I was browsing Goodreads the other day for more books I could add to my already massive TBR list, when I came across an “upcoming” release I’d almost forgotten I was waiting for. This book is the last in a series that I first read when I was still in primary school, and maybe that’s given you a clue as to how long I’ve waited but in case it hasn’t this is a book that was supposed to be released in 1999.
Let that sink in for a moment; I’ve been waiting for a book, the last in the series, for nearly twenty years now, and looking on Amazon the release date has been set to 2030. At this rate I’m going to have to get this book delivered to my nursing home, but it did get me thinking and I came up with this discussion topic.
Series Vs. Standalones
I’m not sure if it’s right to say people have a preference, I certainly don’t, but everyone will read one type of book more than the other and it’s usually down to what genre you prefer. If you’re a fan of contemporary books you’ll likely read more standalones, and if you’re a fan of fantasy like I am you’ll likely read more series. It’s not a case of preferring one type of book over another so much as us gravitating to what we know and what we’re comfortable reading. Everyone has one preferred genre no matter how often we read outside of it; I read more fantasy series than contemporary or magical realism standalones despite loving both those genres as well.
Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe you read so many fantasy series that you want to see more standalone fantasy books.
There’s more room for development, and this is why I think most fantasy books are series. The author is essentially creating a whole new world and it can be very hard to do that well in just one book. With series you introduce your world in the first book, and then build on it in the second, third, fourth, etc. Until, by the last book, you have a complete and well-developed world readers can fully immerse themselves in.
It’s longer to spend with your favourite characters. Reading we become immersed in these characters lives, we follow them on their wild adventures and more books means more time to spend with them. There’s a reason why there are so many series I want to see further sequels for, why I’m excited to get around to The Becoming of Noah Shaw, and for the release of Restore Me.
The hype and building excitement for the next book. There’s nothing quite like fangirling with fellow book bloggers over a series you both love, sharing theories on where you think the story will go next and what will happen to all your favourite characters. I think it really builds the anticipation because no matter what we come up with we can never predict where the authors will actually take their stories.
There aren’t any filler books. Call it second book syndrome or something completely different there’s always that worry in the back of our minds that no matter how much we loved a first book in the series the second or last won’t live up to our expectations. The Maze Runner, Divergent, Penryn and the End of Days are all series I enjoyed that let me down when the last book was released.
There’s no chance of a cover change halfway through a series. Yes I hate it when covers change halfway through a series but I’ve learnt to accept it. Either I have two different covers on my bookshelves, I actually ended up with four different covers of one series on my bookshelves because of all the design changes, or I buy the earlier books in the new covers to have a matching set. With standalones that’s never a worry, even if the covers do change somewhere down the line you already have a complete collection.
There’s no wait for the next book, you know how the story ends once you’ve turned that last page and you don’t have to wait through what feels like an eternity to find out what happens next. I’m really not good with cliffhangers. The wait for the last Shades of Magic book was possibly the worst wait for a book I’ve had to endure, and I’m not even going to think about starting The Dark Artifices until the last book in that series is released.
Which brings me to my last point. There are some books we’ve had to wait too long for.
Before I go any further I want to say that I know authors don’t owe us anything when it comes to their writing or the speed in which they release their books, and honestly I’d rather have a well-written and amazing book that takes five years to come out than a rushed and bad story that’s released in a couple of months, but how long would you say is too long to wait?
I was talking about this topic with a friend of mine a few months ago. Phillip Pullman’s Book of Dust is one she has been waiting for for years, and discovering it was going to be a series rather than a standalone like she originally thought was not welcome news because it meant more waiting time to finish the story. I don’t even know when the sixth Game of Thrones book is supposed to be released but I know the fifth was released a good few years ago now.
Personally I think twenty years is too long. I once loved this series, but the wait has killed it a little for me. There’s only so long you can wait for the last book in a series, keeping your interest in it alive, before you just don’t care anymore.
Now Onto the Discussion Part of This Post:
Do you prefer series or standalones, or do you not mind either way but find yourself reading more of one type because of the genre you read?
Would you like to see more series in contemporary, or standalones in fantasy?
What is the longest time you’ve had to wait for a book to be released, and when would you give up and accept maybe the next book just isn’t ever going to be released?
Are there any long waits you are currently facing, hoping that book will be released soon so you can find out what happens next?
Let me know in the comments below.