I was asked an interesting question about books the other day. It wasn’t the generic favorite book or author question, nor was it asking me about my top ten picks. Instead, this question made me pause to think.
Do you prefer books that are traditionally tied together in a series or books that can stand alone and are tied by the characters and setting?
Now as someone who pretty much specializes in SciFi / Fantasy, I have some great examples of both. Think about some of your favorites and I will guess that like mine, there are a fair amount of both. Would the Lord of the Rings have been as momentous if they were written as novels? My first answer would be no but then we had some fantastic movies that essentially made each story that unique combination of together yet apart. Then again, I can’t imagine some urban fantasy with huge cliffhangers and a short timeline. Needless to say, this simple question made me wonder.
I have to admit that my answer was somewhat underwhelming. “It depends, ” I accurately answered. Why? Because I get something from each kind of series.
The novels which tie together such as the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series become good friends. I still have to check in with them year after year because I care about the characters through highs and lows. I have strong opinions on what should have or what did happen. With these sort of books, there’s a certain amount of comfort and ease.
Then you have the thrill of a fantastic trilogy. There is oftentimes a focus on the plot rather than the characters. People live and people die but it’s immersive and engaging. I oftentimes am swept up in the story and I’m almost always disappointed that the end isn’t dramatic enough. Yeah, I was one of those people that wished Harry Potter ended like Hamlet. These stories are ones you wait anxiously for the next installment and forego sleep to finish.
So yeah, it depends.
What about you? Which do you prefer?