Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. Today’s topic is Series I Have Yet to Finish, and this is an easy post to write because the answer is, most of them. I am not a big fan of series—at least not for myself as a reader. For other readers, especially for reluctant or uncommitted readers, I love them because there’s nothing easier than putting Book 2 in the hands of a reader who just finished Book 1 and can’t stop raving about it. I know self-professed non-readers who devoured the entire Twilight series in a week or read a Bluford High novel a day until there were no more Bluford High novels to read. Series are a godsend for book pushers like me.
But for whatever reason, they seldom work for me. One of my bad reading habits is to read the first book in a series, love it, and then somehow never get around to finishing the series. Often by the time Book 2 is published, I feel like I need to reread Book 1 before moving on, but it’s hard to make myself reread books when there are so many new books waiting to be discovered for the first time. I’m constantly in pursuit of the shiny and new, for one. And the lack of conclusion to the early books in a series frustrates me. I like books to stand alone and wrap up the strands of plot and story. I don’t want to have to read Book 2 to find out how Book 1 actually ends. Most of all, I think it’s a question of writing quality. So often, a popular series has to be written quickly, and I think the final product shows that rush in book bloat. Even Laini Taylor’s magnificent Daughter of Smoke & Bone series could have been trimmed to its advantage. I do finish series—I’ve read all of The Hunger Games, Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials, and Harry Potter. But I’ve started far more than I’ve finished.
I adored The Knife of Letting Go–except for that one scene where I nearly threw the book across the room. Why, Patrick, WHY? The only reason I haven’t finished the series is that I know I have to reread Book 1 to go on with the series, and I just can’t face that one scene again. It was too harrowing the first time! (And since there are lots of harrowing things that happen in this story, perhaps I should clarify that it’s the scene with my favorite character, Manchee, that I’m referring to. I’m guessing several of you were traumatized for life too.)
Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina is one of my all-time favorite first volumes in a series, but I still haven’t read Book 2. Again, I need to reread Book 1 before I feel like I can move on, and I just haven’t had time or desire for rereading yet.
By the end, I liked Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Boys quite a bit—enough to start reading Book 2 immediately. But then I got bogged down and struggled to keep going. If I get back to it in the next couple of months, I’ll be able to read without rereading. But if I wait longer than that, I’m not going to remember enough from Book 1.
It probably goes without saying that I never finished Twilight. I did read New Moon in graphic novel format, but that’s as far as I got—though I have watched a few scenes from the 3rd movie. Enough to let me know I was right to stop reading the books when I did.
I am fond of the Divergent series because it’s turned a couple of my non-readers into readers, but I was bored by the first book and wouldn’t have been able to go on with Book 2.
Same for Matched. So many of these dystopian worlds just aren’t very interesting places to spend time. What is it about our current cultural moment that makes dystopia so compelling to so many readers?
As I was reading City of Bones, I had every intention of continuing the series. But by the end, I felt that everything except the kitchen sink had been thrown at me, and I was too exhausted to read more.
Cassandra Clare has the dubious honor of showing up twice on this list. Before I broke down and got an Audible subscription, I listened to every YA audiobook my library has, which is how I ended up reading Clockwork Angel. There were things I really liked about the story, but the climax felt very anti-climactic and I didn’t care to read more.
I have a soft spot for The Lightning Thief. A non-reader in my Children’s Literature class spent his entire semester reading his way slowly but surely through the entire series and considered himself a reader by the end. My son has read most of the books with partners at school or listened to them on audio and loves the world of mythology that Riordan creates. But there just wasn’t enough good writing or character development for me to want to keep reading.
I suspect I would find good writing and character development if I read the rest of Lois Lowry’s companions to The Giver. I have no idea why I haven’t read these books. They’re thin, so they can’t suffer from book bloat. And since they’re companions, not exactly sequels, I probably don’t need to reread The Giver before reading the rest of the series.
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