Bookish Question #7: Do you prefer to read standalone novels, or books in a series?
In general, I prefer to read books which are part of a series. If I like the characters, then I want to meet them more than once. And a series is a great way to do that.
My preference is a linked series, where there is some relationship between the main characters in each book (e.g. siblings, workmates). An example is The O’Malley series by Dee Henderson.
But I’ve also read and enjoyed series about a single character, with each book a complete novel but also contributing to an overall story arc. An example is If I Run and If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock. This series follows a fugitive trying to prove her innocence. Now I’m waiting for the third book!
But I don’t always like series.
If I don’t like the first book in a series, I’m not going to read the rest of the series. I guess this is one reason most publishers keep their series short—trilogies are popular. This is especially true if the series has an overarching storyline. The first book has to grab me, or I’m unlikely to be interested in the sequels.
Also, I’m no longer a fan of those romance series where it takes three novels for the hero and heroine to get their happy-ever-after. The exception might be if the romance is actually the subplot (e.g. The Smart Chick Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark).
I recently read and loved a romance novel that was the first book in a trilogy. When I looked up the sequels, they were both about the hero and heroine in the first book. What? I thought they’d got their happy-ever-after at the end of book one. The next two books seemed to be introducing and prolonging unnecessary conflict. I didn’t buy them.
If I’m going to read a series, even one with an overarching storyline, I need each book to have an ending. A proper ending, where the mystery has been solved or the couple have got together. Not a cliffhanger ending where one or more major characters are left in major peril while the author writes the next book in the series. It’s annoying on TV, and it’s even more annoying in a novel.