A Series of Posts About Series - Part 1

I was going to wait until I got up to A Dance to the Music of Time to write this post, but since that's in the upper half of The List, it's still appallingly far away, and I'm reading Out of Oz right now, dammit!

In case you have no idea where I'm going with this, Out of Oz is the last book in Gregory Maguire's Wicked Years series, basically a gritty reboot of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. I'll tell you what I actually think of the book and the series when I review it, but it's gotten me pondering, once again, all of the different series that I've read or am currently not finished reading.

Book series are interesting things, and I really don't go into them lightly, because as a completionist I have terrible compulsions to finish anything I start at all costs, which I've talked about before. Still, sometimes you don't know that a book is part of a series, or only one book has really stood out over time (e.g. The Magnificent Ambersons, actually part of a trilogy). I can also get really turned off by a book when I find out that it's part of a series. Of course, book sequels and trilogies aren't usually the kind of obvious cash-ins that movies are, but they certainly can be, and books require a lot more time and energy to consume than movies do, and I don't want to have to spend weeks reading the earlier books in a series when only the fourth book looks interesting.

Anyway, this post is about the series that I haven't finished. They're in alphabetical order by series title, and may give you a bit of an idea of what kind of random reviews will be coming up. Maybe I'll save the series that I have finished for when I get to A Dance to the Music of Time after all.

Acorna Universe
Author: Anne McCaffrey, Margaret Ball, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough

Confession time: I love unicorns. I'm not sure exactly when this started, but I know it had lots to do with old school My Little Pony, The Last Unicorn movie, and Unico in the Island of Magic. Between the ages of probably three to six years old, whenever I encountered a wishing well I wished for a baby unicorn. Seriously. Anyway I'm the prime target for a series of books about a unicorn girl, and I sincerely loved the first few of the books in this one. Acorna is an alien found by three space miners, and the initial stories about her growing up with a set of very confused dudes are quite good, but the books are somewhat derailed when the other members of her species show up. I also got jaded on Anne McCaffrey before I got through the series.

Will I Finish It? Extremely doubtful. I would consider revisiting some of the earlier books, but the fact that I don't care about the story at all anymore is a pretty good indication that I don't need to bother finding out what eventually happens.

Bitterbynde Trilogy
Author: Cecilia Dart-Thornton

I've been oddly fascinated by muteness since I read L. M. Montgomery's extremely romantic Kilmeny of the Orchard, so the first book of this trilogy, The Ill-Made Mute, couldn't fail to catch my eye. The book is about a person who's been disfigured by some sort of magical poison and features all kinds of cool things like sky pirates, but an ending transformation soured me on it.

Will I Finish It? I haven't had any urge to return to the series after the disappointing ending to the first book, and given my general impatience with fantasy nowadays, I doubt I'll bother going back to this trilogy.

The Black Book (Diary of a Teenage Stud)
Author: Jonah Black

This series is extremely mysterious, as I just discovered while trying to track it down for the purposes of this post. I heard about the first book (Girls, Girls, Girls) in Teen People magazine, which I mind-bogglingly had a subscription to in the late 90s/early 00s, but only found the second book (Stop, Don't Stop) at the library. I read it and loved it. Jonah Black is a hero in the vein of Holden Caulfield, modernized, or at least that's how I remember him after a decade. There doesn't seem to be information anywhere about who actually wrote these books, and they apparently weren't that widely read, because wikipedia doesn't even have a stub article about them.

Will I Finish It? I don't think so. I remember good things in this book about teen sexuality and so on, but I think I've moved so far past the target audience that it's too late to put in the effort to track down all of the books.

The Dark Tower
Author: Stephen King

This series is King's opus, about a gunslinger chasing a man across a disintegrating world. I'm a moderate to huge fan of King's, and I've read the first three books of this series and also a prequel tie-in that was in his Everything's Eventual short story collection. I'm a lot more picky about fantasy these days, but this is unique enough to hold my attention.

Will I Finish It? Absolutely yes. At this point it's been so long since I read the first books, I pretty much have to reread all of them. Sadly the series apparently falters at the end, but that's not going to stop me.

Author: Terry Pratchett

I almost definitely haven't sung Terry Pratchett's praises anywhere near enough on this blog so far. He's one of my favourite--if not my absolute favourite--authors, and I've read at least ten of this fantasy series, set on a disc-shaped world, held up by four elephants, all riding on the back of a space turtle. The series has basically everything: witches, wizards, vampires, werewolves, dwarves, barbarians, deities, and above all EXTREME HILARITY. I've jumped into it willy-nilly (basically whatever I could grab at the library or spot in the bookstore when I had spare change) for a dozen plus years now. I should also note that there's a YA sub-series about a girl named Tiffany Aching that is absolutely remarkable.

Will I Finish It? My plan is to read/reread the entire series from start to finish in the very near future. Don't worry, though, I'll still try to provide some variety in my reviews.

Dragonriders of Pern
Author: Anne McCaffrey

Say what you will about Anne McCaffrey, the woman was an absolute genius for cool concepts. Pern is a planet plagued occasionally by a destructive rain of "Thread." When it was settled by humans, they ended up genetically engineering intelligent dragons to help combat the Thread. This all sounds 100% hokey but makes perfect sense in-universe. The series is an intriguing mixture of fantasy and science fiction, but either the writing or storytelling eventually leave a lot to be desired. I think I read the whole original trilogy and cherry-picked a few other books in the series, intending to to read all of it but getting bored by Nerilka's Story and The Skies of Pern.

Will I Finish It? This is another series where I'd be more likely to go back to earlier books than to actually finish reading. Anne McCaffrey's son Todd has inherited the series, which feels a lot like Brian Herbert's inheritance of Dune: something I'm not at all interested in.

Earth's Children
Author: Jean M. Auel

This series was the subject of one of my “classic” reviews from that awkward in between period where I couldn't figure out whether I wanted to make fun of romance novels or not anymore. Anyway, it's basically about a cave woman who invents everything and has lots of hot sex, and ridiculous as that is, I can't get enough of it. The Land of Painted Caves book is reportedly the absolute final book in the series, and it's the only one I haven't read yet.

Will I Finish It? I'll definitely be grabbing that last book from the library one of these days.


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