Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Series Marathons

So this past month I did something that I've never done before.

I read an entire trilogy--back to back to back. Three books. In a row. Without stopping.

And more surprising than that, without wanting to stop.

When I only have lukewarm feelings towards a series, I'm more willing to set it aside, let it settle for a while, before coming back to the next book. And that makes sense. I need a little space, but I'll be back. And that's fine.

Previously, when I've finished a book in a series that I'm loving it's simultaneously a series in progress. So while I might be dying for the next book, I'm actually physically incapable of continuing it at the current moment.

So, to actually "marathon" a series is new for me.

Saying I've never done it before is not 100% accurate. Because a number of years ago, I worked my way through David Eddings' Belgariad series in a similar fashion. Buy book 1. Read book 1. Buy book 2. Read book 2. And so on.

But that was when I wasn't doing a ton of reading. Like, the whole 5 book series probably took me 2+ months to complete. Whereas now... Well, 2014 is the weirdest reading year of my life because I am just plowing through books. But even still. Before that I probably could've managed it in a month without trying too hard.

So Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy took me by surprise. I was rounding out the last 50 pages of book 1 when I knew--I just knew--that I needed to get the other books. And to my delight, they were in at my library. So I literally took off about half an hour before closing and raced to the library to sign them out.

Now, The Girl of Fire and Thorns ends with its loose ends more or less tied off. This is one of those cases where I assume only the first book had been picked up and Carson had not yet been optioned for a trilogy. Which was fine. But with things wrapped up, I don't know that I would've picked up The Crown of Embers (book 2) if I hadn't already raced out to acquire it.

My reading just doesn't work like that most of the time. I'm typically satisfied with a tied up ending and I can let things sit. Take a break, have some space, and come back later.

But I had been so frantic before the book was over to continue. So I decided to just go for it and give book 2 a try. And I am so glad I did.

And after that "cliffhanger" ending, I was glad book 3 was handy.

There was something about the experience as a whole, though. Being with these characters for so long, so consistently. I really felt attached to the cast. And I really appreciated all the subtle changes, tie ins and character growth that happened. It was like watching it all unfold as it happened--instead of that start/stop sort of thing that comes with reading a series in pieces.

I guess the big question is: Did I like it enough to do it again?

I don't really know. I think it was an interesting enough experiment (if an unintentional one) that I would certainly give it a try with another series. The major problem being that most of the series I'm ready to start are either unfinished or difficult to access. So we'll see how it plays out in the long run.

But still. Something new and different. And I really quite enjoyed it.

How about you? Are you a series marathoner? Let's chat in the comments!