Let’s Talk Bookish – Stand-alone or Series?

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, that is hosted by Rukky @Eternity Books  and Dani @Literary Lion. It’s a chance to discuss certain topics, share opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Posts are written on Fridays, and you can suggest topics using the form that you will find on Rukky’s Contact page.

Prompts: Do you prefer standalones or series? When you read a standalone, do you wish there was more, or are you content that the story has finished? Are series sometimes too long? Do you feel like some genres work better in series while others work better in standalones? What are some standalones you wish had continued? Are there any series you think should have stopped at the first book?

 “Do you prefer standalones or series?” I don’t particularly have a preference, in fact I prefer a mix of the two, though in answer to “Do you feel like some genres work better in series while others work better in standalones?” I definitely prefer Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Sci-Fi stories to span at least three books, particularly the ones that have a complex good verses evil story. With Sci-Fi this can be either a true series OR a series of stand-alone/interlinked books, so long as the underpinning story arc flows throughout all the books. Contemporary romance, thrillers/suspense, rom-coms and historical romances definitely work better as stand-alone reads on the whole. When released as duets and trilogies I very often find myself wishing the story had been condensed into one book, with unnecessary filler and padding removed. Less definitely is more for these genres.

“When you read a standalone, do you wish there was more, or are you content that the story has finished?” This very much depends on the book. A truly great story will always leave you wanting more, though it will also provide feelings of contentment. Generally if a book leaves me wishing there had been more, it’s not so much more story as more world building and more depth to the story. Sometimes this could have been achieved with a longer story, though not always by turning one book into two, three, four or more. This links to my answer for “Are series sometimes too long?” There have been plenty of series’ that I’ve felt could and should have been much shorter, the Blood & Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout is definitely guilty of this sin. I only made it to 50% of book #2 before my irritation at the ridiculous amount of pointless filler overtook my enjoyment of the story. I’ve enjoyed plenty of 5, 6 and 7 book series, what they have in common is lots of plot, plenty of action and great writing.

“What are some standalones you wish had continued?” There are myriad standalone books where I’ve not wanted the book to finish. Where I’ve been so in love with the characters, so enamoured with the world that has been created, that my heart aches at having to leave it behind. However I know that it’s better to be left wanting more over growing bored and restless because the books start to feel repetitive. Are there any series you think should have stopped at the first book?” Only those I’ve really, really not enjoyed! On a more serious note there have been a few duets/trilogies where I have loved the first book or two and felt very let down when the final book takes either plot or characters in a very unlikely or unbelievable direction. This is particularly true for those books with an antihero who suddenly becomes all sweetness and light – bleurgh! I have avoided series where (a) the author is at book number 6, 7, 8 … and still counting. It smacks of either being unable to write a good ending OR sticking with something that is selling well amongst a certain tranche of readers. The latter definitely happens in the indie publishing world, I’ve seen readers mention book series that number into the high teens and even twenties. I guess you can’t blame an author for doing this if the books are selling and making them money, but personally I can’t see the appeal in this as a reader. I can only conclude some love that comfort of a familiar world and people, but I definitely know I would have lost interest well before reaching double digits.

6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Bookish – Stand-alone or Series?

  1. Standalones in a series,yes. I enjoy those,very much. 💖 But when a series is a,what seems to be happening more and more,is a five book series,as in one story spread out over 5 books? I really,really need to LOVE the story…..and that’s something that doesn’t happen very often. In those cases,i prefer a one book story🤓

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    1. I think for the one story over 5+ books to work it has to be fantasy or sci-fi. I usually think that trilogies and duets could have been shortened when they are contemporary.

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  2. I’m good with whichever way an author chooses to tell their tale. I do find stand-alones to be rare and a refreshing change of pace but if a story needs more time to develop, I’d rather it be taken than rushed.

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    1. It’s definitely genre dependent for me. I never feel romance has enough story to justify more than one book, whilst fantasy stories are disappointingly short if they don’t span at least three books!

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