Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Not a problem I generally experience

At Book Riot: MY SECRET SHAME: I CAN’T FINISH SERIES

I can count on one hand the number of series I’ve actually finished, and it was either because I binge-read them all, or they were so compelling that I bought them as they were released instead of waiting for the entire series to hit shelves.

Every time I start a new series, I do so with eagerness: I’ll finish this one, I tell myself, this one is different. This one is awesome.

But they’re all awesome (if they’re not, it’s a good bet they’ve been DNFed and given away within a 48-hour time span). This time, it’s me, not them.

Does that strike you all as a weird phenomenon?

I am so not this way. I am the person who will start a murder mystery series with book two because I found a used copy, back up and read book one, and then go on and read sixteen more books in the series one after the other without a break.

It’s the same as with an author’s backlist. If I fall in love with a new-to-me author, I will quite cheerfully read everything they ever wrote, one after another, until I’m out. (Then I will weep desolately and hope they write fast.)

I find it enormously difficult to stop in the middle of a series, which is why I often wait till a series is complete before reading it. Like with The Thousand Names, where I read the first one and then collected the remaining four as they came out, and read them all this spring when the series was finally completed. That’s how it works for me.

If I stop partway through a series, then I will give the first book or so away, because for whatever reason that series just isn’t working for me.

So, yep, can’t really quite wrap my mind around this can’t-finish-series problem.

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9 Comments Not a problem I generally experience

  1. Mary Catelli

    I find myself sticking to series long after I should have wised up and realized that series-istis had struck and it would not recover.

  2. Allan Shampine

    Indeed! Binge reading a new author is one of life’s great pleasures!

    You’ve brought up before how people spend their leisure time on different pursuits. This is one instance in which there is a significant difference between books and games. Computer games are notoriously front-loaded in quality – that is, the first part of the game is almost always better than the final part. There are many reasons for that, but a particularly important one is that the testing process by its nature tends to be front-loaded,

  3. Macsbrains

    I find that both apply to me. I do fall behind in series, but that’s usually because the series is not yet finished when I started.

    Actually, your books are a prime example. I randomly picked up the 1st griffin book, started reading, liked it enough to immediately get the rest of the trilogy and plow through them. Then, I decided I needed your backlist, and I read through those. Once I was done, the 2nd Black Dog novel still wasn’t out yet. When I finally did get it, the timing was bad on my end and it was immediately consumed by my TBR mountain. Now I don’t know where in the house it is…. and… I’ve fallen behind. (I’m so, so sorry!) I could skip ahead, since I have all the later books, but I like to read authors in publication order once I’ve decided I’m going to be completist about their work.

    But I’ve fallen behind on so many! I’m only 20 books through my Tamora Pierce collection with probably 20 to go at this point. I’m missing one in the middle.

  4. Philip Hart

    Over the last half year I’ve read everything you’ve published. Thanks for all the happy hours.

    p.s. if the Black Dog series goes on forever that’s just what I’d like.

  5. Rachel

    Thank you, Philip! That is just the sort of comment that will get me motivated to work on the 4th Black Dog novel.

  6. Rachel

    Mary, me too. I seem to read about four books farther in a series than I really ought to. Fewer if one of the series books is really terrible. (Dune Messiah, I am looking at you.)

    Eventually I realize the series has irretrievably gone bad and I give away all the ones I didn’t like and quit buying new ones. (Anita Blake, I am so looking at you. And Xanth.)

    But if the series stays strong, there is absolutely no limit to the number of books I will happily buy and read in that series. (Foreigner! Also, everything by Ilona Andrews. Also, Beverly Connor’s mystery series. And Barbara Hambly’s Benjamin January series. Wait, there are so many, I should do a post about those.)

    Thank you, those who binge-read my books! I am so happy to hear that. Macsbrains, a lot has happened in the Black Dog world since the first book, believe me! But those books will still be there when you eventually excavate down to PURE MAGIC.

  7. Kim Aippersbach

    Wait, you need more motivation to work on Black Dog? Pleease, pretty please, hurry and write novel 4. And more short stories—the short stories are awesome! I need more Ezekiel. And Grayson. And Miguel. And now I’m just going to list all the characters so I’ll stop.

    You’ve just finished a draft so you need to let it sit for a while, right? And returning to a world you’ve already worked out the details of will be refreshing and fun, right?

    I’m going right now to write an Amazon review for Short Stories 3 …

  8. Rachel

    I promise you, I am happy for any reviews anywhere. Also, yep, that was an inspirational little pep talk. I think I will be working on Book Four over Christmas Break, probably. I actually have about 80 pages written, but I’m not sure those scenes will actually fit in the final draft, or if so, where.

    I have no ideas for short stories right now either, but hey, I had no idea what was going on at Dimilioc till I wrote that one, and no idea what Carissa was going to run into till I wrote that one, so I expect something will occur to me.

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