When do you stop?
Posted September 1, 2010on:
Many of us have read series that started out great and lose us along the way. I was just reminded yesterday of the Dragonriders of Pern series, which I stopped reading at Dragondawn. To my mind, the series up to that point was a fantasy series, despite the occasional bit of tech that showed up. Mostly those bits of tech stayed in the background of the main series, while the Harper Hall trilogy and filler books like Moreta and Nerilka were blessedly free of them. In Dragondawn they got shoved down my throat and I stopped reading, but I’m wondering why.
I read the Harry Potter series up to book 4. I stopped reading Goodkind in book 2. I gave up on Anita Blake after Obsidian Butterfly. I loved the early Codex Alera books, and the early Dresden books as well.
Well, in Goodkind’s case the answer is simple. I hated the books. Characters who come back after they’re dead? Characters who mutate into supergods entirely by internal development? Pain as a teaching tool? Killing as an expression of Love? No thank you. Finding out he was an adherent of Ayn Rand was just icing on the…well, not cake. Cow-patty, maybe.
Potter and Blake are different. Both of them changed the tone of the books as the series progressed, and I didn’t like the change. Harry got dark, with the murder of Cedric, and Anita just had too much sex. I tried to read the fifth Potter but the quality of the writing had declined as well. I understand she was able to prevent any editing of the book and it showed, but really I lost interest because of the war.
The Butcher books just got too overly plot-heavy. When the focus was on Tavi and Harry, fighting the good fight in spite of all the obstacles they were good and fun. The introduction of Imperial politics just turns me off. I haven’t gotten to that point with the Vlad Taltos series by Brust, but that’s getting a bit tangled too.
As for the Pern books, I’m not sure. I don’t mind technology in a fantasy novel, Dave Duncan’s Seventh Sword series is one of my favorites. I don’t mind magic in the guise of technology, as Heinlein did so often. It was much more of a SF novel than the rest of the series, and the characters just didn’t grab me somehow. Maybe it was just more plot-heavy, like the Butcher books. That can be a curse of prequels, trying to fill in the holes of what has already been presented as history, presenting characters as actors on a predestined stage rather than as people. Maybe it just went on so long I grew away from it, which argues for series coming out over a short time.
What stops you?