This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is about series I want to start reading that have come out in the last year or two. I literally have no answers for this week. I could maybe come up with one or two if I really tried, but not enough for a full post. So, instead, I’m going to talk about series in general. Some I like. Some I think are overrated. Some I’ve recommended. Some I started and then stopped.
Overrated/Didn’t Finish – These are series that people seem to adore. They rave about them and insist everyone reads them. I did not think they lived up to the hype.
The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare
I actually started this series before it got all hyped up. I like the titles and the covers. There were only three books out. I thought that was the whole thing. It seemed worth it. I actually got them as a gift and I was excited to start them. I enjoyed the first book but I wasn’t blown away by it. It was entertaining enough to read the next one, but they were starting to feel really formulaic and a little more juvenile than I was looking for. I read the third book anyway. When the fourth book came out, it had been a while since I’d read the first three and I’d kind of forgotten why I hadn’t loved them. I decided to read it and quickly remembered. I didn’t bother with the rest of the series or with the movie.
Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth
I’m on the fence about where to put this series. I really, really enjoyed the first book. And I liked the second book a lot. I used to recommend this thing all over the place. I loved the idea of series. I thought the set up was extremely cool. I immediately went out and bought the first two books. I could not wait for Allegiant. And then it came out… I disliked it so much that it tainted the rest of the series for me. It put me off enough that I didn’t even make an effort to see the movie in the theatre. I finally watched the movie last week and remembered what I loved about the first book. I’m not saying the movie was great. It was fine. But it made me want to re-read the first book. Maybe I’ll re-read the first two and just skip the last one.
Uglies Series by Scott Westerfeld
The idea behind this book was actually pretty cool. A world where looks are everything – literally – and the ‘ugly’ underground that opposes that belief. This could have been the platform for an amazing message to its teen audience. However, the series falls far short of what it could have been. I’ve read all the books – including the mostly unrelated final book. My major problem with them is the main character never learns anything. Her character arch across the first book is mimicked in all the following books. She never seems to get anywhere. The characters are one dimensional. I’m not sure why I read all the books, other than that I was still in that if I start it, I must finish it mind set.
Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver
A world where love is a curse. Not just romantic love, but all love – parental, platonic, romantic, everything. It’s considered a disease that needs to be removed. At a certain age, citizens undergo a surgery to remove their ability to love. People love this book – love it – but I just didn’t feel it. I felt like one of the people in the book. I could not find the love. I just couldn’t seem to care about it. The only thing that propelled me through all three books was the fact that Sarah Drew read the audiobooks. I think this book suffered a little from dystopian fatigue. I’d read too many of them and this just felt a little same old, same old. Maybe for someone new to the genre, it would be good introduction, but for me, it didn’t live up to the hype.
Recommended – these are books that I often find myself recommending to other people. Whether it’s content, style, message, or whatever, they’re books I think other people might want to read.
The Gone Series by Michael Grant
I don’t always have to love a series in order to recommend it. This is the case with the Gone Series. It’s a pretty decent series, but I didn’t love it. I’ve recommended this series to a couple of my friends who teach junior high. In the first book, a town is suddenly encased by a giant sphere – think Under the Dome – but everyone over the age of fourteen disappears. This leaves all these kids alone to figure out how to survive. Around the middle it gets a little long in the tooth, but it picks up again in the last few books. The reason I recommend it is because it has a strong male presence and will appeal to both boys and girls. This is not often the case with YA books. It’s also a little Lord of the Flies –y. These kids have to figure out how to survive. How to maintain order. How to take care of the younger kids. They start developing adult relationships. They have to make big, life and death, important decisions. Religion, disease, and starvation are all present. There’s also a weird supernatural element that I didn’t love, but there are some important messages in here I think are worth reading.
The Parasol Protectorate by Gail Carriger
I recommend this series to people who want to check out Steampunk. It’s got humour, romance, paranormal junk, and a whole buttload of steampunk. There’s a political agenda. It’s Victorian. There’s an emphasis on science and invention. There are gadgets galore. Carriger grabs the reader and carries you into this world where ankles are sexy and werewolves and vampires serve the queen. It’s definitely worth the read. There’s also a YA spin off that takes place after the main adult series, but I’ve only read the first book
The Dublin Murder Squad by Tana French
This series follows in the vein of currently popular anthology television shows (think American Horror Story, True Detective). Each book is different from the one before. Occasionally the same characters pop up but the stories generally don’t connect from book to book. The stories are great – intricately interwoven and unpredictable. This is excellent crime drama that doesn’t fit nicely under the procedural umbrella. I’ve been recommending French all over the place – including on this blog.
The Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong
There are times when what you want is fluff. Something silly and charming and involving very little brain power. But you also want it to be damn enjoyable. Especially enjoyable if you’re not reading it for its literary prowess. For those times, I turn to Kelley Armstrong – especially this series. There are a whole bushel of books – 13 in the main series and dozens of spinoffs and side stories. It means that once you’ve read it through, you can essentially pick up any book and give it a read. It’s chalk full of adult characters in a paranormal setting. There’s action and adventure and romance and sex and desire. There are strong female characters and weak female characters and the same can be said about the males. It’s not high literature, but I know the people who will enjoy it and make sure to recommend it.
Nostalgia – these are book series that I loved as a teen. They do not stand the test of time, but I still love them for nostalgic reasons. If I had read them as an adult, I would have hated them (you know like if you never tried KD as a kid, you probably won’t like it now), but they still hold a little piece of my heart.
The Forbidden Game Trilogy by L. J Smith
This book originally came out when I was in my late teens. It was actually my little sister’s. I needed something to read, so I sorted through her bookcase and pulled out the first book. In that book, the main character buys a board game for her boyfriend’s birthday. When the friends start playing, they find themselves inside the game and have to play for their lives. The evil Julian (hot bad boys are not a new thing) has fallen for our lovely ingénue and is willing to kill off everyone else in order to have her. This is essentially the plot for all three novels. It’s brimming with datable references and cheesy dialogue. It’s awesome.
The Cutler Family Series by V. C. Andrews
I’ve talked about my love of V. C. Andres before, specifically Flowers in the Attic. But my favourite of all the series is easily the Cutler family books. The first one, Dawn, is the first book I remember staying up all night to read. I read it through waves of exhaustion, curled up in the corner of my bed. I could not put it down. I just needed to know what happened. I read and read and read. It was awesome. This was one of those series where I waited very impatiently for the next book to show up – and this was before the time of the internet. You just had to keep going to the library (in my teeny tiny town) and checking to see if it was out yet. Unfortunately, this is one of the Andrews’ series I don’t own. I guess it’s time to visit the second hand stores and see if I can find all of them. I’m sure they’re terrible reads now, but I still feel this compulsion to own them.