Waiting for the end of the series

I’ve always had this philosophy regarding any series of books — I would never start to read the first book until the final one had been published. That way, I would not have to wait the twelve plus months between books — the twelve plus months during which I would forget vital plot points and character nuances. Instead, I could just read one book after another, from beginning to end, and achieve a sense of continuity and completion. But things have changed.

I’m a reasonably patient sort of person. I usually don’t mind waiting, even if it is several years between book one and the final instalment, before starting to read a series. This is the way that I have read many a trilogy. The first time that I broke my own rule was with the Harry Potter series. Seven books resulted in a very long wait between beginning and end. There was a lot of hype and a lot of discussion. I really wanted to read the books; I really wanted to participate in the discussions my friends were having; and I was finding it very difficult to avoid spoilers. So I started reading just after the fourth book was released. I read them back-to-back. Of course, then came the agonising wait for book five… I didn’t like that bit.

But Harry Potter was an exceptional series — so much hype and talk and media. Most books don’t get that kind of press. Spoilers are not usually an issue. So, Harry was going to be my one and only exception (except, of course, those occasional circumstances where I’ve read a book not realising that it was the first in a series… damn, that’s annoying!). But then I started reviewing books.

Becoming a reviewer changed everything. I was no longer browsing bookstores, reading the back cover blurbs, trying to choose what to read next. Now I was browsing lists of upcoming and newly released titles trying to decide which books I should request for review. And those lists are always chock-full of books that are part of a series. And thus I found myself in the position of reading the first book of the Rosie Black Chronicles a few weeks after its release in 2010, instead of waiting. Book two is soon to be released (keep an eye on this blog, I’ll soon be interviewing the author, Lara Morgan), and goodness knows when book three will be out.

Reviewing has also hampered my ability to ever read a series from beginning to end in one hit. I read the first book of Trudi Canavan’s Black Magician trilogy in October 2010. I didn’t get to book two until March 2011, and I’ve only just started book three. Why? I’ve got a stack of new review books I’ve agreed to read — so I space out the other books I want to read, between these.

A number of years ago I heard about a series of books called The Laws of Magic, written by Michael Pryor. I read the back cover blurb of the first book, thought it sounded interesting, and placed it on my read-when-the-series-is-finished pile. Well, the final book came out this year. I dug out the first book and read it. I’d love to now read the rest of the series, one after the other. But no… I’ve had to put then aside for the moment. Sigh! Life can be so tough sometimes. 😉

Catch ya later,  George

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George Ivanoff

LITERARY CLUTTER: Bookish bloggings from the cluttered mind and bookshelf of Melbourne author, George Ivanoff. George is the author of the YOU CHOOSE books, the OTHER WORLDS series, the RFDS Adventures and the GAMERS trilogy.

6 thoughts on “Waiting for the end of the series”

  1. I agree that one can get burnt starting a series. Some from my past are Wild Jack by John Christoper (The Tripods series amongst other great books) was going to be a series but he never wrote any more. I started Joe Haldeman’s The World series when the first book was published. The first two books came out in the space of two years, it was another *nine* years before the third and final book came out which is delving way too close to George RR Martin territory for my liking (see below).

    If you had read the excellent Paratwa trilogy as they came out you would have been severely annoyed at the end of the second book. The second and third books really should be a single volume. The second one doesn’t really end at all, it is really just the lengthy introduction and set up for the third book. Luckily I had all three in hand when I started reading the first.

    For some other series of books, they are fairly self contained and it doesn’t matter so much, but it definitely did with the Paratwa books.

    Spurned on by the HBO series, I recently re-read A Game of Thrones and then continued on with the next three books. I have just started book five and am rapidly approaching a number of issues:
    1) We don’t own book six (solvable but all the others are in paperback)
    2) Book seven and eight are planned but have not been written yet
    3) Civilizations have risen and fallen in the period between book five and six, so exactly when do I realistically expect book eight to be published?

  2. Thanks for the comment, Fraser. I loved the Tripods trilogy. Every time I’ve read then, I’ve done so all in row. I read Wild Jack many, many years ago. I never knew it was supposed to be part of a series. I always thought it was a stand-alone.

  3. I’m so with you on this! I find it very hard to remember what’s happened if there’s much of a gap between books in a series.

    When I ‘discovered’ David Eddings, luckily my Dad had almost all of his books on his shelf, so I was able to just go upstairs and get them to read, one by one. I’d borrowed the first in the Belgariad series when I went away, and the few days wait to get home and read the second was long enough!

    Ditto with Anne McCaffrey, via my local library.

    It has been an advantage coming to fantasy fiction later in life (was hard-core SF only up until I was about 18). I’d ‘discover’ a new author and devour as many of their books as I could find.

  4. It is very handy discovering a series after it’s finished. Thanks for the comment, Katharine.

  5. 21 years and counting…
    Robert Jordon’s Wheel of Time.

    If you listened carefully you could hear the collective gasp of readers around the world when news of Jordon’s death was announced. Brandon Sanderson has done a good job with books 12 and 13.

    I read the first in the series in 1990 and reread books 1 to 13 this year in anticipation of a November 2011 release of the last book. Now it’s expected “sometime” in 2012 sigh…

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