I Don't Want to Say Goodbye, But I Have To

An action hero's essential arsenal requirement.
When should an author end a series? You know the drill. 200 books down the line and you're thinking "enough already!!!" Perhaps you have doggedly followed the author. Loved the first 4 or 5 books and just want a satisfactory ending for your favourite characters. You've stuck with the author through thick and thin. Stalked them on Tumblr and Twitter. Joined the Goodreads and Facebook groups as you dissect every single action that was ever undertaken through the novels. Whether Eleanora has porridge for breakfast or it you really can survive on a diet of coffee and takeaways. I'm still trying to work out how coffee can keep the motor running with all the leaping and jumping the heroine / hero has to undertake in a day. I need to remember to include a bucket-load of sugar into my caffeine hit. But it is possible in a novel.




But after a while a series gets to that point where fresh ideas are starting to wane, the action starts to feel a bit repetitive and before you know it you're yawning as you are reading and heaven forbid it's taken you more than a day to finish the book, which you downloaded at midnight. Suddenly a week's passed and you have a light bulb go off in your head - plus you still haven't finished reading the book and coffee isn't keeping you awake - You could have been reading something better. Of course this light bulb goes off after you've already purchased the book, the sticker, the t-shirt, the mug, the cup, the poster. You get the picture.


When your fandom is your everything.

Click through as we discuss some once-loved series that probably should have ended long before the final page. 


There will be spoilers for these series after the jump so enter cautiously.

Merit and Angela Discuss Series Fatigue

We decided to tell you the truth--we have a real issue with book series. What really happens is that most of the time we don't get to the end of the series. Usually, we abandon the plot somewhere in the middle. It happened with some really good stories for me, like Sabina Kane, Mercy Thompson, Morganville Vampires ( which I liked very much) and even The Hollows ( I will go on with this one one day). A series has to be exceptionally good and interesting ( to my taste of course ) for me to go on reading it. When Merit told me this I had to agree. I've read the first 3 Mercy Thompson books, yet haven't found the inclination to carry on.

As we discussed further, we decided that what we really liked were trilogies. Okay we both confessed that J.R.R Tolkien's masterpiece The Lord of the Rings introduced both of us to the trilogy concept. The reason I love a trilogy is I just love the concept of having Book #1 where we meet the characters, discover the landscape and get into the action, then you have a cliff-hanger ending. Book #2 fleshes out the story. Our characters go through adversity and you are left biting your fingernails. Perhaps there have been a few character deaths along the way. Book #3 everything is wrapped up nicely and you feel that you've read a story that gave you everything you wanted.

Therefore it lead us to conclude that we get book fatigue after book #4 or #5 in a series.


I must push on. This book has only taken me a month to read.
There are a couple of series where we have pushed on, but even then, when the magic number for urban fantasy seems to be 13 books, some of the books have lagged and made our attention drift. We've continued on because we've just had know how the series was going to end. You could say we have become invested. Perhaps we fangirled over the books, perhaps all our friends are reading them, perhaps we just want to know why the book / series isn't as great as our friends are telling us it would be. We question, what is it that we are missing? Why is this book draining our enthusiasm for the whole series?

So let's take a look at some of the series that need to end, like yesterday. Just remember this is one person's ranting perspective (well with the help of a couple of my friends) and no doubt legions of fans still love some of these series which have ended or are still continuing. Just not this fan. Let's call me an ex-fan. The trouble is once you become an ex-fan it's very hard to read other series by the same author.

For my own sanity The Book that Shall Not be Named will only be mentioned briefly right this very second, as we have ranted enough on that subject. Check out our previous posts on what not to do when finishing off a series. Check the label Wench Rants. But there are plenty of other series that could give Unmentionable a run for it's money. So let's delve into it shall we?

Anita Blake Series--Wench Merit's Musings

Ah, Anita how have you fallen. Sexy, petite, hard ass woman, Anita Blake is a vampire hunter, The Vampire Executor, necromancer who also works for the F.B.I “supernatural” murder investigations” department.

The first book in this series, Guilty Pleasures, was such a great read! It had everything I love. An interesting fantasy, world-building, Great characters, vampires, shape shifters, zombies, police officers, and one strong sexy vampire, just like you expect him to be – tall and lean, long black hair, leather pants and super erotic voice. The story lines had a lot of action, intrigue and mystery. Not much sex but a lot of sexual tension in the air (a promise of things to come). Well, that promise was fulfilled in the next 5-6 books. Great stories full of everything promised earlier, plus strong attraction, with denial, between the main characters, Anita and that alpha vampire, Jean Claude.

But then after book 6, or 7, (O.K. , I’ll agree to increase it to book 10, just because Obsidian Butterfly, book 9 was a really great, a return to old Anita, and because the enigmatic assassin Edward, Anita’s mentor(?) and the only man she didn’t bed, plays a big role there.)

Along the series “way”, something happened. The story lines became less of a story and more about Anita having sex in all possible and impossible ways and shapes. It’s as if she had to hop into bed with every man and some women she met and they just HAD to have it with her and afterwards fall in love with her and stand to serve her as she sees fit. I felt as if LKH was trying to shock me to no end with sex scenes. A threesome? That’s nothing. A foursome? Well Anita is so strong! Group sex? She is happy to accommodate. Having sex with a were-leopard in animal form???? Anita is just that great. I read somewhere she is referred to as “The Crotch of Doom”. Oh yes, hers doomed the series! This series started out so good and promising but somewhere along the road became so shallow and empty, except being full of sex, and even that became boring after too much of the dose.


I didn't think sex could put me to sleep.

There are currently 22 books and a few short stories, in the series. I admit, I still try to read new installments from time to time, hoping for a “backtrack” to those wonderful first books. I have Affliction, book 22, on my Kindle, but I’m not sure I have the energy to start reading it.

Thanks Merit.


Cut & Run Series

The Cut & Run series was my obsessive stalker-like series.

Facebook Group - check
Tumblr follower - check
Goodreads Group - check
Converting Friends - check
Quoting like a fiend - check
Reading books multiple times - check.

The recent book Ball & Chain has come out in the Cut & Run series, book 8. Since book #6 I've noticed a steady decrease in being about to recognise the characters that I fell in love with and being interested in the plot that I was meant to be reading. Cut & Run isn't one of those series you read for deep, meaningful, thoughtful mysteries or to have some great revelation that would make me instantly change my life. I read them because I loved the relationship between Ty and Zane. Plus the authors knew how to write a sex scene. Abigail Roux still does. Now the lead characters are an echo of themselves and I get the sense the author is bored with the characters and is ready to move on. This series has just had it's penultimate book, yet it felt like a fizzer. I want a  BAM! WOW! I'm biting my nails wondering how it will all end in the final book. Instead I started burping as the book gave me indigestion.


What happened to the plot?

At the end of the day an author can write what they want, but it's a terrible feeling while reading a book and realising you were expecting something else. Where did badass Zane go? Hey he can change, I want my characters to evolve. Unfortunately I don't want to read about that Zane without that glint of danger to his personality. Sure, I don't want Zane to be a drug / alcohol addict, but I still want him to have that glimmer of a switch that can be flipped so you don't know how he is going to react. Plus when is Zane without his knives? I missed that memo. It made the books exciting. Ty, you were my favourite, but now all you seem to do is flailing, chuckling, snorting and laughing while you have PTSD. I don't know where you went and why the author has taken you in the direction your are now traipsing and it saddens me that I can no longer connect with you.


One more gripe and then I'm done. I promise. Scotland in December is freakin cold. Why are the characters wearing summery clothes?

This did not just happen!!!!!

I recommend stopping at Book #6. You won't be disappointed if you do. So alas Cut & Run, I resigned my membership from the club. You probably won't miss me, but I'll miss you and what could have been.

Facebook Group - unchecked
Tumblr - Unfollowed
Goodread Group - departed
Convert Friends - stop at the end of Book 6!!!
Quoting like a fiend - no more
Reading books multiple times - uncheck.
Drink alcohol and cry - check.
Brain Bleach - check. Rocks in corner. Books #7 and #8 never happened. Books #7 and #8 never happened........


Black Dagger Brotherhood Series

Come on! Admit it. You never read the Lesser bits, you only care about the Brothers, well and the characters that aren't quite Brothers yet. So suddenly you find yourself only reading three quarters of a book and wonder why you bothered. You will probably find by general consensus that Vishous and Zsadist's books are two of the all time favourites, but as the world has expanded to include more characters, I've found my interest start to wane. The way the series runs has become formulaic. At the end of the day boy meets girl, they have problems and then they get together. Hey, I love a good HEA, and what I've just said might be a little simplistic for how the series runs, but I needed something fresh injected into the series. The author has tried this with Xcor and Throe, but for me it's past it's use by date. At least I can always remember the series as being the gateway to m/m via Qhuinn and Blay, but I'm ready to move on.

The other issue I have is the over abundance of subplots.  When authors do subplots it can add a different layer to a story, and some authors do this really well.  For me in this series the subplots detract from the main story. And as such it decreases my enjoyment of the central characters within each novel. I feel that there are too many threads to keep track of in what is essentially a paranormal romance series.

Read it? Nah.

Enjoy the series as I know it's still wildly popular. It's just not for me anymore.

Night Huntress Series--Wench Beta's Thoughts

Series that should have ended sooner? It really kills me to say this and I know that I'm in the minority but I have to say the Night Huntress series. If you'd asked me in January, before  the final book was released, I would never in a million years have thought I would be here today saying such a thing. I was even gushing about the books, the favorite scenes (which I still fully stand by), how sad it was to be saying goodbye to Cat and Bones and their world and how sure I was that the ending would be perfect, in my post the day before the release. But here I am. In a totally different type of post.

Books 5 and 6 weren't as awesome as books 1 to 4, I missed some of that edge and fire that the first four books had, but I still liked them and I really liked how Cat and Bones were working together and how their relationship was growing and getting stronger. Then came book 7. It had been a loooong wait for the next Cat and Bones books and when Jeaniene Frost announced that it would be the last book it was a big and a sad surprise. But I understood her and totally respected her decision and in a way it made me love her even more. So while I was sad about it being the final book I was even more excited than before because I was about to see what kind of life Cat and Bones were going to live.


Before Beta read the book.
As I understand it Frost knew early on how she wanted to finish the series and she, like any author, creates the characters, scenes, events and the world from beginning to end. I'm the reader and if I like the books I get invested, and enjoy the ride and while doing that I may imagine and hope for a certain ending based on my interpretation of the story. The final book was not what I expected, to put it mildly. For me, so many characters felt out-of-character. The whole book felt out-of-character. While I thought I was going to continue seeing the growth in Cat and Bones's relationship I felt it had taken several steps backwards, which was very sad to see in the final book. Cat made me feel like she was a spoiled kid who thought she should have and do everything her way, no matter what. She really annoyed me in this book. I'll always, always love Bones but I hated seeing him in the position of having to constantly follow his wife around and settle for whatever she (and others) wanted, without really having much to say about it or even being asked. There are couple of things that felt recycled which made me unable to get into it like maybe I should have. Then there's the baby plot... seriously? And the ending, the farewell, don't get me started on that.

Really? That old trope.

After having read the last book I'd have been happy if it had ended with book 5 mixed with the wonderful novella Home for the Holidays.


Thanks Beta.

Conclusion

So that's just four examples of some series that seem to have made a couple of us go WTF just happened here? It breaks your heart when a series you have adored goes up in flames and you don't want to let go. You hold on to the series by the tips of you fingernails. You have to know how it's all going to play out. But you wake up one day thinking, is this the same author writing these novels I've been reading for the last five years? When did my favourite characters suddenly become unrecognisable to me? Collective hugs to you all if you have ever felt this way over a series. Um, yeah sorry that all the memorabilia that you purchased might make a good bonfire. 

Let me know what series have jumped the shark for you? Any similar to mine or another series you would love to rant about. Please let me know in the comments.

Comments

  1. Oh Anita Blake. This one rings the most true for me. I had to quit reading them entirely because the sex was just so ridiculous. I love the Crotch of Doom title, that's perfect. Its sad because she started out as such a great independent character!

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    1. It's horrid when characters you love suddenly become unrecognisable. LOL unfortunately it usually takes me a couple of books to release that a series has declined.

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  2. I read the whole of the Night Huntress Series in a relatively short time so there was no waiting for the next book in the series to come out. By the time I finished with the final book in the series, I wondered who were these people I just read about? One word described it best for me: TAME. Well, anti-climatic as well.I understand Cat wanted to relax and not have to look over her shoulder all the time but this was too OOC to me.

    Tate sure gets to spend the rest of his immortal life right where he always wanted to be, with Cat and possibly with a kid to boot. And they all sailed off into the sun together, quite literally. It was good but too tame for me, especially since it did not seem to be Cat's style. Bones, who is part ruler and a bad ass in his own right was too domesticated for my taste.

    I won't even talk about the book series that must not be named, been there and done that.

    Two book series that I grew tired of were the Alex Cross novels and the Women's murder Club.The 12th of never is still waiting to be read on my Kindle and I am beyond far behind on the AC novels. I love Patterson I really do but between his really short chapters and wondering how much can one man go through before he or you goes completely insane, really puts a dent in the 'Oh I cannot wait to read it' glee.

    I do love book series but one has to wonder 'how much is too much" of a good thing?

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    1. It's so hard to know when to draw a line sometimes. I've read book series hoping that they'll get better and some long book series have had the odd book along the way that haven't been that great, but then the next book is back on form. The more I think about it, the more I like a series ending at maximum 5 books and then for the author to try something new. I prefer standalone or three book series. I often still have a problem with continuing if the author starts a "new" series but sticks within the same world, just with a new POV character.

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  3. Ooooh, awesome post!

    That about Cut&Run though? Spot-on! I don't know if you remember my C&R spoiler threads where I couldn't stop posting quotes and thoughts and just general gushing. Now? I have to push myself to finish the last book.

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    1. I remember well Olga. I use to tease quotes as well. Now I wish I hadn't it. B&C was a chore to finish and I'm starting to hold out little hope of the series having a satisfactory conclusion.

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  4. Excellent post. I thought I was getting cynical and grumpy in my old age, or perhaps growing out of the UF genre (nah, no way), because it seems like every book release this year has been a huge disappointment.

    NH, C&R, BDB. I'm just bored and irritated by them all. But I think you've hit the nail on the head. These are series that have gone on too long. I think I need to find something fresh, and something that's only going to last 5 books, 6 max.

    Man, I've got 20% left of The King and I don't even care. The whole book I keep thinking, "Can't we have more Vishous? Where the hell is Xcor?" I'm not even thinking about Qhuay because I know better. And, yes, I am skimming the sex scenes. WTH.

    Anita Blake has 22 books?!?! That's just insane.

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    1. Thanks Veronica. I get what you are saying. It does feel like a lot of books haven't been that great this year (and last year), especially as series are wrapping up. 5-6 books is a great limit to set and I think can save some disappointment. 22 books is way too many.

      I haven't felt like looking at The King and I very much doubt I will at some point. I was giving it the benefit of the doubt until reviews came in, but I haven't seen anything to change my mind.

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  5. It seems like when book series go beyond four they do not get any better. Either they maintain some good moments and I skip through the rest (Lady Julia Grey, Maiden Lane, Immortals After Dark, Coda), they plateau and I just don't care/DNF (Night Huntress, BDB, Maisie Dobbs, Psy Chaneling, Lunar Chronicles - even though it hasn't reached 4 yet), or they are inconsistent/ridiculous to the point of insulting the first books of the series (Cut and Run - I've taken this one far too personally).

    Right now I'm fingers crossed for the next in the Cole McGinnis, Tomes of Bill (Sunset Strip doesn't count), and Whyborne and Griffin series books.

    I think Josh Lanyon is the exception to the rule. The Adrien English series is amazing and #4 Death of a Pirate King played into the arch perfectly. In fact, I kind of blame my love of this book for my comparative dislike of Roux's Ball and Chain/the Cut and Run arch... I've similarly enjoyed Lanyon's Dangerous Ground novella series, but I doubt #5 Kick Start is the last one.

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    1. Josh Lanyon is on my TBR, so glad to hear you have enjoyed his books. I've taken B&C very personally unfortunately, as it's now ruined the whole series for me, which I did enjoy a lot. The only exception for me as I've given it some thought is the Outlander series which I'm enjoying. However, even in that series you really have to make it through Book #5 as it's the hardest out of all of them to get through.

      I think saying they plateau is a perfect explanation. It starts to feel like the storylines are being recycled.

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  6. I can't quite put my finger on what the problem is. I've grown tired of so many of the book series that I used to enjoy, especially book series that have an endless multitude of ancient supernatural heroes, yet each one finds his soul mate within a few weeks/months of each other in subsequent books. It's like they're playing tag team wrestling. *cough BDB

    Diana Gabaldon's "Written in my Own Heart's Blood" is one book that I AM looking forward to (and know exactly when it's coming out).

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    1. I know what you are saying Donna. Many series start to feel like you are on treadmill where the same things happens, just the main characters names are changed. It gets tiresome after a while. I wonder if part of the problem is that authors have two many different plot points happening and by the time it comes to the last book they can't weave everything together in as satisfactory way.

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