I’m one of those readers who loves a series. As I’ve said before, I get attached to certain secondary characters and can’t wait to read their stories. I do the same thing while writing a book. I create characters whose lives and romances I can’t wait to explore.
It doesn’t matter whether the same main character stars in every book or each story focuses on a different character.
It doesn’t matter if the series consists of three books or eight. (Frankly, in my mind, two novels do not count, although I’ve seen them touted that way.)
For a writer, receiving a contract for a multiple number of books is cause for celebration. For a reader, there can be questions:
Am I prepared to wait? Unless you begin after all the books are released, it’s a long wait for the next one. Most of the time, it will be a year or more before the second book comes out, then another year or more for the third. Although there are exceptions, you’re still looking at months between releases. In that time, you may forget important details. Presently, I’m reading the third book in a series and had to go back to the first two to refresh my memory on certain characters.
What if the series has an underlying story that runs through each book? The main characters may be different, but there is that thread that connects them. One such series I recently finished was Lynette Eason’s Deadly Reunions. (See my review here.) Each novel told a different story about a different couple, but each was connected by an incident that happened ten years earlier. While the whole series is well worth the read, the books should be read in order, if possible.
In the past few days, I finished Submerged and Shattered, books one and two in Dani Pettrey’s Alaskan Courage series. I’d heard they were very good and found that to be true. She does something a little different, though. It’s not uncommon for the reader to meet the main character for an upcoming novel in one book, but the POVs are strictly the hero and heroine. Ms. Pettrey sets up the next couple’s romance through using their POVs in the present novel. It’s an interesting concept that has its pros and cons. By the time the second book comes out, the reader already feels they know them and has been anxious to get to the new release. However, it can make the previous book seem a bit like a cliffhanger. (Take heart, those who have read these first two books, the third, Stranded, is due to release the first of September 2013.)
What if I can’t find the full set? Let’s face it, as writers we want people to buy our books. It’s how we get paid. But that isn’t always practical. While, for some, purchasing books ranks slightly below food and shelter, for others, it’s a luxury…one they can’t always afford. The library is my friend, but they may not order every book in a series, or someone might beat me to checking out the latest release and never bring it back. (I’ve had that happen.)
What do I do now? All good things must come to an end. Eventually, the writer wraps up the series and moves on, and we’re left to either sigh or cry. We’ve spent time with these people. We’ve worried about them. They’ve become our friends. Okay, it’s time to get a grip on reality. How? Find another series and new imaginary friends, of course.
So with all these questions, I’d like to know what you think.
Is it worth it? What are your thoughts on reading a series? What do you like about them? What do you dislike? Do you wait until all the books come out before starting a series? Do you like a series that follows one main character throughout or focuses on different main characters?