I ran into a little issue with a book I read today (and finished today… it was a slow day). While I actually enjoyed Heiress Apparently by Diana Ma more than I thought I would, I also learned that it’s apparently part of a series! I’m not totally sure how or why, since it doesn’t feel totally required by the ending. I’ll probably read it though — I quite enjoyed this one and would follow the characters a bit further!
Anyway, once I found that out midway through the book, it shaded my expectations of it a bit. I got a little bit bitter and suspicious, because it felt like the story could cleanly wrap up in this one book — but I knew it was the first in a series! I started thinking something really frustrating would happen to unnecessarily draw the story out, likely in a way that didn’t make sense and wasn’t needed (which is all too common).
Thankfully, that didn’t happen. The dramatic change in experience I had while reading it though is a common one when I don’t know a book is part of a series before starting it, and find out at some point while reading. It ends up feeling a bit like a bait and switch, because I did not come to this book for cliffhangers!
More seriously, though, a series is a time commitment and a commitment to characters. I’m not always feeling into that. If you know there’s a second or third or seventh book planned, then you know to pace your expectations of what you’ll get in the first book. For another example, I just finished Hunted by the Sky by Tanaz Bhathena, which I already knew was the first in a series. And as such, I ended it feeling ok despite it being kind of subpar, because I know there’s more to the story. If that were a standalone book or I hadn’t known it was only the first part, I’d have been disappointed and frustrated by the end.
Knowing if a book is part of a series before I start reading it is actually a pretty important part of how I decide when I will read it. Am I ready for that commitment? Do I want a story that’s open-ended right now, or do I want it wrapped up in one go? When is the next book coming out, because if I absolutely love the first one I HAVE TO WAIT (*gasps in horror*)?
Does this ever happen to you? Or maybe some of y’all have the opposite experience, where you find out there’s more and are delighted, because now you get to have even more of these characters you love! What’s your take?