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Serial devourers

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Reading novels as they’re released in a series is both a great delight and a great frustration.

Delight, because it’s always exciting to return to familiar characters and continue following their story, and frustrating, because once the latest release is read, there’s inevitably a long wait for the next.

We spec fic fans are more familiar than most readers with the cycle of wait, devour, wait…

It’s not so bad if the novels are reasonably self-contained, but those that end on cliffhangers are particularly frustrating (in a good way).

I’ve got at least seven series I’m actively following, and only one has all books published (which is a great comfort, knowing they are just there, waiting for me to find the time to get to them).

Once I’ve started on a series, I have to keep going. I don’t want to wait until they’re all out and then read them back-to-back in the space of days or weeks. (The books above are those of Brent Weeks, which were all released within a few months of each other last year.)

I’m guessing most readers are the same.

It makes me wonder how writers feel about slaving over a novel for 12 months or more, only to have readers consume it in days, or less – avid fans often read a long-awaited book in a single sitting. (Actually, I already know the answer to this: they don’t care as long as their books are being read and enjoyed!)

So, I’m curious to find out how many readers are prepared to commit to a new fiction series early in its life, knowing there are frustrating waits ahead.

Do you hear about a series you think you might like and dive straight in?

Or do you hold off until a few books are in print, or even the whole series?

Have you ever lost interest in a series because the wait was too long or you got distracted with too many other books?

(This is the first time I’ve posed questions on this blog, so please feel free to leave a comment!)


About paulaweston

I'm a writer. And a reader.

One response »

  1. Great questions. I thought about the books that I have read as part of a series and came up with the following list:
    ‘The Lord of the Rings’ (I think this counts as a series as, even though I believe Tolkien wrote it as one story, the publishers originally released it as three separate books), ‘The Narnia Chronicles’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Twilight’, ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’, ‘Evernight’ and ‘Fallen’.

    With the first four listed, I had the whole set together to get through from start to finish. I found this a great way to read, had good recall of what had happened in the previous book (or books), and I could even go back and re-read bits and pieces if I wished. On the down side, I think there were days, maybe weeks where I was sleep deprived as I just had to get through the next book, and then the next to see what happened.
    With all of these subsequently being turned into movie series’ as well, I have found myself rereading whichever book is about to be released on the big screen.

    With ‘Tomorrow, When the War Began’, I seem to recall that I was joining libraries from all around the metro area and getting interlibrary loans in order to get the next book! Sometimes they wouldn’t arrive in sequence and I’d hope that book 2 would arrive before book 3 was due back somewhere else!
    With ‘Evernight’ and ‘Fallen’, I am awaiting the next books in the series. Whilst it’s nice to have something to look forward to, it will almost inevitably result in my rereading the previous book anyway so that I can recall where the story left off. I inadvertantly did exactly this a few weeks ago: I had read ‘Evernight (I)’ some time ago, and awaited the arrival of ‘Stargazer (II)’ and ‘Hourglass (III)’. I eagerly started on ‘Stargazer’ and thought “this seems familiar, must have had a teaser chapter at the end of Evernight”. Read a bit further, thinking “I’m sure I remember this bit too”, started to flip to the middle of the book, finally realising “hey, I’ve already read this one”. I then remembered that I had read ‘Evernight’ and ‘Stargazer’ one after the other! I ended up rereading ‘Stargazer’ anyway so that I could prepare myself nicely for ‘Hourglass’.

    As a little post-script, Paula I am pretty sure that you put me on to 6 out of 7 of these series – ‘The Lord of the Rings’ being the first way back in high school!


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