When an author creates a series you love, time seems to
Like most readers, I fall into that trap: “I’ll never be
able to get enough of this series.”
That problem is, that statement is almost always wrong.
There is such a thing as a series going on too long.
I’ve hit the wall a couple of times over the past year -- and each time it's actually hurt me because I legitimately like these characters.
Quite frankly, I was just reading Charlaine Harris’ ‘Southern
Vampire’ series out of habit the last three years or so (probably more).
Luckily for me, Harris decided to end her own series – even amid rampant fan
complaints and the fact that it made her a millionaire.
You see, I have a lot of respect for an author that chooses
to end their series on their own. Most authors have to be pushed out – and by
the time that happens, the series is ultimately ruined.
That’s what’s happening with MaryJanice Davidson’s ‘Undead’
series. When I first fell in love with the series – which was admittedly low on
plot from the first book – I thought it was something fresh and new.
Last night, I finished the most recent book and realized
that this series has really crashed and burned. Even though there was very little
plot in the first five books or so -- it was 10 times more plot than the last
five books have been able to boast.
Given the reviews of the past few books, I’m not alone in my
When does it just become a money grab?
I know I’m to blame for part of this. I keep buying the
books in the hopes that the series will turn around – even thought I know that’s
virtually impossible. At a certain point, there’s just nothing left to write
that won’t sound contrived.
Sometimes you just have to let a series go.
Which series am I talking about?
Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye Series:
The reason I started
reading these books in the first place was because they were set in Royal Oak.
As a fan of paranormal chick books, this was right up my alley. Over the years,
though, the two main characters have moved from Royal Oak (huge bummer) and
landed in Texas. Instead of invigorating the series, though, pretty much every
single person that they knew back in Royal Oak has moved to Texas with them. I’m
not exaggerating. Why even change the setting? I can only think of one Royal Oak character that hasn’t
permanently moved to Texas. It’s ridiculous. When you couple that with the fact
that this summer’s entry had the bride strapped to a bomb – like an episode of ‘Alias’
– you realize believability has completely flown out the window.
MaryJanice Davidson’s Undead Series: Betsy was never a good
person. She was never a good role model. She was shallow. She was
self-absorbed. She was obtuse to real world problems. The one good thing you
could say about her was that she was loyal. In recent books, the contrived
nature of this storyline has flown out of control. Not only has just about
every character that has ever died been brought back to life – thus eliminating
any decent emotional conflict the author ever came up with – but it’s like a
frat house full of fools now. I am sick of the battle between Betsy and Laura –
including the manipulation at the end of the most recent book. Sinclair has
turned into a total wuss – and Betsy gets dumber and dumber with each installment. Let this series go.
Terri Reid’s Mary O’Reilly Series:
I devoured the first six
books in this series in about three days. They had a simple premise. They were
cleanly written. The characters were a little too good to be true – but there
was still a likability factor about the books that couldn’t be denied. Then
happened that shifted the books from marvelous to mundane. For me, I
think it was when the main character was inhabited by a ghost and was then
traumatized by the rape the ghost suffered. The way the main character acted
was completely unbelievable. Then there was a book based on a court case – and it
was pretty much offensive to cops everywhere. In recent books, the white-washed
nature of the story has become more and more evident. Perfect people aren’t
that much fun to be around (or read about) – and Mary O’Reilly is pretty much there. She never does anything wrong. She's virtually a saint. If Reid
were smart, she would move on to the two youngsters in the series – Maggie and
Clarissa – and focus the stories on them for a young adult crowd. I think she could do something marvelous with it.
Gerry Bartlett’s Real Vampires Series: I discovered this
series about the same time I discovered MaryJanice Davidson. Maybe it should
come as no surprise that I’m getting tired of both of them at the same time. To
be fair, I’m nowhere near as annoyed with Bartlett’s books as I am with
Davidson’s books. Still, though, there’s only so much I can take. Much like
Betsy, Bartlett’s Glory was kind of a funny and scatter-brained character when
she was first introduced. As book after book has gone by, though, Glory is
becoming more and more unlikable. I am invested in Glory’s love story with
Jerry – but she is kind of a slut anymore and I’m sick of her making excuses
for her actions. Instead of dragging out the happily ever after – maybe it’s
time to embrace it and let Glory and Jerry go off into the sunset together (just not literally). As it
stands, Glory can’t take much more tarnishing – because she’s going to lose the
few remaining fans she has left if that happens.
Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Series:
Of all the series I’ve mentioned – this is the one that
definitely needs to be put out of its misery. We’re talking 20 books here. This
is years and years over the course of the storyline. In that time, Stephanie
has gone from a struggling bond enforcement agent with a penchant for trouble
who was constantly plagued by Catholic guilt to a complete and total user and
slut -- sleeping with two men at the same time. The fact that Stephanie has
shown no growth in the past eight books – really, the last decent one was 12 –
is not even the worst problem with the series. No, the worst problem would be
the surreal scenarios that this group of people continuously gets into. The
farts of the 15th
book could have been the lowest point – but the
hobbits that followed actually sank lower. Stephanie needs to make a choice and
move on – because she’s not even remotely likable anymore.
Casey Daniels’ Pepper Martin Series: This is another one
that seems to come up with contrived scenarios to keep the two main characters
apart. The low point for me was when Pepper went to another state, had sex with
a guy, and then magically returned to find her previously skeptical love interest
apparently all in and totally on board now. I like paranormal books – but they need just a touch of
realism in the emotions and deeds of the characters to balance out the supernatural elements. That being said, I’m
willing to have one more book so Pepper gets her happily ever after. Anything
after that is probably unneeded.
What do you think? What series have gone on too long?