Weekly Tea Discussion: Standalones vs. Series

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I came up with this discussion topic with a question I was asked a few months back in a book tag. So I thought it would be a good topic to discuss here and it definitely is applicable, especially this year with the abundance of either sequels or the next book in a series being released. So my question for this week’s discussion: do you prefer standalone books or book series?

Before I give my opinion, I wanted to give some pros and cons for each topic:

Standalones

Pros: 

  • The story is done. No more. And you are left being in complete happiness of how great the story was told. Nothing else is better.
  • The story was terrible. You can’t believe that this was ever published. But you are thankful that this is the only book and you don’t have to be compelled to continue with this horrible experience.
  • More recognizable. Less likely to be overshadowed.

Cons:

  • The story was so good, you want it to continue, you need it. What better way than to have a sequel or a continuation in a series?
  • You were completely lost in the storytelling that you are unable to even summarize what you just read. But there’s a small part of you that feels if there is second book, all your questions will be answered.

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Series/Sequels

Pros:

  • A continuation of a great story!
  • Interesting to see how the characters grow and develop through a series
  • Sadden when the series but have a deeper appreciation for the series, the characters and also for the author.
  • The anticipation waiting for the next one is a great feeling and never goes away
  • Most of the time, better than the stuff that’s on television

Cons:

  • The series goes on  too long, unnecessary long and you start to lose interest in the entire series.
  • The sequel, unfortunately, ruins what you cherish and love about  the original
  • They can become annoyingly over-hyped
  • The stories will sometimes tend to go nowhere and will end up many plot holes
  • Popularity causes the continuation of a series which could be a negative

My opinion:

I prefer to read standalone books. I like my stories to be finish and complete, unless the story was really good and I want more. But that feeling usually goes away and the ending of the book is perfect just the way it is.

However, that doesn’t mean I completely steer myself away from book series. In fact, I had great reading experiences with book series (Harry Potter, Heather Wells Series, the Gemma Doyle Series just to name a few). But there are some out there that just don’t live up to the hype, i.e. The Hunger Games, Twilight, Fifty Shades of Grey. Or you just grown tired of it and wonder why more keeps coming out (Pretty Little Liars). And that is a risk you run into with book series. Series or trilogies can make the story memorable with its continuation but that can also lead to its downfall. The books become so popular, the author may have a hard time trying to keep the audience’s interest which might lead to some plot holes or exhaust the series to death where you might lose the audience altogether.

For me, a successful book series depends on what genre it is. If it’s a fantasy or science fiction, it gives the plot line to grow and develop more and honestly I find it more interesting. However, if is like general genres like mystery or fiction, the story will be good in the beginning but then eventually will run out you get tired of it. In this case I feel that trilogies would suffice.

Let us take a look at book sequels. Sequels to popular books can take an interesting take on the original work. But they are not always met with the warmest reception. Take Go Set A Watchman for instance.There have been polarized reviews posted on the internet which has caused many to feel, including myself, that reading this novel will ruin their feelings toward To Kill A Mockingbird. But there are some book sequels, even if there is a risk of being horrible, you look forward to it because it is from an author you love and deep down you know it will be great (After You Sept. 29!!)

Of course there is no clear winner here. You just have to read what you feel comfortable. I just wish authors would feel more confident in knowing when to just stop at the first book.

Which do you prefer: standalones or series/sequels? Please post your thoughts/comments below.

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