There are so many Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy series we readers can’t seem to get enough of. We rush to the stores on release day; then we rock back-and-forth until the next release. When you get deeply involved in a series, you feel like you really know the characters and want their series to continue forever. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunters, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake and Kim Harrison’s Hollows are three such series that have been going on for awhile and show no signs of stopping.
But is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Take Sherrilyn Kenyon as an example. The first Dark Hunter novel, Fantasy Lover, came out in 2002. In 2010, the nineteenth book in the series, No Mercy, was released. Are nineteen books in one series too much? In this case, I don’t think so, because Ms. Kenyon sticks to a formula that works. Each book is set in the same world, with a different main character every novel, but with re-appearances by older characters, too. I'm sure some of you will disagree with me, but I wasn’t a fan of No Mercy. But the next book can feel all new again.
Kim Harrison’s Hollow series started in 2004 with Dead Witch Walking and in 2011, the ninth book, Pale Demon, will be released this year. I have had the chance to read the advance readers' copy of Pale Demon, and while it didn’t blow my socks off, it was an okay addition to the series. The end of the book had some revelations that made me crave the next book, thus proving the series needs to go on, even if it’s for just one more book.
Ms. Harrison’s novels are different from Ms. Kenyon’s in that they all focus on one lead character: witch and bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. Both authors also have various short stories and in the case of Ms. Kenyon, two spinoffs based on the Dark Hunter world.
Kelley Armstrong is also a great example of an author who has a series that endures and continues to feed reader obsession. The first book in Ms. Armstrong’s Otherworld series, Bitten, came out in 2003 and Spell Bound comes out July 2011. Spell Bound is the twelfth installment of the Otherworld series, not including short stories—and there are many. Each book used to focus solely on a few main characters, but has recently switched to feature previously supporting characters as the main protagonists.
On the other end of the spectrum, Vicki Petterson and Karen Marie Moning are both ending their series in 2011, much to readers’ disappointment. Last November, Ms. Petterson announced there would only be five books in her Signs of the Zodiac series, while Ms. Moning is ending her Fever series with the just released Shadowfever (there will be a spinoff series). I haven’t heard more hype for a Paranormal Romance then I heard for Shadowfever, I know people who took sick days at work just to be able to read the book on release day! Both series have been huge favorites among fans of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance, so the announcement of their endings was met with shock. I applaud Ms. Petterson and Ms. Moning for their decisions to end such great series on high notes, rather than to keep them going.
On the other side, there are some series that are still going that I think shouldn’t be. They're like guests who won’t leave at a party, even though you’ve already changed into your PJs. Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series, Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse, and some might even say J.R. Ward’s BDB series should even come to an end. I was a big fan of MaryJanice Davidson’s Queen Betsy series until Betsy got her man, after which, I found I wasn’t enjoying the series like I used to. I don’t want to hear any character whine about how hard their lives are, especially when they have a rich husband. It's just not realistic.
And speaking of totally unrealistic . . . Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake has caught more then her fair share of men, and it’s now to the point that I can’t handle it anymore. After she added a third man/paranormal to the harem, that was it for me. I just can’t keep up and I have no idea how Anita can. To be honest, Anita Blake squicks me out now! Of course, I’ve also heard it said that Kenyon should have ended Dark Hunters after Acheron, so perhaps it all does just come down to a matter of taste.
It’s sad to see a series you love go downhill just because the author is trying to give readers more, or can’t seem to end the drama. Plus, it gets a bit repetitive when you're reading the same storyline over and over again. I would rather see a series end on a high note than watch it deteriorate or become redundant. It is hard to say goodbye to our favorites, but better they go gracefully into the great beyond.
What about you? Would you rather your favorite series go into the good night on a high note, or risk it becoming stale for One. More. Read?
Image courtesy of Peter Kaminski
Natasha Carty reviews Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy on her website WickedLilPixie.com and lives in Toronto, Canada with her cat Seamus.