Thursday, July 28, 2016

Series Thoughts, Part 3: Series I Won't Be Finishing

And now we come to the controversial chapter of my series series.

A few caveats before I plow ahead:

1) This list only includes series in which I have read at least one entire book. Any series I began but abandoned somewhere in book 1 is not included.

2) This is not a list of books I hated. Well, obviously I hated a few of them, but some I really enjoyed-- yet for whatever reason, I was not left with a desire to read more.

Series I Won't Be Finishing:

Middle Grade:

The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart. The Son did not care for this book at all, so I finished it without him. I enjoyed it, but, as I said above, was not left with a desire to read more.

The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. I read book 1 a few years back, and while I appreciated some aspects of it, overall I wasn't that impressed.

Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery. Get out your pitchforks! I had the first book shoved on me by various adults throughout my childhood, and I tried many times to read it, but Anne just annoyed the crap out of me. I know, I know: female reader sacrilege. I picked up the series again a few years ago, and liked it SO much more than I had as a child. I read the first three books in an omnibus collection, but still wasn't in love enough with Anne to want to read about the whole rest of her life practically day-by-day, and so have chosen to end my experience with the series on a high note.

Sherlock Files series by Tracy Barrett. Read book 1 with The Son and we both loved it. Book 2 was a big disappointment, and The Son tapped out. I continued on with book 3 just to see if 2 was a fluke, but sadly not. There's only one more book to the series, but I won't be continuing with it.

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell. I read the first book of this with The Son and HATED it. I thought it was misogynistic and poorly plotted, and I did not like the main character at all. The Son continued with book 2, but hasn't seemed too eager to continue with the dozen books the series has bloated into.

Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau. The Son and I read the first book and liked it, though not as much as I'd expected to. We're reading the second book now, and although I admire it a lot, I'm not enjoying it.  All the characters are getting on our nerves. We have mutually agreed to not continue with the series after we finish this book.

Roman Mysteries series by Caroline Lawrence. These are great books, and they will always have a place in my heart since The Thieves of Ostia was the first book The Son ever recommended to me. But there are SO MANY of them (we've read 10, and there's 10 more to go!), and now that The Son is out of his mystery phase, I don't see me ever finishing the series.

Young Adult:

Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. I really liked book 1 of this series, but book 2 was a slog. It's a short novel that's meant to be fast-paced, but it took me forever to read it. I only finished it because I was still in the era of being grimly determined to Finish All the Books.

If I Stay duology by Gayle Forman. I read book 1 for book club in seriously like three hours, but I'm not willing to devote three more hours to reading the sequel. I found it shockingly boring, considering the super-dramatic premise. Although I liked it more by the end than I had in the beginning, I do not give a fig what happens to these characters in the future.

Cecelia and Kate series by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevener. I ADORED book 1, but I just couldn't get into book 2 at all. I think book 1 stands alone very well on its own, thank you.

Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. I actually liked book 1, but then two things happened: 1) teen dystopia started feeling seriously played out, and 2) I read a whole bunch of super-negative reader reviews for book 2 and especially book 3. I have not regretted abandoning the series.

City of Beasts trilogy by Isabel Allende. Oh, man-- I was so excited for this one. I love me some Allende, and I love me some YA, so what could be better than Allende writing YA?! Unfortunately, it turns out her writing style is not a great fit for YA, which generally requires highly structured plots.

Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison. I'd been hearing about how hilarious and awesome the first book is for years, but having read it, I think it's one of those YA's you need to read while you're in that stage yourself. I got a few chuckles out of it, but found the main character super obnoxious and mean, and the rampant homophobia problematic.

Princess Academy series by Shannon Hale. This is another one where I loved book 1 but don't particularly feel it needs sequels. I've read some pretty negative reviews of book 2 that have convinced me I'm right. I'd rather just preserve my pleasant memories of the first book.


Ender series by Orson Scott Card. I read one entire "arm" of the series, following Ender into adulthood. And I read the next book of the other arm, which follows events back on and near Earth. However, I feel that I've given Card enough of my reading time, and my interest in continuing the series is far outweighed by my distaste for Card's personal philosophies. So there's that.

Fifty Shades of Grey series by E.L. James. Ugh, I hated book 1 so much. I only finished it because it was for book club-- and a little so I could hate it with even more solid evidence. I wasn't offended by the sexual content, but also wasn't titillated by it. I super-duper hate being controlled by men, so Christian just gave me the creepies. And the writing was so flippin' awful. Sometimes popular books get a bad rap just 'cause it's fun to feel superior to the dumb masses, but this really is as bad as everyone says.

Tairen Soul series by C.L. Wilson.  This is a Fantasy Romance series that I don't remember much about other than I read a few gushing reviews of it and was then bitterly disappointed by book 1. It was one of those "magical guy needs to marry to save the kingdom but oh no! his fated love is just an ordinary girl, and she doesn't want to marry him, but he forces her to" stories, which, okay, that is basically the plot of Archangel, and the Samaria series is one of my favorite series ever, BUT: a) unlike the spineless heroine of this book, Rachel never stops fighting for her own agency-- not even when she falls in love with Gabriel, and b) Archangel is my least favorite of the Samaria books. ANYhoo, I have no plans to ever continue with this series.

Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. These books have a special place in my heart, because they were the first "classic" Science Fiction books I got into back when I first started educating myself about the genre. I still remember a long conversation about Asimov my dad and I had on a boat on the Rhine when I was like 26. I read the first three Foundation novels, and they opened my eyes to what Science Fiction could do with time and cultural memory. But I feel like 3 books was enough to get everything I'm going to get out of them, and there's something crazy like 15 books in the series, so nope.

Dune series by Frank Hebert. Another Science Fiction classic. I enjoyed book 1 and I'm glad I read it (and I loved the mini-series the Sci-Fi channel made of it back in the late 90's!), but I felt like it stood very well on its own, and I've never felt the desire to read the further books in the series.

Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde. Another series where I really dug book 1... but when I was done with it, I wasn't like, "I wish there was more to it!" I was more like, "That's a series?"

Hitchhiker's Guide series by Douglas Adams. More blasphemy! Don't get me wrong-- I adored book 1, and in fact just re-read it with The Son. Back in the day, I read book 2, but felt like the humor was wearing a little thin, and then I flat-out did not like book 3. Never read book 4. So I've decided to just preserve my happy love for book 1 and ignore the rest of the series.

Ringworld series by Larry Niven. Same story as Dune: fascinating world, interesting story, but I'm not into it enough to read a bunch more books about it.

Uplift series by David Brin. I've already discussed my complicated relationship with this series. Suffice it to say that despite my best intentions, it's not going to happen.

Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman. I liked book 1, but the character I was most invested in died near the end, and while I get that Quentin is supposed to be kind of a shit, he is a kind of specific shit I got more than enough of at my college (which was like a non-magical version of Brakebills-- including the Hudson river mansion), and I don't think I can stand him for two more books.


Sin City. I admire it technically, but hate how grim it was. One book was too much for me.

Swamp Thing. The first comic I ever read, way back in my late teens. It started out as a pretty standard Incredible Hulk/experiment gone awry type story, but got into some pretty metaphysical shit after a while. It was mind-blowingly awesome for a while, and then for me it jumped the shark, and I abandoned it in favor of Sandman.


  1. Wow, so many of these I had the same reactions to! It's kind of nuts to me how in tune our book tastes are.

    Divergent: 1 was fine, but when I got 30 pages into 2 and realized that quitting was an option, it's like a light bulb went off and I was freed! Ember: I liked the first one fine, though it definitely suffered from the whole "adults can't be trusted to run the world;" I found the problem even worse in the second one. MBSociety: 1 was amazing, 2 was fine, 3 I couldn't get past the first chapter.

    Anne: I adore Anne and stand by that, but I found that the further into the series you get, the more it's a bunch of stories about the side characters, and Anne's presence is kind of understated. It took me decades to get around to the last book, and I still feel pretty meh about it. (The movies, though! Watch the movies!)

    Princess Academy 2 was awful; I don't want to imagine what 3 looks like. Dune--ha! My husband read a bunch of those. They go off pretty far into the Bene Gesserit Sex Magic forest of weird.

    In summation: I feel you, girl-bro.

  2. So interested to hear your thoughts!

    Now I want to start a band called Bene Gesserit Sex Magic.

  3. Just listened to the podcast for Reading the End this week (do you read that blog? She's great.) Anyway, one thing they discuss is authors who can't let their worlds go, but really probably should--series that go on too long!