29 July 2010

Throwing In The Towel

When do you decide enough is enough? When does a series stop becoming a joy and start becoming a...drag? When all you want is for the series to finish so that you can finally obtain an ending and move on... I've broken up with a number of series this year, when the effort required to continue reading outweighed the interest I had in both the series and the ending. And since a picture is worth a thousand words:

series interest/reading effort = passion (positive or negative)

And which series have fallen into the negatives already this year? Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series, Richelle Meade's Vampire Academy series and Laurell K Hamilton's Meredith Gentry series. (Apologies to those of who you believe I have just committed sacrilege.) Do I want to know what happens in these series? Well, yes, but not enough to keep reading.

When this post first popped into my head last weekend (because that's exactly how my posts arise :) I was in the process of divesting myself of yet another series - Laurell K Hamilton's Anita Blake. I picked up Skin Trade from the library on Saturday, but I just couldn't make myself read it. I started questioning whether I cared what was happening and realized I didn't. I thought that was it, and then I read the lovely Kerry from Saving My Sanity's post on her attempts to read Jacob's Faith (Lora Leigh). And it tied in with my musings over the weekend. I realized that I was seriously considering throwing in the towel on the Breed series too. I have been hanging out for Jonas' book (Lion's Heat) but...I've read a few reviews and I don't think the heroine and I are going to get on. And then I began to question whether I was reading the books for the characters, the overall plot arc or both...and if it's just the overall plot arc is that a good enough of a reason to actually continue reading a series?

When do you decide to throw in the towel on a series?


  1. I must be a glutton for punishment, because I haven't gotten to the point where I've given up on a series. Maybe I'm stubborn, but I haven't consciously ended it. I might take my time finishing it, but I haven't thrown in the towel. However I probably would have given up on the LKH series if I'd read past the first 4 books.

  2. I never started Vampire Academy, but I've thrown in the towel on all the other series you mentioned! Plus Kim Harrison's Rachel Morgan series (kill off my favorite character, will you?! hmph) and Karen Marie Monig's Fever series (oops! just exceeded my personal allowed number of cliffhangers!).

    I think when you can't bring yourself to read the next book and feel exhausted just thinking about it, it's time.

  3. Stacy - I'm in awe! The series I named above..I would have had to force myself to finish them. I get to the point when I can usually tell - I keep moving the book down the TBR list when it appears at the top, and when I finally have it in my hands I'm skimming through it but would rather do pretty much anything than pick it up. I still want to know what happens though. Luckily my best friend is reading the Weather Warden series so I'm going to ask her for a summary :) As for the LKH books...I think I was like many others when I kept hoping it would improve. Then I realized I didn't care ;)

    oops! just exceeded my personal allowed number of cliffhangers!

    Chris - LOL! That's kind of what drove me batty about the Weather Warden series. How many end of the universe scenarios will one character be put through and the cause of said scenarios? Well, it's of cause always because of/about said character. And the cliffhangers drove me batty. So not a fan.

    And I agree - when you can't bring yourself to read it, it's time to throw in the towel and move on. I keep remembering what Kerry said to me once (I'm paraphrasing) - there are too many good books out 'there' to spend time reading one you're not enjoying.

  4. I've given up on a number of series too over the last couple of years. If there is nothing new happening to the characters and the stories and it's just all tired, than that's it for me.

  5. I've given up on a bunch of series... some I just don't care; others I simply forgot and when reminded never bothered to find out what's what. For me, I can forgive not liking the protagonists, if the arc of the story is advanced (and there's a light at the end of the tunnel). However, if the story sucks and the story line isn't advanced... I'm pretty much done.

  6. Well, like most things in my life, I don't consciously decide to throw in the towel. I just lose interest and stop buying the books, and then after a few months I'm like, "Oh, do I care about that series anymore? Um, no."

  7. Kris - *nods* If a story feels tired, or like I've read it before, then...why? And characters so need to develop. I think that is what was frustrating me with the Anita Blake series - no character development (just power development :)

    Mariana - LOL! Forgetting about a series is definitely a good sign IMHO! And if there's no light at the end of the tunnel (or it's the headlight of the oncoming train :) then what's the point. I think reader needs to know that a series will finish at some point...

    heidenkind - I like your approach. Unfortunately I'm really bad at making a decision, so usually I have to build up to quitting a series. With LKH it's take months as I've dithered over it...do I give it one more try?

  8. Oh I feel for you Orannia. I can be ruthless once I stop caring about the characters in a series. I'll stop reading the books cold turkey -- ending or not. I did it with the BDB after disliking Lover Eternal and DNF'ng Lover Avenged & felt no guilt about it. I used to love that series. I'm also done with the Lara Adrian series, the Lora Leigh Breed series and quite a few others. I think I'm only reading 4 PNR series ATM.

    I like a series that have an ending. It's the reason I waited so long to begin reading UF -- I like an ending, a resolution to the overall story! Same with PNR, after 11 books or so in a PNR series I seem to stop caring.

  9. I stop reading when I have to force myself to finish a book or when I can't even finish. When I see the current release in the series at the library and I pass it by, then I know I'm done.

  10. Hilcia - I'm still sticking with the BDB, but that's because I want Qhuinn & Blay's story. I don't think I'll read the next book though, as Manny & Payne don't interest me. The Lara Adrian series I've tried twice, but...I kept comparing it to the BDB and waiting for various characters to appear *grin* And series so need an ending, which is why I've never started Sherrilyn Kenyon's books.

    Leslie - exactly! If you're forcing yourself to pick it up or just walk by it...you're done. I wonder if Robyn Carr's Virgin River series will suffer the same fate...

  11. Yeah, I do it. When the effort involved isn't worth the payback I get, or I find I simply don't care, I'll break up with an author or series.

    The dangerous series are the ones where I'm way behind reading it but I keep buying the new books as they come out because I like the series now. If that changes, I'm left with a bunch of books I now don't want to read. I'm kind of afraid that's going to happen with Lora Leigh and the Breeds.

    I have collections of books where I've really liked the series, but now I'm just not interested. In some cases, I'd still like to go back and reread the earlier ones, in some case I'm over the entire series. But I can't quite get rid of them, because I loved them once.

  12. This topic's been on my mind too! I was going crazy reading the last Merry Gentry book, and felt SO much better when I gave myself permission to not read any more until the last book in the series came out. I'll read that one just to see how it all ends. (Originally, LKH was supposed to end it by the 8th or so. Now, it seems more open-ended.)

    The same for me with the Weather Wardens! I just felt like, enough, already. Joanne and David needed a break.

    For me, it's usually hard to break up, though. I usually become really invested in the characters and have a hard time breaking up with them (moreso than the author).

  13. Kerry - ohhh. That is worrying, because you never know what may happen to a series, although if you don't have them handy when you feel like reading them...eBooks are better in that respect I guess :) When I decided to break up with LKH I went through my library holds and deleted the relevant books, which is definitely easier than actually having the books. IIRC I do have everything up to the tenth book, but since I liked them up until then I'm not so worried. I'm going to keep reading the Amazon synopses of each book and maybe there will be an ending :)

    Renee - great minds think alike *grin* Is there an actual ending for the Merry Genry series? As for the Weather Wardens, well...I've always been a Lewis fan :) But I got sick of the cliffhangers and every single book being an 'end of the world' scenario in which Jo was involved. Plus...Jo annoys me. She kept collecting powers. I think that's why I enjoy the Connor Grey (Mark Del Franco) UF series so much - the hero doesn't really have any powers as they are blocked. It makes things far more interesting IMHO :)

  14. I think there are two types of series I stop reading... there are the ones where I want to read a finished series, rather than book by book (and am sick of re-reading the previous ones every couple of years when the next one comes out!), which tend to be largely fantasy epics (George RR Martin's The Game of Thrones, Robert Jordan, Stephen King's Gunslinger series (which is now finished!) and so on).

    Basically, I want the amount of effort I put in to be worth it.

    Then there are the ones where the writing just keeps getting worse, and each subsequent story provides less and less pay-off (and more and more pain!). Laurel K Hamilton's Anita Blake books, Anne McCaffrey's Pern series, David Feintuch's Hope books...