Buying into a series can be a heavy investment, so it's not unreasonable to expect an equally heavy payout. Sounds mercenary, but it’s not. With more and more books crowding the TBR pile, who has the time or the inclination to continue with a book, much less a series, that isn't engaging? While we’ve all read many posts on the reasons you may break up with a series (I’ve written a few myself), what about a series you grew to love? Have you ever started a series and basically tossed the book aside, chalked it up to an experience learned, and left it? Only to be convinced by friends that the next installments get better and are worth another chance? I have.
Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series is that kind of series for me. After reading The Warlord Wants Forever, I didn't have plans to continue reading the series; I despised both the hero and the heroine and felt the plot was weak and uninspiring. But time and time again I was urged to read A Hunger Like No Other, book two of the series. My reading friends said the characters are more defined and the storyline is very addictive. Finally, I caved and discovered my friends were right—as the series progressed, I fell in love with Cole’s characters, especially those naughty Valkyries. I am glad I gave it a second chance.
Another series that failed to impress me in the beginning was Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Book one, Darkfever, did not elicit the same rapturous feelings in me as it did others in my reading circles. I found Mac to be a spoiled, whiny, unappealing person and Barrons was a jerk of the first order. The premise, however, was interesting and unique enough to have me thinking really hard about reading book two, Bloodfever. With Bloodfever
I began to appreciate the evolving characterization of Mac and Barrons. I may not have still liked them but I could see where Moning was headed and their gradual maturity, achieved through trial and blood, was interesting to view. Mac was still TSTL at times, but her mistakes were honest and the fact she learned from them was gratifying. With each new installment, the story swept me up and I become more vested in the outcome. Barrons’s transformation had a lot to do with that, too. But the romance in the series doesn’t play out like a typical romance; I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop. And it will, as Moning has amply shown throughout this series and in the Fever world spin-off began in Iced.
Cherise Sinclair’s Shadowland series was almost a no go for me after I read book one, Club Shadowlands. Z, the hero, makes the heroine sign a contract, giving up certain freedoms in order to receive shelter during a tropical storm, and that was an unpleasant characteristic. The heroine's attitude wasn't much better, either; who doesn’t read a contract before signing? Then I tried Sinclair’s Mountain Masters series. Master of the Mountain started out really well, about a tortured dom and a vulnerable heroine who find love and trust together. Later on, however, a humiliation scene in the book put me off. I don’t like humiliation scenes, period, but I really don't like them when they are applied to a novice sub who is still learning the ropes (heh). Especially a heroine whose diminished self esteem almost guarantees she won’t stop the scene no matter what for fear of losing the relationship.
I did eventually go back to Sinclair’s Shadowland series and the storylines and long-standing arc got progressively better. Stronger heroines were introduced and the heroes weren’t such alphaholes.
When I went on twitter and posed this question to the masses, these are some of the responses I received:
@tspence9: I hardly ever love the first book in a series. Generally takes 3-5 books before the I hit the “holy shit” book.
@sofiaharp: Series is a hard sell for me. So I have to love whatever first book I read or I don't come back.
@sac402: Demonica… first book was hard to get thru but I love it now! :-)
@natashaw1: Meljean's Demon series. Didn't like the first few, ADORE from the 3rd/4th on :)
@Jess_Haines: None I can think of. I don't have the time/energy to continue a series if I don't like the first book.
@TheBookNympho: Fever. I didn't see what the it was all about till the middle of the 2nd book. Now I LOVE it.
So tell me, do you give a series one more chance if the first or second book doesn’t wow you? Or do you just walk away?