With my newfound declaration to FINISH! ALL! THE! SERIES! I’ve begun to compile a small list of series-pet-peeves. Agh, I know…negativity. But these things happen! Some series are just my favourite things in the universe and all 4 or 5 stars and I want to compile a throne of their gloriousness and sit on it while I rule the world. But! There some habits and tropes and tendencies that series fall into that just make me want to gnash my teeth.
SO! It’s totally time for a list of my pet peeves and botherations when it comes to book series.
1. WHEN NOBODY DIES.
C’MON. You can’t show me a 5 book series and say nobody dies. Odds are someone important will die! I always feel cheated if I think an author is coddling their characters and letting nothing bad happen to the poor wittle dears.
All the things must die.
(Unless it’s Game of Thrones, and then, please chill for once, George RR Martin. For goodness sakes.)
2. WHEN NEW NARRATING CHARACTERS ARE THROWN IN.
When I read a series and get to know the narrators…I get attached to them! I want to know all about THEM. I don’t want Book 2 or 3 or 4 to toss in Joe Blob’s narration, whom I have ZERO knowledge of. If I wanted to read about new characters, wouldn’t I start a new book?!?! The reason I’m reading a series is to continue on with these current characters’ stories!! Right?!? Right.
I’m not opposed to new narrating and POV characters though! OF COURSE NOT. I like it when they’re introduced as secondary characters first, I get to know them, and then enter their nefarious skulls.
3. WHEN EACH BOOK IS 9000 X BIGGER THAN THE LAST.
Because. Help. I’m a poor weak bookworm and it’s hard work carrying a book that weighs five hundred kilos. HAVE PITY ON ME, SERIES. Also, is it usually necessary? I know series, particularly fantasy ones, usually explore their worlds and have so many more plot threads to weave in as the books go on, buuuuuut…is it ever necessary to have 400-pages one minute and then NINE THOUSAND THE NEXT.
4. WHEN THE TITLES DON’T MATCH.
This is a thing! It IS. Sure we say you “can’t judge a book by its outward appearance”, but let me laugh. We totally do. And I think it’s fair! A book is a WHOLE thing — writing, cover, and title. It has to flow!
5. WHEN THE COVERS DON’T MATCH EITHER. WHAT IS THIS LIFE?!?!
It’s totally a publisher conspiracy to change covers after the first book is published so we have to re-buy all the covers. ERK THIS IS THE WORST. I just want my series to match. WHY IS THAT SO HARD?? Stop changing things.
6. WHEN EACH BOOK HAS THE SAME PLOT SEQUENCE.
I do get kind of twitchy when each book in a series has the same set up of plot. It might be fun or exciting or full of delicious cake — BUT! It’s predictable.
- Rick Riordan Pattern: get a quest, get friends, nearly die, succeed, celebrate with blue cake.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: find a weird relative, get adopted, relative gets murdered, Mr. Po does not help, Count Olaf tries to marry one or all three of the siblings…they rescue themselves.
- The Hunger Games: Get picked for Games, compete in Games, probably cheat, hurt people, eat food, accidentally live. Booyah.
(By the way, I love all those books listed. My eyeball is just twitching slightly because…WHERE IS THE IMAGINATION HERE, DANGIT?)
7. WHEN MAIN CHARACTERS’ NAMES ARE TOO SIMILAR.
It’s very hard to keep up up with large character casts in series as is, without everyone sounding the same. TAKE PITY ON MY POOR BRAIN.
- The Infernal Devices: Gideon and Gabriel Lightwood?! I STILL DON’T KNOW WHO IS WHO. This was rather ridiculous.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: There’s Osha and Asha, and Bron and Bran, and Rickon and Rickard. Halp.
- Throne of Glass: There’s Aelin and Aedion.
8. WHEN THE PLOT PAUSES SO A CHARACTER CAN HAVE A TRAUMATIC BREAK DOWN.
Now this is probably just me being a heartless Vulcan, but really?! Go cry somewhere else. I get so frustrated when there’s That One Book In the Series where everyone is gnashing their teeth and crying. Nothing really happens. It’s emotional but it can quickly become boring. And the book ends up feeling like a filler! NOT GOOD. Breakdowns = yes, but keep the plot going too!!
9. WHEN THERE’S A HORRIFIC CLIFFHANGER AND YOU HAVE TO WAIT A YEAR FOR THE SEQUELS.
I’m juuuuust kidding. Technically this is good writing, right?! The author has done their job well because you’re totally hooked.
BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S NOT UNFAIR AND FRUSTRATING AND OH MY GOSH, JUST GIVE ME ANSWERS ALREADY, DANGIT. Is it so impossible to ask authors to write 9 books a year?
10. WHEN A CHARACTER CHANGES SO MUCH THEY’RE NOT EVEN RECOGNISABLE — OR THEY DON’T CHANGE AT ALL.
I’m all for character development. But there’s a balance! THERE IS. You can’t have zlich change. Like, as much as I love The Mortal Instruments books, I think all the characters developed splendidly…except for Clary. She felt like exactly the same girl (in my opinion) from book 1 to book 6. Hmm.
But then when you swing the pendulum and it’s like reading about an entirely different person? STILL NOT OKAY. Hence I feel cheated that Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass is 99% a different person in book 4 to what she was like in book 1.
If I fall in love with a character in book 1, I want to still see smidges of that character for the rest of the series. They need to grow, but I don’t want a personality transplant. IT BEFUDDLES ME AND THAT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.