Welcome to my new series of posts Musing by Moonlight, where I take the opportunity to get off my chest anything and everything to do with books.
Or maybe not.
Depends how I feel.
Abandoning a Series
I love to read a good book series, but if I don’t absolutely love the first book (or subsequent ones), I’m okay with not finishing the rest of the series.
This infuriates some people:
- “If you’d read the rest of the series you’d know that whatever issue you had in Book 1 was resolved in Book 7!”
- “How can you be a fan if you’ve only read the first book?”
- “You don’t get to criticise what happens in the first book because you didn’t read the second one!”
Look, books are meant to be complete stories on their own. The first book in a series should not just be a cash cow to get people to buy the second. I’m okay with cliffhangers – I’ve abandoned series even though they’ve used cliffhangers to try and suck me in to parting with my hard earned cash on the next book. What I can’t stand is books that can’t even complete their three act structure (or beginning, middle and end with a freaking climax for god’s sake) and still expect me to go on to the next book. If the author can’t tell a complete story in one book, I have no faith they’ll do it in the next book.
This doesn’t meant that every element needs to be covered and all questions answered in the first book, although that is a good reason to entice readers into the next book. There can be threads left tangled so long as there are no gaping plot holes. I want to be able to read the first book in the series and not feel frustrated or unsatisfied that the story’s not concluded.
I’m more than happy to try Book 1 in anything that interests me, but if it’s just a set up for Book 2, I’ll abandon it. If I can’t trust the author not to do whatever they did wrong again in the second book, I don’t trust them enough with my money.
I even feel this way when people try over and over to convince me that Book 2 is better than Book 1 (here’s looking at you, Throne of Glass!) And yes, while Catching Fire was my favourite out of the Hunger Games books, I didn’t feel manhandled into picking it up. I picked it up because I was curious, not because I was unsatisfied or it ended on a cliffhanger.
There are a ton of books series where I have read the first book and feel no desire whatsoever to pick up the sequels.
Do you feel shamed for not ‘completing the story’?
Do you feel that each individual book, regardless of cliffhanger, should be a complete story?
Are you okay with only reading one or a few books from a series and then not reading the rest?