Hang on… Didn’t That Series End?

It’s happened a lot in the past year — previously “completed” series getting additions or spin-offs. And I don’t know how I feel about this. On the one hand, it’s exciting to get new content from authors we’ve loved for years surrounding the same characters or settings we already feel so attached to. But on another hand, it’s hard not to feel like it’s a cheap marketing trick from either the authors, or the publishers, who think stories with existing fanbases will sell better. Maybe they do; I don’t work in publishing so I don’t know. Sadly.

But releasing additions to a series is undeniably a source of massive amounts of hype. Twitter collectively lost it’s mind when books like the latest Shatter Me was announced, and the same with the Mara Dyer book from Noah’s perspective (if I’m correct). I loved those series when I read them back in the day — that golden age of 2014 YA where everything was simpler — but for some reason, the thought of reading an addition that wasn’t originally planned feels wrong somehow. I just can’t wrap my head around it.

Maybe it’s because I’m scared that revisiting an old favourite series will change the way I think about it. I know a lot of the books I read when I was 13 / 14 weren’t the best YA. I know that. But I also know that books like Hush, Hush and Shatter Me were the books that helped me fall in love with YA, and that fact shouldn’t be understated. I fear that rereading those books now, when I’ve read so much more and can recognise the difference between excellent and simplistic stories or sloppy writing, would be betraying teen me. Is that normal?

What saddens me the most is that when I attempted to reread Shatter Me a few months ago in anticipation of the next book, I just couldn’t find the same magic in it. It was like the spark was gone, and I couldn’t connect with a story I once loved so much. I guess it all comes down to the fact that I’m a different person now than I was back when it was released, and that’s okay. We can’t always stay the same person, nor should we be expected to stay the same reader and always love the same books we once did.


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The Darkest Legacy

Take The Darkest Legacy for example. I wanted to love it, I really did. And don’t get me wrong, it was still an enjoyable read — it just didn’t have the same magic to it that The Darkest Minds had when I read it for the fist time when it was released. I know it’s wrong of me to launch into this whole new books expecting that it would be exactly like The Darkest Minds and I’d love it just as much, because it’s unreasonable to expect my reading tastes — and the writing style of the author — to not have changed for years on end. 

But that didn’t mean that I didn’t try to love it. And for the most part, it was a really excellent novel. I enjoyed reading from Zu’s perspective, who was one of my favourite characters from the original trilogy (and I loved seeing her on screen recently in the adaptation of The Darkest Minds), and I loved all the reminiscing it contained back to the original gang with Ruby and Chubs and the good old days in the Black Betty. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I loved it for nostalgia’s sake. The story itself was nothing spectacular to me, and I just don’t really know why this series was extended. Some things are better left untouched.

Maybe if I’d read this book immediately after reading (or rereading) The Darkest Minds trilogy, I would have liked it more. But I didn’t, and therefore there was a whole lot of confusion about whether characters I was meeting were ones I was meant to have remembered of if they were new, and it just felt a little messy at times. The pacing was also a little jarring for me, like there was massive action sequences that moved really fast and then chapters where not much happened. Ultimately, I think I just missed the original gang of characters and was reminded why I typically avoid books surrounding series I’ve grown up loving.


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Impostors

Another prime example of this is in Scott Westerfeld’s new novel, Impostors, however this one was a little bit different. Something I admire about Scott’s writing in this novel was how he didn’t rely too much on characters from the Uglies series — they were more ‘historic’ figures. Instead, what he did was take us on a whole new journey with a new protagonist and someone who I was really interested in reading more about. But this could have easily been a book set in another world or place. In the same world as Uglies, it just felt like the plot had been done before (without body-doubles however, but close enough). 

But perhaps what I liked most about Scott Westerfeld’s latest release was just how fun it was. It wasn’t a book I had to think too hard about, save for the five seconds I spent having to think about who Tally was, and all the action and adventure made it something I was happy to fall into. While some of the romance elements did feel a little shallow to me, I enjoyed the aspects surrounding family loyalty and friendship, and gosh, the sisters were just excellent. In saying that, I don’t think I feel compelled enough to read the next book. Can you believe this is the fifth book set in the Uglies world?! I think I’m finished for now. The original series will always hold a special place in my heart, but Impostors was nothing but a fun read I’ll quickly forget. 

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Whether it be because of my stubbornness towards getting to know new characters from series I’ve grown up loving or because I feel like it’s kind of cheating to write another book from a long-finished series to rope all the old fans back in, I don’t think spin-offs or additions are really for me. I’m glad I gave these two a go, but I think I’m going to steer clear of them for now. I’m happy with the memories of the series I spent my early teen years swooning over.

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What do you think about books that continue a series that had supposedly finished years ago? Have you read any of them, like The Darkest Legacy or Impostors? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks to HarperCollins and Allen & Unwin for proving me with a copy of The Darkest Legacy and Impostors in exchange for an honest review!

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18 thoughts on “Hang on… Didn’t That Series End?

  1. I am excited to know there’s more to the books that has ended ages ago, but still I am scared to read and I am afraid that it would ruin my whole perspective of the books!

  2. Both the Mortal Engines series and the Edge Chronicles kept going after they appeared to end as well, and while they were readable they didn’t quite hit the same heights.

  3. I definitely agree with you about not understating the importance of the books you fell in love with when you were younger – even if you now realise they weren’t the best. For example, I was 14 in 2008 when the Twilight saga really took off, and though Twilight is definitely not the best, a good proportion of my classmates and I were reading those books under the table at school. That says something, right?! And I don’t mind new additions to series so long as they’re “spin offs” – I’m not a fan of revisiting characters after they’ve had their happily-ever-after.

    • Haha I agree! I’ve read sneakily during class so many times – and the Kindle app on a laptop helps 😂 And I like spin offs too, as long as they take a different direction and aren’t just a replication of the original series with different characters 🙌🏻

  4. I’m quite divided on this. On one hand, I LOVE when a series I adore continues because I can never get enough of it, but you can always tell when a series is continuing because of the publisher wanting to milk it for all the money its worth and that really takes the enjoyment away.

  5. I think there is a fine line between being excited for more books and being annoyed that books keep popping out. I am annoyed at The Mortal Instruments Series because the original series has 6 books by itself and who knows how many related spin offs there are. I read a lot of them but now there are just too many and there is no way I can re-read them all. At some point I want new stuff! But the His Fair Assassin series is coming out with a 4th book that is technically part of a new duology and I am super excited about it! I think it comes down to I like to re-read the released books before reading the new ones and I can re-read 3 books but not 15. Too much of a good thing can be bad! You want to keep your readers but you also don’t want to flood the market! Great post!!

  6. I definitely understand what you mean! When I was younger, I read books that I absolutely loved and introduced me to the world of books. Reading them was like jumping into a whole ‘nother world that I don’t think I can ever forget. But as much as it’s unforgettable, I completely understand what you’re saying about having a hard time going back to them. Our style and outlook on books has changed so much, that it would be difficult to enjoy these books the same way.
    And as for Uglies, I absolutely loved those first few books out of that series, it was for sure amazing! But I haven’t read Imposters yet, and I can already tell that Scott Westerfield is juicing an orange that has nothing left inside it, if you know what I mean. It’s a great series, when it first began, but Westerfield can’t keep trying to get money out of something that has been LONG overdue.

  7. This was a wonderful read!

    A rather long time ago (LONG ago now that I think of it) I read the Percy Jackson series and fell in love with it. The ending came and…that was that. But then lo and behold–a second series came out! I was absolutely ecstatic to read it, which only made my disappointment all the more raw. I think that a lot of second series and unplanned second books connect far too much with the original book/series in the authors’ mind to become its own project…but at the same time I think many of them fall over pretty quickly when you try and view it as a stand alone work.

    Don’t get me wrong–this is an excellent marketing technique and you’re very likely to make at least a few sheckles off of it. But in the end many of ‘these last minute ‘oh-these-things-also-totally-happened!’ types of works don’t have many merits outside of twisting your nostalgia and making the author some more money.

  8. I’m exactly the same! My tastes have changed and so I don’t love books like I used to 😦 I personally won’t read any additions to old series. They often don’t capture the magic of the original series and, this may be the cynic in me talking, but I just feel like the publishers are trying to get more money by releasing another book that isn’t really necessary. Great post 🙂

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