It’s Blogger Bits time, bookworms! Now can I get an amen? Ah-men!
Now, what is Blogger Bits? A group of bloggers decided to get together and discuss bookish topics for the sake of giving those hamsters in our brains a bit of cardio.
Todays topic is: which came first, the standalone or the series? Lol, this is not the real topic. Wouldn’t want to give our hamsters a stroke. Of Mice and Brains: The Dawn of the Walking Rats. Alrighty then, guess the weirdness is showing.
No really, what I’ll be monologuing about is my personal preferences when it comes to series or standalone.
Here it begins… relax, lay down, open a bottle of wine and enjoy my very confused ramblings on the matter.
So, here’s the thing. I think a distinction needs to be made when it comes to series. We need to distinguish the series composed of standalones and those that instead revolve around the same characters.
Now, usually whether there are other books or not, it won’t change my decision of reading or not a book. But, if you ask me “Series or Standalone?” holding me at gunpoint, and requesting an answer… I’ll have to go with Series.
If it’s a series of standalones, then I’ll love it because of the little cammeoes from the other characters and the fact that already know the world the story is set in. Examples of series like this that I loved: “The Game On” series by Callihan, the “With Me” series by Armentrout, or the “Forbidden Men” series by Kage (Kage built Oren Tenning’s character throughout the whole series to the point that when his book cane out I already knew him extensively and couldn’t wait to see him fall in love. His own romance started before the first page of the book. It was priceless). I mean, the side-characters are obviously better shaped because they used to be MC and this thing along adds roundedness to the story.
Also, when it comes to PNR, I almost always expect them to develop in series. I don’t know why, but it seems like in PNR the story is always to long to fit in one, or at least the character’s development. And let’s say it, PRN requires a lot of world-building, so it may require more than one book to really get immersed in it, and for it to become 3D and real in your mind. A perfect example: the “Black Dagger Brotherhood” series by JR Ward, or
the “Dark Hunter” series by Kenyon.
When it come to romances, I have to say that I read mostly series of standalones, but every time I read a trilogy or whatever-logy featuring the same characters, I love them. There’s just a different depth when you get to know the characters over the arc of different books. I’m talking the Spitfire series by Nicole French (one of my favorite series this year. A true revelation.) Also, anyone remembers the Cranberry Inn series? Another total hit for
There’s nothing that I love more than opening a book in which I already know the characters, about which I’m excited about because I know what I’m gonna get. Especially if months pass between the books, it’s like coming home and meeting old friends again. While, if I’m binge reading the series, then it’s like total-immersion, zombie-apocalypse-could-be-happening-and-I-won’t-unglue-my-eyes-from-the-papers. I barely slept or ate when I read the Royals trilogy. Best feeling ever. And don’t get me started on the “Lux” series.
Which brings us to…
The first con: the MBH. The MBH, or Major Book Hungover, is a pathological condition affecting around the 99% of bookworms. The symptoms are: day dreaming, lack of appetite and sleep, intrusive thoughts about the last book read, and the need to re-read it. The only known cure is to dive into another book right away.
When you finish a standalone, it’s bad, but when you finish a series… it’s brutal. Like, I feel I need to grief somehow. So yeah, that con is huge, but it’s also kind of bittersweet, because I honestly don’t mind the daydreaming, or a times the fanfiction reading (#NoShameInMyGame)-
Now, onto standalones. I love them too, but of course every book is a hit or miss, right? If I don’t know the author and it’s a standalone, it could happen that it ends up not being my piece of pizza. Still, what I love about standalones is that you don’t have to worry about cliffhangers. And, another big pro, is that the entire arc of the characters’ development is encased in those 200-300 pages. It’s all there, the whole package if it’s well written. It’s complete, bow and bells, and whistles or however that old saying goes.
I believe it’s harder to craft a 100% complete standalone because of course the author cannot include all tropes or situations, while in series there’s more space. So they are more… narrow usually in topic. You need to keep it tight and quick in standalones. You usually cannot stretch unnecessary scenes and even though series shouldn’t be an excuse to water the soup down, it’s easier to dwell on a recurring theme or introduce unnecessary snippets in series. In standalones, only the fittest remain. Only the truly necessary bits of narrations are left standing when all is said and done.
I think a perfect example of standalone that had everything, at least in my opinion is “Managed” by Callihan (wow, two mentions in one article). That romance had a perfect arc, great character development, and a catchy plot. Same with “Neighbor Dearest” by Penelope Ward. I adore these books because they stand out like jems among the sea of books in my Goodreads library. They are like shining in their overall perfection, in that wouldn’t-change-a-comma way.
So, conclusions… I seem to adore both. I don’t make discriminations… but I’ve been known to squeal upon finding out a book had a sequel. I just adore when that happens! And I’m not talking about cliffhangers either. You know, sometimes authors DO WRITE sequels even after giving closure in the first book.
Standalones need to be quite special for me to remember them in the long haul, while series are easier to remember because sometimes I read them over the years, and frantically wait for the next instalment, and let’s not forget about the deeper knowledge they give you of the characters’ inner world.
What about you? Standalones? Series? Series of standalones? Small instalment? Strings of novellas? Encyclopedic volumes?
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