Friday, April 30, 2010

Hit Me Baby One More Time

I'm a bit of a series 'ho.

There's nothing I love more than knowing that the story I'm enjoying will continue long after I finish the book I'm reading. A series, too, gives the author time to flesh out characters, show their depth, as well as have them change over a protracted period of time. Also, larger story arcs can be explored that extend over a number of books, adding to the overall complexity of the world in which the story occurs.

A few of my favorite series that have maximized world and character development would include:

Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann
I love how characters that start out as supporting cast develop over the course of the books, and by the time they get "their" story, they have a history, a personality, and on-going friendships/relationships. Sam, Max, Jules (among others) feel 3-dimensional. I root for/against the characters in this series, and feel invested in them.

PsyChangeling series by Nalini Singh
Any kind of speculative fiction really benefits from lots of time to develop the world in which the story takes place. The PsyChangeling world is one that has so many layers, and with each book, more and more of the world is filled in. (BTW, have you see the beautiful new cover for Book 9, Play of Passion, to be released in November? --->)

Nightrunners series by Lynn Flewelling
This fantasy series builds slowly, and the relationship between Alec and Seregil grows from one between a younger man/older mentor to that of equals and lovers. The series also allows each book to focus on a specific region/culture in the Nightrunners world.

Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon
When the final book in the AE Mysteries was released in December, I re-read the entire series. Doing that really allowed me to appreciate how Josh Lanyon crafted, not just each individual book, but the entire story. The coolest part was seeing how, though Jake undergoes the most obvious character growth, it was Adrien's more subtle changes that I most enjoyed reading about. Their love story could never have been confined to only a single book.

Now, I understand the whole saw about how it's better to leave people wanting more, but here are a few books that I really wish were series:

Sunshine by Robin McKinley
When I finished this book, I frantically scoured Robin McKinley's site looking for indications that book 2 would be written. This dark romance between the engaging baker, Rae and the loner vampire Con felt so fresh. There is so much rich material in this story that I couldn't believe it was a standalone. The author says she has no inclination to write more in this world. *sob*

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

This story of the orphan Nobody Owens (Bod, for short) who is raised, protected, and loved by the ghostly inhabitants of the the graveyard is sweet, dark, and lovely. It's reminiscent of Tim Burton's movie, The Nightmare Before Christmas, with its twisted sense of humor. By the end, I had a lump in my throat, and I wanted to follow Bod on his further adventures.

Hemovore by Jordan Castillo Price
While I tend to rave about JCP's PsyCop series, this is the story that introduced me to her great storytelling. Hemovore's completely unique take on the "vampire virus" is told from the perspective of the germophobic Mark, who assists the V-positive artist Jonathan. I'd LOVE for JCP to re-visit the gritty Hemovore world, either telling more of Mark and Jonathan's story or introducing a new couple.



Do you like series, or do you prefer stand alone novels? Is there a book you wish was a series? Or is there a series that would have been better left as a stand alone?

12 comments:

orannia said...

I do love series. I only just finished the Adrien English series and...I want more! I love Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling series...and the cover of the latest book is gorgeous! Am still working my way through the Troubleshooters (I think I've read the first two *ducks*) and am looking forward to continuing Alec & Seregil's story in the second Nightrunner book.

On the other hand though, there are some series that should stop...honestly, enough already.

MsM said...

I love series, but I love them even more when I 'discover' a series that already has several books out there so I can sit down and read them all at once!
I am very impatient by nature and while I love series, I abhor waiting for that next book to come out!

:o)

MsM

Lea said...

Good Morning Renee:

I like both series and stand alone novels.

I'm a huge fan of Larissa Ione's Demonica series for the very reasons you mentioned. I also enjoy Lara Adrian's Breeds series and Sydney Croft's ACRO series.

The one stand alone that comes to mind that I would like to see become a series is Sophie Renwick's Hot In Here - I would love to see more of the Ryder brothers. Devyn Quinn's shifter series, both novel and novella are really good too and I'd love to read more about the 'clan' she has created.

As for stand alones, as long as the author fleshes out the characters well and finishes off the plots and sub-plots I'm good.

Another great post, thanks Renee! Thank you

Chris said...

I like both, depending. What I don't like is when a series SHOULD end (Anita Blake, Stephanie Plum) but doesn't.

Abbie said...

I'm a huge sucker for series especially family/dynasty type series. Maybe because my introduction to romances was my Mom's copies of the Elswyth Thane's Williamsburg novels. Lately, I've been reading the Black Dagger books. While the first three were definitely the best, and they were a little ridiculous themselves, I just can't help myself!

Tracy said...

I really love series. I tend to get attached to secondary characters as well as the main ones and want their stories. OR just more about the main ones. Hemovore would be a great book to make into a series!

There are some books though that just need to stop. I think the Dark-Hunters by Kenyon have lived their life and should be put to bed. I loved them but I think it's time.

Jessica said...

I love all books, series or stand alone's...Anne Bishop-Dark Jewel Books are great! Lora Leigh's Breed Book and her Bound Heart series are great, the Nauti books and good too. Sherrilyn Kenyon books are keepers as are Cheryl Brooks Cat Chronicles.

I have to start at the beginning and work my way through, thank God for Libraries or my bank account would be destitute!

Renee said...

orannia: I do want more Adrien and Jake, but console myself with the fact that The Dark Tide wraps things up so well.

Oh, I love the WWII stories in the early Troubleshooters! Nightrunners just gets better and better as you go. :-)

lol. Yes, that is truly the case!

MsM: Nothing makes me happier than a giant backlist! *g*

Lea: I'll have to ck out the Quinn and Renwick titles. I haven't read anything by either of them!
That's true. A stand alone can do all those things if it's well written.

Chris: *dagger in my heart!* Yes, I hate to admit that the last couple Stephanie Plums weren't doing it for me. sigh. Though, I'll still be getting both LKH and the SP upcoming releases from the library.

Renee said...

Abbie: Some of the first "grownup" books I read were John Jakes' Kent Family Chronicles. LOVE that sense of continuity with a family saga.
lol. I call BDB my Pringles series, just for that reason!

Tracy: Wouldn't it make a great series? (JCP, can you hear us?)
DH isn't SK's only series, so it seems like she can move on to her other projects.

Jessica: Oh! I've got to get back to Lora Leigh's Breed series!
The Dark Jewels are a great example of a series which gets more complex with each book. Love that series!

LesleyW said...

I would love to read a follow-up to Hemovore.

And yay! I have just started to read Luck in the Shadows, looking forward to seeing how the series progresses.

Some series I think would benefit for having a definite end-point, they feel like they're flailing a bit. The first three or four books are strong and then they lose it.

Whereas others like Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series are so tightly plotted I could read them forever.

Tracy said...

Yes, SK SHOULD move to her other series and just let it go. imho at least.

Renee said...

LesleyW: Hope you enjoy Nightrunners! Lynn Flewelling has a great set of resource pgs for the series.

I don enjoy ltd series like a trilogy or quartet that has a beginning/middle/end to the larger story arc. (CE Murphy's Negotiator trilogy comes to mind.)

Yes! Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld and Jim Butcher's Dresden Files are 2 series which just keep getting better.

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