If there’s anything I love more than finding a good book, it’s finding out that the good book is part of a series with more stories about the characters that I have come to love. As a kid, I snapped up those Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, the Chronicles Of Narnia tales, and of course every Anne Of Green Gables book.
But sometimes a series goes on too long. Let’s take “At Home In Mitford” as an example. There are the original four books: At Home In Mitford, A Light In The Window, These High Green Hills, and Out To Canaan. The books were fantastic, and it seemed that the story had come to a natural end. But then author Jan Karon went on to write seven more complete novels and a few novellas about Mitford! I must confess I read most of the additional novels, but none of them (in my opinion) were of the same caliber as the original four. I think the author put her heart and soul and best plots into the ones she intended to write, and then had to really stretch to find new ideas for the other books.
Another great example is the “Left Behind” series by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. It’s twelve volumes long., and depicts the end of the world, from a Christian worldview. The first book was exciting because so many important events happened. The second book dragged, but it was necessary to read before the third book, which was great. Each book added more characters, and after awhile it was hard to keep track of everyone. The very last book didn’t seem to have enough material to write a whole book on. After writing the dozen volumes, the authors went on to write three prequels, bring the series to 15 volumes!
Right now I’m finishing up the “Janie” series by Caroline B. Cooney. Like the Mitford series, it was originally four volumes long: The Face On The Milk Carton, Whatever Happened To Janie, The Voice On The Radio, and What Janie Found. Thirteen years later, the author published an additional book, “Janie Face To Face”. It was a more complete ending than “What Janie Found”. At last the readers got a peak into the mind of the kidnapper, and saw what life was like for her after committing the crime.
Having weak spots in most series is just inevitable, I guess. It’s almost impossible to keep the story moving at the perfect pace for the perfect amount of time. But don’t let that keep you from reading and loving a good book series.