Words: Series Fiction Considered

I have a number of new books for you this outing, every one of them, not at all surprisingly, either the start of a new series or the continuation of an existing series. If you’re anything like me, you like series for their ability to develop characters and their story over an extended period.

(Warning: There Might Be Spoilers after this!)

How about killing your main character off and having him exist only as a ghost? In the thirteenth novel in his Harry Dresden series, Ghost Story, Jim Butcher does just that. That’s certainly shaking up a series!

On the other hand, it’s possible for a series to outlast its welcome. Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld series ran just five volumes, but I feel that only the first two, To Your Scattered Bodies Go and The Fabulous Riverboat, are worth your time. After reading the fourth book, The Magic Labyrinth, I’d guess our reviewer probably agrees with me.

Hard Spell is Justin Gustainis’ spin on the literary genre of police procedurals, but set in a world where Things That Go Bump in The Night came out of the broom closet after the Second World War. It’s the first book in a new series featuring a Scranton, PA-based Occult Crimes Unit, so you can start it without needing to catch up!

Or perhaps you’d like a political thriller where everything literally goes to Hell? Gustainis’ Sympathy For The Devil comes after Evil Ways in his other on-going series that  features Quincy Morris and Libby Chastai, two not so gentle characters.

Ever read Bill Willingham’s Fables series? Did you like it? (I did.) If you did too, you’ll love Jim C. Hines’ The Snow Queen’s Shadow, but you can’t read this one until you’ve read the first three in the series: The Stepsister Scheme, The Mermaid’s Madness, and Red Hood’s Revenge. Needless to say this review has spoilers in it, so read it only after you read the first three books!

Let’s finish off with Mercedes Lackey’s The Sleeping Beauty, which is the fifth novel in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series. It is on the Harlequin Luna imprint so I suspect that though our reviewer calls it a romantic comedy, it’s marketed as a bodice ripper of sorts. It does appear not to require prior knowledge of what has happened in the series, though.

2 comments to Words: Series Fiction Considered

  • J.J.S. Boyce

    Jo Walton recently asked the question: if you only want to read one book in a series, which is the one you just can’t miss?

  • Usually that it’d be the first one in the series though not always as
    Simon R. Green’s Blue Moon series has its best book in the third volume, Beyond the Blue Moon, and I think likewise that Gibson’s Mona Lisa Overdrive is the best of the Sprawl books. Some authors take longer to hit their full stride.

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