Talk To Me 09: Finishing a series that I didn’t like

Sometimes I’ll pick up a series that I hope I will like; something new that I can get excited over. However, book one ends up being a complete disappointment, for many reasons. Maybe the world-building wasn’t good, maybe I disliked the characters, maybe the book dragged, or maybe I just wasn’t feeling it.

You’d think that, to save myself the trouble, I would stop reading the series. … Right?

Well, not really. When I pick up a series that I know is finished and the books are easily found, I just have to finish the series. I need to know what happens to which character and how it all resolves. I may not be emotionally invested in the book and really just have a “meh” feeling towards it. I may also actually dislike the books and finish the series with this feeling of “I HAVE to do this” and gritted teeth.

But I have to finish it. I should know better not to spend more time on a series that I don’t like, but I keep going anyway.

For example, Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. I didn’t find the first book particularly interesting nor did I really connect with the characters. But I want to read the next two books, just to complete the series.

Another example would be Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss books. I didn’t really like Lola and the Boy Next Door (which I read first) and the first book did not fare any better for me. Teenage dramavalanche galore, something I don’t really enjoy reading about. However, I will still read the last book when it comes out this year, just to finish off the series.

What about you, dear reader?

Do you try to finish a series that you didn’t like? Why or why not?

Let me know in the comments!

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29 thoughts on “Talk To Me 09: Finishing a series that I didn’t like

  1. My short answer is: it depends. Depends on what, you may ask? Well…

    I have a two book rule. I try to give every series a fair shot by reading the second book even if I didn’t like the first. There are some exceptions to this, usually if I just have a gut feeling that the series just isn’t for me and it’s not going to get better, or if it was just okay and my library doesn’t have the rest (I’m not going to pay for them!). However, if I have easy access to the second book, I’ll read it and then make up my mind. Which leads us to…

    If I got through the first two books and it’s only a trilogy, I’ll read the last book. I’ve come this far, right? Might as well see how it all wraps up. Like you said, I may not be emotionally invested, but I just need to know what happens! If it’s a longer series, and it still hasn’t grabbed me by the end of book two, I’m just going to abandon ship. No need to take up precious reading time when I could be reading other series that I like.

    If I own all of the books or got them all for review, then I’ll chug through. I’d feel more bad about not finishing than I would about not liking them. This rarely happens, but it has. In fact, I have one series where I 1-starred the first book, but I have the next two. It’s a trilogy, so based on my two book rule, trilogy loophole, and fact that I own them, I’m going to finish. Eventually. I also have the third book in a series that I won, after hating the first two. I’ll read it…eventually…but there’s two more books out, and I haven’t decided if I’ll bother with those, since I don’t currently have them. I guess it depends on my feelings on the third one.

    Morbid curiosity. This is a tricky one, and it has yet to happen although I do have two series in mind for this one. The first is Divergent. I didn’t like the first book that much, but I was hoping some of my issues were resolved in the second book (according to many reviews, they’re not, not even by the end of the third book). But my two book rule kicks in, so I’ll get to it eventually. And it’s a trilogy, so I’m drawn to finish it. Also I’m beyond curious about the split opinions on the ending! I need to know what has caused such a scandal! The second series is Fallen. That first book…I don’t even know. But those covers! OMG, they just draw me in and make me have to know what’s inside! It’s a four book series, so I could stop after #2, but….those covers!

    So…yeah. Whether or not I finish a series I don’t like very much depends on a variety of factors. 😛

  2. It is hard, like with Matched – I read the first two and DNF the third. The Maze Runner really didn’t get me either, so I haven’t finished that series. I guess I am ok with stopping, I kinda “cancel” the series like a TV show that stops in the middle!

    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  3. There are some that I finish and some that I don’t. I think it depends if the books were available to me. I’m glad you mentioned Matched because I was going to use that example. The covers are just gorgeous and I found the first two books on sale so I bought them. And they were awful. I gave away my copies. But I did read the 3rd book, which I think was the best of the lot. Also, this was a long time ago. Before book blogging. So there weren’t a lot of tempting books to read. It was easy to just read them on a whim. A series that I hated and easily stopped was Defiance by C.J. Redwine. That was so not worth my time. Sometimes I wonder if I should only get the first book even if the whole series is out. But then there are sales where you can buy most of the series already. And I just end up hoping I’d like them. 😛

  4. Not any more! Now I just read the spoilers and skip the books and that is just to satisfy my curiosity on how it all ended! I find I get resentful if I’m reading a book I don’t like. So I don’t do it anymore, I would rather just keep my limited reading time for books that I’m enjoying. Matched is a good example, I read the first two books and couldn’t care less how it all ended so I never picked up book 3.

  5. Ack, I know what you mean! I am kind of torn about this, because I hate leaving things unfinished. But… I don’t feel so bad about it anymore. I’ve given up on quite a few series now, no looking back. Some of them, I might go back and finish one day if I have nothing else to read, but others I just don’t ever plan to read the rest of. I figure if I have plenty of other books and series that I’ll enjoy more, no sense wasting time with one that I don’t like!

  6. If I rate something one or two stars, then no, I won’t continue with the series (unless someone I trust says that the series improves a lot or something). But with books rated 3 stars, even though that only means “it was okay” for me, sometimes I’ll continue with the series to see if it improves or not. And to find out what happens. Like Matched. I actually didn’t really like the second one that much, but I just read the third to see what happens.

  7. I usually end up finishing a series if I like the first book. I actually liked Matched but was not a huge fan of Crossed. I still read Reached just to see how it all ended up. I liked it alright. But if I don’t like the first book, I don’t usually read anymore. Ha! I was just about to publish this when I read the comment above me and saw that she said the same thing! I swear I didn’t copy her!! Now I have to post this just because it is funny!

  8. I’m totally a series completionist, too. Although I don’t think that I’m QUITE as bad as you are 😉 If I don’t like the first book, I’ll give up on it. I let myself do that all the time — I don’t want to waste my precious reading hours with books that I’m actively not enjoying. But there are sometimes series for which I did like the first (and/or the second) book, but then as I continue on with it, I like it less and less. That, excruciatingly, happened with The Caster Chronicles series. I really liked the first book, but they just went SO DOWNHILL after that, but I made myself read all four books and the novella just so that I could cross it off my list!

  9. It really depends on how long the series is, and how much I enjoyed the first book. If I didn’t particularly like the first book (I had the same feelings about Matched as you) then I most likely won’t bother – even if that series is only three books long. If, however, I really like the first book enough to read on, and the series gets progressively more disappointing (e.g. the last couple Sookie Stackhouse novels) then I’ll carry on, because I’ve stuck with it anyway – I’d already read ten of the books, with only three left. Plus I’d spent so much time with those characters that I needed to know how everything concluded. And it was a crappy ending, but now I know.

    So really… I guess it depends completely on the first book, then the following books, as well as the length of the series!

  10. The two book rule makes sense, and I definitely won’t pay for the next book in a series that was relatively “meh” for me. If my library doesn’t have it, no big loss on my part, right? Also finishing off a trilogy after having read two books also makes sense. It’s a “might as well” kind of situation, yeah. It’s also rather distressing when the series in unfinished, I’ll probably not go for it.

    Ah, Divergent. I’ve heard so many things about this series, it’s so hyped up as the next THG or something? I don’t know. I’m a little scared about the hype, to be honest. It IS a finished trilogy so I probably would end up reading it soon. Or rather, eventually. Probably not soon! 😛 There’s also the covers! Oh yes, they are huge factors in drawing me in. Temptation, I say!

    Thanks, Angie! 😀

  11. Ah, Matched. It does seem to be a relatively “meh” series among the people in this post, haha! I didn’t know The Maze Runner was part of a series. :O It’s one of those books that I feel I should get around to reading eventually, but the fact that it’s a series! I hope it’s at least a FINISHED series. Thanks, Missie!

  12. The covers for Matched ARE really gorgeous, aren’t they?! They were so tempting when I first heard about them. Sad to say that the content did not live up to the pretty covers. 😐 Yeah, it really was easy to read on a whim before book blogging. I’m actually really glad now because I can make better-informed decisions and not waste my money on books that I’ll probably end up disliking. 🙂 I used to be really into sales that could net me the whole series, but now I’m more careful about it. I feel so stingy, haha!

    Thanks, Francine!

  13. Ah, I totally get you. If your reading time is limited, I can see how you would be more discerning in the kinds of books you spend time on. For other series that I really have NO interest in, I would probably just read Wikipedia entries on the books too. Also, I’m glad you too mentioned Matched. That seems to be the general consensus on this series, that it’s pretty “meh,” haha!

    Thanks, Trish!

  14. I hate leaving things unfinished too! I suppose I could make things easier for myself by letting go of some of them, but I’ll probably end up going back to them if I really have nothing else to read, like you said. There are a lot of really great series out nowadays, so I guess bookish life is too short to spend on bummer series. 🙂 Thanks, Kelley!

  15. My hate for leaving things unfinished goes way too far for books. I like that conviction from other bloggers, how if they don’t like the series, they just drop it. Thanks, Tanya!

  16. Haha, I love how Matched is getting so many mentions in the comments of this post and everyone pretty much reacted similarly. It makes me feel better about how I felt about the series. 🙂 Maybe I should start having a threshold for the first book of the series instead of forcing myself to continue even if I didn’t like it. Thanks, Nara!

  17. Haha, we all pretty much had the same/similar reactions to Matched. An average of “meh.” I understand how it would be so much easier to just dump a series after the first book. You know what they say about great minds, haha! 🙂 Thanks, Shannon!

  18. I can see that I maaaaay be a little nuts here, haha! It’s so sad when a series that you really liked starts to go downhill. 😦 Thanks, Miranda!

  19. Whoa, 13 books in the series? I would go nuts with that series. I think that if a series stretched longer than three or four books and I didn’t like the first few, I would be more inclined to drop it. It’s too bad that a series you liked ended up with such a crappy ending. 😦

    Thanks, Rinn!

  20. Kelly says:

    It all depends on how the first book goes. If by the end, I have a general sort of meh feeling, but I’m interested enough to see what happens next, I’ll continue with the series. If by the end of the first book there’s nothing that interests me at all, I’ll abandon the series to the way side.

    But once I’ve committed to reading the series, regardless of how poorly the books continue to be, I’ll usually finish it. I’ve committed and I need that sense of closure! Haha

  21. That’s a good rule that I really have to enforce more with myself. If I review first books of series, I should also put if I’m motivated to continue the series.

    Yes, closure! I think that’s what I totally look for when I read series. Guess that’s why I binge-read the entirety of The Hunger Games in two days, haha!

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