To Continue On Or Not?

That is always my question after finishing a book in a series: am I interested enough to continue on? 

It’s a hard question all around. I’m awful at finishing series in general and I’m the woooorst at deciding whether or not to put down a book when I’m not liking it. I have a list of reasons why it’s so hard for me — some of those feelings apply to my fear of abandoning a series.

Most of the time I’m pretty solid on my YES or NO if I want to continue on but I do have a good chunk that stay in that “Hmmm I’m not sure” area. However, what prompted me to think about this, is that over the summer I read but nearly DNFed a book 1 in a series that I just really didn’t like and was pretty sure I had no interest of continuing on. I didn’t think the writing was that great. It was pretty eye-rolly. Didn’t love the characters. But THEN..behold…book 2 shows up in the mail from the publisher and my curiosity was piqued again and I have NO idea why. I didn’t even like it! WHY would I even consider it? Maybe it’s because I’m curious. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment. Or maybe it’s because I am the most indecisive person who likes to doubt their decisions. Oof we sure are getting a little more into the psyche of Jamie territory there.

But here we are…a book that was solidly a NO is now possibly a maybe? GAH.

 

Typically my method looks a little bit like this if it’s a first book:

 

1. Did I like it? How much? (Typically if I 1 starred it I want nothing to do with it so it’s easy)

2If I didn’t love it, could these things change in book 2 to be more enjoyable for me? I really have to analyze why I didn’t like it. Sometimes it could be that it just wasn’t a LOVE but more a lukewarm, no reaction kind of feeling.

3. Is book 2 out? What are reviews saying? I typically try to see if people who maybe didn’t love the first book thought the second was much better because I know for me that some book 2’s have been way better for me than book 1. I also try to see if my issues are still prevalent in book 2. If book 2 isn’t out and I feel like I want to check later when it comes out I’ll mark it as “maybe” on Goodreads and circle back to it when it is released.

4. Will I be bothered if I don’t find out what happens next? Sometimes I may not be loving something but I have this strong desire to still know what happens. Sometimes I’m fine with asking a friend (I’ve done that for a couple series I’m just not invested again) but sometimes I might just, at the end of the day, know in my heart that I probably won’t care.

 

It’s not a foolproof method by any means because sometimes I still can’t decide so I just stick it on the maybe shelf and then just never end up getting to it because clearly I didn’t care that much. That’s always a pretty good indicator if it’s been a few years and I haven’t even thought about it. Recently I’ve officially made myself say I QUIT YOU for a few series that have been years since I read it because I know realistically I won’t.

My method if it’s a later book in the series is sort of the same but it is more of a gut feeling or just feeling the slow fizzling feeling of interest in the story naturally where I’m not caring to pick up the next or not even excited when it comes out. Sometimes in those cases I do want to know the outcome..I just don’t want to invest the time in it anymore because I don’t love it so I typically ask someone.

 

So mostly I’m just curious what makes you guys decide to continue on with a series or quit it!

Is it pretty easy for you? What are the factors that make you decide? Do you quit mid series when things stop going so well or do you see it through? Are you likely to give a book 2 a chance if you didn’t LOVE book 1?  Let me know! I’m really curious what other people’s methods are when it comes to series!

PS. Check out how I cull books I’ve read from my shelves or my biggest bookworm problems

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 30 year old married lady who is in denial that she's actually that old. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, listening to music with oversized headphones and having adventures with her husband and dog.

Comments

  1. I’m such a completionist that it’s really hard for me to DNF a standalone, let alone stop reading a series altogether. Sometimes I’m good and won’t continue if I absolutely detested the first book. If I didn’t like it but the ending showed potential I usually try the second book eventually (and sometimes the second book has completely saved the series for me). If book two was just as bad or worse, I won’t continue. But once I get passed book two or three it’s really hard for me to stop reading no matter how terrible the series becomes.

    • Yes same! I feel like that’s why my DNF numbers are so low compared to so many people. I struggle so much with feeling like I must complete a book or series…even tv shows. CURSE YOU PLL AND GREY’S THAT IS WHY I CAN’T LET YOU GO.

      And that second point always happens to me…I won’t be liking the book and then all of a sudden the ending gets me interested. And there are so many books where I have though the first book was okay or good (not OMG LOVE) and then the second book blows me away.

      ANd yeah…I think if I’m in a series where I get past a certain point…why quit at that point when I invested that much time.

  2. I do the same! Sometimes I did enjoy the first book, or even more than those, but I’m not that bothered by not knowing how it ends… Other times it’s been a while since I read the previous book, and just don’t really care anymore. I think it’s good to sort out which series you actually WANT to finish! We shouldn’t feel obliged to finish a series just because we started it.

    • I seriously really need to get over that thinking of feeling like I SHOULD finish it. It’s been refreshing to finally, after a couple years, be like “okay self…let’s be reall….you aren’t continuing with that series.” So maybe subconsciously I choose by NOT choosing to pick up the second? Because when I was going through my list of unfinished series there were some I’m like OH MAN..I need to get moving on that one and others were “Ehhh I don’t think I care?”

  3. Usually when I start a series I have to finish it, because I’m a real completionist and I want to know what happens! If I really hate the first book in a series then I won’t continue because there’s no point, but if it shows some promise, but I don’t absolutely love it, then I will still carry on because there’s a chance the next book will be better and I’m glad I do this because if I didn’t then I wouldn’t have read some of my now favourite series!

  4. When it comes to series I usually have to finish, although the pace differs each time. Some I read one after another, others I spread out. But usually I always get hooked because of the first book (although my favorite series I read the second book first…whoops). There is only one series I remember where I hated the first book at the time, so I had no desire to finish. If I like the first book, I usually continue through the whole way…its just a matter of when I get to the rest, haha.

  5. Interesting topic! A good example of this for me was with the Tearling series by Erika Johansen. I had a real issue with the worldbuilding in the first book – it didn’t seem consistent within its own rules – so it was a pretty clear no continue. However I did hear some reviews and comments on book two which really intrigued me, so I ended up continuing and enjoying book two more. I will probably pick up book three when it’s out.

  6. It usually is easy because there is so many books out there calling for me, also I have a shelf on GoodReads that is called “to get back to” which can serve as a pre-DNF since books that stay there too much time and I don’t care to pick up usually migrate to the DNF shelf. BUT recently I’ve been struggling with a series, I already read another series by the same author and enjoyed more but this one is the more popular series of this author and I don’t think it’s working for me, but I don’t know how to quit it so at the time being it just keeps sitting on my “to get back to” shelf ugh.

  7. This is a great topic! I guess I’ve never thought too hard about it. I recently discovered that I, too, am horrible at finishing series. I’ve gotten to the point where I really only want to start reading if the entire series is released and if I have immediate access to all the books in the series, otherwise, I’ll have a hard time finishing it. However, I go into every series believing I will continue on. If the first book really falls flat for me, I won’t. However, if I enjoy the first book (even just moderately), I have every intention of continuing the series.

    That doesn’t always happen.

    I don’t usually make the conscious decision to not continue a series. A lot of time I just sort of never go back to it. Oftentimes it’s because I had to wait for the next book and forgot about the series, and other times I just get distracted by books I want to read more.

    Wonderful discussion post!

  8. This is a great question! I’m like you — usually I’m pretty solid on whether I’ll continue a series or not. If it’s book one and I didn’t enjoy it, the choice is easy… unless I happen to get book two and then I WONDER. But then I have to tell myself that I didn’t enjoy the first book and it will take me forever if EVER to pick up that second book because I have a bad taste in my mouth.
    The harder part for me is if I’m already at least two books in. If I start to not like the second book, it’s hard to say no to the third. I’m like, well I’ve come this far! Especially if it’s a trilogy. BUT I have DNFed the last book in a trilogy before because it just wasn’t working for me! I have also been like WELLLLL this got better and I might as well finish and DAMMIT I’m kind curious! (*grumbles* stupid Madman’s Daughter trilogy…)

  9. I think the “will I be bothered” question is the biggest thing for me. Even if I don’t like a series, if I’m going to be putting time into it, I need to be invested. Case in point: Twilight. I read every book even though I didn’t like it because I just had to know and see for myself. That said, that was before Recaptains and Wikipedia. Nowadays, if I’m really bothered, but I don’t love a series, I’m okay with just finding out what happens.

    That’s terrible, I know. But I’m very picky about series and I’ve given up a lot of them because I just didn’t care enough to keep going. It has to be full on love for me to continue. I’ve given up series plenty of times because I just don’t care enough.

  10. For me it depends on how much I liked or disliked the first book. In the past couple years there have been two first books that I was meh about, but I decided to check out the second books anyway and they ended up being SO much better. I’m pretty bad at actually finishing series though, even ones I like. I tend to get sidetracked by new books and as a result I have 3 or 4 unfinished series on my shelves right now!

  11. I personally believe life is too short for bad books. With that being said I have also read books that I loved in a series and still have not finished a series. For example, Throne of Glass series. I read the first three books and the fourth book completely lost my interest so I put it down.

  12. Ooooh I like this discussion! More often than not I DO continue with a series because I DO enjoy them. But I’ve also found myself stopping after book 1 and feeling wishy washy about reading on. In those cases, it depends on a couple factors:

    1) Did I rate it 3+ stars? If so, I’m likely to pick it up again (3 out of curiosity, 4 because I enjoyed it, 5 because I loved it and must continue!). The trilogy I’m thinking of here is one Brittany just mentioned: Madman’s Daughter. I enjoyed it but there were also many MANY flaws to it. The flaws kinda tapered off in book 2, and I still found myself blazing through the book. I still haven’t read book 3 (I do own it though), and I plan to read it. But I’m also not in a rush to finish.

    2) Did book 1 feel like it had a solid enough ending? Sometimes there are books in a series that just feel so strongly like standalone books. There’s a tiny, itty bitty, teeny weeny cliff-hanger to get you curious about book 2, but in these cases I tend to stop with book 1 and happily come up with my own head canon. Adult fiction standalones have those little cliffhangers too, an opportunity for the reader to devise their own idea of the characters’ future. I think that’s why, in YA for the most part, I’m perfectly fine stopping at book 1 if it felt like a strong standalone. EX: SNOW LIKE ASHES and WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER felt like standalones, even when it was clear in the last chapter it would have a book 2.

    3) Is there a ton of hype surrounding this series? Hahaha I know that sounds bizarre, but I tend to back away from books that are overwhelmingly discussed by everyone ever. I read RAVEN BOYS when it first came out and begged other people to read it too, but no one seemed interested. Book 2 came out, and all of a sudden there was this big FANDOM and HYPE and FLAILS and CAPSLOCK and while I was happy to finally see the books getting the credit they deserved, I haven’t picked up book 2+. It’s weird. I know. I want the series to be completed now, for a year or so to pass before I dive back into it and enjoy it in peace. In the meantime, I find other books to enjoy, ones that aren’t so much in the spotlight, and give them some TLC 🙂 haha

  13. It’s gotten much easier for me to decide whether or not I’ll finish a series now, mostly because I don’t have nearly as much time as I used to have so I can’t bother wasting any time reading something that I’m not enjoying. I just recently decided I won’t be finishing a series after not enjoying the last book. Granted, I wasn’t a huge fan of the series to begin with, but was entertained enough that I wanted to keep reading. I thought I could give it a chance until the end because it was the 4th in the series, but it seriously jumped the shark for me and I can’t see myself enjoying any that will follow… so, I’m done. There are far too many other books that I want to read and far too little time.

  14. For me it usually comes down to #4. Do I care enough about the characters to want to know what happened to them? I love series, so the first book has to be pretty bad for me not to want to continue, but there have been some that I just did not care at all. I rarely give up a series after the first 2 books. Then I’m kind of invested.

  15. YES! I have such a hard time with this as well. It’s usually most difficult for those middle of the road books where I think “I liked it and I’m interested to know what happens next but I’m not super committed.” But then as time goes on I don’t know if I lose interest or as I sit with it I realize I didn’t like it as much as I thought I did at first. So then the question rears it’s ugly head when the sequel comes out and I don’t know if I want to read it or nor.

    But it’s particularly hard for me because I find I like second books better than the first because there is less world-building and more plot development. So I usually talk myself into reading the sequel and then never reading the final book.

    I often do what you suggest by waiting for reviews before I make the decision but I think for me a lot of it just depends on what other books are out around the same time. If I’m interested and I don’t have other books that I want to read more than I’ll give it a try but with the massive TBR I often just pass on a sequel just because there is so many books and so little time.

  16. I feel so much guilt if I DNF a book – and since I’ve never done it, that’s probably part of my reasoning. I think if I really don’t like a first book that I won’t bother with the next, but if there’s just enough in there to really pique my curiosity then I’m going to go for the second book, too. Sometimes I feel like I’m driven my guilt in order to finish a book just because of its popularity or how well known it is or its ratings, whatever the case may be. It’s so hard, though! But I haven’t really run into this problem, so I’m not really the best to ask, haha!

  17. I usually go basically by star rating on whether I’ll continue a series. 1 or 2 stars and I won’t bother, 3+ stars I usually enjoyed it enough to want to continue. It’s not a set rule for me or anything but I generally follow it. There is the occasional (extremely rare) time where I rated 2 and under and am curious enough to read the next book and the sequels of 3+ stars that I just never get to because it seems like EVERYTHING is a sequel now a days, but that’s just how I work it out.

  18. I think this has only happened to me once with The Sin Eater’s Daughter. There were just too many things in it that were my personal pet peeves. I had no intention of reading the next book, that is until the very last sentence of the first book. I want to know who is knocking on her door! All I need is that and nothing more. Ha ha. Also I think I would not have read anymore of the Matched trilogy, but my sister kept telling me each book got better. Well, she is a liar! 😀

  19. It is so hard for me to quit a series. There have been book series that I only thought were okay, but still kept reading. I guess the only thing that makes me really quit a series is if I have absolutely no interest in finding out what happened to the characters because I hated all of it. That doesn’t happen often. Great post.

  20. I used to be really good at completing series but I find it more of a struggle now, for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. For a book I liked but didn’t love, I’ll try #2 a lot of the time (like with Throne of Glass and The Demon King). I have more trouble getting to #3. A couple series I thought I really liked but by the time the 3rd book came out, I didn’t have the desire to read it RIGHT AWAY. But after a few months, I realized I just didn’t care that much in general anymore, which made me sad. I didn’t need to find out what happened. Part of me still feels guilty and wants to read it someday but the practical side of me is NOPE, onto other books! I think it also bothers me if Book 2 feels like an obvious middle syndrome book. Like filler. That’s just irritating and makes me less likely to read the final book. Long series I have better luck with ironically. I definitely look at reviews and general opinion though, as far as continuing or not.

  21. You know, I’ve never really thought about how I decide to continue with a series or not before. A lot of the time it’s just a gut feeling; do I care what happens next or not? There are so many books on my TBR that if the answer’s not a resounding YES I probably won’t get around to it.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that I loved the first book. For instance, I’m the kind of person who can never properly enjoy a book that heavily features social injustice if it isn’t also about social change (this is why I tend to read things like high fantasy and YA dystopia over literary fiction 😉 ), so when I read The Selection, while I wasn’t uninterested in the romance, I was primarily interested in the politics and social themes that played more of a background role. I read The Elite in the hopes that it would explore those aspects further, but I never got around to The One because it became clear to me that the series is more interested in the romance than the politics (which is fine, just not for me).

  22. I would always know when I want to read the next book just reading the first one but I also read the synopsis of the second book because even if the story continues, sometimes the perspective changes or maybe the storyline isn’t to my liking, all this helps me decide.

    I usually start on series that have finished or nearly finished as I think this makes it easier and I won’t have to wait as long but some first books are just too good to wait.

    honestly, I’m not a fan of series. why can’t a book be standalone and be good? I don’t mind sequels or prequels but I sort think books should be like korean tv series, there should be an end sometimes but some series just go on and on and that kind of puts me off.

    there goes my two cents. hope you have a sweet day.

  23. I have a really hard time not finishing a series. If it was 1 or 2 stars it’s easy but 3 or more and I feel obligated. Not just obligated though – sometimes I convince myself ‘okay it’s been three years, let it go!’ Then I think to myself ‘yeah but what if it gets REALLY GOOD and I miss out because I gave up?’ And so I have like 20 series “on-the-go” **sigh**

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