Discussion: The Pros and Cons of Series

Book series seems to divide readers these days. Some love them, other’s don’t and there are plenty of reasons to support the case for and against a book series. In this discussion, we’ll look at some of the circumstances that may influence a reader’s views on a book series.

Pros

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1. A Complete arc

This is the greatest quality of a series as you can get a full picture of our character’s journey without rushing or forcing any growth or revelations. It gives the author and reader a chance to plant the seed and watch them grow. When you’re dealing with a fantasy, you not only have to think of the characters but also have to take into consideration the universe and the magic systems as well. There’s a lot to be established within the story, and in most cases cannot be successfully done in one book. There’s too much intrigue and any loose threads are frustrating to follow. It is important to note the delicate balance that comes with trying to establish each aspect in a fictional  universe, and the risk is that one element might become irrelevant to the story. However, with a series, at least you get a clear systematic view of the world, its magic system, and the way those dynamics influence our character’s choices and relationships.

2. Perfect Binge Reading Material

This is not true to all series, but some have that addictive binge reading quality that makes a reading experience so immersive, especially when you come face to face with an agonising cliff-hanger – looking at you, Golden Son. – Now, depending on how patient you are, waiting for the series to be complete means that you have the chance to experience the entire journey in one stretch which sometimes makes the experience more raw and emotive. The biggest challenge is avoiding spoilers aka social media, which is not an easy thing to do. Bottom line is, book series are like TV shows in the sense that if the story is compelling enough you could easily find yourself tucked away from the world and bingeing the entire set and then proceed to not know what to do with yourself once you finish.

Cons

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1. Time Consuming

The thing about series is that they are a perfect companion if you have time to spare to commit to them. I don’t know about you guys, but if I start a series, then I have to finish it before moving on to the next book, regardless of how many I have to read to get there. Now, if I could spend my days just reading then I would be in my element. However, that is never the case and you cannot avoid reality. There is also the timing issues. Realistically, it takes a good year or two before the next book is published. Now, if the story was addictive enough you could tolerate that wait knowing that you can get back to the world as soon as humanly possible. However, there are some cases where you’ve started a book series and the next book is pushed back a couple of years or longer. You have to give credit to the authors. They do the best they can with the time they have, but that doesn’t mean they don’t get blocks or lose inspirations, and while some books are worth the wait, others just get sidelined as the readers interest wavers. So, by the time the book comes out the interest you once had in that story is no longer there. At the end of the day, time is valuable and sometimes you’ve got to be ruthless when it comes to the series you decide to read.

2. Exhausting the fictional universe

There is a rising trend in spin-offs. Just to be clear, I love the idea of exploring a different part of the existing universe an author has created. It provides a great opportunity to explore the depths of that world and meet new dynamic characters along the way. However, there comes a point where you get tired of reading about the same world and the same issues and eventually the love you once had for that world slowly fades because you’re just so exhausted by the prospect of reading the same old story. It is especially frustrating when you start these spin-off series expecting to follow the lives of new characters, only to have the established characters take center stage once again. We all want to check in with our favourite characters, and most of the time it makes narrative sense to feature them as secondary characters, but don’t use them to take away from the story or make up for a lack-luster character and plot.

Most binge-worthy series

These series offer a little something different for everyone. The Percy Jackson series is perfect for anyone looking for a fun-filled adventure and mischief, while the Illuminae files amps up the intrigue. A Darker Shade of Magic is one of the most binge-worthy series I’ve read. It has a little bit of everything. The characters are complex and brilliant, while the universe is atmospheric and magical. There is never a dull moment in this series. The Winner’s Trilogy is perhaps the most painful binge-reading session you will ever experience. The angst is unreal, but the connection between Kestrel and Arin keeps you coming back for more. There’s a lot of heartache, deception, and intrigue, but the shining moments come from the character dynamics.

Abandoned Series

These are the only three series that come to mind when it comes to abandoned series. With the Lux series, I feel like I would have enjoyed those books when I was younger, but now I just don’t seem drawn to them at all. When it comes to the Noah Shaw series, this is a case where I feel like the end of the Mara Dyer trilogy was satisfying enough, and while I love Noah Shaw and continue to refer to him as one of my book boyfriends, I didn’t see the need for another series set in the same universe. A lot of you might judge me for abandoning the Infernal Devices, but love triangles, no matter how good they are, are my pet peeve, and in all honesty, I’m just not that interested in the Shadowhunters universe.

Ultimately, there is a lot that can be said about a book series. At times, they can be highly effective and a fully immersive experience, but on the other hand, they are also a very demanding time commitment.

Do you prefer reading a series or standalone novels?
What is your favourite series?
Which series have you abandoned?

 

 

 

17 thoughts on “Discussion: The Pros and Cons of Series

  1. I think there is a fine line with series. The author needs to give all the main characters books, but limit that as well. There does become a point when there are too many books in a series. I also don’t like if a new book has too many updates on old characters and not enough of the new characters’ story. If that makes sense.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That completely makes sense and I feel the exact same way. I love checking in on the old characters, but I don’t want them to overshadow the new characters. I’ve found that I’m a lot pickier when it comes to which series I read now,

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  2. Hmmm…I like series, but they have to be REALLY well done. I mean…REALLY well done. You’re right with the time consuming part, so that’s why I have to really enjoy the world and the characters to get fully into a series. Lately, I prefer standalone’s – as much as I love watching a character’s journey, sometimes I just want that book where I know I will have an END when it’s done.

    Series I’ve abandoned…hmm…The Inheritance series. I loved Paolini’s books, but it should’ve stayed a trilogy. I hated the fourth book – so I dropped it. I also dropped the Raven Cycle. I loved the characters, but the writing threw me off. A lot of people really like it though – I wish I was one of them….I want to get into ToG! I am currently reading “Crooked Kingdom”, which is part of the Six of Crows duology and the Grishaverse. It’s made me want to read the other books in this world.

    Great post darlin’!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a lot pickier with my series now. I use to always buy and read book series, but I’ve found that I prefer standalone and companion novels. Or a duology instead of a trilogy haha.

      Personally, I really loved the Raven Cycle, but I can understand your point about the writing. It is definitely hit or miss with most people.
      I am so excited to hear you’re reading Crooked Kingdom!! That is one of my all-time favourite books. How are you finding it?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post! I definitely agree with all the pros and cons you listed, Lois! I like how the universe and characters can grow in complexity as a series progresses, but in certain cases, it just feels like series drag. Sometimes less is more! 😅 It’s certainly time consuming to read a long series, so I have to be VERY invested in it to want to finish it. Haha.

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  4. This is a great post and I love your pros and cons here! I especially love seeing characters and relationships evolve and grow so much through an entire series, that’s what I love the most about it all. I feel like spending a long journey with them and I adore this ❤
    I understand your thoughts about the Noah Shaw series. I loved the Mara Dyer series and gave the first Noah Shaw book a try, but .. it wasn't the same. It was still good, but I wasn't as into it somehow.

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    1. The journey is the most rewarding part of the series for me. I think my issue with the Noah Shaw books is that I ended the original series content and I fear that this new series will make me not love the character’s as much.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pickier with my series these days. I have to be really invested in a character to continue. I find that I prefer duologies or companion novels these days. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the Shades of Magic series.

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  5. I think I go through phases where I prefer standalones and others when I prefer series. BUT if I had to chose, I would go standalone. There are just so many books out there that I have a hard time committing to a series… and the wait for the sequels is always rough.

    The Shades of Magic series is also one of my favorites!! I have yet to read the Percy Jackson series, but I think I’ll finally pick it up in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I tend to gravitate towards stanalone books these days too, but I love this growing trend of duologies. It’s like the compromise between series and standalones haha.

      Percy Jackson is one series I flew by, it’s so easy to read.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah yeah I really hear you about exhausting the fictional universe- I’m feeling that way about Clare books too. I’m curious enough to finish off her current series (and am actually reading her latest release now) but I already decided before I picked this up this would be the last of her books for me. I want to know what happens, but I’m tired of the recycled characters and stories. Like you said, I think series can be amazing and give a really great complete arc- but I’m realising more as a reader that life is short and I should give up more on series I don’t like 😉

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