First, let me define series so there is no mistake: 3 books or more that feature the same characters.
As I am getting ready to do “responsible” things, aka sleep, I can’t shut my brain down. I just got a new shipment of books in and I am itching to read them. EXCEPT…I have stack of books as long as my arm that I am in the process of reading. Normally, this would not be a bad thing, except I am experiencing series fatigue.
I believe that every book has a time and a place when it is meant to be read. Sometimes you don’t really love the book, but when you revisit it, that changes. (I have been told this is the case with A Catcher in the Rye, thought I still maintain that is a book I will never love.) And I believe that sometimes, as in most situations, if you overload on too much of a good thing, you can get sick of it.
I have felt like this before. As a romance reader (it is a natural progression for YA readers, so stop giggling at my weakness), I have gone through periods of where I could not finish a book to save my life. They all felt repetitive. Unfortunately, I feel the same about many YA series right now.
Don’t get me wrong; some stories are meant to be stretched over multiple books. Harry Potter, The Princess Diaries, and The Throne of Glass series are all natural series that I have not felt a drop of difficulty in finishing. But as a struggle to finish Her Dark Curiosity, the second book by Megan Sheppard in The Madman’s Daughter trilogy, I am struck by how needless this book is. Sheppard finished on a high note in her first book, with Juliet, the heroine, following a non-traditional YA ending.
Her Dark Curiosity is a perfectly good book. If I was reading it during any other time, I am sure I would love it. Heck, I will probably love it in a year or two when my series fatigue ends. But now? I wish she had stopped with the first and just left it on the high note.
As I look over my bookshelves, I realize there are a lot of trilogies that I started and didn’t finish in the two years. I either felt the story spun out of control (Divergent) or I simply grew tired of it (Matched). I understand the reasons behind series:
- The author signed a three book contract and needs to deliver.
- A book became a bestseller and readers are clamoring for more.
- They planned it that way.
But I, and I am sure there are other readers out there, are tired of series. If you have read my previous posts, I am sure you are probably saying, “But, Natascha, didn’t you just outline a trilogy?” And I did. But that was 1 story over 3 books and, frankly, it makes sense to split it up. But some of these authors are just churning out books for stories when it is not necessary (I am looking at you, Keira Cass, though I do love you).
A great example I can give of an author who addressed issues 1 and 2 above (I am speculating on this since I have no personal knowledge of her contract or reasoning) is Stephanie Perkins. Anna and the French Kiss could stand alone. You never need to read the companion books. But if you did, you would get new characters while touching base with old favorites.
I’d like to see less series and more stand alone novels. They are out there, like an elusive white deer: Diana Peterfreund’s For the Darkness Shows The Stars, for instance. Series are great and they have a time and place, but I don’t want to waste time reading a book about a story that should have been resolved already. Publishing is a cyclical thing; series in fantasy are hot now, but they won’t always be. John Green is proving that.
I just hope change comes sooner than later.