SERIESous Discussion: What is the Perfect Series Length?

DISperfectseries

SERIESous Discussions: Every once and awhile I will post my random ramblings about a bookish or blogging topic. Feel free to join in by making a comment below or linking back!


I think it’s pretty obvious that I enjoy book series.

And since I started my blog nearly 4 years ago, I’ve read lots of series with varying sequel lengths. For me, a series is anything with at least 2 books set in the same universe. Now, some authors write books within the same world but don’t classify them as the same series (like Until It’s Right by Jamie Howard or Everything Between Us by Mila Ferrera), leaving each to be a standalone. Basically, I go with whatever Goodreads tells me unless I’ve investigated further on the author’s webpage.

But I’ve started to wonder: is there a perfect length for a series?

When I first got serious about my reading 10 years ago, it seemed like a lot of series were 4 books in length (like the Hush, Hush Series by Becca Fitzpatrick or the Fallen Series by Lauren Kate). But then I read the Vampire Academy Series, which is 6 books, and decided that was the perfect number…

Until I read the Immortals Series by Alyson Noel and decided I could have done without 2 books in that 6 book series.

In the last two years, duologies have become my new favourite thing. From Hopeless by Colleen Hoover to The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows and The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel–I was totally onboard with these condensed and rich story lines.

So then I came to the conclusion: maybe it depends on the story trying to be told.

I’ve talked about what I call the “Book Two Slump of a Trilogy”. I wish I had a flashier name for it but I’m going to keep it simple. As per my Review Guide:

Book Two Slump of a Trilogy – where the sequel novel isn’t as exciting as the first book but is needed to progress the plot enough to set up the finale book of the series”

Basically, these books are needed to progress the story, but they can be absolute bores to read.

So could you remove that middle book and still have a positive outcome?

With the emergence of duologies, I’ve started to wonder if some trilogies really need to be trilogies. And I think the short answer is, no, not everything needs to be a trilogy. Of course, there are some really strong trilogies out there like The Red Rising Trilogy or The Winner’s Trilogy. Nevertheless, some stories could definitely be told in two books; maybe even one! There’s no need to spread it out over multiple sequels…

Besides money and marketing that is.

I get it though. I’m sure it’s easier to market a trilogy (or more sequels) to readers. You want to get the fan base that will go gaga whenever the next book is released. Because if you get people attached to the characters, they’ll come back for more and tell everyone about their love for this series.

I mean look at the slate of Pixar sequels to come in the next 3 years.

People love familiarity. It’s comforting.

But in the same breath, it also gets old real fast. And I think to a certain degree, it takes away from what it was before; especially if the newest editions are not of the same quality (like Syliva Day’s Crossfire Trilogy Series — talk about a series that didn’t need more than 3 books!).

I guess my point is: not everything needs to have multiple sequels for it to be successful.

Yeah, it would have been great if the Orphan Queen Series continued on for 5 more books in theory, but (IMHO) it would have really dampened the story. I think the Mythos Academy Series is a good example of that where the subsequent sequels started losing their excitement. Or even any of Sarah J Maas’ stories were the popularity has driven more sequels than original conceived and I think the series has suffered because of it.

My Conclusion: Strongly written stories last a lot longer than stretched out sagas that never seem to get to the point.

I’m looking at you Pretty Little Liars TV Series.

What do you think? What’s your perfect series length? Do you agree with me?

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