Kernels of Nonsense, #28: Discontinuing a Series

Kernels of Nonsense (2)Kernels of Nonsense is a bimonthly feature where I discuss various book-related topics. This week I want to discuss discontinuing a series and the reasons behind it.

Last week in Bookish Indecisions, #2: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, I asked for bloggers’ and readers’ opinions on the book to help me decide whether or not I should read it. What I found interesting was that several people responded that they had read and enjoyed the first book, but for whatever reason did not continue with the series. This had me thinking about series that I myself have failed to continue.

Are you the type of person who consciously pulls the plug on reading a series or are you the kind that does it without meaning to? I think I’m a little of both. I’m also not the type of person who feels obligated to finish a series if I start one, which makes my list of series I haven’t continued rather long. Whoops.

Now, I’m not talking about the books you didn’t enjoy, the ones you rated one or two stars, I’m talking about the ones that you really liked and had every intention of continuing. You may even had read the second book in the series, but failed to finish it or found yourself less than enthusiastic about the sophomore installment. For me, if I rate a book four-stars, it’s a series that I want to continue. There are also some three-star books that may not have impressed me too much, but were interesting enough that I will at least pick up the second book.

There are several trilogies that I can name off the top of my head that I haven’t finished and have no intention of doing so. Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke & Bone are two very popular books I enjoyed at the time I read them and both received four-stars from me (because I read them before I started blogging, I don’t have reviews that I can look back on to remind me why I liked them). However, in both cases I’ve picked up the second book with the intention of continuing the series, but found I had lost interest.

I think one of the reasons I’ve found it so easy to move on from these two series is the fact that I don’t recall either first book very well and therefore didn’t feel invested in the characters by the time I picked up the second book. This is one of the disadvantages to having to wait a year between releases: while I might enjoy a book, it’s not necessarily a guarantee that I’ll be committed a year later (please note that this is not a reflection of my personal life, ha!). So this wasn’t necessarily a conscious decision on my part, just an unfortunate result of circumstances.

Sometimes other books come along that end up impressing me more, so I don’t feel the need to continue these other series. Either I look back on these books and realize they were not as good as I first thought or I come across a series I enjoy more and feel no reason to revisit these former ones. Yes, sometimes bookworms can be fickle little beasts.

I still believe certain books are worthy of the four-stars I’ve given them, but I may never continue the series because of a combination of disinterest and bad reviews. Suzanne Young’s The Program is one of those books I really liked, but when it came time to pick up the sequel, The Treatment, I found I wasn’t particularly interested in what happened next and the fact that this book wasn’t well-received by several bloggers convinced me I had no reason to read it.

And then there are the books I enjoy, but after finishing them, my mind begins to dwell on certain problematic issues, which makes it very unlikely that I’ll reach for the sequel. I gave Kathleen Peacock’s Hemlock five-stars and had been craving the sequel ever since I put the first book down. Unfortunately, the second book, Thornhill, managed to revive a love triangle I thought had been resolved in the first book (and one I never really bought into), which now makes me hesitant to pick up the final book in the trilogy. Do I really want to spend time reading about a love triangle I hate?

Love triangles seem to be my Achilles heel, because one of the reasons I haven’t been as excited as I should be about picking up the second book in Mary E. Pearson’s The Remnant Chronicles is because I know that the love triangle (one that once again should have been resolved in the first book) is going to rear its ugly head. I just can’t handle a protagonist who can’t decide what she wants. I realize this may be my own character flaw, but it’s one of those things that grates on my nerves and my tolerance for which has gone from lenient to basically nonexistent.

Have there been any series you stopped reading? What were the reasons behind your decision? Are there any particular tropes that have you putting a series down? Do you feel obligated to read an entire series once you start? Are there any first books you’ve rate high, but you haven’t continued the series because you lost interest? Share you thoughts in comments!

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27 thoughts on “Kernels of Nonsense, #28: Discontinuing a Series

  1. I love reading all the books in a series right after each other; I’ve done this with a lot of ‘old’ YA series, which means I’ve finished all of them. Once I have all the books anyway, I’ll finish the series, because I cannot leave something unresolved; I also cannot DNF books, which is kinda the same.
    However, there are series I’m hesitant about, in that case I’ll pick up the first book as an ebook and read that, if I don’t like the first book, I won’t even bother with the rest (like TMI for me).
    I’m not very picky with what I read, or tropes; usually I can get over the annoying ones. It’s a writing style, or just how good the writing is that makes or breaks it for me.

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    • I’ve heard many readers do this, waiting until the whole series is released or at the very least the first two books in a trilogy. I’ve found that I lack this kind of patience and with blogging, it’s kind of hard to avoid all the spoilers if I do wait. I like the sound of your tenacity, leaving something unresolved is never an option. For me, I need to care about the characters in order to finish a series and sometimes find that I don’t.

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  2. For the most part I have noticed that I don’t finish that many series per year as I start. Not because I don’t want to or that I lost interest, but because I’ve just chosen to buy other books first. So it can take me a long time (years) to finish a series, even if it is already complete by the time I start it. I’m trying to change this though. Trying being the key word here.

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    • There are a few series I’ve started after they have been all released and have just been distracted by other series to pick them up. And yet, there they sit on my shelf, waiting and waiting. I really want to finish these, but I know it probably means I’ll have to reread the first book or in some cases the first two, which I don’t always have time for.

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  3. I use to feel obligated about finishing a series after I started the first book but not anymore because my TBR is off the charts long. I like that you mentioned there’s good things about waiting a year between releases. I’ve realized the series that I want to continue on with, I’ll actively pursue when it’s released even if I’ve forgotten things. I haven’t continued a lot of series and I don’t feel especially bad about it. Some series I’ve discontinued include The Tiger’s Curse series, The Madman’s Daughter series, Uglies series, The Rosie Project duology and lots more.

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    • I’m of the opinion that the more you read, the more books you realize are out there, and the easier it gets to say no. At least this has been my experience. How far did you get with the Madman’s Daughter? I read the first book and thought it was okay, but never felt obligated to continue. That cover though! I only read the first book in the Uglies series and The Rosie Project, neither impress me enough to want to continue.

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      • Preach it! I think we definitely know what we like and don’t like now. I only read the first Madman’s daughter and thought it was meh..mostly because I kept comparing it to the original book that it was based off of and it couldn’t compare so..
        O: how dare you not like the rosie project?? jk hehe
        and you’re not missing out on the Uglies series. It’s a bit overrated imo lol

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  4. I don’t read a lot of series, so I guess that makes it easier for me to finish them… because I usually do. I’m also super picky about which series I do read, so I usually end up only reading ones I know I will like. I agree with the people who liked the first Mara Dyer book. It was really addicting… the other 2 books- well, I didn’t like the way they turned out. Still the writing was beautiful in them!

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    • I envy you, it seems that everything I pick up these days is part of a series. I’m going to check out the first Mara Dyer book from the library to see how I feel, but since so many people seem apprehensive, I think if I do continue, I’ll check them all out from the library.

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  5. I read a really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and Cinder by Marissa Meyer, but I just have never got around to reading the sequels. I own the all the published books in The Lunar Chronicles series but still have never picked up Scarlet. Every time I go to, I think of a more recent release which I’ve been keen to read and choose that one instead, even though I know I’ll probably really enjoy the rest of both series. I hope I get to them eventually but I’m not really in a rush.

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  6. Before I joined Goodreads and started blogging, I would always finish series that I started if I enjoyed them. Now, I have so many more options for books to pick up that I find myself accidentally never finishing series, even if I loved the first book. For example, I read Paranormalcy and absolutely loved it, but I’ve never picked up the next book.
    There is one exception to this I can think of, where I have enjoyed a book and intentionally not continued. I loved Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, and couldn’t wait for the next book to be released. Then the reviews started coming out (yours included!) and I heard a lot of disheartening things, especially to do with Seraphina and Lucian. So I decided I’m just going to keep the good memories of the first book and not taint them with Shadow Scale!

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    • So many books and our attention spans sometimes suffer. I never continued the Paranormalcy series either. Truth by told, I think I enjoyed the first book but I remember next to nothing. Oh, Seraphina, how I love you still…even if I didn’t enjoy the sequel too much. Yeah, after waiting so long and believing that the book was going to end up being a standalone, I find I’m more satisfied by my own conclusions than the ones in Shadow Scale.

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  7. I’m like you, Alicia. Sometimes, I kind of forget about a series between books, and then maybe I’ll pick it back up again at a later date if I find the next book in the series, or if one of my friends review a book from the series and I’m like ‘yeah, that’s right, that series was pretty good…’.
    There are other series I have consciously stopped reading, and that is because I really didn’t enjoy the series, or because something happened in one of the installments and I just couldn’t get over it as a reader, no matter what that thing was.
    There are also so many different books out there , and while I love reading a series because it’s nice to stay in a well-done universe following characters I already know and love, it’s also nice to read stand-alones, where I get a full story in just one book.

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    • I’m glad I’m not the only one that finds certain things in books problematic enough that you just can’t move passed it. I think that makes us steadfast, or possibly stubborn. I sometimes get tired of reading so many series and then it just seems that the only thing being published are series, it can get pretty frustrating.

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  8. Typically I’m slow to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to series just because (1) it’s a lot of time investment! and (2) I don’t like having to wait and fret and wonder what’s going on with these characters that I’ve become so emotionally invested in.

    More often than not, I won’t even start a series until at least the sequel has been released, if not the whole thing. Then if I do like the first book, it’s easier to keep reading the next and the next.

    I will definitely “discontinue” a series even if I did like the first book. Especially if it takes forever for the next book in the series to come out (Libba Bray, I’m looking at you), then I’ll naturally lose interest. But also, if a book series starts feeling overexposed (like if it turns into a TV show a la GoT or a movie a la Divergent), I lose my motivation to read the rest.

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    • Series ask for really committed readers and I applaud your ability to be so patient! I hate when new releases in a series take longer than a year to be released and it’s so easy to lose interest with so many other books and series being released. I mentioned not finishing the Divergent series because it was spoiled for me, but another factor is it’s overexposure. I just kind of got tired of hearing about it.

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  10. There are only a few series I have approached with plans to read the whole thing. The way I see it, a series is only as good as its previous book, and I try really hard to only buy one book at a time (sometimes I do fail and end up buying Book 1 + 2 or the entire trilogy without even reading Book 1 and then I panic and think, what if I don’t even like Book 1?!).

    There are way too many series these days anyway, because publishers know that book lovers want to continue on in the world they love and will always want more. I try to approach each book as a stand-alone, and if the book happens to have a sequel and I love it enough to hunt the sequel down or wait for it to be published, I’ll do it, but as it is, I have way too many to-be-read books waiting on me to add yet another series to my pile. So it’s gotta be a pretty special book to convince me to keep going.

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    • I usually buy one book at a time as well, which usually means I’m waiting a year in between books, which doesn’t always bode well for my fondness of a series. I’m always tempted to buy a whole series when I see them really cheap, but so far my own frugality has won out. Publishers definitely want to make money and series are an easy way to reel readers in. I like the way you approach books because some series would probably work better as standalones or even duologies.

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