Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Continuing characters

Here’s a post at Kill Zone Blog where Terry Odell points out that JD Robb / Nora Roberts has just published her 50th book in the near-future murder mystery “in Death” series.

Wow.

JD Robb has just published her 50th “In Death” book. The cast of characters has grown over time, but her two main characters, Eve and Roarke, have anchored every book.

Again, kinda Wow. That’s a long time to hang out with the same two characters.

I’ve read just a couple of the “in Death” series, which I didn’t dislike, but obviously didn’t like enough to go on with. It’s one of those setups where the male lead, Roarke, is smart and good looking and oh also the richest person in the world, and I think I had started to dislike the richest-guy-in-the-world-male-lead trope before I tried this series, so that did not help my level of interest.

But that’s not the point! The point is, fifty books in one series with the same two leads in every book! I mean … yeah, back to Wow.

I do not in general get tired of continuing characters, personally. I think CJC should move on to a different generation in her Foreigner series, for reasons forcefully expressed here, but if the quality of each individual book remains high, I am more than happy to keep reading one book after another featuring the same characters. If the next book in the Foreigner series is great, I will be cheering hard no matter which direction CJC takes.

But fifty books! I have never followed a series that long.

Are any of you fans of the “in Death” series? Have you read the whole thing?

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5 Comments Continuing characters

  1. SarahZ

    I think if a series changes up its main characters sometimes I’ll stick with it longer, but it takes a really good writer to keep me going past the early teens. Like, I’m still going strong on Mercy Thompson (which is at 12 if you don’t count the Alpha & Omega spinoff), but I think I lost track of the Dresden Files around book 14 – at a certain point, I just feel like the poor guy’s been through enough, and can’t we give him a break? When I know there’s a definitive ending sometimes I’ll go back and finish off an abandoned series, but if I don’t know that there’s an end game planned at some point I’ll lose interest. This is also why I don’t tend to get into comic books as much – most of them never actually end.

  2. Rachel

    I never thought of that, Sarahz, but I think that is exactly why I drifted away from comic books. I like arcs to come to a good ending place and didn’t have patience with stories that didn’t seem likely to do that.

  3. Mary Catelli

    It’s better when the comics don’t have any character development and you just have a series of stories. Because comics with character development can never resolve it, or they would end.

    Unless of course you pull an Astro City.

  4. Kathryn McConaughy

    Or the comics have a great character arc as long as Writer X is on board, but when they move on to another title the character arc is thrown out the window…

  5. Rachel

    Kathryn, that probably happened too. I was never really that into comics in general, but I did like specific characters and I remember being upset when not just an arc, but the character’s whole style would change as different writers took over.

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