The Unfinished Series

glamour-in-glassThis past week I was perusing books in my library and stumbled across Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal. The author sounded familiar, and I soon realized that the book was in fact a sequel to a novel I read a long time ago, Shades of Milk and Honey. I remembered loving the book, and so I took the sequel home with me to read.

But it got me wondering about how many books I’ve read that possibly have sequels. So I went through my Read book list to find out: turns out that I have left more than 30 book series unfinished, often only reading the first book in the series. While I knew that there were some series that I needed to continue, I had no idea it was that many!

My initial hypothesis as to why I have this habit is simply lack of interest – after all, there are several series I have no interest in continuing because the first book didn’t impress me very much. Yet as I went through my book history, I realized this simply wasn’t the case: I absolutely loved some of these books.

Inside Out Book CoverAcross the Universe Book CoverFor example, one book I read was Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder. This was a book that I cherished reading for its creativity and originality. Another book is Across the Universe by Beth Revis. This book astonished me when I read it. It was so good. And yet I have never pursued the sequel to either story.

What surprised me about these books is that I read both of them in the summer of 2012. That was over four years ago. But I loved these books. How in the world have I never once, in four years, picked up the sequel to books that I absolutely loved?

I can’t help but wonder, with this many unfinished series, if I have a subconscious fear of the sequel.

Sequels can be tricky. In the case where I only sort of like a book, a sequel can make or break the story for me. So when it comes to a book I love, maybe the sequel makes me nervous. I know it’s entirely possible that a second book will ruin my impression of the first book. It could change the world that I loved into something I no longer like. In many, the characters themselves change, and I may not like who they become. When a first book is that good, it becomes a serious challenge for the second book to live up to that standard.

Now that I’ve discovered this little quirk in my reading habits I am challenging myself to fix it. I have to accept that sequels may not have the same impact as the series opener. If I continuously place first books on a podium, I will never give myself the chance to see if the series gets even better. I know there are series in which each book is better than the last – I just have to find them. :)

Here are just a few of the books that I have read that are actually the first in a series. Now to go find the next book – to the library!

SabrielSabriel by Garth Nix

Read May 2014

Rated 5 / 5


Scarlet Book CoverScarlett by A.C. Gaughen

Read Summer 2012

Rated 5 / 5

For the Darkness Shows the StarsFor the Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Read Dec 2015

Rated 4 / 5

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie BrennanHistoryofDragons

Read March 2015

Rated 4 / 5


namedThe Named by Marianne Curley

Read July 2015

Rated 4 / 5


GracelingGraceling by Kristin Cashore

Read Aug 2014

Rating 4 / 5


Bring on the Potterverse

This past week JK Rowling announced that the film series Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them would be extended to a five film series, rather than the trilogy as it was originally announced.

News Source: CBC News Entertainment

fantastic-beastsI could not be more excited. The first film looks amazing, and I’m elated that we get a chance to explore more of the Harry Potter universe. I love that we can visit different characters in different settings and even different time periods. I personally think that getting away from Hogwarts will do wonders for expanding this fictional landscape.

But the news of more films has not been met with uniform enthusiasm. I’ve seen several blog posts about JK Rowling that suggest she’s just milking the HP world for more money. And if you search for ‘Fantastic Beasts’ on Twitter you can find many negative reactions to the news. The first movie hasn’t even come out yet and the series is facing some deep criticism.

I have to admit: I’m confused.

There are many authors who continuously return to the same universe to explore it with different characters. Names like Brian Jacques, David Eddings, Terry Pratchett, and Mercedes Lackey jump to mind. But the author I keep coming back to is Tamora Pierce.

Tamora Pierce created the Tortall universe. It is composed of a total 21 books, which are organized into smaller series featuring different main characters. The first book in this universe, Alanna: The First Adventure, was published in 1983. This series featured four books of the universe.


The multiple series following these books contained characters mentioned or featured in Alanna’s story, yet had their own adventures and their own stories to tell. In 2003 she published the book that I fell in love with, Trickster’s Choice, which featured Alanna’s daughter.

When I first read the Tortall books as a child, I was absolutely delighted to discover how each book related to another in the universe. One of the first things I would do when opening a new book was draw lines to previous characters, establish how they were related and what roles they had in previous stories. But beyond the characters, what I loved about Tamora Pierce was that she created a world, and the more I explored that world and the more characters I met, the more it felt like a real place.

And Tamora Pierce isn’t done. She has books coming out next year that are part of the Tortall universe. To summarize: more than 21 books. Over 34 years. All in the same universe, featuring different characters. And as far as I can tell, she hasn’t received criticism over her stories.


JK Rowling is criticized for publishing more stories, for almost every move on Pottermore, and now for expanding a new movie series. So what is it? Is it that the Harry Potter series is simply so huge, is so successful, and yes, has garnered so much money, that it gives people the right to tell Rowling to stop writing?

Let’s be clear: This is her world. Her characters. And if she wants to explore more of that universe, that is her choice.

Our choice is whether or not we read, watch, and buy into that world.

Everyone is allowed their opinions and criticisms. And I think it’s awesome that Rowling is expanding her universe. She can choose to write as many or as few stories as she wants, and I will choose to read the books and watch the movies because I enjoy them. So I say, bring on the ‘verse, Rowling. I’ll be there.