Feb 15 2012 4:47pm

The Books That Broke the Camel’s Back: Hamilton, Neill, Harris, et al.

Book and flower on a bench image by Zitona via FlickrWe’ve talked before about stopping reading a particular series because one of the series’ books has ruined the whole experience for you (for example, Robin Bradford dumped Laurell K. Hamilton), but we haven’t delved further into which specific books have made readers say, “That’s it. I’m done with this.”

So we asked around, and some of our bloggers and Twitter friends answered the question:

What specific book caused you to give up on a series entirely?


Drink Deep by Chloe NeillRachel Hyland:

Chloe Neill’s Drink Deep has done it for me with Chicagoland. I can forgive a lot, but not a blatant (and boring) rip-off of Dark Willow [from Buffy The Vampire Slayer]. Ridiculous.

Marquetta Whitmore:
J.R. Ward’s Lover Enshrined.

It’s not romance, but I haven’t read an Elizabeth George book since she killed off Helen, Inspector Lynley’s wife in With No One As Witness (2005). I was one of those first-day-of-release-buy-it-in-hardback fans after I read the first book, and a big part of the appeal for me was the developing relationship between Helen and Lynley. Then to have them marry, have Helen pregnant, and have her killed—I felt betrayed by the author and that was the end of my days as an Elizabeth George fan. I was not one of the fans screaming all over the Internet that George had no right to kill the character. As the author, she has the autonomy to write what she wishes. But as a reader, I have the autonomy to choose what to read, and I don’t choose to read books in which a major character may die.

As you can see, it’s been more than six years, and I still feel strongly about that death.

Natasha Carty:
For Chloe Neill: Hard Bitten started the dislike, but Drink Deep finished it for me.

Blue Moon by Laurell K. HamiltonLaurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series: Blue Moon, when the multiple sex started.

Janet Webb:
1. Stopped reading Ward when she had a ghostly heroine. Never. Read. Her. Again.

2. Stopped reading Brockmann (well, switched to library and now never read her) when she changed the love interest that she had promised her fans.

The last Sookie Stackhouse book has me backing away slowly but I am not totally ready to break up yet. Will if next 1 sucks.

Dark Predator by Christine Feehan. Somewhere along the pages the characters have confused rape with love.

Pamela Webb-Elliott: I stopped reading the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris at book 9, From Dead To Worse. I was a rabid fan of the series and around book 6 Definitely Dead, the character’s treatment (Sookie) of another secondary love interest (Quin) was SO AWFUL that I could not forgive. And overall, it became clear to ME that her attention was more on the show True Blood than the books. The magic that lured me and held me to the series was completely gone when I finished Dead to Worse. I blame her trying to bring in Faery mythology! Total fail. Ending the series is the best decision she could make, but I still won’t read the last books.

Kate Nagy:

I read Stephanie Bond’s Book One — Baby, Drive South — and actually reviewed it for H&H, and although I had reservations about it I at least enjoyed it enough to check out Book Two.

Baby, Come Home by Stephanie BondBaby, Come Home features one of my least favorite tropes in fiction — the Secret Baby plot. The hero and heroine, Kendall and Amy, broke up after he joined the military and she left town. She didn’t tell him (or anyone) that she was pregnant with his child at the time. Was he abusive toward her? No. Was he involved with the Mafia or the Triads or the Medellin Cartel or some other group that surely would have hurt her and the baby, had the child’s existence been known? Nope. Basically, she just didn’t feel like dealing with him. So she didn’t. For fifteen years.

So I got to that point and found Amy’s behavior and attitudes so reprehensible that I didn’t want her to get her HEA; I wanted her to be eaten by a crocodile. And then I realized “You know, I don’t really like any of these people all that much.” I did not move on to Book Three.

There have been other series over the years where I read the first installment and said “Eh, not for me, no harm no foul.” But this is the only one I can think of where I was actively turned off mid-stream. (Well, okay, Outlander. But that was more because I got bored with it.)

Book and flower on a bench image by Zitona via Flickr

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Ginny Doremus
1. FaeRhi
So far I'm going strong on most of my series.
I'll say that I give up on YA novels more speedily than I do on full adult novels.
I stopped reading anything by L.J. Smith because her writing just pisses me off.
I stopped reading Melissa Marr. P.C. & Kristin Cast lost me around "Chosen".
I'm not really all that into alien novels so some of the authors who have multiple series, I won't read much of.
Laurell K Hamilton I'm still reading, though it's beginning to get redundant and they either need to just conquer the world or all die.
Sookie Stackhouse I still love.
J.R. Ward has my love in all of her series.
Christine Feehan -- I love her Sea Haven novels more than the Carpathian novels just because, again, eventually it all becomes redundant.
2. CdnMrs
I hate it when series let me down. I feel like I invest a certain amount of time and emotion, not to mention money, into a series and it pains me to have to walk away. Here are a couple: Stopped reading LKH after Narcissis in Chains Stopped with Sookie and Charlaine after Dead in the Family Stopped reading Chloe Neill after she killed off Ethan and I almost stopped reading Ward after Phury's book.
Amanda Bonilla
3. Amanda Bonilla
I haven't quit a series yet. Once I start one, I tend to see it through to the end. As I writer, I respect an author's creative vision and I know that they have to be true to the story they have in their head. As a reader, I do get frustrated when a character doesn't follow the path I want them too. I've become disenchanted with the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie's character has become too bitter over the course of the series and that bothers me. I'll see it through to the end, though. I'm up to book 3 in Richelle Mead's Dark Swan series and am having similar frustration with Eugenie. I'll more than likely take a break before reading the final book, but I'll do it. ;)
Lisa Ellingsworth
4. LisaEllingsworth
I've given up on Sherrilyn Kenyon after Retribution. And Lora Leigh after Lawe's Justice. They weren't the first novels by them that, in my opinion, fell way short of good, but they were the ones that caused me to finally give up on the series and the author.

Both authors are terribly guilty of writing the same releationship over and over again, love scenes that are stale because it's so similar to what was in previous books, and the overuse of at least one word (Lora Leigh's is "pure" and Sherrilyn Kenyon's is "burn").

When books are constantly making me roll my eyes and want to throw the book across the room, I know it's time to give it up and find books by authors who don't resort to cookie cutter stories because their publisher is wanting them to release too many books in a year.

Kresley Cole is a fine example of writing a long series and keeping it fresh and hot. I also love to read Lisa Kleypas, but she normally keeps her series down to 3 or 4 books. J. R. Ward's BDB series can be iffy for me at times, but I love her Fallen Angels series.
Lynne Connolly
5. Lynne Connolly
It's not so much the author or the writing for me, it's when the author switches genres. For instance, JR Ward stopped writing romance and started writing urban fantasy with romantic subplots. Feehan stopped writing romances, and started writing - something else, but for me she never really regained the intensity of the first few books.
They've picked up other readers, and left some behind, but they're still doing well so they must be doing something right.
Vanessa Ouadi
6. Lafka
There are very few series I've given up once hooked by it (there are many on the contrary I didn't make it past the first book). The hugest disappointment I've had was with Julia Quinn's Bridgertons. I so loved the first books in the series, but the 5th one (Eloise(s story) wasn't at my taste (it lacked the magic that existed in the 4 first books). When I read the 6th book (Francesca's story), I decided to give up on the series. I didn't buy the 7th book (Hyacinth's story) but a friend lended it to me so I skimmed through it but nothing gave me the desire to actually read it (Hyacinth turned from a witty young girl to an annoying brat in one book, unbelievable!). I didn't even try to read the 8th book _ though people around me have told me it is far better than books 5 to 7. I just couldn't overcome the disillusion. I still love reading the 4 first books though!
7. Lege Artis
For a Few Demons More (book #5) from Rachel Morgan books (Kisten's death to be precise) was the end of this series for me... I was never invested so much in Chicagoland and Sookie Stackhouse series- the characters anoyed me too much to finish book#1 in both. But Kim Harrison....I still didn't forgive her. :)
8. cawm
I was reading Charlaine Harris long before Sookie, but when she killed Aurora's husband in A Fool and His Honey, I gave up on her. These were lighthearted cozies, and it felt like a total betrayal of the reader. Sharyn McCrumb did the same thing in her Elizabeth MacPherson series, and I also stopped reading her books. Even without the death of major characters I usually get bored with a series after about six titles.
Kristin O
9. krismas29
@Janga - I agree with you 100%. I haven't touched an Elizabeth George book since she killed Helen. I won't say that I never will again; I still get a twinge when I see a new release from her, but I can't get beyond Helen's death. I am almost afraid to join Lynley in his grief in her subsequent books, I don't want to feel that emotion myself while I am reading. I also am not sure I want to know Lynley without Helen. (I am aware how melodramatic that sounds :)

Her early books are wonderful, I scooped most of them up as soon as they came out and read them in a day or two. I know she has said that she needed to kill off Helen to help Lynley's character continue to grow and evolve, but I wonder if she regrets it now.
10. gem
I am giving up on Downton Abbey after the amnesia and walking after being paralyzed plot not a book I know but a story.

WW one was a big war- worth more than a few episodes- come on...
Nicole Estes
11. nestes
@Lege Artis -- I was so sad after Book #5 -- couldn't believe Kim Harrison killed off Kisten..... but I kept going and I still love it. Looking forward to the next book #10.

I read the House of Night series for way longer than it deserved...finally gave it up after Cast killed off her human boyfriend.

Sookie Stackhouse series got bad when her fairy grandfather arrived.
ann ivey
12. annie
I do not have too many authors I refuse to read anymore but there are several that I have to put down for a while and then come back to them.

I like Christine Feehan...was bored (and a bit lost) with Dark Possession but I thought the next two Dark Curse & Dark Slayer were the best in the series. Now I'm having a problem getting into Dark Peril & haven't even cracked open the latest Carpathian novel (can't even remember the name if that tells you anything). I did enjoy her Sea Haven/Drake Sisters series but haven't gotten into the new Sisters of the Heart/Prakenskii series.

I used to devour Lora Leigh's novels -- I'm a Breeds fan from back in the day of Ellora's Cavern but haven't read hardly any since Jonas' story. That being said, I am sorta looking forward to her new series that's coming out.

I'm still lovin' Patricia Briggs' Mercy Thompson & Alpha & Omega stories and C.E. Murphy's The Walker Papers. I snabble them up as soon as they are released. :o)
romance reader
13. bookstorecat
This topic has come up before on H&H. What about the opposite problem? I have a couple authors that I want to knock down their doors and ask "WHEN ARE YOU GONNA WRITE ANOTHER BOOK ALREADY? Because writing two books about the same characters and calling it a "series" kind of raises expectations, ya know. 'Cause two books is not a series. It's a duo, and it's making me crazy. Chop, chop.
Carla Patterson
14. sweetpea215_8
@Lege Artis -- I agree with you completely. Kisten's death caused me to drop the Rachel Morgan series all together. Up to that point I had believed it would be the huge annoyance known as "Ivy" that would cause me to jump ship, but no. I actually stuck with it a little longer because of Kisten. Why couldn't she have killed Ivy instead? *sigh*
Akinna E
15. Akinna
@ Lege Artis @ sweetpea215_8 Agree, I gave up on the series when she killed Kisten. It was years ago and I'm still pissed off about it.
Gave up on Chloe Neill when she killed off Ethan, thought I'd give her one more shot and read the book after but have since then decided not to. We'll se if I change my mind, will check reviews of coming books before I decide.
Both series were auto-buys for me up til then.
Any change in love interest, even if the author doesn't kill them off, is hard for me to accept. Sometimes the author makes it work..but most of the time it will put me off a series.
Tori Benson
Christine Feehan lost me on both her Carpathan and Ghostwalkers series. I'm iffy on her Drake sisters spin off after the last one. Her male characters go way over the creepy line.

LKH lost me me when Anita went from bad arse to slut.

Chloe Neil disppointed me with Drink Deep but I'll give her one more chance.
17. SlipCarefully
I loved the Sookies books too, but the last one was felt like filler till she could come up with another plot or some more supernatural creatures to add to the mix. Like nestes said, the magic started to die when the fairy grandfather arrived. The next one will be the make or break of the series for me
After she killed Ethan (and i stayed up all night to read that one), i haven't touched another Chloe Neill - mainly because i feel she's going to bring him back some weirdassed way. Drink Deep is still waiting on my shelf to be read.
I think the problem arises when authors introduce a plot line into the series which is so different you end up wondering who exactly wrote the book, or whether they just threw something together to meet a deadline or simply extend the series.
Aly O'Hare
18. wingZER0angel
I kept with Hamilton a little longer, and I think she's good until after Narcissus in Chains. I still liked that one, but mostly b/c I love Micah and Nathaniel. After that, everything went done hill. It's been years since I picked up one of her's. (I agree with Torifl...bad ass to slut indeed) I read 2 or 3 Mary Gentry books, and I had a hard time with those past the first one. Can't pick them up, even though I have 1 friend who tells me they get better.

For Harris, Book 8 (From Dead to Worse), was so awful and had such continuity errors that I refuse to pick up any others. Honestly, the popoularity of True Blood also killed it for me...

Ward lost me for a few years with Enshrined...that one took me 3 tries before I made it past Chapter 2. And I really only kept trying b/c I'm looking forward to Tohr's book next month. She redeemed herself though (for the most part...)

I'm currently addicted to Kenyon (just Dark-Hunter) and even though I've gotten to a few that were just kinda 'meh' (Dream-Hunter mostly), they still keep me entertained and enchanted enough that I want to keep reading.
Virginia Green
19. vloveg
I can't think of any series' that I've given up on, but plenty of books and anthologies that I have shoved aside in disgust. However, if I had started Christine Ridgeway's Tanti Baci series with the first book, I would never have read the others. Talk about annoying heroines...

@wingZERoangel - I'm not real keen on the Dream-Hunter books either. I have to read two in a row before I get to Acheron's book! *pout*

@Kate Nagy - "I didn’t want her to get her HEA; I wanted her to be eaten by a crocodile." Love it! Few things are worse than having a heroine or hero that you despise.

@Janet Webb - I know that Brockmann book was hugely controversial, but I actually loved it. Then again, Dave is one of my favorite characters ever, so if I can't have him...
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