My limbo of unfinished book series

Does it ever happen to you that you read the first novel of a series – usually a debut novel that at the time that you bought it had no sequels yet – and then you never read the rest of the series but you often think about buying that sequel?

That happens to me a lot.

There are many, many books which in my opinion are just “ok”, and when I am standing in the bookstore and I see the sequel, I think: “maybe not today. I’m not feeling it”. And then it just never happens.

It is the completionist in me that wants to read finished series. And since everything is a trilogy nowadays I often feel guilty about not completing series.

Here are unfinished ones I feel particularly on-the-fence about:

  • Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series
    The lies of Locke Lamora (read)
    Red Seas under Red Skies (not)
  • Mark Lawrence’s Red Queen’s War
    Prince of Fools (read)
    The Liar’s Key (not)
    The Wheel of Osheim (not)
  • Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles
    Name of the Wind (read)
    Wise man’s Fear (not)
  • Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers novels
    The long way to a Small Angry Planet (read)
    A Closed and Common Orbit (not)
  • Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire
    Ninefox Gambit (read)
    Raven Stratagem (not)
  • Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen
    Reaper’s Gale (not)
    Toll the Hounds (not)
    Dust of Dreams (not)
    The Crippled God (not)

I could go on. But with every one of these series, I fear that I will just be reading an “ok” book to complete a series. And if I were to complete everything, I would resign myself to a whole year of potentially mediocre reading experiences.

With the exception of Steven Erikson’s series, all these uncompleted series ended up in limbo because the first book just didn’t blow me out of the water, and then a sequel will be more of the same or often worse, and at that point a novel enters the benthic zone of “not worth the effort”. Especially when we’re talking about huge novels having hundreds of pages. This especially goes for the fantasy writers out these.

Are there any books you’d still recommend me to pick up from this list? I want to be swayed. Maybe I need some outside encouragement.

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15 Responses to My limbo of unfinished book series

    • Thanks! I liked Ninefox Gambit but the strange thing is that I forgot everything about it. Whist reading I couldn’t form a good visual picture in my mind of what happened, because the locations and society were so vague and unshaped in Lee’s descriptions. And so I lost interest in the whole thing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • bormgans says:

        Somehow I’m also not eager to start nr. 2. Not sure why, as the first ended up being one of my top read that year. Maybe because I don’t know if I need more of the same. I liked it for what it did with SF’s language, I’ve called it a prose poem before – a bit of a stretch admittedly – and I’m not that interested in the story I guess.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Hannah says:

    I am terrible at finishing series. I have also read the first book of both The Kingkiller Chronicles and the Gentleman Bastards series. Both were ok but not great. (Those two books in particular had me wondering if I even really like fantasy because everybody seems to be raving about these books) So I guess what I am saying here is that I cannot help.
    I did think Becky Chambers’ second book wasn’t nearly as good as the first so if you did not love the first book (which I did), I don’t know if it is worth the effort.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hmm. I guess I will skip Becky Chambers’ second book too then. I did like her first one but I generally like my books darker and bleaker. It lacked tension and excitement. Is her second book very much like the first? Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind, I am still not sure what to think of it. The story went everywhere and nowhere, didn’t like Kvothe and the magic university stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hannah says:

        I LOVED the first one. I really enjoyed the positivity. I found the second book even more meandering though which did kill it a bit for me. Also the language for one story line is super simplistic and took me out of the story quite a bit. I am still looking forward to the next book in the series.
        The magic university and Kvothe got on my nerves so bad. I don’t think I will be continuing with the series – plus it seems that it will be a while until the next book publishes…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. bormgans says:

    If you didn’t really really like The Name Of The Wind, there’s no use in starting nr. 2. It’s less focused, longer, and doesn’t move the story that much forward. I still liked it myself, but a bit less. Like a lot of people I wonder how he’s going to wrap it up in just one more book. I also think my taste might have evolved in the meantime – but I’m still starting it the day it gets published.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean about being a “completionist”. I’m one of those readers who feels compelled to read an entire series even after I’ve stopped enjoying it. So as long as the series is relatively short I will generally try to force myself to finish it, no matter how long it may take. But when it comes to series (usually urban fantasy) that have double digit number of books in the series I find it very hard to motivate myself enough to carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Wrap Up: February 2018 or I read so very many memoirs – I have thoughts on books

  5. _k says:

    It doesn’t look like anyone else has yet done so, so I’ll go ahead and recommend that you *do*, in fact, carry on with the Erikson’s Malazan series. They’re long, for sure, but I found them consistently good – if anything, improving on the promise shown in the earlier books.

    Liked by 1 person

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