The Series Dilemma – Let’s Discuss

Posted April 8, 2016 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Let's Discuss / 82 Comments


I’ve been having a real dilemma when it comes to series lately. I’m actually considering making a relatively radical change – not reading series until they’re complete. But I don’t know if I can really do it. I’ve decided to make a list of pros and cons – and I need your help deciding what to do!




Flower Bullet  Cures My Forgetfulness. This is the problem that most recently inspired me to consider this decision. A week or so ago, I read the final book in the Storm Siren Trilogy. I remembered that I really loved the first two books and that I was rooting for Nym and Eogan as a couple, but I’d forgotten a lot of details. I found myself struggling through the third book, trying to remember what exactly was happening and trying to care about secondary characters that I didn’t remember all that well. The result was a less than stellar reading experience.

  • Rereading would be an obvious solution to this problem, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m just not a rereader. Sometimes I do a quick skim read, but I don’t always have time to even do that if I’m on a deadline.
  • Recaptains is an excellent solution to this problem, but they don’t have a recap of every book written. I guess the most obvious answer to that is that I should start taking notes on books I read in a series and submit my own recap to Recaptains. I’ve thought about this on multiple occasions … but I’ve yet to actually do it.

Flower Bullet Momentum. I’ve found that when I binge read a series, the build-up is generally so much better. I finish one book excited to start the next, and I can’t wait to find out what happens! Sometimes the high from a fantastic read can even make a slightly less exciting middle book feel less slumpy to me (especially if things are kicked back into high gear in the final book in a trilogy). Because I’m experiencing the entire series arc at once, lulls feel more okay to me. On the flip side of the coin, when I have to wait a year for the next book in a series to come out, most of the time my excitement has dulled significantly and I’m just not as eager to pick it up.

Flower Bullet Confirmation That It’s Worthwhile. When you wait until an entire series is complete, you can get an idea of whether or not people are still loving it by the time it gets to book three or four. If everyone loves the first book, but it goes way downhill from there, you can skip it! (Of course, you might be missing out – I think I’m one of the ONLY people who truly enjoyed both Insurgent and Allegiant – though I actually think part of the reason I loved them more than some other people is because I binge read the series and had that momentum thing going for me.)

Flower Bullet Finished Series!! If I binge read a series, I’ll actually finish it! I can only think of a few and far-between instances where I could have kept reading and just decided not to. (Maze Runner is one that comes to mind – I think it’s partially just that I’m not as enthralled with the series as I’d like to be – but I DO still want to read it!) Binge reading doesn’t give me time to let those undefinable forces take over that seem to prevent me from finishing a series I love.



Flower Bullet The Feeling That I’m Missing Out! Let’s face it, when everyone’s talking about how AMAZING a book is, it’s hard not to want to pick it up and read it for yourself. And just like I lose my excitement about a series after having to wait a year for the next book, if I have to wait three years to read a series that everyone’s been raving about, the fervor created within me from the hype will probably have significantly lessened. (Of course, if everyone’s still raving by the time we get to the last book in the series, hopefully I’ll be excited again and will pick it up!)

Flower Bullet The Time Commitment. If I wait for a whole series to be written, then that means I have to put aside enough time to read the entire series all at once. Depending on the series, this could be pretty significant. I’ve heard that book 9 of the Outlander series might be the last. Hmmm … guess I’ll have to set aside a month to read it. (And that’s only if Gabaldon ends it there. There are no guarantees. I might have to wait ten more years to read her series if I wait for it to be over!)

Flower Bullet Overwhelming. This kind of goes with that last point. The idea of reading one fabulous book is appealing. The idea of reading nine books to complete a series can be panic inducing!

Flower Bullet Too Much of a Good Thing? I don’t think I’ve run into this with the series I’ve binge read, but I always worry – will I get sick of reading it and want to move onto something else? This seems like it might happen with longer series, especially. I mean, no matter how much I love a fictional world, I’m bound to want a little change now and again, right? It seems like this problem might be solved by just throwing in another read here and there (this is what I did when I binge read the first four books of The Others Series and when I read the entire Vampire Academy Series), but it might not solve the problem completely.

So there you have it. My pros and cons list. Unfortunately, as you can see, my lists are exactly the same length. So, I guess it just comes down to which set of arguments is more compelling to me and what my priorities are. The Momentum and Finished Series points are HUGE for me and sway me toward waiting … but Time and the feeling of being Overwhelmed are real factors that might keep me from reading series I truly would have loved.

So, what do I do? I think I’m leaning toward trying harder to wait on series, especially if I know they’re only going to be two or three books. But I probably won’t manage complete self-control.

I want your opinion! What do you think I should do?




82 responses to “The Series Dilemma – Let’s Discuss

  1. Honestly, I’m just as torn as you are when it comes to this topic Nicole. On the one hand, I love binge-reading series back to back because you’re right: nothing beats the high of reading the entire series in one shot. If it’s an awesome series, the effect will be even more pronounced! But at the same time, some books are just too appealing to wait – and even worse if it’s a 5-6-7+ book series! I could never ever wait that long O.O I hope you’ll be able to figure out a system that works for you 🙂

    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted: Review: The House of Hades
    • Right now I think I’m leaning toward TRYING to wait if it’s only going to be two or three books. I think this makes sense in most cases. Once the series get longer than that it’s a lot harder to read them all at once, so I don’t know if I should wait. I read Cinder, Scarlet and Cress all at once and I still need to read Fairest and Winter (I decided to hold off on Fairest until Winter was out – but I haven’t picked up Winter yet) and that seemed to work out well for me. Sometimes it’s SO hard to wait, though!

  2. I don’t read a lot of series because of time and wanting to be able to remember things, so I completely understand your reasoning. I think the only bad part is that if EVERYONE decided to wait until all the books came out, then a series might end after the first book because nobody was reading it. I mean, this is a big “what if” because so many people love reading the first book in a series right away, but it’s something to remember — not all books are necessarily contracted to continue; sometimes it depends on how much traction it gets.

    ShootingStarsMag recently posted: Mountain Murder Mystery by Benjamin Dahlbeck
  3. I’ve definitely experienced the upside of being able to binge read an entire series, but I also know how impatient I am waiting for new books in series that I really, really love to be released, lol. In the case of the latter, I know I couldn’t stand waiting for the series to be complete before reading it.

  4. Sometimes, it’s definitely better to wait for a series to be completed and then just binge-read the whole thing in its glorious completeness 🙂
    Like you, I’m not a re-reader either, there are just too many new books out there to read, I won’t spend time reading what I’ve already read – even if I loved it!
    Great discussion post, Nicole 🙂

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews recently posted: Review: One Second – Dannika Dark
    • Yeah, rereading just doesn’t work for me. The closest I got is with the Unwind series – it’s my favorite of all time, so I skim read the first three books before I read the fourth. It only took me a couple of hours and I hated the idea of being frustrated with the final book because I’d forgotten too much!

  5. GayAnna Weddle

    I like having the whole series to read at one time. Even though it can be very time consuming & sometimes I need to slip another book in between. I also prefer series that are no longer than 4 books. I’ve read longer series and really enjoyed them, but prefer shorter series. I find that if I have to wait for a long time for the next book, like you, I tend to forget what it is about. Sometimes I never read the last book because by the time it comes out I don’t even remember I was waiting for it. I’m sure there are some series that I was desperately waiting for the last book & still haven’t read because I’ve forgotten all about it. Which is a shame because I know there are series I really enjoyed at the time & wanted to know how they were going to end. I also cannot bring myself to reread a book. Even though there are series I read long ago & loved & say I will read again. I know I probably won’t. Epsecially since there are so many new books to read!

  6. I think I’d like to start waiting to read series until they’re finished. Like you, I’m not interested in re-reading and I’ve found Recaptains to be an imperfect solution. I’m also likely to get distracted by other books and never come back to many series. I agree that finding the time to do that with some series could be hard though!

    Katie @ Doing Dewey recently posted: Nonfiction Friday
  7. I think this is forever the eternal struggle for readers, haha.
    I always think it’s great to wait (like you list of pros says) but I also lack a lot of will power especially for books I’m crazy excited for.
    Sometimes, I forget about a series until it’s basically all out, than I get to binge it which is nice, haha. Or discover a series late and have a ton of books to “catch up” on.
    So basically I have some series I have to wait for and some that I can binge, haha.

    Great discussion, Nicole!

    Cyn @ Book Munchies recently posted: Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
  8. I tend to read alot of series, but most of them are ongoing (i.e. Susan Mallery & Debbie Macomber books), so I can understand wanting to read more but these series aren’t like the ones you are speaking of where the story doesn’t end and you have to read the next book to know what happens. And right now there are a lot series and books I am being introduced to so luckily I’ll get to read them in tandem and I’m sure if I had to wait to see what happens then I’d be highly upset LOL

    Penni @ Penni's Perceptions recently posted: Lovely, Awesome Gifts!!!
  9. Um, both? It is such a hard thing to decide. I waited to read the Hunger Games till they were all out and loved that I could just go right to the next. Right now I have the Half-Bad series waiting to be read as I was waiting till the last came out. But there are some series that I have to read as soon as they come out. I just read book 14 in a series in one day, and now I have to wait another year for the next, but I’m okay with that. For me it is dependent on the series or author and if I know how many books. If it’s a trilogy, waiting is not so bad. If it’s got a dozen books planned, then I don’t know if I could wait.

    Laura@125Pages recently posted: Guest Post – Grace from Rebel Mommy Book Blog
  10. ♥ this discussion! Most of my loyal series, I read each time a new book comes out and/or re-read every time the latest book comes out. But there are some YA series that I have been waiting to read until all the books were out — I totally agree that it helps remember everything and can be super satisfying. I think the best way to approach a full series read is to just plan it but not expect it — maybe you read the first book and decide to read another book before the second book — don’t force it

    Eva @ All Books Considered recently posted: Conversations With Myself (& Hopefully You): Unreliable Narrators
  11. If I’m really excited about a series (and it’s really popular), spoilers are my main concern about waiting until it’s finished. I had two major plot points in Hunger Games and the Divergent series spoiled for me before I read the books. I wasn’t that upset (I figured it might happen, since I started them AGES after everyone else), but I kinda missed having that OMG NO WAY feeling while reading for the first time.

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  12. My “policy” is to wait for the last one to come out (for the very reasons you have listed under “The Pros”). Have I ever done that? Usually only when I didn’t discover the series until it was already complete or almost so.

    Why? Probably simply because I am too impatient. It might also be because I have discovered that – if I wait – I am often talked out of reading the series at all, since there are usually sufficient people who don’t like the way it ends to discourage me. Also, I am a chronic series dropout. I rarely finish a series longer than 3-4 books, but I don’t usually regret reading the early ones.

    I doubt I have helped you make up your mind, but thank you for making me think about this. I may figure out my own answer and write a post about it. (If I do, I will link back to you as the inspiration.)

    P.S. I also share ShootingStarsMag’s concern that if no one reads a series until it is complete, then it will be dropped before it IS finished. I had already planned a post on that topic. (As a brand-new blogger, I have an overflowing idea list.)

  13. I am all for it, but I started doing this a year ago… There are some times that I have done really well, and had a great marathon read at the end and LOVED it! But there have definitely been times when I was week, and completely broke my rule!

  14. I feel your pain, Nicole! And thank you for directing me to The Recaptains! ?

    Now to the series biz… should we binge or should we get our hands on ’em ASAP?! I think it depends on what book you are reading. There are certain series that beg to be read as soon as it comes out, and there are series that can be read when all books are already out.

    Okay, so that answer isn’t really helping you, is it?! XD

    Since I just fairly started reading YA a couple of years ago, I have been doing a bit of catching up to major series amazeballs reads, so I have semi-binged on some of them… which is a good thing. The series I binged last was Throne of Glass and now that I’m super caught up I am cursing myself since I have to wait until the next book… eeeeppp!!!

    But on the other hand, if a book doesn’t really interest you as much, maybe waiting for all books to be out would be a good thing.

    Zeee @ I Heart Romance & YA recently posted: Six Degrees of Scandal by Caroline Linden | Excerpt + Giveaway
  15. Ugh, I agree SO much. Like, I worry about spoilers when I wait. BUT I agree with the knowing if it is worthwhile- that is a biggie for me. I read a book recently that was… BAD, really bad. Had I known, I wouldn’t have bothered with the series at all. So I totally see your point on that.

    But the time thing is HUGE, because I seriously haven’t read a book that I bought myself (and trust me, they are many) since like, October maybe? So I know I will NEVER have time to binge a whole series, even though i LOVE doing so. Ugh, the struggle!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Away We Go by Emil Ostrovski Blog Tour & Giveaway
  16. Personally, I wouldn’t wait for the entire series to come out– at least, not intentionally! There are several times when I forget to read a series starter (like The Wrath and the Dawn or Magnus Chase) and the next thing I know, the sequel is coming out. More often than not, I start a series when there are at least two books out. There are only two series where I’ve started it when the first book came out and the last came out: Heroes of Olympus and The Lunar Chronicles. I think though, if the series has more hype, I do feel more pressure to read it and sometimes that actually pushes me away from the book.

  17. I’ve always struggled with series. At first it was just the wait between releases. As I started reading more, I realized I was losing so many details if there was say a year wait before the next book. At some point I gave up on “traditional” series altogether. Which hasn’t been THAT big of a deal since I primarily read contemporary and those series are typically standalones. I’ve not even finished some of the series I LOVED – Mara Dyer and Bloodlines come to mind immediately. I decided this will be the year I finish those up, though… so we’ll see how that goes. But, I’ve found I’m much better off if I just wait to binge the series once they’re complete or when there’s just one book left. I did that with The Lunar Chronicles last month and it was a perfect reading experience for me. Of course, it took a HUGE amount of time, but since I’ve pretty much chucked my reading schedule out the window, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me personally.

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

    • I have two more books in the Bloodlines series that I need to read – that’s one of the casualties of my momentum issue – even though I LOVED the series! I haven’t been reading on much of a schedule lately either, so that makes binge reading lots easier!

  18. I see your points so perfectly. I have a lot of the same thoughts. I usually don’t like to binge on a book series. I find I end up getting bored or to curious about other books. I have though read a couple then read a couple standalones then go back to the series. That seems to work for me sometimes.

    I do hate remembering what has happened and like you… i don’t really like rereading. The last time i did this was with the revenants series. I re read the first two and read all three in a row. they aren’t long books though. longer books would be a pain.

    JennRenee recently posted: Thoughts For Thursday: Bookish Gifts
  19. I usually wait until an entire series is out and then buy a boxset. It’s often cheaper to buy a boxset than it is to buy the books individually as they come out. I’m binge reading my Unwind boxset right now, and it seems to be working pretty well. I’m reading them fast enough that I’m not forgetting the important stuff.

    Aj @ Read All The Things! recently posted: March Wrap-Up
  20. This is why I always tell other authors to commit to a series, at least 3 books, because lots of people like to binge-read and will wait for them all to be out first. Every time I see an author say, “I’ll put the first book out and see how it does, and if it doesn’t perform, I won’t continue,” I cringe. That’s the kiss of death. Committing to a series is important! But this is also why we indie authors are much faster about publishing the books. We know the return will be greater the faster we do it.

    PS) I was so bored by the second Outlander book it took me three months to read, so, just in case, you better set aside at least six months to read those bad boys.

    S. J. Pajonas recently posted: Sunday Update – April 3, 2016
  21. I’m always so torn about this, too! I love reading series all at once, but I also love reading the books as they come out, especially to avoid spoilers in more popular series. I tend to do a little of both – if the last book in a series is coming out soon, I’ll usually wait to start it, but if I know I’ll be waiting a while, I don’t always have the patience.

    Clara @ Lost in My Library recently posted: Book Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
  22. Great question, and obviously something a lot of us struggle with! Most of my reading life has been as a library patron, meaning I’m reading “backlist” titles. When you start reading the Narnian Chronicles or Anne of Green Gables, you can read the rest as you’re ready to. As I got older, it took me awhile to figure out that rather than grabbing a random book, liking it, and then having to go back and read the prior books in the series, that I should check to see if a book was in a series, then read them in order.

    I think my ideal is to start reading a series when a few books are out, because I find that if I binge-read 3 books or so, I have the characters and their arc well enough in mind that I can pick up the next books without feeling lost and without losing enthusiasm. That’s how I read Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Lunar Chronicles, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and some of my favorite mystery series. (Serieses? If a series is a group of book, what is the plural form of that?)

  23. I couldn’t do it. For short series, possibly. But a lot of my favorites are longer series with no definite “book #x is the last book”. Plus, waiting has two serious cons for me:

    1) Spoilers. What are the chances that I wind up being spoiled on accident for something in a series I haven’t read yet? Fairly high since I’m online a lot and follow a lot of blogs!

    2) Waiting means I wouldn’t get to read series that will become my favorites right away! Like the Others series. I would be so sad if I hadn’t started that one when book 1 came out, and kept reading as each book appeared.

    I like the idea of being able to run right out and grab the next in a series if I’m loving it. But unless I get distracted, or too backlogged, I get way too tempted to start a book that sounds awesome as soon as I’ve heard about it. So for me, waiting wouldn’t be something I’d be able to do. But you may have more self-control than I do!

  24. I love this post. I know exactly what you mean. While I’ve not waited purposely waited for a series to end before reading it, but I have done that on accident. I’m just reading so many books that I couldn’t get that series into my queue before the series ended.

    Personally, I like to mix it up. I have several on-going series that I’m working on and several older series that may or may not be completely, but I’m way far behind on, so it will be a while before I get caught up. I rarely read the same series back to back. I normally mix a few other books in and read a new book every fourth or fifth one, which has helped when I work my way through some of these older series that I’m working my way through.

    My concern with waiting for a series to end is that there are some series that never seem to end. They have 15+ books in them. That is a long time to wait before starting a series. That is not to say I haven’t done it. One of the series that I’m working on is The Dresden Files and it is that long. It just seems like there are so many to get through.

    Great topic. I love hearing your thoughts. Happy Sunday.

    • Yeah, I don’t think that waiting would really work all that well for super long series – it’s just not practical at all. Like you, most of the series I’ve waited on have been by accident – I was happy to read them all at once, but I wasn’t consciously waiting.

  25. Hmm.. this is a good question because I am in the same boat! (I actually have a post coming soon as a tribute to the series I never finished LOL)

    It’s funny because BEFORE blogging, I would read the series as they came out, and remember it’s predecessor. I would that person at the bookstore, at the time they open on release day getting the book LOL

    I would read the series as they come out and possibly do a re-read though. Some of them take FOREVER to release, or they are long (10+) or you THINK they are done and then BAM! More books! (Mortal Instruments) and you really could be missing out on a great book!

    • Mortal Instruments is a great example of a series that I intended to read, but then got a bit overwhelmed at the idea. I never got past the first book. (I still plan to someday). Before blogging, I usually didn’t even know about series until they were done, so it wasn’t really an issue for me. Now I’m reading SO much that I’m forgetting!

  26. Sam

    I’ve had the same dilemma for some time now. At one point, I even went through all my to-read books on Goodreads, looked at all the first books in a series that I wanted to read, and marked the ones that all books had been published so I knew going in. I thought I would only read those and then I would be good! That soon fell to the wayside, though. I wasn’t able to do that for very long – haha! So, I don’t know. If you think you can do it, I say just go for it. Good luck!

    • Hey, you’re back!! I’ve missed you these past few months! I just popped over to your blog and saw the good news, so congrats again!!

      As far as this post is concerned – I agree that it will probably be hard if I try to hold off on series. I’m willing to try it, but I’m not so sure I can stick to it!

  27. Yeah, I have been thinking of doing the same thing, but somehow I have no willpower to wait. When I learn about a new beginning to a series, I feel like I have to read it right NOW! Crazy. But I have binge read series before when I just didn’t discover a series until it had ended. I loved being able to read the whole thing at one time. Right now, I am reading the Harry Potter series for the first time EVER!!! I absolutely love the fact that I don’t have to wait for the next one in the series. If I had read it when it first came out, I would be dying right now. But no waiting!

    Cynthia @ Bingeing On Books recently posted: DISCUSSION: Blogging for free stuff
  28. Oh, this is a good question, one I’ve been struggling with quite a bit in recent months because I’m trying to finish more series – or at least catch up with all the published sequels.
    I recently started an already finished series but it isn’t really making me buy the sequels any faster, I think it’s good to have a bit of a break between parts so I don’t get overexposed to one writer’s style (and risk being bored?). But I like the POSSIBILITY of buying all the books one after another without waiting, which is definitely a bonus.
    I decided to wait with a couple of recent series – like Truthwitch – and see if the sequels are as hyped-up and acclaimed as the first book of the series because I’m afraid to fall for the hype.
    That said, I also bought two first books in unfinished series, so I’m probably the most inconsistent series reader out there. 🙂

    • Yeah, there are definitely times when I don’t want to just jump into the next book in a series – especially for long, dense books. (I still haven’t read the second Loch Lomora book, even though I had really good intentions and I really enjoyed the first one!)

  29. oh oh and for the negative side don’t forget: HAVING EVERYONE SPOIL THE BOOK FOR YOU. *cries* That is honestly #1 reason I usually start reading series immediately because I find the internet is REALLY not kind about spoilers and spoilers ruin books for me. Wah.
    But omg I have all the same problems!! I’ve started re-reading stuff this year, and it’s been good! But I really would rather read new things. ;D I’ve head to reread The Winner’s Curse series, but actually it’s made me love it MORE and that’s a good thing! But usually I don’t love a book enough to want to reread it? So I just go into the sequel forgetting everything and it’s really awkward.
    (I loved Allegiant too!! <3 ADORED IT. I think it was perfection.)

  30. I TRIED to make a rule not to read anymore series until they were complete because I was in the middle of like 7 different series and couldn’t handle anymore. But somehow, at some point, that went out the window. Do you want to know how many series I’m in the middle of now? It’s reaching a point that I’m starting to be ashamed to admit the number.

    28. Plus 11 more that I’m considering continuing. I literally have to keep track with a word document.

    And it’s not that I have a problem finishing series—I don’t. It’s just that almost all of these are all still ongoing.

    But the thing is, I LOVE binge reading series. There have been times when I’ve read a series in the same number of days as there were books. I love being able to remember all the little details and getting the full effect of them in the story. Plus you really do get more involved, more invested, more sucked in, because of that momentum you mentioned.

    But as you said, I feel like I’m missing out if I wait. I like the fun of reading books when they first come out. And sometimes I just get too impatient and can’t stand to wait three years just to find out if I even like the first book at all. And another thing for me is, I don’t have a lot of money to spend on books, so ARCs are really helpful. So as much as I love binge reading series, I think I’ve basically given up on it. If I love a series enough, I’ll just reread it before going into the final book. Sorry for writing, like, a whole novel here lol.

    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted: The Weekly Update: 4/10/16
  31. Jen

    So I have my own little method for series reading. 🙂

    If I only like the first book in a series, then I still purchase the 2nd book when it releases but I don’t read it yet. Then when the 3rd book comes out, I re-read or skim the 1st, read the 2nd that I already bought in the past when it was released and then read the 3rd. If there are more than 3 books then I usually stumble around and am unsure of what to do haha!

    Now if I fall completely in love with a series, then I read the books as they come out each year. I’ll either do a full or skim reading of the previous book(s) or just re-read my highlights, since I highlight a hundred passages or so from each book.

    But spoilers. Yeah, see I struggle with that. I just got spoiled on a book series ending, that I haven’t read yet, through a Facebook group. Just last week. Ugh! And I was spoiled on The Iron Fey Series by Julie Kagawa on Goodreads because of an interview they did with her and they didn’t use their own ability to hide a . Ugh again. So yeah. If you find a method that is beyond perfect, definitely let me know please. ♥

  32. I always thought I was one of those people who is strictly against the bingeing thing and needed breaks between the books. But I have done a complete 180. If I don’t binge a series, I’ve noticed it can take me forever before I get back to it or even touch the books again… which is a shame. I’m just not for the waiting game. So I would vote for bingeing all the way!

    Olivia Roach recently posted: The 13th Continuum (Review, Tour & Giveaway!)

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