When I was in middle school and high school, I finished just about every book series I started reading. Unless I was seriously bored by a first or second book, I don’t think it even often occurred to me to stop reading a series intentionally. Now, I make the choice to stop reading a lot, while for other series, I do actually intend to keep going…but just never get around to reading the other books. So what changed?
When I was a kid living at home, I had limited funds to purchase books and could only get to the library when someone was willing to drive me. That meant, when I did get to the library, I often checked out most of a series at once, so I wouldn’t have to wait weeks to finish it up if I really liked it. Now, I have the ability to buy books with my own money and the freedom to walk to the library whenever I want. I also have an e-reader and can get new books, or e-loans from the library, without leaving my house at all. I have options in reading and don’t have to stick with a series that’s just alright simply because I have nothing else around that I can read.
Sometimes, I do really like a book and am looking forward to the sequels…but they’re not out yet. Maybe a year passes until the publication of book two, but I didn’t love the first book quite enough to purchase the second in hardcover, and the library doesn’t have it. So more time passes. And I find other books I’m more excited about and read those, and suddenly I can barely remember what happened in book one and I’m just not into finishing the series anymore.
EVERYTHING Is a Series
It seems as if everything, at least in the young adult and middle grade market, is a series. I have neither the time nor the money to be reading two hundred different book series at once, so if something doesn’t hook me, I stop. Other times, I just think a book is such a great standalone that I don’t want to read the rest of the series. I don’t want the story to be ruined or unnecessarily dragged out, so I stick my head in the sand and pretend the sequels don’t actually exist.
Series I Couldn’t Put Down
- The Anne of Green Gables series
- The Books of Bayern
- The Chronicles of Narnia
- The Graceling Realm
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Lunar Chronicles
- The Mysterious Benedict Society
- The Song of the Lioness
Series I Meant to Finish But Haven’t
- The Grisha Trilogy
- The Newsoul series
- His Fair Assassin
- River of Time
Series I Gave Up On
- Artemis Fowl
- The Divergent Trilogy
- Falling Kingdoms
- The Matched Trilogy
- The Lorien Legacies
- A Wrinkle in Time
21 thoughts on “Discussion Post: What Makes You Finish (or Give Up On) a Series?”
Honest there was only one series I gave up on because I hated the first book… There has been cases though that I lost track or didn’t know there was a sequel, so I do a reread and try to finish it. I feel committed even if I don’t like the series that much *cough cough* The Mortal Instrument Series .
I loved The Song of the Lioness too!
Oh, yes, I actually gave up on The Infernal Devices after the first book. I’ve heard mixed things about whether The Mortal Instrument series is better or worse, but so far I’ve just steered clear.
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They were too predictable for m if you know how to read the clues. Which got annoying because there were no real plot twists for me in the first 3. I do like a few of the characters, so I guess that is why I want to finish them…
Hi, I had the same experience as you with Artemis Fowl, although my young son loved them, so perhaps Colfer appealed to his target audience. On the other hand, I loved the Harry Potter series and couldn’t wait to get to the shop on each release day.
I loved Anne of Green Gables too, and as there were so many in the series, it speaks a lot for LMM.
Weirdly, I enjoyed the first Artemis Fowl book enough that I went out and bought the next two…and then proceeded to never, ever read them. I finally donated them about a year ago. Somehow my interest really waned between reading that book and buying more of the series!
I think it’s frustrating as a reader when you can feel a series becoming stretched out, for almost no reason, you know? It just feels like it goes on and on.. and I like to keep sight of what the protagonist is reaching for rather than a new problem each week.
I felt that way about the Morganville Vampires.. it just began feeling directionless to me. House of Night too.
Also, I think when a series starts getting longer it can harder to keep track of what happened in previous books. So that factors in some of the reasons why I give up on a series.
I used to reread all the previous books in a series when the next one came out. Then everything became a series and that was no longer possible. I have resigned myself to reading without fully knowing what is happening or who the characters are which is, i think, a little sad!
Same here! I kind of miss the excitement of rereading a whole series just to refresh my mind, but it’s so impractical anymore.
Yes, if enough time passes between the time I read one book and the time I get to the next in the series, it becomes a bit frustrating to have to deal with remembering what was going on, and I just don’t have time to reread everything I would like to anymore.
I agree about series being stretched out. I just read PERFECT RUIN by Lauren DeStefano yesterday and think it’s a perfect example. It doesn’t read like a story. It reads like the opening scene to a story that got stretched over 300 pages. The pacing is incredibly slow, and I won’t be reading the other books. The series even comes with novellas, which is baffling to me, Three hundred pages of nothing happening and there was enough information left out to write a novella???
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It takes something really special for me to want to read novella add-ons for a series. It’s almost like ‘deleted scenes’ on a DVD.. xD
The main reason I stop reading a series is because I start reading it before it’s published and just forget to make it to the others. I’ll stop on purpose if I dislike the first book too.
I’d highly recommend getting the rest of the His Fair Assassin trilogy if you liked the first one, because I found most of the same things to love about the other two books in the series 🙂
Yes, I have a lot of series I kind of, sort of wanted to continue reading that just ending up fading away from me. I always think “someday!” 🙂
I actually read the second book in the trilogy and didn’t like it nearly as much as the first, which I think is what’s holding me back from reading the third book. I don’t know if I’ll like it or not, now.
I only read the first book in the trilogy because I didn’t like it, so I guess at least you got farther than I did!
Two primary things make me give up on a series. The characters are unlikable and unsympathetic. The story seems to have no redeeming qualities. Game of Thrones I’m looking in your direction.
Also, if the characters or story fall flat for me, I probably won’t consider going further in the series. That’s sort of what happened with the Divergent trilogy. The first book wasn’t a bad read but I just never felt the desire to go on with the story.
Haha, I read A Game of Thrones and stopped there. A great example of a series that just moves really, really slowly. I can see why the TV show is popular, since it picks up the pacing a bit!
Yes, I like Divergent but thought Insurgent was definitely a step down. I tried reading Allegiant and only made it a few chapters in before I quit. The writing itself was just really bothering me. I think Divergent would have been great as a standalone.
I only read Divergent, as well. I thought I was the only one! I thought it was an all right read, but I never understood why it became so popular. The movie was pretty good, though. I would watch Insurgent, though I wouldn’t read it.
I have so many series I’m in the middle of reading and I’m not sure what to do about them. His Fair Assassin is one where I loved the first book, was meh on the second, and now I’m not sure if I want to read the third. I probably will, but it’s not a priority. The Grisha trilogy is another. I read and loved the first book, then put off reading the second until the third came out because of rumored cliffhangers. But, now that the third is out, I still haven’t picked them up. I feel like I’d need to reread the first book, and I think I’ve changed enough as a reader that I’m not sure I’d love the series the same way now as I would have when the first originally came out.
I like series like The Penderwicks where you don’t need to have a 100% recall on the events of the previous book in order to appreciate the next in the series. I feel like I didn’t love Heir of Fire as much as I could have because I had forgotten too much and the momentum had stalled. I think from here on out I really want to try not to start a series until everything has been published.
I’m in so many series right now that if I don’t love a book, the others simply have to go on hold. I might get to them in a couple of years or I might not.
I’ve thought about waiting for a series to be out before, as I know people who do that, so they can enjoy everything at once. I look at published series now, though, and I think “Eight books?! I don’t have time to commit to eight books!” Having them come out one at a time somehow tricks me into thinking I am more available to read them. 😉
This is interesting. I usually finish a series if I feel like it’s meant to be a bigger story and not just to keep producing one book after the other. If the series can provide me with plot twist, can keep me invested in the storyline and the characters — I’m still in 🙂
Good point. I do think it often helps if the series was planned to be X number of books, and the author (or publisher) doesn’t just keep going because they know the books will sell. While it’s really disappointing for me to finish a series and wish there were more, I think there is something to be said for leaving your readers with a slightly unquenched desire. It’s definitely better than having them get tried of reading about the same characters.