Jun 22, 2016

The Never-Ending Story (or Series)

The thing about a standalone is that it's over after the last page. The thing about a series is that it's not over until the last page of the last book. That's what I love about a series--I don't have to say goodbye yet. (Honestly though, the prolonging may make the imminent pain of having to say goodbye even worse.) I hate when a series and story comes to a close and I'm forced back into the real world, especially when that fictional was one I wanted to wrap around myself. You know what I mean--you know the characters, feel all the emotions, and just immerse yourself into that world. I hate when it comes to an end. But what if The End wasn't really The End?

When I think of this concept I want to call it The Cassandra Clare Effect, for her and her books are most prominent in this way. (Next up would probably be Rick Riordan--are all his books set in Percy Jackson's world?) I don't call it The Cassandra Clare Effect because I don't want to get shit for it, but look at (almost) all her books: where's the deviation? The Mortal Instruments, Infernal Devices, Dark Artifices--and there are more coming up, right? They may have different timelines and characters, but it's my understanding that they're all set in the same world and dimension. (Note: I am not in any way, shape, or form bashing Cassandra Clare or her books. I'm just using her and her books as an example because they're the best one.)

When Cassandra Clare announces a new series (set in the world of Shadowhunters), I typically see two reactions. The first is joy because MORE SHADOWHUNTER BOOKS! The second is another Shadowhunter book? I think I used to put myself in the latter--like, my gosh, does it ever end? But then I thought about it, and now I think I am parts of both, in a way. (Though not for Cassandra Clare's books in particular; I've only read part of City of Bones and seen the movie.) That's because I thought of some of my favorite series, those prolonged stories I hold near and dear to my heart, and I think about how painful it is to never return to those worlds. Ever.

One of my most absolute favorite series in the entire world is Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires. I fucking love it. Those characters are unbelievably real to me, and I know them, and their stories and adventures are tattooed on my soul. I want to live in that world. If you include the recent novella collection, the series is complete with a whopping sixteen novels. But that's not enough for me, and it never will be. Maybe it helps that this series isn't driven my one goal; it's like a TV show, and some books connect while others bring on a whole new story (or no good vampire). I think about how I thought Cassandra Clare was overdoing it. Then I think about how I wish Rachel Caine would overdue it and never ever leave Morganville.

The Twilight Saga has always been my number one because I love those books and they set me on the path to reading and writing. They have a special place in my soul. But do I want--do I need--to return to that world? Maybe it's because it's been so long, but I don't yearn to return to Forks like I yearn for other worlds to make a comeback. There was Life and Death, which I haven't read yet, but that wasn't exactly a return--it was Twilight upside down. (Literally.) But would I love to see what those characters are doing now? Fuck yes. Their stories, however, felt rather complete. Twilight wasn't a television show--it was a mini-series that had a somewhat central, consistent plot. (Whereas Morganville had many.) (Also, side note: give me a fucking sequel to The Host and bring me back to that world. IAN.)

Is there any dread like knowing the end to a series is coming and you cannot stop it? Empire of Storms doesn't release for a little over two months, but I'm already terrified to read because, yes, it's going to be painful as hell--this is Sarah J. Maas we're talking about--but more importantly, it's the penultimate novel in the Throne of Glass series. After Empire there is one. more. book. I try to think of life after reading the last word on the last page of the last book and I see nothing but black. I am obsessed with this series and this world and these characters (call me the Fire-Breathing Bitch-Queen) and it being over is a concept that's unfathomable and unimaginable. It's not even over yet and I'm already wishing Sarah J. Maas would pull a Cassandra Clare and be all "lol jk there are five million more books." Same goes with A Court of Thorns and Roses. After the epicness of A Court of Mist and Fury, I'm flabbergasted that there's only one book left because that's not enough damn time spent in this world and with these characters. (And both series end in 2017 so if you think 2016 has been bad then whoops.)

BUT. Is all this too much? Or is not enough? I wouldn't say it's too much. There a number of series that, if the author announced they'd be returning to them and we'd be going back to that world, I would dance in the rain to celebrate. While naked. Eating Taco Bell. B  U T. I want specific things. And this is where the Effect gets tricky and complicated. If you're going to return to a world, you have to give it your all and keep the feel and voice and everything of the original. This year Meg Cabot returned to the Mediator series with Remembrance, and while I did like the book, I was somewhat disappointed for it felt a little too separate from the original novels.

The biggest thing I want, however--and the thing I don't think Clare does--is for the return to still be about MY CHARACTERS. No new characters in the old world. No old secondary characters in the old world. No companion novel shit. I want the same. damn. people. I don't want Stephenie Meyer to return to Forks but write about Alice. (You're great, Alice, but I have to know what's happening with Edward and Bella every second of every day.) I don't want Sarah J. Maas to write more Throne of Glass novels but from Nesryn's point of view, deciding to tell her story. (Please don't make me read about that bitch, I hate her and will have to burn the book.) If Rachel Caine goes to back to Morganville but without the Glass House gang, then a series that's like home isn't quite taking me home--it's stopping just at the door and won't let me in.

I may be selfish as hell, but in a dream world, this is what I want. I want Jennifer Lynn Barnes to write more than four Naturals books because it's literally a YA version of Criminal Minds (except way better) and do you see how many episodes that show has? It's great headway for the five million books (at least) this series should consist of (and I swear I will never tire of it). I want Stephen Cole to return to the Wereling trilogy and show where Tom and Kate are now and give me that kiss, damn it. I want Sarah J. Maas to never stop writing TOG and ACOTAR and also to please make my ship The Ship. (And please write and publish Crescent City because damn, that Pinterest board.) Fiction is akin to immortality, filled with stories that will never fade away. And I want I want I want.

I am fully aware that life's not fair. And that a lot of the above are thoughts from a dreamer. (That I am.) But in terms of what I said way earlier: Should a series--or, more accurately, a story or world--keep going on so it never really ends? Or is there a time to turn the page and say The End--for good? You can answer in realistic terms--yes, eventually everything must come to an end, do it before you overdue it--or in the terms of a dreamer--please, stories, don't ever leave me and please go on forever and ever and I'll be your humble servant and sacrifice. But I want to know: what do you think of prolonged stories?


  1. I can see both sides. If something is my favorite, I bet I would never want the story to end. But at the same time, does the quality of the story go down? Also, sometimes it's just good to leave a story where it ends. For Clare, I actually read the first three books of TMI and I thought it ended nicely there so I never continued. Now, it just seems like maybe she doesn't really have a lot of ideas? I don't know, that can be mean to say, but even when I tried TID it seemed SO SIMILAR to TMI.

    Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

  2. Loved this! I think, realistically, nothing can last forever. And since my fangirl side seems to see reason in reality, that part of me agrees as well. So I'm of the idea that it needs to end at some point. Maybe throw in an epilogue in the final book, or even a short novella, but wrap it up. It pains me to say that, since I'm in the same bandwagon as you when it comes to the Throne of Glass series, but I feel like it wouldn't be the same experience. I feel like I would get bored (Seriously, I just cringed typing that because the thought of Aelin ever boring me is laughable, but REALITY).

    Mariah @ Vibin With Books

  3. LOL....that's totally the Cassandra Clare effect. And I gotta say, it seems like a shallow money grab to me. I avoid series that go beyond 3 books, as a general rule, because they often seem pointless in plot, just a revisiting of characters. And even if I love a character, I don't want to spend my time reading about them doing nothing at all. With her series, I stopped after the first 3 Shadowhunter books, because the story was over. And that's not the first time I've done that with a series.

  4. I don't mind never ending series if the author comes up with new stuff. When it is the same characters (with or without different names slapped on them) doing the same things over and over then it actually spoils my opinion of previous books

    My Most Recent Discussion: Hasn't Killed Me Yet: Living with Chronic TBR Overflow


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