Series books are great. They are often how children find their love of reading, Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children, Goosebumps, or 39 clues, anyone? They don’t lose their charm as we grow older either. Series can take the what-to-read-next-stress out of reading; the choice of your next book becomes obvious. (Though, I would definitely advocate asking your local librarian for suggestions for good books to read). Anyway, series are marvelous, but what about when you start reading a series without realizing it. I’ve picked up a book that was popular and sounded good and half way through realized my short 300 page commitment, was actually a multi-volume series with over 1000 pages (I’m looking at you Wicked).
When you realize you are reading a series, life changes. The what-I’ll-read-next list may be altered entirely. Some series just suck you in so that you can’t imagine reading anything else until you’ve read the whole series. And when an author is still writing a series and you have to wait months, if not years between books withdrawal symptoms may become common. Stalking the author’s page may or may not become a frequent occurrence in an attempt to gain insight on the next publication date. Books should warn you of the possible series addiction you may gain prior to reading, but we love them because they don’t.
Check out these great series that may initially appear to be standalone works (you’ve been warned!):
Wicked by Gregory Maguire kicks off a 4 book series that turns the well-known story of the Wizard of Oz on its head. The rest of the series contains the books Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Everything you thought you knew about Dorothy, the Good Witch Glinda, and Evil Witch Elphaba is not what it seemed. Wicked is also the basis for the popular Broadway Musical of the same name. (Maguire is also releasing a brand new book that re-imagines Alice in Wonderland this fall called After Alice.)
The Magicians by Lev Grossman is the beginning of a trilogy that includes The Magician King and The Magician’s Land. The Magicians series is essentially like Harry Potter for the more adult crowd.
Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye is the first in a series of three. The following two books are Seven for a Secret and The Fatal Flame. Gods of Gotham takes place in 1845 New York, when the police force is just forming. A serial killer who is carving crosses into bodies is on the loose and protagonist Timothy Wilde is on the hunt.
Have you had a series take you by surprise? What series do you love?