Tell me more, tell me more! Does she have a…
A reader’s perspective on series
by Erin Saluta
My wife and I are already planning our Thanksgiving activities, it is Fall now that Labor Day has passed right? But Thanksgiving is a special time for my wonderful wife because this is when all the big movies are released and cooler weather offers heading to the theater a great excuse for not playing outside. This Thanksgiving, I’m already caught up in the big movie release drama because I HAVE TO KNOW the conclusion of the Hunger Games series. I probably SHOULD just go check the books out at the library but my impression has already been tainted.
You know those movies that don’t line up at all with what the book is about (anyone see Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans? Not the story at all!!) and with all the special effects and having preconceived ideas of what the characters look like and sound like it’s hard to read the story? That’s my fear with this series. I’m already invested in the movie version. That totally makes me a bad book-a-holic doesn’t it? Regardless, if you haven’t seen any of these movies yet, I’ve enjoyed them. However, I do have to be totally honest and say that I was really pissed after this last release, Mockingjay part 1, because it leaves the viewers wanting, no NEEDING more. I seriously left the theater groaning and complaining that if they have already filmed it they need to release it already!! Dang those Hollywood people and their ability to make money!! There should be some law about how long a fan must wait before the ending is revealed!
Actually, I think I thought that first when I started reading the Isis series by Jean Stewart. Awesome storyline with some kick butt women totally making the best of the world- basically if all things go wrong in the world I want to live in Isis with these women!! But Jean Stewart, at one point, was on my version of Sheldon Cooper’s list of people who done did me wrong!! She wrote the ultimate cliffhanger in this series with her book Winged Isis. A story that was published in 2001. A cliffhanger that wasn’t resolved until she released Wizard of Isis in 2004! That is three years!! Three years of not knowing! Three years of biting my nails and trying not to wonder why Ms. Stewart just didn’t quit her day job and write full time JUST so that I could know!!
I’m joking but not really. Our authors can really truly display a mean streak! I mean think of Linda Kay Silva. Anyone who has read her zombie series knows what I mean when I say it was just UNFAIR how she ended Mob Rule. Those moments when you close the cover of the book and are already grabbing the computer to order the next story or find out how long until the next story is released or wondering if there is any way you can positively tell the author that you are dying without sounding like a baby. I’m just glad that I started Nell Stark and Trinity Tam’s everafter series after they were ALL written!
Series are curious things though aren’t they? Some will drive you nuts because, well the author mean streak as mentioned above, but some are just absolutely perfect and I wonder do authors set out to write the series or does that come after? I think for Catherine M Wilson’s When Women are Warriors that story had to be planned out. The details were so intricate and the circle so complete it truly was a work of perfection in this reader’s opinion.
As I’ve mentioned before this series is one of my all-time favorites and something everyone should read regardless of sex, age, orientation, or whatever. Other types of series take those characters we fall in love with and just keep that warm fuzzy right next to the heart. I’m not sure if Cate Culpepper intended her Tristaine Series to be a series but after reading The Clinic I was wishing to see Brenna and Jesstin again, and thankfully that wish came true.
So I love series. After asking last week about how others choose their reading selections, I do admit that once I’m invested in a series, I’m in! I get attached to the characters and I want to see how they are doing. Though on a somewhat random side note, I think Karin Kallmaker’s Frosting on the Cake was a wonderful gift to readers. But back to series.
As I was contemplating this topic and looking at my bookshelves (a true joy for me to do!) I was looking at the types of series that are out there. It seems like there are those that follow the same characters and then those that introduce new one’s with a steady cast of supporting characters I’ve already found and loved. Mystery series seem to have that steady focus of the main character throughout each story — I guess that is why they are usually named after that character huh? I found others that do that too, though.
The everafter series I mentioned above keeps the focus on Valentine and Alexa as they create their new life. KG MacGregor’s Shaken series stays with Anna and Lily as their relationship grows and bends. I would call it a cult classic at this point but the Dar and Kerry characters in Melissa Good’s work is an excellent example of that. Catherine Friend’s two book series Spanish Pearl and Crown of Valencia is one of the funniest set of stories I’ve read but stays with Kate through her time traveling adventures. They are great! I love watching the same characters grow and I love how our authors are able to keep them alive on the pages for us.
Then there are the series that create that foundation of support using new characters in each story but maintaining a consistent check-in with the originals. I think Lynn Galli’s Charlottesville series and her Aspen Friends series are great for how diverse the characters are as they meet and fall in love. The intensity of intrigue present in the Kim Baldwin & Xenia Alexiou Elite Operative Series had me looking forward to meeting a new kick butt woman with each story and following their adventure through subterfuge, romance and basically being all around bad asses saving the world! And Gun Brooke gave us some bad asses saving the Universe in her Supreme Constellation Series with each story giving us a new player in the game for control.
As fellow readers, do you want more series? If so, which type do your prefer — ones where the same character(s) return to continue their story or ones where each story has a new character(s) with the old one’s providing that consistent foundation to the plot? Are there any authors out there that you believe to have a mean streak because they just won’t write fast enough?
As another side note, I am already shaking my head at how much LOVE mail Fletcher Delancey is going to get when her Without a Front stories are released. Why do authors love to torment us so? Why can’t they just write all the time?
I would hate for there to be spoilers, but all you readers out there, what series left you running to the computer to order the next story? Which ones left you needing more? I ask that with interest and dread that my book allowance is going to be gone before I know it! I mean you can’t just start in the middle of a series — you have to start at the first one and then read them all right? And lastly which story have you read that is just dying for a follow-up? One that quickly comes to mind is Leslie Murray’s Sharpshooter. So many stories, though, where I just want the author to tell me more! I don’t want to close the cover — I want the story to go on forever and ever and ever and…well you get my point! But I am looking forward to finding new series from more of our amazing authors!!