Let’s Talk Series (As in book Series)


Being a fan of fantasy and historical fiction, I am no stranger to series. Anyone who happens to read epic fantasy knows the struggle is real when seeking out a few good standalone reads. They are there, but not as easy to find as a solid series. And that makes sense. Fantasy and historical fiction both evolve around massive character development and world building. When you do it right, it can be hard to fit into one book, and a lot of times it should not be crammed into one single title.

So how do we feel about series in general? Love them or hate them, there are drawbacks and rewards. I wanted to dive into my thoughts today and see how they compare against your own.

The Benefits of Series

For many authors, a successful series can establish a very large fan base leading to multiple sells and an extended career opportunity. But how do we benefit as the reader? Well in general, we gain more. But more of what?

  • Character depth
  • World Construction and building
  • New characters
  • More time with our favorite stories
  • Something to look forward to

Thrivingย series usually equate into fandoms. Fandoms are not without their own perks. They offer followers a chance to join communities and share their own love of the work. In general, there can be a real sense of belonging even for the most isolated or introverted readers.


Series offer us the promise that it doesn’t have to end. So what happens when we have too much of a good thing? What are some pitfalls of reading series?

The Possible Downside

Eventually, every good thing actually doesย come to an end. That ending can often be disappointing or difficult to accept for many. But there are other challenges we face when committing to the long haul..

  • When the next book is just not as good as the last
  • The loss or death of favorite characters
  • The money and time invested (although we could just as easily invest this in standalones to be fair)
  • The dreaded wait.. always waiting.


I think many of us can point a few fingers at GRRM for all of the above. Just saying. Did you really think I was going to make it through a discussion on series without mentioning damn Winds of Winter?!

So love them or hate them, I think we all belong to a few. I have kept the above lists short because I really want to hear from you.

No, that was not a terrible attempt at a poem. But..

Answer Me This..

  • What makes a series successful? What are you looking for?
  • When do you decide to give up or have you ever? If so, which series did you fail to see through?
  • And of course, what is your favorite series of all time? Which one will you stick with until the bitter end?


Obviously, GRRM owns my soul at this point. I pretty much throw paychecks at him while complaining that he is the world’s biggest asshole for not bothering to finish the next book. But what do I know.. It has only been 5 and a half years. But I believe the wait was longer for Feast of Crows which was maybe six years ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just is on me though, because I am still following.

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104 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Series (As in book Series)

  1. The Faithful and The Fallen series by John Gwynne, my favourite fantasy series ever…….EVER!!! And I read a lot of fantasy! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lol at GRRM, i knew there’d be some Gggrrr bashing when I started reading the post, can’t blame you mind! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Damn right, stand alone fantasy is out there but it’s a nightmare to find and is very rare compared to trilogies and series. With all the world building, etc that you need in fantasy it’s perhaps hard to write stand alones as for quite a few series the first book is like an introduction to the world and characters and the overarching story for the series, when authors take a whole book for that it’s no surprise that lots tend to stay away from stand alones or….they leave stand alones until after the have written the trilogy/series and then they don’t need to go into the characters and the world as the reader is already familiar with them.

    I think for a series to be successful I look for what i think makes fantasy successful in general, gore, gore gore and acction! Nah, to a point I like gore and action and I do think an author needs to get the balance right between action and story building.

    But mainly, world building, the writing, but the most important thing is the characters, i need to care about them and of course hate them to but I need to feel that pull to go back to the book and then the series =, yes, to see what happens in the story and of course you want to find out what the conclusion at the end will be but I need to care about the characters and their fate or wish they die (Regal Farseer, Joffrey, etc) over a course of a series you need to develop a bond with the characters you are reading about as you take the journey with them from beginning to end.:)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree so much with all of your response. Characters are everything with me. I absolutely have to connect. Otherwise, I am not invested. And without investment the world can be incredible but it doesn’t matter.

      I think that is why GRRM won me over. You find yourself fully engaged in each character. Even if it isnfully rooting and cheering for their bloody death haha.

      Standalones can sonrarely accomplish the broadness and depth required for true fantasym so if you find one, it is a true gem ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      1. True, GRRM does have a knack for making you care, even if it’s not instantaneous and it takes time, you soon find you either like or dislike a character and that feeling has crept up on you and occasionally as the series progresses you find your first thoughts changing and you find yourself drawn to the characters you disliked at first and disliking the ones you did like, moral ambiguity and shades of grey is where it’s at with characters in fantasy and as the series progresses so to do the characters continue to grow.๐Ÿ˜€

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  2. I love series! To me it’s like going ‘home’ to family and I seem to have many families. I am definitely a fan of the Game of Thrones and have read the books as well as follow the series. For some reason, all of the series I follow make me feel like I’m coming home. One series in particular, The GHOSTWALKER series by Christine Feehan, I have been reading since the very beginning. I love the creativeness of what Whitney’s experiments give to the characters and how they adjust to their new gifts or live with what is not so much a gift but a burden.

    Another series I am totally invested in is Kresley Cole’s IMMORTALS AFTER DARK! Love all of the different characters and species of paranormal creatures she comes up with where once some were bitter enemies but love brought them together. I so totally love the humor that Ms. Cole injects into most all of the couples and the reoccurrence of characters from previous books are always a treat. The other series I follow is J.R. Wards – Black Dagger Brotherhood which is one of my favorites.

    This is not to say that I only follow paranormal series, but I will also follow trilogies and connected books in the historical romance genre from my tired and true favorite authors which are too numerous to mention and were actually my very first love.

    Stand alone books are great but good solid series are some of my favorites!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that you nailed it here! While a series allows for some much growth and development, it is definitely that coming home feeling that makes them so rewarding. The familiar and journey we take with our favorite characters and the worlds we come to know are like a good comfort food almost.


  3. First off- I think you did a great job with the little poem! Ha, that rhymed so well, though!
    Secondly- this is a damned good post! Love it…
    Also- loved the unicorn gif… even though every time I see a unicorn now, I think of Deadpool handling himself. ^^

    And now….

    Agree with the pros and cons you pointed out re series. I actually read the whole 13 books of The Vampire Diaries… (I know, I shouldn’t be saying this in public perhaps) and from like Book 5 or 6 on-wards the books got worse and worse and worse and yet i still kept reading because there was always a glimmer of hope or fear that something good was coming to redeem. Didn’t happen. I still regret not quitting while I was ahead. But what’s done is done.
    What keeps me reading a series is a strong evidence of character development and a good progression of story. The progression needs to be balanced throughout the series for me and not that book 1 is great, book 2 is some background info and then book 3 delivers a fast conclusion. When I read a series I want every book in the series to be consistent in terms of pace, progression and development. Not to mention, I love me a good dose of surprises and twists. I think the shocking revelations excite me the most and always manage to pull me further into the story. When I discover that a character I’ve hated is actually good, it makes me see things with a new set of eyes… because even though all indicators showed a character to be bad, there was no solid proof.. if you get my gist… it’s the mindgames author manages to pull off with a reader that I enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anytime I’m planning to start a series I always buy book 1… no matter if it’s the same price on its own than buying the boxed set. If I haven’t managed to feel thrilled or pulled in by book 1, even if I’m slightly meh about it I don’t continue on and there has been many such. too many to name… not that I can even remember… hmm… if it didn’t make an impression it’s out of my mind.

    My favorite series? Ah… tough question! To be honest I love Mark Lawrence and Karen Gray’s Saga of Thistles and Roses was absolutely mindblowingly great for me… I am thinking… dare I say, that A.J. Smith The Long War series might become one of my favorites, and that’s purely because of the character set! There was just something about the first book there that felt right for me.
    Apart from fantasy… ha, loved The Frank Friendship series by RG Manse… kind of mystery/crime genre… but totally hilarious and unexpected on a personal level.

    To summarize, I think it’s the main character (and characters generally) that are important to me… once I love their personalities, they could go fishing for a day or have a spring clean, I wouldn’t mind, because I know that if I have managed to connect with the characters, they’ll deliver excitement no matter what they do. Be it through their snark, dialogue or humor. ๐Ÿ™‚

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    1. Character connection is everything with me! And story development and overall growth. Things must progress in a positive manner.

      You touched on so many things that are true for myself here. I also always start with only purchasing book one haha (except a series that was a bundle sell recently that you recommended ๐Ÿ˜‰). I know by the end whether I am ready to commit. That first book definitely has to set the mark. It is okay for the sequel to be a bit slower if it is all about adding depth and growth. But in general, yes they must be consistent in pace.

      Great response Liz! Thank you โค

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  4. Fantastic post! You did a great job highlighting the nature of series.

    For me, a series is successful when there is enough scope to warrant a series. Issuing installments which are disconnected from one another and/or formulaic defeats the purpose of having a larger continuity. Ya feel? Characters are key too. I understand the fascination many have with Lord of the Rings, as its world is sprawling and its influence is grand, but I was never able to connect with the characters enough that I would tune in for them book after book.

    I have never given up on a book series partway through, but I have given up on a TV series. Two different mediums, of course, but series nonetheless. I quit Heroes after 2 and a half seasons. What rubbish. I consider that show to be my biggest disappointment in TV…ever. I’m stressed just thinking about it. Moving on.

    As you know, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time is my favorite series of all time. I’m on Book 9/14 and, despite there being slow segments, I will stick around until the bitter end! Once again, this was a great, thought-provoking post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I love that you mention enough scope to warrant a series. So true. I have encountered a few that definitely continued for the sake of doing so long after the story had died to speak. At that point it angers me.. I feel like I am just being taken for my money.

      Characters are everything with me. I can read a series that is character driven for days if I connect with them. I always value world building as a fan of fantasy, but characters are money!

      And you are not the first to say this of Heroes to me. Exactly why I never started the show ๐Ÿ˜‰

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      1. When it comes to Heroes, Season 1 was epic. Really, every episode blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how well put together it was. Then it got bad VERY quickly. Tragic, because the potential for the universe was GRAND.

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  5. Good points there. I love series too but it’s difficult to just jump in, I also want to read the first one of a series and work my way up but that’s not so easy. I usually start with the first novel when it’s published and move on to another series. When I see a fourth book in a series is coming out though and it’s a new series I’ll be less inclined to request that one. So yes, to be honest, if I’d known that The Forgotten Girls was the 6th(!) novel in a series I might not have requested it. I think that there are already some things that don’t need explaining anymore, but when you’re new… Well we’ll see if I have to revise my opinion or not. Thanks for this thought-provoking post!

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    1. Thank you Inge โค I never like jumping in on a swries either. However, I have also requested titles not realizing they were part of a series. Luckily, they were okay as a standalone. I tend to drift around a bit also, coming back when a new book is released. But sometimes the wait kills me ๐Ÿ˜‰


  6. The first series I ever read (and am still reading – the dreaded wait for the next book is a pain I understand all too well *sniff*) is Nalini Singh’s Guildhunter series. I haven’t endured many of the downsides you’ve mentioned…yet anyway ๐Ÿ˜› I’ve been upset by characters dying in standalone novels, but never in a series. I think it would tear me apart if any of the main characters from the Guildhunter series died. Having spent three years reading about these characters, I feel like I know them on a personal level. Whenever Nalini brings a new book out, I always find reading the opening chapter is reminiscent of being reunited with old friends. It’s nice dropping in and seeing where all my favorite characters are at โค I've branched out into other series in the past year or so. I'm currently reading Kresley Cole's 'Immortals After Dark' series and Gena Showalter's 'Lords of the Underworld' ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think character growth and good, solid world building makes for a successful series. If all the characters remained the same throughout the entire series – never learning, always making the same mistakes etc – then it be boring to read. I enjoy seeing a character utilize lessons learnt in a previous book when faced with adversity in the next. Furthermore, world building gives us that escapism we seek when reading. I find the 'Immortals After Dark' series is particularly good with world building. Each book begins with a guide to the Lore and all the creatures that are a part of it. It means I never feel lost or confused when a particular race or event is mentioned and it means I can get myself fully immersed in the story.

    There isn't a series I've consciously given up on. I did start reading the Throne of Glass series when I was in Japan. I think I got up to book three and I just stopped after that. I really want to complete the series but life took over and other books and series crept in! ๐Ÿ˜›

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    1. There is definitely a certain amount of comfort and joy to be had in opening a book and returning to familiar characters and worlds. But you are right, there has to be evolvement or it will fall flat. We need to be on a journey with them of growth and development. And escapism is the very reason I love world building in fantasy. It is often so huge!

      I have not made it back to Throne of Glass either ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am terrible honest. I can take forever to finish series. I book hop haha.

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      1. Have you ever read or looked back to the opening book to a series and felt a slight twinge of pride at how far your favorite character has come? Or is that just me? ๐Ÿ˜› Yes, escapism is an absolute must. There’s a quote: “Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” Being able to travel to distant realms to meet weird and wonderful creatures, all from the comfort of your armchair, is incredible ๐Ÿ™‚

        How far did you get with Throne of Glass? I think I’d have to start at the beginning if I went back to it!

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        1. I was in the second book haha.. I fail. I swear I am so all over the place ๐Ÿ˜› I know what you mean about characters. Even with standalones I can look back to the beginning sometimes and love when the author has evolved the character so much through the course of reading. Look at Bilbo โค

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  7. I love all the series!! Give me the series… ugh. .. Characters you know me it has to have AMAZING characters for me to keep reading. The plot could be going no where but as long as my characters are there I don’t care. I really enjoyed Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Trilogy and yes I realize I said Trilogy but he has Iron Gold coming out and it is listed and a Red Rising book so is it a spin off or a continuation?? who knows it was supposed to be out in August but has been pushed back to Jan of 2018 *sobs hysterically* WHO DOES THAT? Anyways my point was… Characters I like the characters.

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    1. Haha I knownyou and your series. But you seriously have the best commitment of any reader I know. You will fly through them! I bounce around too much ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Characters are everything! For example.. Charlie makes Dream World for me โค You know ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I need to eventually look at the Red Rising books.

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    1. Yes!!! See I read that GRRM was working on some side stories that tie into Game of Thrones. This angered me because he hasn’t finished the next book. I feel like you need to finish what you start before branching out. It isn’t fair to leave fans waiting!

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  8. Love this post! Like you pointed out, what I love about series is depth. What I look for most in a series is characters I can get connected to, because when I reach for a sequel, it’s usually with the intention of needing to know what happens to the characters. Good character arcs over a series of books is key. Even if the plot is “eh,” if I find myself invested in or curious about the characters, I’ll most likely keep going. The thing I love about series is getting to see them progress slowly and thoroughly, over a series of books, not just one. But, of course, I’d prefer a great plot ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And like you said, the waiting can be SO PAINFUL, but it’s great when you can join a fandom or just talk about it with other people who are excited. Series can be so social!

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    1. Yes!!! This is exactly why characters make or break a story or series for me. They are what drives it all ๐Ÿ™‚ You can have a wonderful idea or world, but if your readers do not connect with the characters, they will not care. I am certainly not going to buy the second book if I am not invested in them!

      Fandoms definitely provide us with a great outlet for sharing the things we love most. I know some can become obsessed, but all in all I think that it is healthy to have a means to connect with others ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. This was a great discussion! Thank you so much for posting this for comments on pros and cons. I love to brag about great reads and Series are a great part of that!!!

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  10. My absolute favourite fantasy series is Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. It’s so hard to borrow books in the right order, and because they each work as standalones I can read whichever one happens to be available. Or Tolkien. You can never go wrong with Tolkien.

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    1. I love Discworld! It is so massive. I am still exploring it all. Pratchett’s writing is wonderful and the humor โค I sometimes have trouble trying to determine the best reading order, but as you mentioned, most can work well as a standalone.

      Of course Tolkien! The world building and most memorable characters ๐Ÿ™‚

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  11. The Shannara novels by Terry Brooks are probably my favourites, they are also the series I started first (I was 12 when I read the first one) and still haven’t finished (there are a ridiculous number of them)!

    The series I couldn’t finish, well actually I couldn’t even get through one book of this series, was Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. That was not to my taste at all. I had bought a whole bundle of Discworld novels and they left the house almost as quickly as they arrived! I know his work is super popular but I hated it.

    And what keeps a series interesting for me is just that, keeping it interesting. Making sure the characters are doing new and exciting things. Surprise deaths, new threats, continual development of the world and all of the characters. The series I give up on are the ones where I feel the story had dried up and things have got stale.

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    1. I am so sorry Discworld did not work for you. I am a big fan. I adore the characters!

      I am happy to know that the Shannara Chronicles are so good. I have several of those here to start. How big is the series? I am not even sure. I have yet to experience Terry Brooks. Sounds like I am in for a treat ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Stories can definitely lose the spark after a while. Sometimes it seems like some authors try to take it further than they should. Sad when something great falls flat in the end. Especially after your readers invest so much!

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      1. I think my experience with Discworld is just proof that not everything is for everybody.
        With the Shannara Chronicles the original series is about four books I think then with all the sub series and spin offs I think it’s at about 34(?) now, I lost count a while ago! If it was the only series I was reading it would be easy to keep up but I was behind before I started and there are so many good books! ๐Ÿ˜‚

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  12. I never consciously give up on a series. I can’t accept quitting something I’ve been so invested in. It happens because the drive to pick the next book isn’t there, so there’s always something I want to read more.

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    1. That is almost always the case with me. It is the same as when I was discussing DNFs. My inner being will not allow me to quit. With series I do exactly as you mention. I slowly lose the desire, become distracted and then realize I never went back! You feel my pain ๐Ÿ˜‰


  13. I have a love/hate relationship with book series… I want to love the characters and worlds over the long run, but then something will happen that just seems terribly implausible within the world and I stop, glare at the book, and say, “Really? You’re going THERE?” Like, suddenly the characters have super powers or amazing magic. Or they fall into a trap they should have known was there, or the love interest is kidnapped and they have to go and rescue him/her. Or, in the case of one trilogy I ended up wanting to throw out the window, the main female character switches from one to another midway through and you don’t hear about the first one until the very end. What’s that all about?

    So I’m reluctant to get into a new series because it seems like I’ve invested so much time in previous ones, only to be so disappointed (or get so sick of the characters’ thick-headedness) that I just stop reading and say to heck with what happens next.

    George R.R. Martin is a notable exception, and I’m with him ’til the end of Song and Ice and Fire. But really. When are we going to see The Winds of Winter?!

    I love standalone fantasy novels. Sure, you don’t spend ages visiting and re-visiting every part of that world, but that’s okay. I recommend Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion to pretty much everyone. The follow up to it, Paladin of Souls, takes place in the same world with a few of the same characters, but you don’t HAVE to read it to complete the story of The Curse of Chalion.

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    1. Disappointing series are the absolute worst. You give so much and end feeling like you received so little. And I could not imagine a character swap like you mentioned. Luckily, I have not experienced anything quite that extreme. But I would be furious.

      Haha, GRRM is so good. I think he is an exception for many. I read that the show and books will have some deviations so that readers are not left feeling like it has been completely spoiled since the show is ahead of the series now. I hope this is true.

      Thank you so much for the recommendation. I just added it to my Amazon cart. It sounds fantastic โค

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      1. I was pretty furious when the character swap happened, as I really liked the first character and how she was developing across the first part of the story. I did not like the second character… at all, really, and her development left a lot to be desired.

        I’ve enjoyed the series all the way through, whether it stayed true to the books or not. The sixth season was especially interesting, as it’s the season that passed the books up. There were several events I had predicted, and many more that I hadn’t seen coming. I’m looking forward to both the new book and the seventh season!

        I hope you enjoy it! The Curse of Chalion is one of those books I can dive into at any time and get lost in the story, no matter how many times I read it!

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  14. What an interesting discussion, Danielle! I’m a huge fan of fantasy too so yeahhh series is my best friend hahaha though I don’t read epic fantasy so they’re usually just trilogy or saga ๐Ÿ˜› anyway, I agree that series allow the book to develop better. There’s a chance for the plot to be better, the characters to be deeper, and the world building to be more solid. In fact, I don’t like fantasy stand alone because more often than not, I found them lacking of something. It could be done though hahah however, lately I’ve been sooo lazy to read series and been choosing contemporary stand alone instead ๐Ÿ˜›

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    1. You are so right. Standalone fantasy really can feel lacking a lot of times. Not to say it cannot be done, but it is usually hard to squeeze a true fantasy book into one. I wish I was able to enjoy contemporary more. I have read some amazing books in the genre, but I have found my mood has to be just right โค

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  15. This is why I pick finished series, or series by authors who have a proven track record. I got the sour taste from GRRm and Patrick Rothfuss. Also held off reading Aspect-Emperor by R. Scott Bakker cause the 3rd book took forever to be scheduled, though that was the publisher’s wrongdoing. We fans bombarded his publisher with emails and phone calls, and got the 3rd book ๐Ÿ™‚

    I love long series as well as trilogies, never had a problem with the sequals not being as good as the first book with the fantasy series I have read so far. They only get better and better,especially Mark Lawrence and R. Scott Bakker.


  16. I love the world-building in great series, and the opportunity to really see how characters grow, develop, and change over time. It’s the waiting that really gets me. In certain books, the ones that I really love, I’ll wait (impatiently) no matter what because they’re that important to me. But for the ones I”m not invested in, chances are I’ll have lost interest over time and just won’t bother.

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  17. I love series when I’m invested in the world, but everything seems to be a series these days because they’re easier to market. And some stories honestly don’t need five books to be told, and I am tired of being in the middle of thirty series. I really just want some more stand-alones to be published.

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    1. I am a fan of series because I read so much fantasy and expect it to be so expansive. But I could not agree with you more about being tired of reading multiple series. Sometimes I just want to read a good story and be done.

      It does seem that series are the thing in the market of late. I am not sure why. Okay, well part of me understands, but I would love to see my individual stories ๐Ÿ™‚


          1. It’s really publishers who like series. They don’t have to roll out an entirely separate marketing campaign for a book series like they would for a book no one’s heard of before. Divergent #2 is easier to market than Carve the Mark. But Carve the Mark #2 will be easier to market than something else Roth could write.

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  18. Woo! Awesome discussion post, Danielle! I’m a fan of both series and standalones, but believe it or not, I’ve only actually “finished” like four of five series in my whole life. I know, that’s crazy. But most of the time, the series I read I feel like they aren’t fantastic enough for me to keep moving forward. I just wanna move on to something else. My favorite series of all time is Harry Potter, of course. I actually just finished rereading book one… about to start book two! My other favorite series is The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken. I’ve never read GRRM because I’ve been intimidated by the length of his series. Same with Outlander. But I still wanna give it a shot one day! Especially before I watch the TV series. Ok, I’m just rambling off topic now I think… anyways… I think there are pros to both series and standalones, and I also think it depends on the reader and their taste or what they’re looking for at the time (as far as time, commitment, etc).

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    1. Thank you Megan! There are definitely pros and cons to series for readers. I am also guilty of not finishing as many series as I should have ๐Ÿ˜‰ I tend to bounce around a lot. I love changing it up. I have not even finished Harry Potter! But this is partly because of my son.

      GoT is definitely daunting in size, but it actually flew by for me. I was sucked in from the get go. It is brutal and slow at times. It seems to be a love or hate series. I would love to see you give it a go โค

      I keep putting off Outlander because I am not sure about the romance aspect haha.

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  19. I think I’ll answer in a post cause my response will be long, like everyone’s, and I’m on my phone and I’m searching for an excuse to do a discussion post ๐Ÿ˜. But in short, I’m of two minds on series. I love them because the story continues and I can stay in a world with characters I like, but get annoyed by those (ahem GRRM) that I have to wait for to be completed.

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  20. I am more of a standalone gal myself. I just don’t like the commitment…. that being said, I have enjoyed a few good series in my reading life. One of my favorite series is the Into the Wilderness series by Sara Donati. If you like historical fiction, you would probably enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚

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  21. “What makes a series successful? What are you looking for?”

    I feel what makes a series successful is keeping the reader engaged throughout. Sometimes I feel like (especially in YA trilogies) that the second or last book is not nearly as good as the first. Longer series are ones I usually don’t do unless the first or second book are amazing/really make me want to read on. I am looking for characters I want to like, root for, or are interested in seeing what happens to them. A world that intrigues me is nice, as well as the plot. I am not a fan of overly drawn out series or series that simply recycles the plot and where there is little to no character development. How boring!

    “When do you decide to give up or have you ever? If so, which series did you fail to see through?”

    If I love or really like the first book, chances are I will continue. It I thought it was decent, I may continue. If I had trouble with it or didn’t like it, I mark the rest as having no interest, even when people say they “get better.” The problem is I have so many books I want to read. Why would I force myself through a first book I didn’t like just to get to the good stuff? Grab me up front. I have this issue with City of Bones by Cassandra Clare. I have read that book twice in attempts to get into it enough to continue but I still haven’t. Even though people say they get better and I need to read them in order to read her newest series, I’m not sure I can. I may try one more time, but that’s it. I loved her Infernal Devices series but there’s just something about City of Bones that I feel very “meh” about.

    I wish I had given up on the Pretty Little Liars series. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun reads but the series is way dragged out (kinda like the show, as I am on season 5). It’s gotten past the point of ridiculousness. I am three books from finishing though and own two of them so I have decided to finish the series (and the show) but overall I think that series is not really worth the length. The TV show is always fun to watch but I just feel like dragging out shows and books make them a lot less interesting.

    I can’t remember too many books I stopped at but Fallen by Lauren Kate, Marked by P.C. and Kristen Cast, Evermore by Allyson Noel are ones I remember not liking so I never cared about trying to finish the series of those. My stance now is you must make me like your first book because I’m not going past that. Aside from City of Bones, which I feel all kinds of complicated about.

    “And of course, what is your favorite series of all time? Which one will you stick with until the bitter end?”

    Finished series I love to death are Harry Potter, Casteel series by V.C. Andrews, and the Dollanganger series by V.C. Andrews. Also the Gone series by Michael Grant. It was absolute torture waiting on those to come out but I loved that series. I’m one book from finishing The Lunar Chronicles but I’ll count that one too.

    Ones I haven’t finished that I will stick with is the Dresden Files, though that is looking like it might be one of those dragged out series. I guess we’ll see.

    I haven’t read GOT yet and I think I’m kinda glad. I might wait until all of those are done so if I read the first book and must have more then they will be done. Sorry for the novel-length comment. I guess I have a lot of feelings about series!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. First of thank you for putting so much into this response! I truly respect and agree with the points you have stated. It is so important to remain engaged. Characters and clever world building are key to that. The story has to continue strongly and there must be proper growth and development!

      I found it so interesting that you mentioned the Dollanganger series by V.C. Andrews. I loved this series! Something about how she expanded on the family and the dark history worked so well for me. I am not even sure if I read them all? I have never seen another reader mention these!

      Thank you again. I enjoyed this response so much ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      1. V.C. Andrews and her books were a huge obsession for me in high school. I had experience with my own twisted family so I guess her books kinda made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I also loved how the series was generational. I loved her Casteel series even more. She died while writing those so anything after was written by her ghostwriter, but I even enjoy those to a point until they started to drastically go downhill. You can really see a difference if you read one of her original books and then one of the newest ones.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You just struck such a personal chord with me. I also was going through some “messed up” family issues when discovering her work in high school! I connected instantly. Needless to say that her families were way worse, but somehow that made my life feel easier, if that makes sense. I do not believe I have read the Casteel series. It has been so long that I will have to double check.


  22. I definitely read more series than I do standalones and am a huge fantasy fan. Mostly YA as I’ve only ever read one book series that could be considered an epic fantasy. There’s something about the world building, character development, and just that suspense to find out what happens next or trying to pick up on foreshadowing that I find addicting. I think what makes a series great for me is when I get completely immersed and connect with it. Not on a personal level or anything but where I just click with the story and am always excited for the next book. I love great world building and characters so that is definitely something I always look for. I’ve only ever given up on two series before and they are Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky and the Warriors books by Erin Hunter. Awaken because the author changed the game character wise completely in the last book and then the Warriors series went on way too long. I love a long series but sometimes they just get way too long. Also lol about GRRM. I’m actually waiting to even start that series because I don’t think I could handle the wait. I already struggle with the wait between season for the show ๐Ÿ™ˆ. And as far as favorite series go I have two and they are the Shadowhunters books by Cassandra Clare and then The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon. Those series are ones that I will see through to the end no matter what. Especially The Bone Season! Anyway! Sorry for the really long comment ๐Ÿ˜‚. Great discussion, Danielle!! ๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love this long comment! I am enjoying the chance to see how everyone feels about series. They are so great and so difficult sometimes. You make completely valid points that solidify how I feel!

      I have heard of Warriors but not Awaken. I will keep in mind and avoid both haha.

      I am seriously jealous that you are smart enough to wait on GoT and GRRM. It has been insufferable haha. I seriously think we are going to hit the 6 year mark which happened with another book in the series. Sad really.

      Thank you Melissa โค

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely! Most of the time I feel like the pros of series outweigh the cons, unless something drastic changes in the middle of one lol.
        See, I didn’t even know it had been that long of a wait between the last book and the one yet to be published. And I thought a two year wait was terrible so I can’t even image waiting that long between books. I would have to do some rereading for sure. ๐Ÿ˜ถ
        You’re welcome!! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ’•

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Series… The dreaded series. I have strong love/hate relationship with them. I think the longest I followed (and still do) is the Stephanie Plum one but some books have been disappointing. I find it difficult to be satisfied with every book. I love meeting characters again, I love bounding so much they feel like your close friends, but sometimes I feel authors just add titles to the series to keep the bills coming. I try to avoid them because I don’t want to get invested in something that will stop deliver but some titles are just so good you can’t resist, that’s the problem!!
    Fantastic discussion by the way โค

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Donna โค I do remember reading of Plum on your blog!

      I do agree though about sometimes series are just added for the sake of keeping it coming. They definitely do not read as well when they are more of a paycheck ๐Ÿ˜ฆ and it does happen.

      I cannot avoid series due to my love of fantasy, but sometimes I crave a good, solid standalone โค

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Good point about fandoms! I love a good fantasy series but hadn’t really thought about that aspect- it does provide a sense of belonging and a common touchstone for people who feel moved by that series. And GRRM- yeah! Mr. Poster Boy lol for book delays! Is the Internet gonna break when he FINALLY announces new book??!?

    And speaking of, yeah I stick with him. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve re- read several times (something I rarely do), I the fan/ spoiler sites, etc. So yeah…

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi Danielle,

    I’m going to borrow jncahill’s formatting to try to make this easier on the eyes.

    What makes a series successful? What are you looking for?

    I’m going to try to keep this simple… I’m looking for characters that I care about. I want to be invested in them and their adventures and I want them to behave like reasonable people.

    When do you decide to give up or have you ever? If so, which series did you fail to see through?

    When I stop caring about the characters or what happens to them. If I get to a point that I am indifferent to their journey, I have to go. Another reason is if they have overstayed their welcome – like City of Bones. I struggled getting through City of Lost Souls (Book 5 โ€“ Clary was so annoying) and stated in my review that I would have been more than okay had the series ended after Book 3. I wasn’t sure if I was done with the Shadowhunter world and considered taking a break before going into The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices series. Then I found out that there’s a Book 6 in The Mortal Instruments, and I decided ‘I’ve had enough. I’m out!’ Actually what I said was more along the lines of ‘H&ll No’ but I’m trying to keep this family friendly.

    Another reason I’ll give up on a series is if it there is too much time between installments. I made the mistake of reading The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss; a great review by a booktuber caused me to pick it up. Amazing read! Wow. I was going to read Book Two when I realized that fans have been waiting for Book Three since 2011. The author appears to be involved in other projects while fans are eagerly awaiting this one. I can’t go on to Book Two without knowing if this will ever be concluded; I need closure. So, I’ll wait.

    And of course, what is your favorite series of all time? Which one will you stick with until the bitter end?

    Right now I don’t have a favorite of all time. I am a prisoner of the moment, so whatever I’ve read recently seems to be the one that sticks with me and I rave about. Now, had you asked me back in 2011 or 2012 (I wasn’t tracking my reading before 2014) I would have told you that Twilight and The Sookie Stackhouse novels were my favorite series’.

    Don’t judge me Danielle, I can feel you judging me ๐Ÿ™‚ In my defense they were, I believe, the first vampire novels I ever read so they set the bar… maybe not too high, but they set it. I don’t believe I’ve read any other vampire novels since. Who needs Bram Stoker or Anne Rice when you have Stephenie Meyer? Am I right? I was Team Edward all day long, but Alice is the character I most cared about. I loved the story, but I wanted more of her.

    For a time The Maze Runner was my favorite after reading the three main installments in the series over two or three days in December 2013. This one set the bar for dystopian novels and I was hooked. That lasted until March 2015 when I read The Darkest Minds and gave my heart to Zu and came thisclose to adopting her. This was followed by The Winner’s Trilogy, The Grisha and Six of Crows. I’ll probably re-read The Darkest Minds this year.

    I’m relatively new to the fantasy genre and in June 2016 a friend on goodreads recommended Magician: Apprentice by Raymond E. Feist. This is Book 1 in The Riftwar Saga which is a four book story arc in the Riftwar Cycle Series which is 31 books long ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I loved it and the three books that followed! So many characters to love, so many to hate. Loved the worldbuilding and the story. I’m about to start Daughter of the Empire (The Empire Trilogy, #1), which is Book 5 in the RCS and starts the second story arc in said series. If the first four books are any indication as to what is in store for me, then I really believe I will see this series to the end.

    I’m also looking forward to start a Brandon Sanderson series called Mistborn which seems to be good.

    Danielle, as always an amazing post… but I did get a headache. I spent 10 mins on goodreads trying to figure out how The Winds of Winter, a book you claim hasn’t been released yet, has a 4.35 star rating on over 3000 ratings and over 300 reviews. I saw the funny memes posted back in 2012 and thought, five years, surely this has been released already; maybe Danielle wrote the wrong title, or I read the date on her post wrong. Nope. There’s even a review from someone that time traveled to 2036 and read the eighth and final installment in ASOIAF โ€“ warning, it contains spoilers ๐Ÿ™‚ I thought this series was done before it was picked up by HBO. I was considering starting it this year, but again, I’ll wait.

    Sorry I’m late to the party, but I had to unplug last week. I’ll post Part Deux of my comment tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! I always love your posts and responses.. First of all, let us clear up 3 things:
      1. You can totally say “hell yeah” on here all day any day ๐Ÿ˜›
      2. Sookie Stackhouse is “A” ok in my book.. a guilty pleasure.
      3. (Here is where we disagree haha) Anne Rice is the best at vampires ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Okay, moving on into our judgement free zone, I think you have really hit the nail on the head in regards to characters. I always say that they make or break books. How can we ever commit to a story if we cannot connect with the characters? It has to be there. We have to desire seeing them grown and evolve!

      I do love that you mentioned characters can actually overstay their welcome as well! I had not thought or touched on this but no that it is true. thank you for that awesome point!

      Now you have me nervous about this Patrick Rothfuss book I pick up (googling to see if series is complete sigh..) Cannot handle another GRRM. HAHA on rated non-complete books ๐Ÿ˜›

      Looking forward to the next installment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah Danielle, Thank you. You are always too kind, too kind. If you’re serious about Anne Rice, I may have to read Interview with the Vampire this year. I vaguely remember reading this in the 70s or 80s, but I can’t be sure.

        One point I didn’t mention (Really? There’s something you didn’t mention in that tome above?) is that when it comes to series, there’s an ebb and flow at play with me. Sometimes I’m excited to start one because I’ll get MORE of everything I want; and at other times I avoid them because I don’t want the commitment. Just to be clear ladies, I Do Not Fear commitment… it’s just, sometimes, it can be a bit overwhelming knowing that you have to read a couple more books before the story is concluded.

        There have been standalones that I wish were at least a duology; most recently The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay, but the story was completed so there was no need ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

        Good luck with Rothfuss. I hope it’s complete.

        Yeah Danielle, about the next installment. Well, you see, um… I’m going to have to cancel the release date because it’s not ready. I’m working hard on it but it’s not quite right. I’ll keep you posted.

        Happy Valentine’s Day!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not complete Victor.. the Rothfuss book is being shelved.. dang it!! Oh my aching heart.

          Do I need to make a post to clarify now that you are not afraid of commitment haha ๐Ÿ˜‰ You almost set yourself up there. Careful my man.

          You are so right about duologies! Eeekk perfect for me ๐Ÿ™‚ More than a standalone but not the daunting commitment.

          Happy Late Valentine’s ๐Ÿ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I was afraid of that, sorry. I think he only has two series’, but a little part of me held out hope that you were talking about The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle. As I write this I realized that it’s only been a little over three years since Book 2, so there’s a possibility that it’s not complete either.

            I may postpone starting Mistborn since finding out, indirectly through Jackie B’s comment, that the series isn’t complete. The last book isn’t slated to be released until 2018. Oh well, too many books, not enough time to finish them all, so no time for regrets.

            Haha. No post please. No need to draw the attention of those that haven’t seen it. I will choose my words more carefully ๐Ÿ™‚

            Liked by 1 person

  26. Ohhh, definitely a great topic for discussion! I definitely agree with everything you’ve pointed out. Series can be such a dangerous path to take, both for the author and for the fans. There’s nothing like having a sequel that ruins your general love for the first book/the series. What I find important is that the author has something huge to offer for each installment. There has to be a feeling of growth in every single category, especially character and world-building. The author needs to push his initial ideas that made the first book a success and bring even better and even more immersive content to the table. Evolution both in time and space needs to feel real. At some point, readers have to feel like they know the characters, to the point that loyalty and deception are angles that can be tackled without feeling like the author forced it in there for the sake of having a story to tell.

    I hear Patrick Rothfuss’ series has been an even WORSE wait for a lot of fans. Some people are still holding on to their first 2 volumes, without reading them, until the 3rd book comes out so that they won’t wake up every morning knowing that the book isn’t coming out yet! I’m super excited to try that series out though.

    Once again, fantastic topic and great thoughts! ๐Ÿ™‚

    – Lashaan

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well Lashaan, when you are right, you are right ๐Ÿ™‚ Sequels can really make or break it if the author is not careful.

      And evolution is everything! Without it, what it the real point? We need that growth as readers and the depth. We need to be stimulated and encouraged to explore further.

      I am so bummed to be reading all of this regarding Patrick Rothfuss haha. I just picked up that book and now will wait. Sigh. I cannot have a repeat of GRRM.. cannot!

      Thank you always ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  27. You ask the tough questions! I love seeing that I’m comment *94* on this! Holy crap. You really lit a fire for the community here! GREAT post.

    When I read series books, I am looking for great character development, world building, and moral/ethical questions. It doesn’t take much of a plot to get me invested if those are present. I love watching characters try to figure our intrigues or look at ethics differently. I tend to read science fiction and fantasy series mostly. I avoid mysteries; there’s something about the serial mystery which bores me, sadly.

    I have rarely given up on a series. I have a few incomplete ones– but mostly because the books aren’t finished yet (I’m looking at you Sanderson!). That said… I DNF’d Game of Thrones. GRRM didn’t hook me. He didn’t seem to care about his characters and there were so many in the first book I couldn’t attach to any. The ones I did attach to died. There was tons of foreshadowing, but he was playing SUCH a long game that it never came back around. I just didn’t care. At all. I read 40 pages of the second book, but it down, and NEVER went back. Boring.

    While I love series, I adore standalones, too. We shouldn’t ignore them! It’s so easy to get trapped in a fandom and fall in love with a world and their characters… but sometimes, I just want to read a single story. I want to put a book down and be satisfied. I know a standalone is great if I can revisit that world in a re-read and still love it. Thank you, Night Circus. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Well. That was a lot of text. I could keep talking, too! SO MANY THOUGHTS!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You put a pain in my heart with your comment on GRRM and his characters haha. I will respectfully disagree with you so much on this one ๐Ÿ˜‰ They evolve tremendously through the series. I feel as though he loves the,..

      Standalones definitely deserve so much love. Sometimes I tire of the commitment. Especially with fantasy. You know how it can be. And if you read more than one book, you find yourself trying to keep up with multiple series.. ugh.


  28. Ugh I have such a hard time with series, I always start them and then never finish them. I just prefer stand alones. I think it’s because I hate reading the same author back to back, and once I have read the first one I sort of feel done. It really makes to sense but it’s a big deal for me to make it past the second book haha. I started Harry Potter a year ago and now I have made it to the 5th book, yay me!!

    Liked by 1 person

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