Lola’s Ramblings is a feature on my blog Lola’s Reviews where I ramble on about a book related or a non-book related topic. These are discussion type of posts where I talk about a topic and readers can weigh in on the topic in the comments. Usually these posts are everything that doesn’t fall under any standard header, like tours, cover reveals, memes, challenges, recaps or reviews. Lola’s Ramblings posts are discussions of a certain topic and my point of view on them. The banner for this feature is designed by Michelle from Limabean Designs.
I read a lot of series nowadays and when scheduling a review for a third book in the series this question suddenly popped into my mind, I started wondering what the things are in series that I enjoy. The things that make for a good series. I already wrote a post about series and standalones, but in this post I wanted to focus more on series specifically and aspects that I like about series.
What do I like about series?
- Familiarity. Once you have read one book in a series it creates some familiarity with the book, setting, characters, story, world etc. So when you start a next book you aren’t completely new to things, but already have a measure of familiarity. It can be comforting to already have that feeling of familiarity and as you already know the setting, characters etc it can be easier to get right into the
- Continuity. Continuity is one of the things I like about series, each book builds upon the previous one and wouldn’t have happened if not for the previous one. It’s great to see a series and plot line continue throughout the books. Paula Berinstein her Amanda Lester series is a great example of this, each book events are a direct result of what happened in the previous one. And even in series where each book focuses on a different problem or issue there is still a sense of continuity with how the plot moves forward and the characters learn more and change throughout the series.
- Foreshadowing. While foreshadowing isn’t exclusive to series, it’s something I love about series. I love foreshadowing in general, but foreshadowing in a series can take it to a whole new level. There are authors who place hints in earlier books for things that will happen later and once those events finally happen it’s so amazing to look back and see how long the author has been building up towards that. One of the authors I know that does this very well is Siobhan Davis with her True Calling series. There were things that happened in the third book that she has been building up toward since the first book and you only realize once you read the third book, it’s awesome.
- Longer Story. A series means a longer story, whether the series means multiple books that can be read as standalone or a series where each book follow the previous one directly I like getting more story and getting to spend longer with this story.
- Plot lines that run multiple books and foreshadowing.
- Complexity. I often feel with series there is more time to develop a storyline and often more complex storylines as they have multiple books to develop or set up the plot lines and intricacies.
- Connected. I like how the books in a series are connected, they take place in the same world, some city and often even feature the same characters. There are connections between the books and like how the books don’t standalone but are connected to other books. Even with series where each book features a different couple you do hear what happened to the other characters or they make an appearance now and then, which connect these books.
- More of a good thing. One of the things I like about series is that when you enjoyed the first book you know there is more of the same things you already like, whether that’s characters, a world or setting you’ve come to love, the good news is that there are more books you get to spend there or with them.
What do I dislike about series?
There isn’t much I dislike about series, except for maybe waiting till the next book is released or when a book ends in a really bad cliffhanger. When there’s a to long time between book releases in a series I sometimes forget things and that can make it hard to get back into the series, ofcourse this depends on the series. I can sometimes loose interest in a series for whatever reason, either because the books get less good or the time between releases is so long I forget what happens. It’s sad when you don’t finish a series and that’s a problem you never have with standalones. And sometimes a series gets dragged out too long. It’s a shame when a series starts out good and then goes downwards. Or when you get behind on a series and it can be hard to catch up on a series once you are behind. And series end, that’s always a sad thing, while with a standalone you feel the impact less as you know it’s a standalone. But overall I really like series and the dislikes are only minor things.
Do you read a series in order or not?
There are typically two types of series, series where each book is a direct continuation of the previous ones and often the same character or series where each book features a different main character and/ or couple and could be read as standalones. I like both of these types of series, but what they have in common for me is that I like to read them in order. I am pretty picky about this, I hate reading a series out of order. Often I feel like I am missing sometimes if I start with a book that isn’t the first book and I hate that feeling. With series that could be read as a standalone this effect is less bad, but even then I prefer to read the series in order. Why? Because the author has written the series that way and I like to experience it in the order it was written and also because even when the books serve as standalones there are often hints or appearances of the characters of previous books and I feel like I miss part of their history if I haven’t read those books first as most series do take place in chronological order, so in my opinion it always makes more sense to read it in order. A few times I accidentally requested a later book in as series on netgalley and I have read a series out of order a few times, but it’s just not how I prefer to read a series. Nowadays I always check goodreads before requesting a book on netgalley to make sure I request the first book or the next book in the series I should read.