My Love/Hate Relationship with Series
- The Never Ending Series – this is nothing but a blatant money grab and a disrespect for character arc. In order to sustain this series, an author has to master the art of throwing lots of shi…er…stuff at the fan while NOT advancing the actual story line.
- The I Was Just Kidding Series – you know this one. Sing the refrain with me. This is the series that sets up a deep, rich world, replete with rules we can all understand. And then the author gleefully nukes those rules in subsequent books. Yes. You are thinking of the same person I’m thinking of whose movies are listed if you look this egregious series type up in the dictionary. He’s not the only, or even the worst, offender. Just the poster child for immeasurable fan rage.
- The Top That Series – this series starts out well enough, but alas, it falls victim to its own success and becomes a Never Ending Series. At that point, the author, in an effort to make each story better than the last, puts the characters in increasingly ridiculous situations in order to top the last novel. Eventually, this leads to I Was Just Kidding seriesdom.
- Harry Potter – for recurring characters across a set period of time, who remained true to their arcs and to their personalities throughout. Humor, danger, stakes – this series got 90% of everything right. The gripes with series that I have I blame more on the editors not actually editing than on anything else. Also, the gripes, they are minor in the face of the awesome. Yes, of course the twins are my favorite characters.
- Firefly (Shush! I know it’s a TV show! I know it was canceled years ago. Don’t mock my pain!) – Excellent use of recurring characters in conflict with one another, trapped by differing sets of circumstances. Smart dialog. Choices I could believe people might actually make given the options at hand. Love the slow turn up of pressure that living on the edge of ‘never having enough’ and ‘wanted by more than the law’ brought to the story.
- Linnea Sinclair’s Dock Five Series – For two of the books, there were recurring characters, but then the stories branch out to other members of a family. It gives the series a great range of flavors (in that you see things through a number of different character lenses) all while getting to remain in the richly textured world (and the conflict therein) that’s been built. It’s not quite like getting to start a whole new series each time I pick up a new book, but it’s close.
- Star Trek (novels – don’t much care which flavor) – I love these because it’s a testimony to the strength of established characters. Star Trek novels are rarely written by the same author more than two or three times. There are HUNDREDS of these novels out. Yet if you pick up one of those hundreds and begin reading, you’ll instantly recognize the characters and the world. Granted, there are some mighty strong controls in place to make sure no one does anything really silly.
I think I’ve already talked about the childhood trauma of never being able to find a complete series? We won’t rehash that old wound. Just suffice it to say, thank the internet for my new-found ability to buy ALL THE BOOKS in a series in one go. That, all by itself may be my greatest series love.