Escapists Uncensored: Serials – They’re Back!

Escapists UncensoredSerial novels have been around for a very long time. It used to be because books were rare and expensive things, so to increase their audience base, publishers’ used to publish books one chapter or section at a time. But the serial novel really took off during the Victorian era, mostly thanks to Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers.

Unfortunately serials began to fade out during the late 20th century.

But now they’re back! And I, for one, couldn’t be more excited.

Serials have slowly been making a comeback since the Internet became a fixture in everyday life. Even more so now with ereaders becoming more and more popular. I’ll be honest though, until Ilona Andrews started her free serial Clean Sweep, I really didn’t pay attention.

I’m a binge kind of girl. I would rather watch a whole television season in one weekend then wait for a new episode every week. I always figured I would be the same way about serials. But since I can never pass up anything written by Ilona Andrews, I started reading Clean Sweep about two installments in.

It was, without a doubt, one of the best decisions I made last year.

IAndrews-Clean SweepOn the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.

And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.

The book was great. I loved the plot line and the characters were hilariously wonderful. My favorite part, to my complete surprise, was that I couldn’t read the whole thing at once. It kept things fresh and I loved the anticipation. Plus, every time there was a new installment it was the perfect length to read over my lunch break. If I don’t like where the serial is going…guess what. I can stop whenever I want without feeling like I wasted a whole lot of time.  And be serious, you know you get upset when you’re two or three books into a series and realize you don’t want to continue with it.

When Clean Sweep ended I really wanted to cry. What was I going to look forward to now? I still had the big book releases of course, but depending on the author, that was only one book for the month and then I had to wait a whole year before the next one. So I started to search for more serials. And I hit the jackpot. came through again.

Amazon has dozens and dozens of serial novels available. Mystery, erotic romance, sci-fi, fantasy…it’s all there.  Most installments are anywhere from $.99 to $1.99. But a lot are free too.

LFordJCrane-StarwalkersMy favorite serial so far is the Starwalkers by Lizzy Ford and Julia Crane (SeveredTrappedExiledRevealed). It’s sci-fi with some romance thrown in. There is about a month’s wait between each serial.

Two sisters with special gifts and an unbreakable bond …

Cyena and Tyana were born to powerful parents who are among the ruling class on their planet. Their lives are pampered but isolated, constricted to the city walls in which they were born.

They don’t know that a war is brewing, until it erupts. A class war tears their perfect world a part, leaving them helpless, alone and worse –severed from one another.
Each girl will risk her life to find the other, and each will be challenged to hone her powers in order to survive environments unlike any they’ve ever experienced.

Meljean Brooks has jumped on the serial train as well with The Kraken KingIt is a great addition to her Iron Seas world.

JJHolden-Life AfterThen there’s Life After by JJ Holden. These are released bi-weekly. So far there are 18 episodes and you can buy the first ‘season’ as a bundle. This is a war/military/alternate history novel so it may not appeal to everyone but the action is great.

Following a civil war that left the United States in ruins, the remaining few who managed to escape the Imperialistic Army and the horrors of their death camps must unite and fight to reclaim their country

But if you’re looking for some romance I recommend the Dark Riders Motorcycle Club by Elsa Day. There are two out so far, Wild and Venom, with another one to be released within the next month.

EDay-WildWhich will she choose? Love, or safety? Lilly Clarkfeld just wants to be a regular college student. In her dreams she is a nurse, has a family, and is safe. That’s not much to ask. But when she’s forced to return to her childhood home because of her mother’s illness, everything changes. Lilly’s car crashes and she’s taken in the night by the Dark Riders. It could have been any motorcycle club, but it was his. Lilly’s first love. Asher Thomas is bigger, stronger, and more damaged than Lilly remembers, but he never forgot about her. They still burn for each other, but is this the life for Lilly? Can she put her white picket fence dreams on hold and trade them in for the rough love of an outlaw biker?

Between my serials and the big releases I am ridiculously happy. I have something new to read almost every week. And, even if I don’t have a lot of time, I can still read my serials without feeling like I’m neglecting those things I have to do.

And if you’ve read Clean Sweep, you’ll be delighted to find out that Ilona Andrews has a second novel in her Innkeeper ChroniclesSweep in Peace.

About Courtney 33 Articles
I teach Special Education and have three demented dogs. Between my students all day and my dogs all night my stress relief is reading. It is the only thing that keeps me from going crazy. Or should I say from going crazier? I read anything but I prefer fantasy, sci-fi and steampunk. I also love urban fantasy and historical romances. If it has dragons and magic, vampires and werewolves, crazy machines and corsets or aliens and spaceships then I’m happy. Mix in a Scotland laird or two every once in a while and I’m ecstatic!