Table Talk: The Book Series

Hm, it’s been a while since I’ve put forth a Table Talk post.

So, to reiterate what Table Talk means to me, it’s informal conversation usually occurring around meals. Since my blog focuses on storytelling–I mean, that’s what I’ve noticed anyway considering I talk about books, television, and movies. All forms of storytelling–I take Table Talk to mean informal conversation focusing on storytelling.

And this post is going to focus on the Book Series.

I’m sure we’re all familiar with what a book series is, but to ensure there is no confusion on the matter, a book series is a sequence of books focused on a group of characters. There is usually a main story arch throughout the series and a bunch of little stories in-between. Usually these in-betweens contributes to the overall story arch. A good example of this would be The Twilight Saga. You could read each book separately and out of order, but you really wouldn’t know why Victoria is chasing Bella in Eclipse if you haven’t read Twilight. However, from what I experienced, there is also a second type of book series in which the books in the series can be read as a stand alone. An example of these would be those romance novels that focus on different members of a family. They’re fun to read because some characters reappear in the other stories, but you don’t have to read the first book to understand what’s going on in the second.

Which brings me to my most recently book hangover, The Dark Artifices: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Ugh! The reason why I really can’t stand book series and yet I can’t stay away from them! I’ll be reviewing Lady Midnight later this week, but reading it made me realize just how much book series frustrate me. And actually, to be fair, it’s not just Dark Artifices. Every single book I read that is part of a book series makes me realize just how much book series frustrates me.

They almost always have a whooper of a cliffhanger. I mean, really. I have never really thrown a book against the wall out of frustration, but the Shadowhunter world has made me come close to doing that, several times. Especially with Infernal Devices. The most frustrating series to date, however, has to be the Arcana Chronicles. I couldn’t believe the cliffhanger Kresley Cole left at the end of The Dead of Winter. I nearly screamed. I did in my mind (I mean, it was in the wee hours of the morning and I didn’t want to wake my family). And you have to wait almost a year, sometimes more, for the next installment in the series. It royally sucks sometimes, especially when the cliffhanger is a really good one.

And I really can’t think of any other reason as to why I don’t enjoy reading through a book series. It’s the wait. I’m in the middle of several book series and it’s left me on edge. There’s the Burned Series by Karen Marie Moning, the Dark Artifices Series by Cassandra Clare, the Sophie Rhodes Ghostly Romance Series by Karen Cantwell, the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole, the Nick Chronicles by Sherrilyn Kenyon, the County Cork series by Shelia Connolley, the Relatively Dead Series by Shelia Connolley, Magnum Chase Series by Rick Riordan, and others. That’s a lot of series to be stuck in the middle of pouts. I think there are only three series that I wasn’t stuck waiting for the next installment. The Hunger Games, The Twilight Saga, and the Sookie Stackhouse Series.

For all my grumbling about book series, the reason I can’t stay away either is the hype and buzz that surrounds a really good series. I’m not saying I need to be the first to read the book or that I even want to (although I really wish I could get on those ARC lists for my favorite authors), but I love the fandom a series produces. As much as I enjoyed reading the Hunger Games, Twilight, and Sookie Stackhouse cover to cover for each book in the series, no need to wait, I couldn’t help but felt I missed out. I missed out in the anticipation of the next book, the discussions over what would happen next, and then the camaraderie that forms among fans of a fictional world.

So, as much as those cliffhangers frustrates me, I will keep going back for more simply to be a part of a bigger world. Besides, after the Harry Potter series, this shouldn’t be too bad, right?

3 thoughts on “Table Talk: The Book Series

  1. j1818

    Do you ever wonder if the idea of series has exploded because authors or publishers use it as a marketing hook to see more books? Do you wonder if it is because the author hasn’t developed the skill to tell a story succinctly enough to present it in one book? I don’t care for series either. I abhor cliffhangers, but I don’t mind a gentle segue that implies there could be more to the story or if could satisfactorily end at that point (I’m thinking of A Discovery of Witches as an example). There are “series” of standalone novels that involve intersecting stories and characters; I don’t mind those. There are series that are into the fifteenth installment, and to me they seem like “the never-ending story” that I tend to lose interest in. Then there is the series where the books are published so many years apart that you must reread the last book because you’ve forgotten too many details of the story.

    1. InfoJunkie

      Those are some really good questions! I love it.
      -I do think a marketing hook is part of the onslaught of book series that now seem to flood the literary world and I cannot help but think the Harry Potter series opened the flood gates for that. Seeing book sales grow year after year as readers anticipate the next installment probably gave them the idea.
      -I have wondered if the author is lacking in skills to tell the story in one book. I miss those days when I could pick up a book and know that I’ll be satisfied at the end of it. Now days it seems I’m halfway through a book when I realize there is no way the story could be complete in one book and find that I was right, there are two more books following. I really wish more authors would do what Ms. Harkness did with the All Souls Trilogy that you mentioned, that the story could end there, but it could also continue. Those types of book series I don’t mind so much either because I get a satisfying story and it’s my choice to continue. I get frustrated when I’m left hanging and have no choice to read the next book if I want to find out what happens.


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