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
Thriving 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 does 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 😉 Just is on me though, because I am still following.