Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Musing Mondays

Sorry for the lack of new posts lately, life just got busy and there really wasn't anything new to talk about. Work on the WIP is starting to slow down a bit, but this is the usual slog I hit and I just need to make sure I keep going, even if it is painfully slow. I have so many ideas and so little brainmapping to sort through them all, I end up scrawling on a ton of post-it notes and just keeping myself focused on one scene at a time. Things like this would be so much easier if I were a genius. Pity.

I liked the question for yesterday's meme at Should be Reading, so here's my stab at it, mainly to let you know I'm not dead. And come on, there's a CAT SLEEPING WITH BOOKS on her blog header, how cute is that?

Do you read books that are part of a series? Do you collect all the books in the series before starting? What if the series is brand new, and the only book that’s been published so far is Book one? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the preceding books?

Firstly, I love series. I prefer them over stand-alone books, although I like when the individual books in the series are relatively self-contained (which is the general thing, nowadays, unless you're reading the Wheel of Time series, which I am not). Since I spent the first book becoming emotionally invested in the characters, it's great when that can carry over to the second book in the series and I can start off running. I love reading new adventures of characters I already love. Like finishing Firefly and getting ready to slit your wrists then realizing there's Serenity and everything is okay in the world again.

Oddly enough, my favorite book of this half-decade is The Name of the Wind, the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. This book is not self contained at all, and actually has a really unsatisfactory ending for having to wait six years for the second one. The trilogy is all one book. I'm guessing it'll be 8-10 years for the final book to come out, as wrapping up plot threads always takes more work. It'll be worth the wait, though.

And come on, nothing beats the anticipation of watching the calendar tick closer to the release date of a new book. I'll never forget the midnight release of the Deathly Hallows, when my entire county was crammed into the Barnes and Noble, young and old, popular and goth, united over a BOOK for fuck's sake. People from my high school who I wasn't even sure could properly read were buying their copies, and everyone was excited as balls. For this reason, I don't wait until the whole series is out before reading the first book. I like the time to be excited and keep thinking about the last book, and besides, whenever I read a whole series in a row I end up burnt out by the end. I need those other, less-exciting books just as much as the uber-exciting books.

That being said, I don't like the philosophy of publishers lately forcing books into trilogies because that's the "in" thing these days. YA is especially guilty of this. Most of those books have their plots stretched unnaturally to cover three books, and nothing happens in the second book anyway so it should just be a duology, and many other books would be fine as a standalone or just leaving the arc to the first book. Fine, I agree that most teenagers don't have the attention spans to read a 300k book, but don't you think publishers should push the market towards the more-intelligent end instead of dumbing it down? And Harry Potter pretty much blew that theory out of the water, so don't say it can't be done. And don't say "other books aren't Harry Potter" and just hire a new marketing department.

If I loved the series, I'll reread the books. Usually I don't, because there just isn't enough time in the world. I read the early Harry Potter books at least ten times each (and I am not lying) and the later ones at least five times. More recently, I've read The Name of the Wind four times and The Wise Man's Fear twice. But I won't force myself to read through a whole series if I just don't care anymore. Just like any book, a series has to keep my attention. I've read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo three times, but I haven't even made it halfway into the second one and I don't care to keep going. But I ALWAYS read the first book in a series first, and never out of order.

And now to pimp some of my favorite series:
The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
Chronicles of the Raven by James Barclay, then Legends of the Raven
The Mistborn Trilogy - Brandon Sanderson
The Demon Cycle - Peter V. Brett
John Cleaver Series - Dan Wells
Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr
Fablehaven - Brandon Mull
Tales of the Ketty Jay by Chris Wooding, a must for any Firefly fan

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