I often try out books that are the first in a series, and in my review I usually comment on whether or not I am likely to continue the series. They generally fall into three categories:
1. Blah. Not interested in continuing.
2. Eh. Will probably pick up the next book eventually.
3. Liked it, definitely want to read more.
There is a very rare fourth category, which is:
4. OMG need next book now!
Of course some books are a little more blah or eh than others. "Blah" ranges from "Hated it, no f***ing way I want to read the rest of this series" (e.g., Mr. Churchill's Secretary) to "Not bad, just not interesting and I don't care what happens next" (e.g., The Cloud Roads).
Looking at the books I read in the past year that were the first in a series:
Wool: Was not bad (I read the entire first series in an omnibus), but not really interested in reading the next series.
Ancillary Justice: I will almost certainly read the next book, though it's not at the top of my TBR list.
The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin: I am going to preorder the next book and read it immediately.
Steelheart: Meh. Might read the next book if I am bored.
One: Had potential, but no.
The Girl of Fire and Thorns: Double meh.
The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack: Liked it. Will probably read next book if I see it for sale.
Nobody Gets the Girl: I've already bought the next book, even though the author had to self-publish it.
Ashes: Liked it, planning to finish the series this year.
Crystal Soldier: This is a very big, long-running series, and the first book didn't hook me enough to invest me in it.
World Made By Hand: It was okay, but not really interested in what happens next.
Storm Front: It did not impress me much, but everyone loves this series and says it gets better. I'll probably give it another chance eventually.
The Farm: Oh, hell no.
Ghost Road Blues: Meh.
Jane Carver of Waar: Cheesy fun, will definitely seek out next book.
Altered Carbon: Was okay, will read next one if in the mood, but no urge to seek it out.
Kris Longknife: Mutineer: Just didn't impress me.
Coyote: Liked it, will read more.
The Stepsister Scheme: It was not the greatest thing ever, but it was entertaining enough that I ended up finishing the whole series.
Consider Phlebas: It wasn't awesome, but I liked it and want to check out more of Banks' work.
Mr. Churchill's Secretary: Oh f*** no.
So, it looks like I am about 50/50 on whether or not the first book in a series usually entices me to read on. I think it's rarely a cliffhanger or even dangling plot threads that make me want to read the next book ‐ if I don't care about the story or characters, I just don't care what happens next. But Ian Tregillis's Milkweed Triptych has both an epic, twisting plot and an exciting pace (I am reading the final book now), while Catherynne Valente's Fairyland books are so wonderful that I'll follow them to the end.
That said, it's been a long time since I became invested in a really long series. I have never even attempted the Wheel of Time or Game of Thrones. I read all of Tony Hillerman's Navajo mysteries, but over many years. It's also rare nowadays that I tear through an entire series quickly: the last one I did that with was Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn trilogy; before that, probably Harry Potter. I think I actually appreciate stand-alone books more now, as they don't demand that I read another right away. But I am still on the lookout for a series that will grab me.
For discussion: how often do you read series? Do you like the fact that practically all genre books nowadays are part of a series? When you like the first book in a series, do you usually read the rest right away? Or do you come back to them intermittently?
How often do you read a series?
I love series, the longer the better!
I read a lot of series, but don't particularly prefer them.
I prefer not to get drawn into a series unless it's really good.
I hate series. Finish the story in one book, authors!
Once you start a series, how often do you finish it?
If I liked the first book, I have to read them all right away.
I prefer to finish a series, though not always immediately.
If the first book doesn't hook me hard, I'm probably not going to read any more in the series.
I don't care about series books. I even read them out of order!
What is the right length for a series for you?
Two or three books, Who needs more than a trilogy?
Maybe half a dozen (or a Harry Potter seven), but not many series stay fresh longer than that.
Ten books, maybe twenty - some stories really do need to be that long.
If I like it and the author enjoys writing it, why should it ever end?
Previous Saturday Book Discussions.