Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Sunday Symposium is a weekly feature in which I'll be discussing various bookish topics and asking for your commentary, as well.  This week, let's discuss series:  why some series are easier to finish than others, why it's sometimes better to wait until all the books in a series are released, what series you could read over and over, etc.

I used to be really good about finishing series.  Okay, maybe good isn't the right word for it.  I was obsessive about it.  The same way I was about finishing every book I began reading.  I've started DNFing books that weren't particularly holding my interest, and in a way, that's carried over to the series I've started in the last few years, as well.

That isn't to say that I've lost interest in every series I haven't finished yet.  There are a lot of series ending this year.  Some I finished the minute the books were released (The Clockwork Princess)...or earlier if I had a review copy of the final book (Requiem).  But therein lies the problem.  My review books are taking priority these days, so if I haven't specifically fit a book -- whether it be a finale or not -- into my reading schedule, it likely won't get read for awhile.  Unless I download the audiobook.  I've been doing that for a lot of books (finales included) that I just don't have time for.

But I've really got to stop doing that, especially when I already own the book.  Because more often than not, there's a reason I've been putting off that final book, and I don't just mean time constraints.  Look at Lauren Kate's Rapture.  I knew that series was...less-than-stellar.  But I own signed copies of all four books.  It took me forever for my curiosity to get the best of me, and even so, I didn't break down and read the book on my shelf.  No, I downloaded the audio from Audible without checking who the narrator was.  Big mistake.  The book wasn't good on its own, but add a terrible narrator into the mix, and it was doomed to fail.  It took me four attempts to get all the way through it.  (I've since barred myself from any audio featuring this narrator.)  And after all that, I couldn't even bring myself to review it.  Not even to rant about it.  That's saying a lot.  And so you might understand why I'm hesitant to read the finale for that other angel series.  There are a million good reasons not to finish that particular series, and yet, I know my curiosity will get the better of me and I'll give in to temptation, no matter how wrong it is.  If it weren't for Angelfall, I think I'd give up on [fallen] angel books completely.

But it's not just angel-themed series that I haven't finished yet.  Sometimes, I start a book without realizing it's the first in a series.  (I'm looking at you, I am Number Four.)  Sometimes I start a series just to pass the time until something better comes along.  (It's me, not you, The Maze Runner.)  Don't know you've done this, too.  ;0)

On the other hand, there are series that I will devour the minute I get my hands on each book.  I couldn't wait a minute longer to read The Bitter Kingdom, for instance.  Now that was an epic finale.  Well worth the wait, I might add.  Though, it would have caused me less heartache to have waited until that entire series had been released before diving in.  I mean, I read the first book only a couple of months before the second was released.  Another year wouldn't have been asking too much, but I'm weak.  So very weak.

The one series, though, that I could read again and again is Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.  Not only are those some great fantasy books, but they bring back good memories.  First, unlike so many YA enthusiasts these days, I cannot boast that the Twilight series was the one that got me back to my reading roots.  Nope.  For me, that all started with The Golden Compass.  I started it when I was pregnant with my daughter, and I ended up giving that copy to my older sister and buying the omnibus that contained all three books.  I remember going to one of my "treatments" at the end -- there were complications -- and having to lie there for an hour at a time, and one of the nurses remarked that "that's an awfully big book".  Um, yeah.

I have a love/hate relationship with series these days.  I love finding great new series, but I also hate the waiting in between books and the feeling of obligation to finish each one I start.  That's another thing I'm working on.  And I might be giving away a couple of the completed series mentioned in this post, even though I haven't finished them myself.  If I get that curious, I can always download the audio, right?  ;-)

Here are some of the series on my shelves right now...

Completely finished and completely unread...don't ask:

Finished series that I'm behind on (read: waivering on completing):

There are more to add to both of those lists, and I wanted to list all the series that I plan on completing this year, but it's getting late, I meant to have this post up this morning, and I'm still recovering from a cold or whatever my daughter passed to me, so this will have to be enough for now.  :-P  Plus, you probably don't need to know how neurotic I can be.  I am such a list-maker.  =)

So, how do you feel about series?  Any that you just can't make yourself finish?  How about those that you wish you would have waited to read?  And best of all, which series could you re-read, no matter how many times you've read it before?

Any and all commentary, chastising, and public flogging is welcome, as per usual.  And thanks for stopping by!  Also, be sure to check out Let's Discuss to find more bookish discussions all over the interwebz!


  1. This is great feature. I could re-read the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy and succubus series, Amelia Atwater Rhodes' Shapeshifter series. I'm discovering as I type I have plenty of series I'd jump back into. Plenty I've quit on too. Waiting on a book in a series is rough. It's hard on the authors too. They (myself included) have to be eager to give their fans what they want, but writing, editing, and the rest of the publishing machine takes time. But a year of staring at a finished cover and title and teaser line, but no book...grrh!

    1. I loved VA and am having a lot of fun with the spin-off, too. Haven't read Mead's Succubus series, but I did enjoy the Dark Swan books. I'm actually not that big of a re-reader these days, but even less so when it comes to series. :(

  2. Great post!

    I also have a love/ hate relationship with series these days. It feels like everything is part of a trilogy these days and it's starting to drive me batty. Part of me loves them if I get attached enough to the characters but another part of me hates knowing how long it will take to complete a story. GAH.

    It's even starting to feel like you are required to read certain series since Hollywood has become dependent on series for their blockbusters. Believe me, I really liked Divergent and Insurgent, can't wait for Veronica Roth's next book but GEEZ that made a movie fast.

    I'm kind of over series. I'm to the point where I will probably only start a series if it's written by an author I already love (Like the Shades of London Series by Marueen Johnson or The Diviners by Libba Bray). If it's not an author I already love... I'll try to steer clear.

    Great post!


    1. I know...I'm really starting to appreciate stand-alones and even duologies. Not every story needs three books to be told properly!

      Oh, The Diviners was such a good book. I would have started that series based on the material alone, even if I hadn't already loved the Gemma Doyle series. Libba Bray can be long-winded, but I have no problem with long books when they're that fabulous.

  3. Nice post! Honestly I'm exactly the same way.
    Most of the time I get tired of a series, especially if there are a ridiculous number of books and the story line isn't getting any better. In those cases, I just don't bother because there are so many other books I want to get my hands on.
    Sometimes though, I actually forget about a series even if it's one I love - I think it's mostly when I buy the first book when it comes out and then have to wait a year for the next. I just get caught up in the books coming out.
    Now I just try not to get to into a series if I don't full on adore the first book. In my own experience, if I don't like the first book then I'm not going to like the second or third.
    I also started to do a series spotlight over on the blog to help me finish some series once and for all. I just read the entire series in one go if all the books are out and review them all at once - helps a lot.


    1. I think my lackluster feelings towards series are for that very reason...the issue of waiting a year between books. First, I'm impatient and I hate waiting. Second, I forget A LOT in that year's time. And I don't have time for re-reads for the most part.

      Agreed, if I didn't love the first book, I rarely consider picking up subsequent installments.

  4. Hey there! Thanks for linking up to Let's Discuss :)

    I'm absolutely terrible about finishing series. I used to be a lot better, but that was back when I wasn't reading nearly as much, so I didn't get distracted by other series along the way. I remember when I was waiting for the Harry Potter books, they were like the only big lights on my horizon. I'd read another stand alone here or there, but Harry Potter was what I was really waiting for. And it's just not like that anymore because I'm always searching out what else is out there - so now I regularly have at least 6-7 books out on that horizon that I'm equally excited about. I think that has a lot to do with it because it adds competition - and of course I'm going to prioritize based on which one I enjoy the most! So sometimes the series end up falling off the horizon... :)

    1. I used to be better, too, before this whole blogging thing kind of consumed me. :P I was fortunate enough to read HP after all of the books were released. Actually picked up the whole set in HC for like $40 at HPB. :)

  5. Series are definitely hit or miss for me. I grew up reading series like the Baby-Sitter's Club and Sweet Valley High, but those books are all basically stand alones and a new one seemed to always be getting released. I hated I am Number Four and Matched am completely fine not knowing how those series ends. Lately I am more hesitant to pick up a book if I know it is part of a series. I've been reading the Divergent series as it gets released and know I will pick up the final one. I liked Pivot Point, the Raven Boys and Mind Games and am excited for the second books for those series to come out. My re-readers as far as series are The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. The HP series is perfect on audio. I've listened to the set of books a couple of times in my car. It makes the commute much easier. Great post!

    1. See, that's always been another problem of mine...not knowing how they ended and my curiosity being what it is, I can't have that. Except these days, it's a little easier to forget and let go of series that just aren't doing it for me. Yep, I've re-read THG and HP...those are great on audio. :)

  6. I was actually going to do a post sort of about the same thing. I have a serious problem with losing interest in a series while waiting for the next book. I have dropped so many series because when I get the next book I just have no desire to read it and can't get back into the world. I think it might be because before I was a blogger I would get an entire series and read all the books back to back. But now I get ARCs and stuff and so a year and a half later when the next book comes out I have lost interest.

    1. I agree with every sentiment in your comment. Getting review copies has really changed how I read, especially when it comes to series. And that whole waiting a year or more between books kills me...and I forget so much that often I can't remember why I wanted to read the sequel in the first place.

  7. Oh my god. I am DYING to read The Bitter Kingdom!! I am so jealous you've read it already o_o I finished book two the other week and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

    As for series, well I waited to start reading Bloodlines by Richelle Mead until more books were published because I wanted to be able to read the next book in the series as soon as I wanted. Sometimes I do that with series (Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Divergent...).

    Other times I need to read them as soon as I get my hands on them (Blood of Eden series, Across the Universe series, Under the Never Sky).

    But I also own a few series that I haven't even started because I keep pushing it down my list for no reason... (City of Bones, Partials by Dan Wells, Covenants series by J L Armentrout etc)

    All in all I always plan to finish a series once I've started it. Unless it was super bad (Like Fallen by Lauren Kate, I don't know how you're still reading that series o_o, The house of the Night series, and I also got bored with Bluebloods but not because it was bad, rather because I just did not care for any of the characters).

    1. That's a great method for approaching series...I just wish I had the patience for it. Lol. I've always got grabby hands for books, so I usually read them as soon as I can get my hands on them and then die waiting on the next book's release.

      I haven't read ANYTHING by JLA yet. But I started The Mortal Instruments series back when it was only supposed to be three books and they were already out. Imagine my disappointment when the other three books were announced. Grrr.

      Ha, I don't know how I finished the Fallen series either. Maybe it's because I've met the author and she was really nice and local to my area. But there was nothing saving that last book. Gah. HON was TERRIBLE. I didn't make it past the first book. It really hurts a book when none of the characters are even remotely likable.


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