Over on my Facebook page, we had a great debate going about the popularity of a series over a standalone book.
The consensus was in favour of the series. Although, there were quite a few who, like me, enjoy reading a standalone novel after completing an epic sequence of books – a bit like having sorbet between the starter and main course.
The series tends to be hugely popular in the young adult genre. It was as I hit my thirties that I started to actively read young adult fantasy – brought on by my Buffy the Vampire Slayer obsession. I enjoyed getting involved in a series of books and spiralling along with the ever-evolving characters.
Some of my favourites include:
- Josephine Angelini’s – Starcrossed, Dreamless and Goddess.
- Maggie Stiefvater – Shiver, Linger and Forever.
- Cassandra Clare’s incredible Mortal Instrument Series.
- R J Anderson – Knife, Rebel and Arrow.
- Jana Oliver – The Demon Trappers: Forsaken, Forbidden, Forgiven and Foretold.
- Veronica Roth – Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant.
- L J Smith – Vampire Diaries
Of course, one of the downsides of reading a series is when the story ends on a cliff-hanger and you have to wait a year until the next book.
My favourite author, Sarah J Maas, who writes the Throne of Glass Series, has done this very thing to me.
Book two, Crown of Midnight, was incredible, and I made sure to pre-order book three when it was launched. Heir of Fire was another winner, and I had many a late night as I rushed to devour the latest adventure. However, instead of being satisfied in the end, it is left wide open for the grand finale, and I now have to wait until 2016 to find out what happens!
Fortunately, Sarah is a truly lovely person and has launched a second series to tide me over. A Court of Thorns and Roses is the start of a new adventure that includes all my favourites – faeries, wolves and magic. The beauty of this particular release is how the ending is nice and tidy but does leave the door open for more. No nail-biting conclusion or wail of despair when I’m left hanging.
When I wrote the first draft of Guardians of the Dead, I didn’t expect to write a trilogy. I had this one tale to tell and knew roughly how I wanted it to go. It was only as I began writing that the additional plots and characters began to weave into my head. I have already outlined a future book that was going to be a standalone novel, but the more I think about it, the more I want to evolve the characters in this story too.
Maybe it’s my passion for television series such as Buffy, Game of Thrones and the Vampire Diaries that makes the reading (and writing) of a series all the more enjoyable.
I’m interested in what you think. Do you enjoy getting involved in a series of books rather than a standalone?