Monday, March 09, 2009

Series or No?

This past year, I’ve found myself reading a lot of series, especially paranormal ones. J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Jacqueline Frank, Twilight, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunters. Most recently, I’m hooked on Lara Adrian’s Breed series, featuring a set of hard-ass vampire warriors at odds with the rest of the vampire race.

I’ve noticed that the series I’m drawn to are the type where each book could stand alone if it had to. Each installment features a different couple finding their happily ever after. Though one common theme or conflict might arc over the entire set, each one has a unique problem to be solved in the course of one book. I did avoid the Dark-Hunter books for a long time, because there were so many of them. But found that to be a good thing once I started, because then I didn't have to wait months for the next one to come out. :)

There is another type of series that features one couple over the course of several books, finding their happily ever after and facing whatever major conflict overrides the series, along with smaller conflicts during each installment. My sister is currently raving over the Karen Marie Moning Fever series, which is set up this way. But I find myself reluctant to read them. I have a hard enough time making it through one book. 1. Because I’m impatient. 2. Because I have little reading time. It is hard enough to get through a single title, much less 4 or 5 to find out what happens in the end. The Twilight series was set up this way, and I admit I postponed starting them because the books were long and I knew I wouldn’t want to stop until I reach the end of #4.

Do you have a preference for the kind of series books you prefer? What is the most memorable that you’ve read?



Problem Child said...

I'm not one for series, really, mainly because I prefer instant gratification. I don't want to wait for four or five books in order to get the story resolved. And a lot of series have the annoying problem of falling apart mid-way through -- book four will suck and I will still have to read five and six in order to find out how the thing ends. (Or, as in the case of one series I was reading, the author died after book three. A ghostwriter tried to finish it off, but it just felt wrong.)

I do like connected books, like family sagas, where each book is a complete story on its own, but characters reoccur. It gives me a chance to "visit" with characters I love and "check in" on their lives, but if I don't want to read the next book for whatever reason, it doesn't diminish my love of the other books.

Instigator said...

I've read some of both type and...I really don't have a problem with either. Although, if I had PC's situation with the series ending with a ghost writer I might feel differently.

I do love the family sagas though - being able to revisit old friends.


Playground Monitor said...

I guess it depends on the author. If it's a favorite one and she writes a series, I'll read it. But it can be frustrating to wait for that final book.

Back when I was reviewing books, I took on a Silhouette Desire continuity. It was 12 months long, but I'd decided I was going to review every one of the books. I think I only did it that once.

I do like connected books -- maybe 3 books that tell the stories of 3 siblings. There's no mystery to be solved so even if you miss a book, you're not out of the loop.

Lately I just wish I had time to read something more than nutrition labels on food items.

Darling Geek said...

I read trilogies of trilogies, but I always had a flare for the epic.

Christine said...

I've always loved trilogies. And I grew up chomping on series like Wiz of Oz, Black Beauty and an English set of kids (can't remember them for the life of me). I like getting to know the characters and staying with them.

Twilight was good, but it annoyed me as well. Still, I was hooked.

Now I read a lot of my daughter's YA series books... and drool and dream about hooking a teen girl. They are a force!

Kathy said...

Joanna Lindsay wrote about the Mallory family. Each book stands alone and I think you can read them out of order and have just as much fun. Many other authors do an outstanding job with this.

I don't have a problem with either kind of series. But I do have to admit, I like getting that HEA with each book. I'm still trying to find time to finish Eclipse so I can get to Breaking Dawn. ;)

Were I to write a series, I would write the kind that stand alone but follow other characters who lead the reader on to the next book.

Anonymous said...

Not a big fan of series unless the books are back to back and not waiting months on end.

Smarty Pants said...

I don't mind a series, but yes, if its multiple books just for one HEA, I get frustrated. If the Twilight Saga had not been complete so I could read it all at once, I would've flipped out. I cannot, will not wait a year to find out what happens. I can't take it. Besides that, I'm lucky if I can get one book read, much less 3 or 4.

Sherry Werth said...

I'm not a big fan of series but love the family sagas. Finding out how the previous H & H are doing is like hearing from old friends but each book has its own story.
The Wallflower series by Lisa Kleypas is one of my newer favorites and since I've never gotten over Wolf MacKenzie..Linda Howards Mackenzie series is one of my all time favorites.

Maven Linda said...

I can wait for books (Harry Pottery) but I like for a series to have a definite arc. I lose interest in the on-going series after a while, except for a few very good ones: Sookie Stackhouse, Eve Dallas, the Fae Fever books, as an example -- and the Fae Fever books, I think, have a 5-book arc. They are indeed very good. I don't know how long Sookie Stackhouse and Eve Dallas will go on, but I'll probably keep reading hem forever -- unless Eric dies, or Roarke dies, in which case I'll stop reading them :-). I can also stay with the Stephanie Plum series, because I don't expect anything from them except Stephanie remaining Stephanie.

Others -- the on-going series with no end in sight -- eventually lose their magic for me.

Angel said...

I don't necessarily need an end to the series in sight, unless it is one of the series that don't stand alone. Like reading the Twilight books. I knew there were four. I liked that.

Guess I like to come to series late in the game, then I don't have to wait for the next book to come out, as I mentioned. Luckily for me, my sister collects several series (like the Kenyon books) and I can borrow a few, then a few more when I finish those. :) I don't have to hunt them down. Lazy of me, I know.

And I do worry about getting sucked into a series really early, because I'm afraid the publisher will kill them for some reason before the author is allowed to finish.


Liza said...

I love reading books in a series. I like the on-going connection between the characters. I love the JR Ward books, and the Sherrilyn Kenyon books. I did find Sherrilyn's books when all but 2 or 3 of the new ones were out. I think I read 17 books in one month to catch up and loved it.

The In Death series by JD Robb is probably my favorite ever. I love Eve Dallas and Roarke and the fact that they grow in every novel.

Anonymous said...

I love series books, have really really enjoyed The Virgin River Books by Robyn Carr and Susan Mallery's Buchanans, Sweet Series and Marcellis.

Pat L.