Talk to Me Tuesday is a brand new weekly meme where we will discuss anything (and everything) literary-related in an open forum of honesty. Questions for the next week will be posted one week prior to the post on the Features page. If you'd like to participate in this weekly feature, simply create your post, link back to me, and add your post to the wonderful Mr. Linky below. Have fun, and have at it!
This week's question: Do you prefer series or stand-alone novels and why?
It seems to me that there's a trend in the YA market today for authors to start series, rather than stand-alone novels, and I've been wondering a lot about this lately. Seriously, what is the last stand-alone fantasy or paranormal book that I've read? While I don't read too many contemps these days, even the ones I do read seem to be jumping on the bandwagon. Take, for example, Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles. I loved that book. The characterization, the plot, every little point led up to a tumultuous and climactic end. Granted, the end made me want to
kill myself pull my hair out, but it made me think, and even more - it made me feel. Now, enter the sequel, Return to Paradise. Can I just say...disappointment much? No, the writing isn't bad, but we lost everything we gained from Maggie and Caleb in book one. Suddenly, we're on this new path that feels rushed and overbearing. I really wish I hadn't picked up the sequel.
Then there are series like Harry Potter, which we all know I'm clinically obsessed with. Seriously. I want to live in Hogwarts. But there is a reason to my madness, or insanity, if you will. In creating the first book, J.K. Rowling proposed a series and a chance for us to journey with her characters. She gave us the opportunity to grow up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, allowing us to know every detail of their lives so we could grow up in this imaginary world with them (I know, I wish it was real, too.) Each book had a clear purpose - show us Harry's progression, give us more of the background, and lead up to the final and ultimate battle of good vs. evil. That, in a nutshell, is pretty much the epitome of a series for me. Other series that worked for me were Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Mortal Instruments series. Obviously, there are more, but those are the ones that immediately spring to mind.
Some of your fellow book bloggers weighed in on the issue, too, saying what they thought of series and standalone novels.
Ginger from GReads says, "I like both, but I prefer series because I get more from the characters and the story. Everything isn't wrapped up so nicely."
Sarah from That Bookish Girl says, "I think it really depends on the book. Sometimes books work better with a clear, quick start and finish and sometimes they are better drawn out."
Misha from My Love Affair With Books says, "It depends on the book. If I loved the book, I like to see more of the characters and the story. But to be honest, I lack the patience to wait. Waiting for the next book in the HP series used to drive me insane!
Linds from Bibliophile Brouhaha says, "It honestly doesn't matter so long as the story is solid, whether it is a story throughout the series or a stand alone. I will say that I hate when a book originally is a stand alone, and it feels like the characters have come full circle, only to have a publishers/author later make it into a series. It messes with the story and distorts the message of the book."
And therein lies the main issue for me. I think there is such a pressure to create a series these days that we lose sight of the characters and plot that were originally created. Whether it's a series or a stand-alone novel, I don't want to feel like I'm being pulled unwillingly along. Shiver is a prime example for me. I think that book one could have been it. I feel no need to read past that. Basically, I want the same thing if it's a series or a stand-alone book. I want great characters, a fantastic adventure, and I want to feel like I went somewhere and came full circle.
Want to weigh in and do your own Talk to Me Tuesday post for this week? Go ahead and link up!