Today's Book Talk post comes from Kris from Voracious Yappetite. Kris is a YA Blogger whose blog is filled with reviews, blogger and author interviews, book news and information about the latest YA releases. Take some time to visit her blog and experience the greatness for yourself!
The Power of the Series
Why We Stick with Series That Disappoint Us, Get Progressively Worse, or We Just Plain Don’t Even Like That Much
A few weeks ago, I was reading a review on a fellow YA blogger’s website about the latest installment in a well-known YA book series. The blogger lamented that the series started out strong and that they basically devoured the first few books -- but then things changed.
As the series progressed, the story lost its spark. It wasn’t as captivating or suspenseful anymore. The characterization was lacking. The plotting seemed forced. The latest book, the blogger said, was hard to slog through.
Interestingly, though, the blogger admitted that they would most likely continue with the series. Despite the fact that the series had gone from a favorite to a disappointment, the blogger planned to stick it out to the very end.
I realized, as I read this post, that I’ve heard other readers make similar statements. And that includes me.
Which had me marveling over the power that series have over us. How fascinating it is that a series doesn’t have to deliver with every book for readers to continue with it!
After a bit of rumination, I decided that there are a few reasons that I attribute to this strange “sticking it out” commitment that we make to less-than-stellar series:
- Positive thinking. You hope that the series will regain its former glory or improve after a slow start. If you liked the series from the beginning but the latest book was a disappointment, you hope that it was just a fluke and that the next book will be just as great as the first ones. If you didn't really care for the first book but you're planning to read the next book anyway, then the series has probably garnered a lot of publicity and buzz, been a favorite of a friend, or been widely adored by other readers. You think to yourself that maybe you have been overly critical of the first book or that the author just needs time to "come into their own," and that maybe you should give the next book a chance.
- Investment in the characters. Each book you read in a series strengthens the connection you have to the characters. The longer you spend with them, the harder it is to let them go. You become attached. They mean something to you, and even if they’ve annoyed you or let you down recently, you’re willing to give them another shot.
- The cliffhanger. We’re all familiar with the cliffhanger -- it’s that twist plugged in the last chapter of a book, or even the very last page, that leaves your mouth hanging open, eyes popped wide, heart thumping a mile a minute, all the while thinking, WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?! It’s that breathless, nail-biting moment that causes you to freak out for the next 6 to 12 months, tossing ideas back and forth with fellow readers about what it all means and what will happen in the next book. Even if the entire book up until that point wasn’t all that great, the cliffhanger is enough to bring you back for another round.