Wednesday, 16 February 2011

What Does It Take To Drop a Book?

This is something I think about from time to time. I am someone who rarely fails to finish a book because I think if I've started it, I should finish it. If I'm not enjoying it, then my thinking is 'it might get better' so I carry on. I'm trying to make myself give that mentality up a little, in some cases because I know I can waste a week on a book I don't enjoy at all, when I could have read 2 or 3 other really good books instead.

With series, I find it very hard to drop them. I rarely drop a series once I've started it because a part of me wants to know what happens. And if it's a series that has gone down hill, then I keep reading in the hope it improves and because I still want to know what happens. If the first book of a series isn't great, but I like parts of it, 9 times out of 10 I'll carry on with it, and most of the time it pays off because several series suffer from a weaker first book and grow stronger, in my opinion.

Not so great but...
One of the stand out series that always comes to mind when I think of that 'meh' first book issue, is the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews. Book one, Magic Bites, is not great. It's got it's moments, particularly towards the end, but it is nothing to really shout about. Book 2, Magic Burns, is better. Much stronger all around and a much more enjoyable read. Book 3, Magic Strikes...freaking hell perfect!! It's a seriously awesome book in every respect. Perfect tension, fantastic, engaging story, excellent character growth and some just awesome individual scenes between Kate and those around her. Book 4, Magic Bleeds, is on the same level, if softer for it's different focus, but it's equally as good as Strikes in my view. worth it!!
Had I stopped with Bites, I'd be missing out on one of my top favourite adult series. Had I not given the good elements of Bites their second chance with Burns, I'd have missed out big time and I am so, so glad I haven't!! I hear of those who didn't think too much of Bites, like me (I think I read it over a month or so between other stuff) and didn't give Burns a try and I wonder why, when so many other people (because I know I'm not alone in this) consider Bites a bit of a weak book and yet the rest of the series very good and well worth the time, I wonder why they won't give it another chance. Maybe let themselves be surprised.

I don't get why people drop a longer series after one weaker book. This is not a criticism, none of this post is, I just simply can't understand it because to me, it makes no sense at all.

I know not every book or series is for everyone. I'm glad of that because it'd be very dull if it were true! But some times I read comments about dropping books because they're only okay and I honestly wonder why. What's made them drop it? What's made them think book 2 would be a waste of time? Or a different book from that author would be a waste of time? If I hadn't picked up Courtney Summers' Some Girls Are after not liking her first book, I'd again have missed out on an exceptional book.

Yes, sometimes carrying on with a series or trying something else by the same author doesn't work, and I don't like it any more than what I already read. But I have found that the majority of the time I find something better, something to like more or love and it becomes something I'm very glad I did. So I will continue to carry on trying stuff after so-so books.

What does it take for you guys to drop a book, or series? Are you someone like me who finds it really hard to DNF or drop them? Or do you do it regularly? What is it that will make you decide if book 2 of a series is worth a try? I'd really love to hear all your thoughts on the subject!!


Deea said...

Yeah, I know what you mean. Although I never drop a book/series completely, it happens sometimes to put them on hold. It happened to me with two series, actually. They were very good (I think they're even NYT bestsellers), but I just had to stop reading at some point in book 2. Overall, the plot seemed interesting and all, but I just couldn't get into those books. I think that happened because I couldn't 'connect' with the main character, there was something about them that I didn't like or it was hard for me to understand. I read the first books, hopping something would change in that matter, but it didn't.
Anyway, the point is it happens for me not to get into a book and want to drop it, but I don't; I just put them aside to read when I'm in a different mood, when maybe I'll be surprised how much I like it.

Sorry or the too long comment. :D

Nachtangel said...

I'm the same, I try my best to not not finish a book, and so far I've only had a couple that were really hard for me to finish (Shiver for instant I still haven't finished)
However even after reading a book I don't like in a series I do usually carry on because I just need to know what happens (House of Night)
So I always try to finish a book, and a book I didn't like most likely wouldn't stop me from reading anything else by the author but then again I've never found a book that I just really don't get along with, if I do, I'll let you know :P

Side note - I do put books on hold quite a lot though ^^;; but I always finish them in the end (:

Cem said...

I'm kinda with you Deea, if I don't connect with a character, that's when I'm most likely to put the book on hold for a while. I do that sometimes, then get around to finishing them months later. I can read a weak plot if I'm connecting with the character and still enjoy it, I can't enjoy it or really build up much enthusiasim for it if I don't connect with the character, even if the rest is great.

@Nachtangel ha! Yeah, I have finally dropped HON but it took me far more books than it should have. Part of me still wants to know what happens but I can't face any more ridiculous stuff in order to find out!! Enough is enough.

pattepoilue said...

Very interesting post!
I've been struggling for more than a year with the Black Dagger Brotherhood...why? Because I can't get myself to read Phury's book. And it's driving me insane, i know I'll hate it and I can't skip it (because I have OCD! lol). The previous book was already sucky but I thought I should give it another here I am trying to keep reading . I don't want to give up on this series.

I always try to give another try to a series when 1 book wasn't very good. But at some point I guess I stop trying. It's a slow progress, I don't give up easily.
A good sign that I'm going to drop a series is when I stop pre-ordering the next book and it's not on my 'immediate' TBB list.
When it starts being too much work forcing one self to read a series, it's time to stop. =P

Sometimes sadly it doesn't have much to do with the book but more about the author being an ass. Even if I try ignoring it, It's there at the back of my mind and it taints my view of the book. :/ Something I'm not proud of.

Jessica said...

Hey Cem! You already know that this series just didn't sell for me. The way I look at series is, if book 1 doesn't grab me in some way, I likely won't read any more. The characters have to make me like them more than hate them. I feel like if book 1 doesn't suck me into its world then I likely won't be sucked in at all.

I have read a few other series where I didn't go past book 1, either the world didn't suck me in or the characters didn't force me in or anything like that. There may have been 1 or 2 series that I started reading and then stopped because I soon found myself forcing myself to read the books, I wasn't enjoying them at all anymore but kept reading them because I wanted to stay loyal to the series, but I got tired of wasting my time when I really couldn't get into the book. There were times when my mind was wandering away, so then I knew I had to stop because it wasn't doing any good to myself or the book.

Cem said...

@Jess, see, that's what I don't get. I wasn't remotely sucked in by Magic Bites, but the rest I was. I don't believe that just because one book doesn't suck you in, doesn't mean the rest won't. If book 2 doesn't, then it's another matter. But so often first in series books are set up for the rest. I list Kate as an example because it's the series where it's truest for me, but it's the same for other series as well: Allie Beckstrom and Kelley Armstrong's Nadia books, and Keri Arthur's Riley Jenson series...heck I dropped that one for 2 years before I came back to it and it won me over in book 4. I'm so glad I stuck with all of them, but none more so than Kate.

Okay, that kinda sounds like I'm ragging on you and I'm really sorry for that cause I don't mean it that way!! :) I just really can't get my head around the idea of giving up on a series so easily, just because of not being sucked in and feeling so-so about it.

@pattepoilue Thank you! Someone else who's not a massive BDB fan *hugs* ;) I really enjoyed books 1-3, but I don't understand the massive love for them. I didn't much like book 4 and now I'm trying to talk myself in to carrying on with V's book lol so you went further than me! And I will read it, eventually, but I'm so behind there's really no point trying to hurry to catch up.

I can't skip books in a series either. Don't understand how some can! Another thing I can't get my head around...

Avery said...

Okie dokie. So as we have determined by now Rachel Vincent is one of our most favourite authors of all time. That being said, when I first read "My Soul to Take" I was kinda let down. I was so accustomed to loving all of Rachel's writing with the Shifters series, but for some reason I just didn't feel that same connection with the Soul Screamers series.

When "My Soul to Save" came out I still went and bought it even though the first book wasn't my most favourite book ever, because as you said, I was hoping that perhaps the second book would get better. But then IMO it didn't. When "My Soul to Keep" came out I didn't make an effort at all to get it and I just let the first two books sit on my shelves gathering dust.

But when "My Soul to Steal" came out recently and I won a copy I knew that I would have to reread the previous books in the series (especially "My Soul to Keep" since I hadn't read it), so I started doing so. I still didn't get all that into the first two books in the series, but the third and fourth books in the series? Friggin fantabulous! Seriously, I kicked myself so hard for waiting so long to read them- they IMO blow the first two books out of the water by tenfold. And now I am super excited to see what Rachel has in store for us with "If I Die".

But then there are series like "The Morganville Vampires" and "House of Night" where I loved them from the beginning... But like 9 books into each series? They are getting more and more ridiculous with each book and though I have remained up-to-date with the Morganville Vampire series (even though I may not enjoy every minute I am reading them), I have totally given up on the HoN series- sometimes a series just has to end and these series IMO are way past their expiration date, I really don't know if they can end on a good note like "The Last Sacrifice" did for example.

Anyways, that's a rant/ ramble if I ever saw one! This was a great post/ discussion question Claire! I could go on for days and days about this!

Clover said...

I'm not sure that I read as many books in a series as you do. I think it would take a lot for me to drop a series altogether, especially if there are still elements of it that I really like. I really want to know what happens as well, but I'm not always dying to know either. Usually I'll read the first book in a series and then forget about it for awhile. That way I don't get sucked in too much. I think part of the reason that I've been less than a fan of certain books in a series is that I was over-reading and burnt out on them. Because a lot of books in the series have a very similar structure or writing style and if I have a problem with either of them, then reading more than one book in the series at a time makes it more obvious. Also, I do try to stay clear of books in a series where there's more than say, 6 books. Usually. But not always.

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

I so agree with you!!! When i start a new series and the first book doesnt blow me away, I feel like I need to give it a shot, cause I can still be surprised!

The same happened to me with the Downside Ghosts series by Stacia Kane! first book was blah, then books 2 and 3 Rocked!!! =D

Nayuleska said...

I used to plod on with books, even if I struggled with liking them. Now I give up after 3 chapters or 50 pages, whichever comes first if I don't like it. I've got so many on offer to read that it's not worth me forcing myself through a book.

I have to admit that the Magic Bites series - well, I enjoyed it a little, but when it came down to it I realised I preferred the Edge series (still only read the first one), so I'm sticking with that one :)

I do try to give books a chance, and if I'm not overly keen on one, but still like the story elements, I will read the next book to see if my view improves at all.

Cem said...

*sigh* Nayu, I love you, but you kept The Edge series over Kate? No. I can't be dealing with that. You need to read all of the Kate series as well. (also, Bayou Moon is WAY better than On The Edge) ;)

I don't think I can give myself a set page count or something for if I decide it's not worth continuing with. My two DNF's so far this year, one I dropped at the 120 pg mark and the other at about 35-40. I'm learning to drop them if they're really not working for me and in those cases, they weren't. But for it to not be good enough for me to continue with it, it generally has to be something fairly stand-outish.