Friday, 27 April 2012

Standalones vs. Series

Standalones: the dying race of YA novels.

Okay, so not completely true. It's not like they're nowhere in sight... I read Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson just last week and there is no sequel (as far as I know) for that one. In general though, I feel like 95% of the books I read are part of a series/have a companion novel.

And I love that.

(Most of the time)

I KNOW. I feel like everywhere I go online, people are complaining about the lack of standalones, and with some very convincing arguments! I think my personal favourite is Ash (<3) from Typing Tiara's song because that is SKILL right there. I understand that side of the argument too because omg, sometimes it feels like a series has 7000 books that I have to read and as a reader that hates reading out of order, that can be discouraging.

I actually started to outline all the reasons I generally prefer a series over standalone but then I realized that they're all essentially the same:

I'm a greedy reader.

I want more character development and more adventures. I want more romance and more kissing. I want more words and pages and stories. If I like an author/character/world, I just want to read more more more and having a series (be it trilogy or quartet or whatever) just feeds that need for MORE.

I get so attached to some characters (Harry, m'boy, I'm looking at you) that I just feel really SAD when a series is over and I don't get to see them again. (I actually still re-read the whole HP series like once every 2 months, but shhh).

Companion novels are kind of the best of both worlds where you get a separate story but also a journey through the same world or with some familiar characters.

And, of course, some books work better as standalones because that's just the way it is. If all the loose ends are tied up and enough has taken place, I'll be satisfied with a standalone.

Kind of.

On an unrelated sidenote: MY HEART when I look at the David Tennant gif... it breaks into a million pieces. 

Thoughts? ANGRY DISAGREEMENTS? Please feel free to share whatever you're thinking in the comments section! :)


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  2. OMG THOSE GIFS! *steals them* I completely agree with you! I love standalones and I wished there were more of them but I always prefer series if they're written right. Like you I want more development in my characters . . . more romance . . . more kissing . . . so series all the way! But in the end, it depends on the story or how the book/s are written. If all loose ends can be tied up then I love standalones if not . . . I like some companion novels.

  3. I so agree with you, Sonia! While it's so refreshing to read a standalone every once in a while and the END OF BOOK ONE (or was it, To be continued?) in The Hunger Games had me going, Wait, what? Sequels and the later parts of the series always end up being worth my while! Sure, sometimes they are so not needed. They can't live up to the first book. But most of the time they only get better and leave more room for character development and plotlines and even RELATIONSHIP development.

    But while series are fun, it's great to read a cute little standalone or even a not-so-cute standalone every once in a while- especially from the author of your fave series. It's different from what you usually get and it's fun! But I get why spin offs and sequels happen- there's always so much more from where it came from.

    That's precisely why I also prefer TV series to movies- everything I need is perfectly paced and spread out over episodes. Companion novels are of course, awesome! I cannot get enough of Sarah Dessen's and Stephenie Perkins' novels! I LOVE the places they take place in and the characters but it's different people and perspectives every time, so it never gets old!

    Sorry for the longwinded comment :P I tend to ramble. But GREAT post! :D I loved reading it! And the GIFs are brilliant!

  4. :) I always prefer series too because i love feeling excitement for the next book to come out. I did read a stand-alone a few weeks ago, take a bow by elizabeth eulberg, that i felt was perfect as a stand-alone because it contained a great story and great character development that i enjoyed it as much as a series.

  5. I feel the love, Sonia! <3 [Thinking about doing a sing-a-long vlog for those lyrics!]

    On its own merit your post is great and you already know I agree one hundred bajillion percent. [Good thing I'm not a math major, right?]

    And your gifs ROCK. Majorly.

  6. I'm sort of torn. I'm a greedy reader too, but I am also very, very impatient. And forgetful. So by the time the next book in a series does come out, I've already forgotten everything that happened in the previous one :P. I do like standalones, but then some books just NEED to be a series. Like The Infernal Devices. And Harry Potter (my favourite of all time). So yes, this was essentially some random rambling illustrating the fact that I am undecided on this issue :P. Great post! And love the gifs :P.

  7. I mostly prefer series tbh, like you say, I like all the development etc that comes with them. I feel contemps work well as standalones; they're usually stuff that's resolved well within one book but yeah, most of the time I do enjoy a good series. Unless it's been like, needlessly turned into a series from a standalone; that bugs me

    Awesome post, like your choice of gifs. =[ to the last one!!

    The Cait Files

  8. From a writing perspective, I also prefer series to standalones, just because it always feels like there's *so* much to cover and one book just isn't going to cut it. And when I'm actually reading a book, I do like having more development and seeing more of the characters and the world and whatnot.

    So I agree. Series for me.

    - May :)

  9. I'm a greedy reader.

    I think you summed up everything I feel about this with that one sentence :D

    I AM FREAKING GREEDY. I CAN'T say goodbye after just one book when I have grown so damn attached to these amazing characters. I want to see them again and again in more interactions, more heartbreaking moments, more kissy kissy sexy sexy. I want to explore every tiny layer and I feel that's usually best done over multiple books. Definitely, an author can pull it off with one, but the simple fact is: I want more, goddamnit!

    I really want to find more in the length of HP and VA. Where are the 6 and 7 book series? I'm okay with trilogies, but even then, MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE! *roars*

    So. Um. Yeah. Series all the way for me. As demonstrated in my totally deep and thoughtful comment :D

  10. I didn`t really thought about that.. In Romania the standalones are promoted as much as the series.. Again , it depends.On my case,There are books that I absolutely love and I want a sequel but there are books that I think they don`t need to be a series..

  11. ...I can't believe you put DT and HP in one post. DT crying = MY EMOOOOSHUUUUNS! :'(

    I'm torn. I kind of like a mix of both, but it feels like 90% (easy--probably more) of what I read are series. I understand why this is good from a publisher's POV. Book has an instant market, instant sales, pre-orders, etc... but... yeah.

    Sometimes I love a standalone. A book with a beginning, middle, and end. A book where I have the satisfaction of ym happily ever after when I turn the final page, if you know what I mean?

    And you know, if I look at my fave books, they're a fairly even spread of both, which is INTERESTING, because I read more series than standalones... huh....

    GREAT post :D