This week's writing prompt on Weekly Geeks has to do with reading a series, and what one should do when a book in a series, is, well, bad. This is an interesting question, since for the most part if I continue to read a series past the first or second book it's because something about that series is enjoyable to me, and, to trot out my cookie metaphor one more time, if the author doesn't really deviate from the recipe all that much, that usually doesn't bother me.
You know what though? Authors are people, and oftentimes people want to try new things and remix ideas and concepts into something different. I think it's unreasonable to expect every single book in a given series to work the same way or serve the same purpose. I think that a particular book in a series might not be as strong as the others but still be really, really important in terms of the overall development of the story. The middle books in trilogies, for example, are often overshadowed by the other books, but without what they offer the story as a whole would definitely be lacking.
But what happens when the book is an irredeemable clunker? Maybe the story is so nonsensical that you don't care what happens to the characters anymore (I abandoned the Shadow Wrangler series because of this.) Maybe one element has so dominated the rest of the story that the plot has slowed to a crawl (cough cough Anita Blake cough cough.) Maybe something happened in the story that you just find distasteful (I won't read the Feral Warriors series for this reason exactly.) If that's the case, then you know what? Life is too short to read bad books, and maybe it's time to move on and read a different series, different author, or different genre. I find that for every seris I abandon there are two or three more that I love and recommend, so I focus on those and leave the clunkers behind.
What about you? What are your favorite series books, and why? Are there any series that you won't read? What do you do about a less-than-awesome book in a favorite series?
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