Anyone who's been reading for a while knows that I review a lot of book series on my blog. I hardly ever complete series though and more often than not you'll see me read a sequel, dislike it, and then stop reading the series (or even the author!) altogether.
I feel like book series are always a commitment. Most people I know, very much to my shock, buy an entire series before having even read the first book. And then they'll go ahead and read all books, regardless of whether they liked the individual novels or not. I'd never do that.
Especially when I'm reading a series, I'll need to love the world and the characters and ideally the writing so much that I'm excited for the sequel. Or at least want to see that nice cliffhanger ending resolved. Something, anything like that is a must for me to continue the series. Naturally, that hardly ever happens.
Too many books are forcibly turned into a series, don't make sense as a series, and are just overall drawn out. Even with those, I still get people asking me all the time why I won't continue and give the series another shot with a sequel. The long answer is this.
There are too many better books out there!
To me, there are too many books out there to even remotely consider sticking with every series I start. I think the first novel in a series is to be treated the same way as a regular stand-alone. Don't like, don't pick up another novel by that author. I make most of my reading decisions like this, thinking about the other books I've read by the same author and asking myself whether I really want to waste my time with something I very likely won't enjoy.
Just think about that wasted time that you could've spent reading something you'll enjoy, possibly even a new favorite. I'm always angry about every one or two star read that wasted my time, considering that I could've read something better in the meantime. Aren't you?
Why would I continue something I hated?
With book series it's even more than just a time commitment. If I don't care about the characters, don't care about the world, possibly even hate the writing, why would I waste any time on that?
Sure book series look nice if you have all the books displayed beautifully on your shelf, but what's the use if you hated the entire experience and had to force yourself to continue? If I already bought the whole series because it was discounted or whatever, you bet I'll still get rid of those darn sequels if I hated the first one or was very indifferent to it.
An argument I hear a lot when I post my reviews to tumblr is: "Hey you'll probably enjoy the sequel more because reason x and y." Well, I certainly won't touch that sequel with a ten foot pole if I gave it a two or one star rating. I don't understand why you would ever complete a series, hoping that the next book will be better.
Sure, if you enjoyed the first and didn't like the second so much, I totally get that you might read the third. I've done that plenty of times. But when I've hated book one, there's no reason why I would remotely consider continuing and wasting my time. Why would you?
Do you finish every series you start? Do you pick up sequels to books you hated?
More on book series: