Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Random Ramble: Keeping Up With Series (Rachel)

For the most part, I'm a fan of book series. I kind of have to be if I want to read YA books, since the YA world is filled with series. We teens just love our stories to go on and on and on, with another book being added to our collection every year.

Series are awesome! Right? (source)

Like I said, I'm a fan of book series. I think they're a really awesome format for storytelling, and I enjoy learning more about my favorite characters and worlds. I like that the story doesn't have to end after 300 pages, and that it can continue into another book or books.

But sometimes I really don't like series. 

Lately, I feel like I've been reading a ton of series, and I just can't keep up. It seems like half of the books on my shelves are waiting for sequels to come out. And then, once the sequels come out, there are four more books that will be released in the series! Most of the time, I think, "awesome, I get to read more!" But sometimes, I get so tired of having to keep track of what book is going to have a sequel and how many books there will be in the series and when each book will be released and cover reveals and GOD FORBID THEY CHANGE THE COVERS HALFWAY THROUGH AND YOUR BOOKS DON'T MATCH. 
WHY. (although the new covers are WAY better) (source)

It becomes almost stressful for me, trying to stay on top of all these series. And it's not that I don't like reading these series, because I do! I totally do! But something about the one-book-a-year-for-at-least-3-years schedule seems to be burning me out lately.

Let's talk about the Under the Never Sky series. I read the first book back when it was first released, and I absolutely loved it. I even went to an author signing and met Veronica Rossi, it was awesome, blah blah blah okay whatever. By the time the sequel was released, I was excited to read it but...


I found myself unable to remember a lot of important details from the first book. This kind of thing happens after a year. If I'm reading, say, one hundred books a year, it's not reasonable to expect myself to remember every single thing from every single book. And my memory is kind of weird when it comes to books. There are certain books that I can remember perfectly even though I read them once, years ago, and then there are books that I read last week that are a complete blur to me. This isn't even an indication of how much I liked the book, because some of the books I remember loving are difficult to remember, while some more "meh" books are crystal clear.

So in this case, I loved Under the Never Sky, but my memories of it simply could not hold up for an entire year. So I decided to put off reading the sequel until I could reread the first one. It was a good plan, except for one problem: I never reread the first book.

I know, I know. I just said I loved it! What's the problem with rereading it? Well, the problem is that when there are so many new-to-me books to read, sometimes I don't have much interest in rereading old favorites. And the fact that I was going to have to reread it so I could understand what happened so I could go on to read the sequel made the whole process seem like such a chore. Which, hello, is not what reading is about at all! It should be fun!

So I kept pushing off rereading Under the Never Sky, until finally, I got my hands on a copy of the last book in the series a few weeks ago. Now, I currently have the entire trilogy in my possession, even though I've only read the first book. I plan on reading all three of them soon. (For real. I actually,  truly, have a strong desire to read all three of them.) But I feel like I wasted a ton of time in there somewhere, while I was waiting for each book to come out.

This situation is not an uncommon one for me. There are several other books that are the first in a series that I LOVED, but by the time the sequel was released, I couldn't remember enough of the first book to continue the series. This is the case with Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Born Wicked, Everneath, Unspoken, Legend...the list goes on and on. And can I just say that all of these books are freaking AMAZING and I'm so excited to read the rest of the series? It's really silly that I'm avoiding the rest of the series just because my memory is a little fuzzy and I want to reread the first book before I continue.

It's gotten to the point where I'm actually stressed out by series. I'm having a difficult time keeping up with them, and in a lot of cases, I wish I had just waited for all the books to be released before starting the series. I much prefer to binge-read series. You know, just sit down and read a whole trilogy in a weekend. I find that I get so much more out of series when I read them that way, like the Vampire Academy series, which I just recently read. With that series, I didn't have to wait a year between each book, which is a really long time! A lot can happen in a year, and a lot of memories can override the memories of specific details in books.

In an effort to fix my problem with keeping up with series, I think I'm going to avoid first-books-in-series as much as I can until most or all of the series has been released. I'm not sure how well this will work out for me, since I do love jumping on the bandwagon for popular books the second I notice that there is a bandwagon, but I will do my best to restrain myself and wait it out. So all the cool first-books-in-series being released right now? You can tell me all about them in three years. Okay? :)

What about you guys? Do you have a hard time keeping up with series? Do you like to binge-read entire series at a time or read each book as it comes out? Do you prefer standalones or series? Do you have photographic memories that allow you to remember every single thing from every single book you read? (If the last one is true, I'M SO JEALOUS.) 

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