Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Breaking the Habit: On Series That Go Bad

It's been a couple of days since I started reading Deadly Desire by Keri Arthur and let's just say progress has been slow. I went into this book with something less than rabid enthusiasm because frankly, I've been kind of bored with the series for some time. It's hard for me to decide whether to continue after six books of loyal, if not thoroughly enjoyable reading. But the fact is, my TBR pile is 50+ books deep (that's not an exaggeration) and at that rate, if a book doesn't feel remarkable to me in some way I really should just move on from it.

My reasons for pushing forward with this series are much the same as the reasons one continues with any series. The first three books left me with such a strong (and generally positive) impression of the characters that I really wanted to see more of them. I think the world Keri Arthur presents is imaginative and fun, with an enormous amount of potential. So very much potential...so very little done with it.

So here are my issues, and some of them have nothing to do with author talent and everything to do with my personal taste as a reader. This is just an effort on my behalf to explain my reasons for quitting 6.5 books into a series.

1) I don't like detective stories. Yes, I know, Riley Jenson solves murders, so why read the books if I don't like murder mysteries. But the initial books most often had a lot more to them--action, sciencey weirdness, world building. The recent few, and certainly this one, have been about Riley working on one or two cases, with the overarching plotlines progressing very slowly. And no, the fact that the mysteries involve vampires and sorcerers don't make it at all more entertaining to me.

2) I want Riley to grow and develop and stop repeating herself. Especially with regard to her romantic escapades. I'm fine with a slutty heroine, and that was certainly how she was described right from the beginning. But ultimately she does want a happily-ever-after, she says so repeatedly. Yet every book is a minor variation of the same emotional issues: She loves Quinn the vampire, as much she's able anyway, and she'll TRY to be faithful to him...unless something better comes along. That just damages my opinion of her and ultimately, makes me less likely to find any eventual happy ending believable or satisfying.

3) It's book seven, I need more. I need the overarching plot to explode into something huge and earth shattering. Or at least, I need to be rewarded for reading six books with the same characters. Now, as far as I can keep straight the series wide concerns are Riley's developing powers, her struggles with her nature, and her ongoing search for her one true mate. The developing powers are interesting, but not enough to carry a book alone. Riley doesn't so much struggle with her nature as use it for an excuse for her thoughts and behavior, like--"I can't help that I'm a horny slut, that's what werewolves do!" And finally, in this book Riley realizes the identity of her werewolf soul mate, but not in away that's romantic or even satisfying. It's more that I got a sense of an additional conflict to be dragged out over the remaining books, and I can't imagine any outcome that might make it worth my while.

I think the bottom line is that I don't really like Riley that much any more. Arthur has failed to develop her enough to impress me, and that's a shame. I just don't care at this point. And so I think this series is going to go unfinished.

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