Series reading: Is it worth it to you?
Series reading can be a wonderful thing, but sometimes it can become a pain in the butt. As we all know most series have a huge world built and if you pick up a book in the middle of the series you’re just out of luck at knowing what is really going on. I have seen many readers end up hating an author and a series because of this. I feel, as a reader, you are responsible for making the decision as to whether a book can be read out of order. With places like Goodreads and Shelfari, there is no excuse. Check the book out before you buy it. Heck, I have even asked my friends on Goodreads to make sure a book can be read as a standalone before jumping in. I’m one of those who is OCD when it comes to reading books in order. I have to know where every character comes in and why. An author can say that their book can be read as a standalone and I can still pick at it to death knowing the whole time I shouldn’t have listened, and should have started at book one. I learned my lesson about this pretty quickly. I believe that paranormal romance series tend to focus more on world building than other romance sub-genres, so that can be one of my downfalls.
One thing I love about reading series is being able to get to know the characters and watching them grow through each book. I feel like I really get to know them before they appear in their own book. I also love it when something is not completely explained in one book, but the next book clears everything up. Sometime you can even tell that the author was surprised at how it all turned out.
I know some authors will write a series as standalones, but most don’t. The reason is most of the time authors write things that have not been completely plotted out. As a result they too get shocked at how the story takes a life of it own and grows before their eyes in directions they never suspected. Therefore, it becomes necessary to read several books before something of major importance is opened up and settled. I have seen this in several great authors’ writings, but this can be a problem to readers because they have to keep buying in order to keep up. Odds are, if you’re like me, you have so many series going that you can no longer keep up. So, you end up either letting some fall by the way side or just give up on finishing that series.
Sometime when you are reading a series you find yourself anxiously waiting for the next book only to be disappointed when it never arrives. Why does this happen? Usually the explanation for this is either the author's inspiration disappears or the publisher quits the series because of sales. I really hate it when this happens and it is happening more and more these days. What kills me the most is some authors will just leave you hanging and never admit what really happened. I have never understood why they can’t just write a simple statement saying what really happened. If the series is cut by the publisher the author has other avenues they can pursue in order to keep writing. Sometimes they just need a little encouragement to try non-traditional means of publishing. This is again where a reader can promote the series like crazy before it gets the plug pulled. If the plug gets pulled, by all means email the author and see if you can encourage them to indie publish or at least try a smaller press. One thing I have learned is it never hurts to ask.
Repetition is another thing that can happen in a series. I know I’m not the only one that has to quit a series because each book seemed too similar to the previous one or the similarities were so close they were uncanny. Usually when this happens I feel like I got ripped off because as I read I feel like only the hero and heroine's names have changed, but nothing else.
Villains can be a real problem too. I know we can all admit to this one. We get sick and tired of the same villain after… let's say fifteen freaking books. I can hear everyone now because even I’m screaming, “Come on! Let’s get the villain over and done with already!” I’ve learned to look at it this way, if the villain is still around after the fourth hero, then the heroes were no real heroes… Period. So please find a way to get rid of the same old villain and develop new ones.
I wonder if any of you have ever done this before? You find you’re so far behind in the series that you get desperate. You want to know what’s going on so you just go and grab the newest release and start reading it. Oh my, that was so not fun. LOL. I did that once and found out it never pays off. I ended up more mad then when I started. So then I have to quit the book and go back to where I left off.
I'll admit I love reading series, but it has taken a toll on me, so much so that even I’m in series crisis. It has gotten so bad lately that I’m selling my series because I don’t want to bother with keeping up with them anymore. I have several that I can’t even get back into because either 1.) I'm short on money 2.) I can’t buy the ones I am missing or 3.) I am so far behind that I don’t even want to bother at this point anymore.
So what do you think? Is reading a series in order worth it to you?