The Length of a Series

More often than not, books in this day and age are made to work as a series. This isn’t always because they were written that way, but rather because publishers are much fonder of taking on a series of books rather than stand alones. This causes books that were originally written as a single book to be needlessly extended into a longer series… because, well, money. I don’t really blame them, though, because I’m sure it’s much easier for them to publish something that’s already got an audience than throwing something completely new out into the water.

A series that comes to mind that should have ended with 1 book was the Hush, Hush saga. The first book was great, but the rest fell into the land of mediocrity. There are too many series like this (and unsurprisingly, many of them tend to be in the YA genre). Truthfully, I believe it’s better for the health of books in general to let things end where they naturally end, and just write something new. Of course that’s easier said than done, but most of us have had our fair share of reading series like this.

On another, similar note, what do you guys think about the length of series? As I just mentioned, I prefer things to end as they naturally end, which means no forced 10 book series. But what if that series natural end came at 10 books? I wouldn’t mind at all. I haven’t read that many long series yet (I’m hoping to get into a bunch of the longer series next year, like Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt and Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen, both 10 books excluding extras) so I don’t really have much input on longer series other than that: If it’s not forced, then I don’t have a problem with it.

But how about when a series is forced… Sigh. For me it really depends on how far I’m already into it. Sometimes it’s really hard to tear myself away from a series because I’ve already invested so much time into it, and I’m already emotionally attached to some of the characters. It’s on a case by case basis. Sometimes even though I believe the ending should have been right there I’ll see it through to the end for the sake of finishing it and seeing if they author could have potentially made it even better. Often that’s not the case, but it doesn’t hurt to hope it’ll happen.

So again, what are your thoughts? How do you take reading a series that should have ended 4 books ago, or how about reading series that go on for 10+ books and still have enough story left in them to justify going on?

~Erynn

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