
    Die for Me by Amy Plum
    The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson) by Rick Riordan
    Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
    The Burning Sky by Sherry Thomas
    Paranormalcy by Kiersten White

    (Note: being a chronic series dropper, I haven't necessarily read all the books in each series)

    Most Recent Post: Critical Elements in Designing a Post Index?

  5. I actually love series, but some of those points are true. Sometimes I wait so long for the next book that I forget about the previous book. Thankfully, there are some blogs that post recaps so I don't have to reread the previous books again. Also yes, marathoning series sounds like a good idea. Right now I'm marathining the Lunar Chronicles series and I'm happy that I dont't have to wait a year to read the second book xD
    If you need recs, here's some of my favorite series : Percy Jackson, The Infernal Devices, The Winner's trilogy, the Legend trilogy

  6. Noooo! I love series so much! But I can totally see what you mean with a lot of these, especially middle books. So often the middle book is just awful, but every now and then there's a really great one that's EVEN BETTER than the first! A few examples that come immediately to mind are ACOTAR, The Madman's Daughter trilogy, and The Remnant Chronicles. Each of the middle books in those series were fantastic and totally surprised me! I definitely do prefer to read all the books at once though because waiting a year or longer for each book to be released is torture!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  7. I generally read series in mystery. One of my favourites is Bruno, Chief of Police set in southern France.

  8. I'm definitely a big fan of standalones--I like falling into a world and its characters for a short time, and then having everything wrapped up neatly, able to be returned to or left alone as interest commands.
    I do like a lot of series though... My main problem with them is when the first book is mildly fun and then ends on a cliffhanger, and it wasn't really good enough to read any more books about it, but then you have to live with never really knowing what happened... That's my main problem with series :)
    A few that have been really worth the read, though, would be the Westmark trilogy by Lloyd Alexander (technically a middle-grade series, they're a pretty dark look at the realities of war--and kinda awesome for that), the Knight and Rogue books by Hilari Bell (six books, only one cliffhanger ending that I remember, really fun fantasy adventures), and the Queen's Thief books by Megan Whelan Turner. They're a bit less of a series than a conglomeration of stories in the same world, concerning the same characters, and don't really need to be read in order :)

  9. I DO like series!! I have a ton of favourites that I would probably be dead without. <33 Plus most YA books seem to be part of series these days?! Buuuut, I actually agree with a LOT of your negatives. *sigh* I hate that I always have to wait a year and then I forget JUST BASICALLY EVERYTHING. And who has time to reread??? Not me. I also hate middle-book-blues. So boring. And series finales? I procrastinate them because it's actually kind of rare for me to be fully happy with an ending!! GAH. So series are very tricky beasts. XD

    Some of my favourite series? ohhhh definitely The Raven Cycle, The Half Lost trilogy, Percy Jackson, The Mortal Instruments, and The Demon King series! (Although I'm cheating for that one because I haven't finished it yet. šŸ˜‚)

  10. Haha. Love this post. While I don't hate series, I hate how long it takes them to come out. I've gotten to where I *try* to wait until all the books are out before picking the first one up. It sometimes works, it sometimes doesn't. I wish publishers would wait until the author writes all of the books in the series (if it's only a 2-4 book one) before publishing them within months of each other versus years. It would make my life so much easier!

    Great discussion post!

    Rachelle @ Shell's Stories

  11. I actually love series, but all the things you've listed are definitely things that do really annoy me when I'm reading them. I hate when they have disappointing endings when you've invested so much time in them, and I have read a lot of series where they have that 'saggy middle', where the middle books just seem like filler.
    I think the thing that I love so much about series though is getting more of characters I've really liked. Liking the characters is probably the main reason why I will go on to read the rest of a series once i've read the first book, so there are a fair few series I've abandoned when I just didn't connect with the characters.

  12. Well, I love series but you've just revealed all the stuff I secretly DON'T like about series. I agree, they can be frustrating when not done well, but here are some series that I love:

    The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

    The John Clever series (book 1 being I Am Not a Serial Killer) by Dan Wells

    Just One Day/Just One Year duology by Gayle Forman

    Unwind is also another one of my favorites but you already mentioned reading it. Glad you enjoyed it!

  13. I tend to enjoy series, but the middle-book syndrome is so true! I often research the length of a book series before I read the first one to ease my suspicions that I'll get invested in a series with this issue.

    Wren @

  14. It seems like almost all the books I'm really interested in are part of a series, so I can't seem to avoid them. But I definitely get frustrated by all of the things you mentioned in this post sometimes.

    You already read my very favorite series (yay for Unwind!), but here are a couple other finished series I've really enjoyed -
    The Starbound Series by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
    His Fair Assassin Trilogy by Robin LaFevers

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  15. I almost only read series, but I definitely see your points as true. I like to get REALLY attached to characters and it usually takes me a couple books to do that. I like to start series when at least a few installments are out and I often drop series 5 or 6 installments in (especially if I have to wait for them). Here are a couple series that I think avoid "middle syndrome" and have a several installments out:

    Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews
    Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones
    Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson (I've only read the first 3 originals)
    Seven Realms by Cinda Williams Chima
    White Trash Zombie by Dianna Rowland
    Guards of the Shadowlands by Sarah Fine
    The Others by Anne Bishop
    Imp by Debra Dunbar (this one is really dark, but really funny)
    The Lotus War by Jay Kristoff
    Blackthorn and Grimm by Juliet Marillier (only 2 books out)

  16. I am definitely disinclined to read book series...I agree with a lot of your points, especially "middle book syndrome"! This is a really interesting topic that I wouldn't have really thought about.