If you read speculative fiction, then you read at least one long-running series.
You have too. It’s inevitable.
In my case, lover of urban fantasy that I am, that’s primarily what I read.
Most of my favorite series have (or are on their way to having) 10+ books, with various additional novellas besides: Sookie Stackhouse, Women of the Otherworld, Mercy Thompson, etc.
But what about the series that don’t go so well? The series you’ve already significantly invested your time (and money) in that take a turn for the worse?
When do you call it quits?
For me—as always *snorts*—the answer is complicated and varies on a case by case basis.
I previously stated in another Bookfessional that I Have Rules, and while that list is a fairly reliable set of criteria covering what types of books I should avoid, what those rules don’t cover are my Deal Breakers . . . B/c most of the time, I don’t know what my Deal Breakers are until I encounter them, or they’re so obviously wrong that I didn’t think to include them.
Take Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. I read and (mostly) loved the first five books of the original series.
In the spinoff, the new main character is either a thirteen- or fourteen-year-old girl (it’s been awhile; I don’t remember the specifics) who has sexual encounters with adult men.
That’s a hard no.
Most incidents, however, aren’t as cut and dry.
Jane Yellowrock, for example. I’ve been reading Jane almost since the beginning, and for many years it was one of my Top Five UF Series.
Over time I developed various irritations and frustrations to different recurring elements in Jane’s world, and in one case, an absolute loathing of one of her love interests.View Spoiler »Then there’s that damn blood diamond that keeps causing trouble, which Jane (inexplicably) refuses to get rid of, the European Vampire Council that is a consistent no show, and Jane’s new ability to slow time, which causes her no small amount of physical damage—potentially life-ending damage—that she refuses to quit using. « Hide Spoiler
I took a temporary hiatus after the second installment that the European Vampire Council didn’t show, then I’d almost decided to give up the series entirely after my hatred of Rick LaFleur ruined my reread of the first few books, BUT . . .
Then COLD REIGN.
In the latest installment, I have it on good authority that the thing I’ve been so impatiently waiting for finally happens, and book bff, who has never loved Jane like I love(d?), Jane gave it five stars, something that is as rare for her as it is for me.
Additionally, Hunter’s new Soulwood series is aces, so . . .
Is Jane back on the table?
B/c the infuriating truth is that once I know what an author is capable of, something that is impossible not to know after several really good installments of a long-running series, even after a handful of stinkers, it’s almost impossible for me give them up.
Unless a Deal Breaker is involved, of course.
What about you? What are your Deal Breakers? What (if anything) makes you quit a series you’re significantly invested in?
I am horrible. Once I’ve invested so many books into a series, I will continue to buy into those books no matter how dreadful they become or if they do reveal a deal breaker. I am SO stubborn I will not let myself quit. I’m working on it with the Stephanie Plum series. I still haven’t read the last book there, but that is not saying much since I am behind on a multitude of series right now.
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I was into the Anita Blake series by Laurels K Hamilton and I think I’m stuck at book 19 out of 25. I’m sure there might be more to come and there are novellas and short stories in anthologies. I’ve read a few of the short stories. But I feel stuck and not sure I’m going to continue. I feel like my reading tastes have changed and I’m just not feeling the series anymore.
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I like to read in order and also all of the series installments, but I have abandoned or “jumped” in some series. I read book one of Mortal Instruments and hated it, so that was it for me, Written in Red was DNF for me about 20% in… that would be my no go series, A Darker Shade of Magic – the narrator on audio book was so bad I couldn’t bring myself to continue. 🙁 I’ve been also reading Ward’s BDB and Legacy on and off – I stayed true to order for 10 books! Now, I just read the ones that sound interesting when the mood strikes – it gotten a bit repetitive for me. (Sometimes it’s bad to read a completed series back to back – you get tired of repetition and rehashing of prior events).
I remember reading Bloodlines by Skyla Dawn Cameron and I really liked it, but the storyline in the next 2 books was totally different so I went straight into book #4 so I can read about what happened to the characters from book 1! I also don’t think it’s that big a crime to skip a novella here or there, unless you really love the series.
If I really like the first three books and become invested in the characters I stick it out and keep reading the series. There’s always a book or two in a series that I don’t like but I usually keep reading. If I get to book 10 or more and the entire story starts to change and it just doesn’t interest me after reading 2 more books then I will quit but that’s only happened once.
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Hmm deal breakers, well I do not know. But I did give up on Ward when the books were not about one couple anymore
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This is a tough question and I don’t have set criteria. I guess if I just don’t want to read it or something happens where I just don’t enjoy it anymore. That’s what happened with Anita Blake for example I got to 17 I think and couldn’t go on. The later Sookie Stackhouse books didn’t work for me. There are series I just couldn’t get into the first book like BDB but that is a different story. I am listening to the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik (dragons set in Napoleonic wars) and the plot pace is soooo slow but I like the overall story so I continue. Yes, you must get back to Jane Yellowrock because it is great!!! Anne
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I gave up on the Fever series after the first Dany book too, partly because how weird it was that Dany was getting such attention from adult guys (GROSS!!!) and partly because Dany’s voice annoyed me and I missed Mac’s voice… and basically… cannot be arsed!
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Series are…quirky. Even JK Rowling never thought when she locked the last chapter of Th last book in the safe that years later, there’d be other books.
And how about Sue Grafton- they are never ever going to let her end them, but it’s taking soooo looong between the last group of books.
And Patricia Cornwell is now trying to teach Coroners 101 instead of the flamboyant Dr. Kay.
And Jan Karon, who was goaded into reopening the Mitford series after a ten year hiatus.
And, the queen bee of series: Anne Rice. I really didn’t NEED another Lestat book, I wish she’d finish her Christ the Lord triptych instead.
And the series I wish had never been written- Stephen King’s Dark Tower….I lost interest during book 5.
I noticed that I stopped reading books after book 7 for both chloe Neill, gini Koch. I don’t why but it always seems that the series went on too long. I stopped reading Cassie books because she never wrote anything other her shadowhunters world. Those are my series that I have stopped but they were all for different reason’s. I don’t like it when a series done , but the author or publisher continues on with it. 🙁
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I think my deal -breaker for continuing with a series is when the author changes her own world rules to suit one character or book. JR Ward in particular went from a successful PNR series to a butcher UF world that she can’t keep straight. I could list a million reasons why but I’m saving that for my thesis on how NOT to write professionally. I quit the series after The King gave me migraines and I had to force myself to finish it. I haven’t read a BDB book since. So world rule-breaking is a no-no for me. There are too many good series out there to waste time on books that the author doesn’t care about and it shows that they only want your money. I’m trudging through the Otherworld series by Kelley Armstrong and still enjoy the world but get annoyed with the lack of smexy times and I take a break after a few books/short stories (the complete reading list is 2 pages of PDF document!). So I recommend switching things up to retain interest in the huge UF series out there I guess.