2 May 2010

When the latest in the series doesn't quite do it

On Weekly Geeks this week, our host Erotic Horizon asks what we do when we can't get past a particular book in a series.

Among her questions:

  • What series do you read where you have had an issue with one of the books in the line-up?
  • Do you cut the author loose after one miss, or do you have a limit of failed books in a series before you toss in the towel?
  • What's your suggestion for that book that you struggle with in a series?
I ran a number of posts last year which I categorised variously as , and and .

What I had in mind then were the authors who produce the occasional disappointing novel but whose novels I generally enjoy. That sometimes happens with a series too. I don't think I've ever consciously abandoned an author because of a disappointing book, but it will make me less anxious to get hold of the next one. But in reality if you read a number of books by the same author, you may begin to see that you don't always enjoy each book to the same extent.

Take my reading of Agatha Christie books for example: I haven't given every book a high rating, but that hasn't stopped me reading them. The same is true for of Alexander McCall Smith's No 1. Ladies Detective Agency series which I have found to be a bit patchy, but I am still reading them.

I do know of cases where readers have abandoned an author after a particular book. Take Karin Slaughter's SKIN PRIVILEGE for example where Karin made a move many of her fans could not condone. I will think seriously before I tackle another Peter Hoeg, and I will never read another William P. Young.

My advice is if you generally enjoy this particular series, but are hating the current book, make it a DNF, and then try the next one when it becomes available. The chances are that the author just had a bad patch, or chose a plotline that just didn't work for you.

7 comments:

Literary Feline said...

There has been only one instance in which I have up on a series I'd been following for quite some time. It was when I stopped caring about the characters or what happened to them in addition to the poor writing. It took me awhile to get to that point because I kept hoping the author would get back on track.

With new series I am trying out, I may decide after the first book to not continue or I may give it at least two or three tries.

I do think that there is bound to be a disappointing book or two in every long running series. Or at least one I enjoy less than the others. Like you, I don't give up on a series just because of one disappointing one.

pussreboots said...

I've written a mini rant about series for this week's WG.

Erotic Horizon said...

I don't think I've ever consciously abandoned an author because of a disappointing book

I agree -I am a step back and refresh myself sort of reader, or just try again when the mood hits..

Thank for the links to the other articles..
Good to know your views..

E.H>

Rikk said...

In a fit of optimism (and because they were three for the price of two) I got the first three books in the No 1. Ladies Detective Agency series. I didn't like the first one, so gave it up right away again. They didn't hold my interest at all.
As for Agata Christie, I think I read them all, liked a lot, dislied some. The Tommy and Tuppence ones I never cared too much for.

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - I think we've all had that happen, even with our favorite authors. I agree that, for the most part, it's probably a bad patch or a plot line issue. There are some books, though, that just sound the "death knell" for authors, at least as far as I'm concerned...

Deb said...

My problem is that I can rarely read a series in order because I usually discover the author midway through a series. I read one of their books, realize it's part of a series, and then go back and read the others as I can find them. Because I get the majority of my books from the library, I don't always have access to entire series.

I think there's a difference between books with recurring characters (say, Tommy & Tuppence or Holmes & Watson)that you really don't have to read in any order and a series where the characters grow and change through each book and it's necessary to understand their actions in one book by reading what happened to them in previous books. That being said, if a book isn't grabbing me, it isn't grabbing me. Life's too short to slog through what doesn't interest you. I commented before about how I gave up on Reginald Hill's THE PRICE OF BUTCHER'S MEAT. I love Dalziel & Pascoe, but something about that book just made me give up. Hopefully, Hill will include a rough precis of what happened to D&P in his next book so I'm caught up on their actions.

Dorte H said...

I wouldn´t give up on an otherwise good series if the author does not hit the mark ONCE. I have grown tired of Elizabeth George and Patricia Cornwell, though, and I am not sure I will read any more by Liza Marklund, but that is because their work has deteriorated over time, not because of one disappointment.

If I don´t like the first book I read by an author, I am also willing to give him/her a second chance if I read many positive reviews written by bloggers whose opinion I respect.

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