I really REALLY hate quitting series; I’m not sure whether it’s my type A personality, and the fact that I hate leaving anything unfinished or just the possibility that I might be missing out on future kickass installments. Either way, I can probably count on one hand the series’ that I have given up on, and off the top of my head, they are: Black Wings by Christina Henry, Anita Blake by Laurell K. Hamilton, and I’ve been strongly considering kissing Keri Arthur’s Dark Angels goodbye as well until I recently found out that there’s only one book left. I’d hate to have come this far only to not find out how it ends!
All of these series share a common trait and that is their over-the-top ridiculousness; most of them didn’t start out that way but eventually I just got to the point where I couldn’t contain my eye-rolls any longer. I’m all for a corny joke here and there but I can’t do 100% cheese. Madeline Black, the main heroine in Henry’s books is one of the most unrealistic protagonists that I’ve ever encountered. Every new foe that she faces is more unstoppable than the last and yet, she continues to defeat them like they are lemmings. I usually love a lot of action but the fight scenes can’t even manage hold my interest because they are over far too quickly. It’s almost like she “looks” at the bad guys and they fall over dead. I just can’t take her seriously.
I’m sure that most of you are familiar with Anita Blake and the fact that this series went from being about a vampire hunter to just one massive orgy. I like sex in my novels just as much as the next girl but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. As for Arthur’s Dark Angels, the author seems to have lost the main story arc somewhere around book 2; it’s become a jumbled mess and the main character makes the same mistakes over-and-over-and-over again. There’s nothing I dislike more than a heroine who never grows. I absolutely LOVED her Riley Jenson series which makes it doubly-hard for me to say this about one of my favourite authors but every new Dark Angel installment feels like a money grab. She’s using her name to sell sub-par novels because she knows that her fans will buy them regardless of whether they are any good. I’m living proof of that.
In short, there has to be balance in a series, it has to be realistic, the characters need to demonstrate growth, and the story line needs to progress. I’ll usually give a series 2 or 3 books to change my opinion but if the above criteria isn’t met by the third book it’s time to say good riddance, and move on.