WLP Wants 2 Know: When Do You Give Up On A Series?

Okay, so it IS you.

June 5th is the release of two of the first series I read, MaryJanice Davidson’s Queen Betsey & Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita series. Both books for me where DNF’s (Nat didn’t finish), I just couldn’t get into them like I used to.

My excuse for  Anita has always been, the sex. There’s too much, too many people involved & it’s shaming in a way. She’s all girl power, yet she doesn’t have a single female friend because she’s just a bish. This time around, I got 100 pages into the ARC and it wasn’t the sex. There wasn’t sex in those pages, it was all Anita. She annoyed me, and the over description of her weapons and job as an executioner made me shanky. For one, I know what her job entails, it’s actually nice to see her doing her job and not all about the damn stupid sex. But the weapons, come on. I don’t need a play by play description of what weapons she has on her, enough damnit. I quit.

With Betsy, it was too much of the “me me me”, she’s always been self serving but there really hasn’t been any growth as a character. Nevermind, time travel. Betsy went to Hell and now the timelines are changed, people who should be alive are dead and people who were dead are now alive. It was a giant ball of WTF I’m lost. I quit.

But why? Have I changed or has the series changed?

I do my want lists for books a season in advance, I go through publisher catalogues and pick what I want for each month. When I first started blogging, this list was massive for Penguin Books, I mean like a good 40+ books. This time around, I only wanted 5 books, FIVE?! I saw a ton of series that I used to enjoy, but no longer do. But I have replaced them with a lot of awesome new or new to me authors, thank god!

What makes YOU quit a series? Do you notice that you don’t read as many of the ones you started years ago?

  • deborah coonts June 1, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I quit on a series when the characters don’t grow. As a writer I used to think I need to deliver each book in the series perfectly matched to the ones before. I feared that if I didn’t I would fall short of the readers’ expectations. I’ve found this not to be true. I was reader before I became a writer and, while I enjoy revisiting the characters, I like the stories to move forward, to change, the characters to mature. Now, if the writer doesn’t deliver on that, I quit. And you know what? When Lucky (my protagonist) travels to the end of her character arc, I’ll let her ride off into the sunset with the man she chooses. Then I’ll start anew with different characters, perhaps even a spin-off using one of her sidekicks. who knows? As a writer I need to be kept interested as well:)

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 10:22 am

      Can we not talk about Lucky and the word the end? LOL! I agree, if a character doesn’t grow, I can’t keep watching their mistakes.

  • PJ Schnyder June 1, 2012 at 9:14 am

    When it came to Anita, I had the same issue you did – too much sex. I found myself finishing a book completely unsatisfied because there’d been a lot of sex but not a feeling that I’d experienced a complete story.

    For other series, I might have simply shifted moods and the series wasn’t to my reading taste at the time. I might go back when my mood shifts back to that style of series.

    Or, I might have grown away from the characters. Characters have to develop over a series or there’s a completely different problem going on there, but an author can’t keep every reader happy. 😛

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

      The funny thing is, with the latest Anita it wasn’t the sex that drove me nuts. But I only got 100 pages in, but I’m sure there would have been sex that drove me batty.

  • CdnMrs June 1, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I’m in the same boat as (seemingly) everybody else when it comes to Anita. I stopped reading at Narcissis in Chains. I also stopped reading MJD’s Queen Betsy series when she started time travelling, The Sookie Stackhouse books after book 10 or so, Chloe Neill’s Chicago Vampires series when she killed off Ethan and Pamela Palmer’s Feral Warrior series once they started dealing with other dimensions (after Jag’s book).

    I read for enjoyment and if I no longer enjoy a series, whether it’s because a character has changed so drastically I don’t recognize her/hasn’t changed at all, I can’t follow the storyline w/o and aneurism or the story moves in a direction I’m not crazy about I’ll stop. Do I love the previous books from the series any less? No. I love Queen Betsy book one it makes me laugh my head off, Guilty Pleasures is awesome and there’s totally something magical for me about the first time Bill and Sookie meet. I just won’t be continuing the series.

    No hard feelings. It’s not the authors it’s me.
    Great post!

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 10:24 am

      I quit Chloe Neill at the same time, when you kill off a major character make sure they STAY DEAD. And time travel drives me nuts, I get way too confused.

  • beans628 June 1, 2012 at 10:26 am

    This is a hard question. And my answer so far is nothing. Nothing will make me quit a series. I used to LOVE the Anita Blake series and I’m so disappointed in the direction the books have taken…but I still read them. Granted, I used to buy them the minute they hit the shelves and now I’m at least three books behind. I keep holding out hope that LKH will return to her former fine form. I actually read quite a few series from different genres and while particular installments are not as good as previous one, I always enjoy visiting with the characters again. I guess I don’t quit the series, THEY quit ME!!

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 1:52 pm

      You aren’t alone! I asked a ton of people the question on the work FB account and more people then not said they never give up.

  • Eridani June 1, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I give up when that series has nothing new to say.

    This could be when it becomes clear that the characters will never have any growth. It could be when we’re on the 97th romantic pairing – do we care if the janitor from book 1 finds his mate? There’s also the case of there being no discernible overall story. I mean, is this just an endless reality show with no point but to watch the person’s life?

    As I mentioned to you the other day on Twitter, I think the sweet spot for a series these days is about 5 books. It gives you enough room for character growth and a coherent story arc, and you can maintain the urgency of the story. Besides, if I love a series of books, I’m interested in seeing what else the author can do, not just 37 iterations of the same song.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      I 100% agree, anything in the 15+ range is a little ridiculous unless its new and inventive.

  • Sara June 1, 2012 at 11:14 am

    Like the other posters, I quit a series when there is no character growth or worse – character regression a la Anita Blake. Another big killer for me is when a series is going nowhere and the major plot arcs are resolved and the new ones have no coherence. It’s rare that a series can go past 8-9 books and still hold my interest.
    At that point, it often feels like the author/publisher is just trying to milk more money from loyal fans and that turns me off. I like the Gin Blanco series, and will probably keep reading it because the reviews are good, but there’s part of me that is worried I won’t connect with a new antagonist when the first one was so epic. Sookie is a character that grows and that I love, but I honestly don’t think the books are going anywhere. It’s all filler until Ms. Harris comes up with an ending. I couldn’t bring myself to read the fourth in Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments trilogy because it felt like a cash grab. I never really connected to Chloe Neill’s series, but I definitely agree that characters should stay dead! Especially ones I never really liked to begin with 😛

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      The new Gin novel was excellent, thankfully Ms. Estep has an awesome arc planned after Mab. Sookie, I 100% agree, end please! lol

  • Amelia June 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

    The only series I’ve ever given up on so far is the Stephanie Plum series. There was no character growth and it seemed like the same basic story over and over again, it got old.

    I’ve read a lot of first books that just didn’t grab my attention for various reasons and I’ve paused in reading one (James Bond) because I have to be in the right frame of mind to finish reading it.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      I’m very “right frame” of mind with books, books I’ve hated I ended up loving months later.

  • SM Johnson June 1, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Typically, paranormal series don’t hold my attention for long. And yet, I do still read Anita Blake (I actually love how sexy they’ve become), but I have lost the urgency to read them. Kim Harrison lost me by book 3 – Rachel just didn’t seem like she was ever going to change much. Adrian Phoenix’s Dante series fizzled for me when random gov’t letter organizations became MC while the original MC, Heather and Dante, hid and slept through whole books… aaargh.

    Non-paranormal, however – I devour Robert B. Parker’s PI Spenser books like candy – never get tired of them. Same with John Sandford’s Davenport mysteries, and Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books. What seems to hold my attention is that each book works as a stand-alone – they tend to resolve a story and not leave me hanging. And yet the character grows as the series continues.

    Leaving me with an unfinished story in order to force me to buy the next book pisses me off, and it feels like paranormal writers, (YA in particular), do this more often than not. Although to be fair, maybe that’s what the intended audience likes.

    My latest obsession is JC Andrijeski’s Allie’s War series. I was fortunate to read an early draft of book 5, and when I finished, I missed the characters so much I started re-reading the series. It’s almost more satisfying the second time around than it was the first. So that leads me to consider another factor – if you discover a writer who’s world-building is utterly comprehensive, who makes you feel like the characters are real people that you love, and who creates a story that just continues to weave through your imagination while awake AND asleep – well then, it’s hard for any lesser work to hold your attention. (sorry, this comment got long!)

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      I despise when its a huge cliffhanger. HATE IT. As for Anita, the sex killed my love for her because it seems like that was all it was about for awhile

  • The Mighty Buzzard June 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Same issue here as most everyone on Anita but I’d bet that the stuff that caused you to DNF the latest one wouldn’t have if you weren’t already put off by prior books.

    Me, I’m still on the Betsy bandwaggon because I never took the series seriously enough that character development really mattered. It’s how I can still read Lynsay Sands books after god knows how many following the same formula. I read books like those like I watch episodes of the Stooges.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 1, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      I can still read Sands, it has a different plot. Betsy has been on the same plot of confusion for too long now.

  • Ruth Thompson June 1, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    When the series becomes more of the same. I’m done. If the main characters do something they know is moronic and do it anyway. I’m done. If the location I’ve been to is done poorly or need more explaination for people to understand or yearly event isn’t mentioned. I done. Any series with no plans for the end are non starters. I also love new author and new series. I’m fickled ask amazon. Lol

  • Ferishia June 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I haven’t read any LKH even though I’m kinda curious because of the ‘too much sex’ comments. I’ve stayed away though, because besides that, I haven’t read any other positive comments about the series.

    The only series I have not continued with that I started was JRW Angel’s series. I was all on board when I first heard about this series because I was already hooked on the BDB. But what I expected (to love it as much as the BDB) and what I read were too different things (I was turned off by what I thought were seemingly over religious overtones). I did finish the first book, but I haven’t been back, at least not yet. I keep hearing the later books are better, but I haven’t been able to make myself pick up that second book.

    I’m really on the verge of quitting SK, DarkHunters, but…I just can’t yet. The last book I read, Retribution, I keep thinking, “WTF? WHO ARE these people??!!” I was ok with the series up until that one. So, I’m kinda scared to read the next book. But I’ve meet SK in person so many times, and she is SO nice that I feel bad about thinking about quitting the series. *sighs, smh*

    I found that my taste have changed drastically. I use to enjoy reading Urban Fiction. Now I can hardly stand it. I end up DNF a lot of books because I just don’t like it anymore. And how odd is that, since I’m in an African-American book club and all we read are books written by AA authors. Also any character, male or female, that I think is TSTL gets an automatic dnf.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      Don’t you dare quit the Dark Hunters! LOL! I didn’t like JR’s Angel series either, I read half of book one and said nope

  • Jess Haines June 1, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I haven’t given up on MJD, but I’ve only read up to the sixth or seventh book. Not because I don’t want to read more, I just don’t have the time to get to them yet. So we’ll see about that one.

    LKH? I still love and reread her early books occasionally. I stopped at NARCISSUS IN CHAINS for *years* originally. Then someone *cough*Binah*cough* pushed me to read a bit farther into the series. That time, I stopped at Micah.

    Too F’ing weird, too much emphasis on the sex, not enough on character development or making me care. When there are so many men in the heroine’s harem that you can’t tell them apart anymore/remember all of their names, there is a problem.

    The series that REALLY pissed me off was DragonLance. I refuse to acknowledge that the 5th Age books, and everything that came after DRAGONS OF SUMMER FLAME, exist. Harrumph.


    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 3, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      I can’t possibly tell you WHO Anita is sleeping with now because I lost track after the first three in the harem LOL

  • Donna @ Bites June 1, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    If I lose interest in the books then I pretty much just put it down. It could be the first book or the third. I’ve stopped in a few places. If I don’t feel compelled to keep reading the series I won’t. Or if I’ve already read a few and I lose it there, I’m done. Whether it just doesn’t interest me anymore or I’m tired of the plot or theme and it’s been played out or I find the characters annoying. It can be a myriad of things.

  • lee weatherbee June 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    with LKH, it wasn’t the sex so much as the emotionlessness of the sex. and the lazyness of the writing. then I quit Kim Harrison because she killed off the boyfriend. I think the person who mentioned Robert Parker had it right, the books stand alone. You can read them in any order and they make sense.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Poor Kisten, that’s the first death of a character that made me cry.

  • Spaz June 1, 2012 at 6:55 pm

    Yeah I’m with everyone on this one – I didn’t stop reading LKH until Bullet – I hung on until then and then once that book was over I felt so… sad. I knew it was finally time to let go. Having menages to survive and for nothing other than survival really turned me off, but I have a been a die hard fan up until this past 2 years.
    I stopped reading the Sookie Stackhouse series two books ago when every book just made me sad because of the lack of development and the insistence to have fairies in the stories where they didn’t work.
    Chloe Neill lost me when she lost everyone else mentioned. GRRRRRRr…..
    Also, I love the Dark-Hunters, but I’ve kinda fallen off the bandwagon… the past couple of books have not done it for me, and I hate having to read so many Nick books THAT ARE HARDCOVER to get to his adult DH story. I won’t throw shade at Sherrilyn Kenyon, I love her, but I had enticed that I’ve just stopped buying her books over the past year.

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 3, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      *smacks Pam* don’t trash my SLK series damnit 😉

  • Julie June 1, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    LKH… I tired to stick with her through the sex, but when Danse Macabre had absolutely no plot, I was done. Killed me completely on her as an author. I’m willing to let a lot of things slide, but if you have no plot, I can’t even pretend.

    Honestly, the only long-running series I can think of that I stuck with all the way through is Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld. It’s ending with the next book, but I think one of the reasons it never got stale for me was that it wasn’t all the same narrator. Elena had 4 books, Paige had 2, Eve had 1, Jamie 1, Lucas/Hope 1, Savannah 3, and the one that was 3rd person with Hope and a bunch of other people. Plus, it always felt like there was a *plan* for the series rather than just meandering along and “oh look, I got another book deal so let’s churn out more.”

    For me, that’s the bigger issue than the length of a series–the author needs to have a plan and stick to it (or leave book #whatever to where it can either end there or a whole new avenue opens up to explore). As much as I hope someday that a publisher wants me to keep something going past its “natural end,” I also dread the idea because I don’t want to be an author that forces a story because a series is popular. (As much as I have no intention of reading JK Rowling’s new book, I really respect her for completely stepping away from not only Harry Potter, but fantasy, to try something new.)

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

      If there is a plan aka an arc, fine but if they’re just writing to keep it going, count me out.

  • Eva June 4, 2012 at 4:43 am

    I’m still sticking with LKH and Anita. I agree that from Narcissus in chains it turns from great plot to sex-sex-sex, and some of them are worse than others… But I adore Nathaniel, so it’s worth hanging in there! What almost made me quit here was all the new powers! Where is the challenge when you are the worlds most powerful vampire servant-almost wereanimals-necromancer?

    I quit a series if the narrator changes! if you get me hooked on a main character and then I pick up the next book to find someone else in the lead I’m pissed! Also if it gets to far from reality (time-travel and different dimensions), if the main character gets to whiny (feel sorry for me!), or if he/she doesn’t deliver what is promised (like Gin: the worlds greatest assassin who gets her ass kicked all the time)!

    • Wicked Lil Pixie June 4, 2012 at 10:09 am

      Time Travel is a big turn off for me, if I am getting as confused as the main character it’s time for me to stop reading. Aka Betsy, I got so lost I needed a map.

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