I’ve been reading David Drake’s Daniel Leary series over the past couple of months. There are several books in the series, but I realized that it is taking me longer to finish than is usual for me. I even read a couple of other books in between these, and gobbled them up with my usual enthusiasm. The books aren’t bad, but I think they suffer from a syndrome I’ve dubbed “popular series sameness.”
There are several authors whose characters or worlds become highly beloved by their readers. Rather than end those on a high note, the authors keep writing books to satisfy their fans. After a while, those books start to look much too similar. There are no new ideas or scenarios, just altered situations still very much like the books before them. They probably feel nice and comfy to the fans, but for me they eventually lose their appeal.
However, instead of just walking away from this series, I find myself continuing it but at a very slow pace. This is a clear sign that the books have lost their luster. They don’t grip me to the point where I must finish them. I suppose we can’t hope for all the books we read to be that compelling. These have a fairly relaxing predictability. Maybe that is what the author wants.
Unlike my husband, I rarely just put a book down and don’t finish it. I guess I’m stubborn that way. I’ve given up on a few series, but usually after I’ve at least finished the last book I was willing to read in them. I can’t think of very many books that I never finished once I started them. The Silmarillion is one of them. I love Tolkien’s books, but I couldn’t finish his Middle Earth “bible.” Laurell Hamilton is on my short list. She started catering to a certain audience and let her main character slip into something very unlikeable to me. Maybe that is the one thing that will overcome my reading stubbornness; when an author’s greed makes them untrue to their own work.