Why Am I So Bad At Finishing Series?

22 September 2021


Grey image with a teal block about a third from the bottom. There’s a photo of several book series in the middle including the Lady Sherlock series by Sherry Thomas, the Lady Helen series by Alison Goodman, the Gathering of Dragons series by Milla Vane, and The Legend of All Wolves Series by Maria Vale. There is handwritten text in yellow saying Why am I so bad at finishing series?

I love nothing more than a good book series. It's so nice to be able to fully immerse yourself into a world or invest in the lives of a group of characters. When it comes to fantasy reads I want a series because I often get frustrated at standalone books as you just don't get to explore the world and characters as much as I might like. I want the world to be totally fleshed out, to know the characters backstory and the connection with the other characters in the world. I want everything a series can give. And even contemporary reads, I am sad to leave a really good cast of characters, I want to see all of their stories and see their lives develop as time passes. I get excited when I see characters from previous books making a cameo and you see them happy and settled.


So if I like series so much, why am I so bad at finishing them?


I think I'm my third or fourth reread of the Kate Daniels series and this is finally the time I am finishing it. And I still haven't finished the Psy-Changeling series despite reading the first books so many times, I started reading them again last year in lockdown and still haven't finished! I have so many half-finished series on my shelves where I claim to have loved the first book yet never continued on, even when I've bought the next book in the series.


Reasons I give for not finishing:


I need a break and want to read something different


With any long-running series, like the Kate Daniels series or the Psy-Changeling, series, the reason I usually give for stopping partway through is that I need a break. I get so many books in and love the characters, but I get fatigued almost and need a break to read something else. I think, sometimes, I’m doing it almost as a pre-emptive strike to avoid a reading slump. It’s sensible to a certain extent because my reading slumps can be terrible, but I should really just power through and finish the damn series because I usually don’t go back until over a year later and I’ve forgotten what’s happened so I decide to reread and it becomes a vicious cycle of me never finishing the series. It's the same way I never finish video games, you would think I would learn!


I want to wait for the whole series to be out

This is one that really applies to trilogies but if I find that I love the first book in a series and I'm waiting for the rest of the books to be released (which will normally have a gap of at least a year between each release) then I buy the next books but say I won't read the second one until the final book it out. Inevitably, I buy the books and either can't remember what happened in the first or have seen poor reviews for one of the books in the series and become less motivated to finish. Or I just get lazy and the hype has worn off so I don't feel as motivated to continue on.


I can't remember what happened

This is the big one and I’ve touched upon it with my first reason: I have a terrible book memory. That's not because the books are bad (but sometimes, the plots and characters can blur together with other books if they are similar) but it's simply that I have a terrible memory. I can forget character names while reading a book, and as soon as I get to the end and start writing a review I can guarantee I'm having to open the book back up to refresh my memory on names. The plot stays with me longer, but I cannot understand how people can remember quotes and detailed points from a book because I am honestly incapable. The only book series I can remember really well is the Harry Potter series and I reread those books religiously from the age of 8 so if I didn’t remember them well I’d be concerned. So when I can't remember the first book I know I need to reread the whole series to finish it and sometimes I just don't have time for that! Or I find excuses not to because I worry I’ll become fatigued rereading the series or some such ridiculousness.


They add more books to the series

This is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to publishing. The mid-series cover change is one thing, and I can mostly handle it, but when a series that was originally agreed to be a trilogy and marketed as such then gets extended, probably because the author always intended a longer book series and has developed way more plot points and needs more books, then I find myself put off from reading. I keep buying them, but I lose my motivation. A 2 book series feels like a commitment so 4/5/6 just feels too much. I love a good series as much as the next person, but give me a warning beforehand so I know to expect it! I mean, I should probably be celebrating as it means more time with the characters and a well-developed plot and world but, for me, I find myself demotivated and that’s just a strangeness I have.


As you can see, there are numerous reasons for me to stop reading a series partway through. I have so many series I still want to finish, I could list about 20 different series just off of the top of my head I know I want to finish and haven’t. I am determined to do better about finishing series' but that wait between books is killer.


Are there any series that you are embarrassed to say you haven’t finished? What reasons do you have for not finishing a series that you loved?

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