robinellen (robinellen) wrote,

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Book Report (94) and comment about series...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool). 'R' means it's a re-read. Brackets mean it's an ARC or e-galley. I'm linking to Tattered Cover's pages for the ARCs.

If you'd like to see my recent four-plus- and five-star recommendations, visit Robin ReadsnWrites.

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

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The Hunt, by Andrew Fukuda ****+ I definitely enjoyed this. I thought the premise was intriguing, and even though I'm not a fan of vampire/zombie-type stories, that premise kept me going. I liked Gene, and I found it interesting which aspects of his humanity he retained as he pretended to be like the others. I suspected Ashley June's secret pretty early on, but I thought her actions at the end were surprising (in a good way). I liked how the focus of the story slowly changed, and I'll definitely pick up the next one. The story: Gene lives alone after his father was infected a few years before. He remembers all the protections his father insisted he memorize, and he's careful to never let anyone see that he's not a vampire like they are. But when the Hunt once again comes into play, Gene's number is chosen, and he finds himself away from those protections and surrounded by blood-thirsty vampires intent on killing the hepers...and Gene is convinced they'll realize he's also a heper. Every moment holds tension and life-changing decisions, especially when Gene meets the hepers he's supposed to 'hunt.' (YA urban fantasy, released 5/12, publisher: St. Martin's Griffin)

I also skimmed (very quickly) a final book in a series. I think it was the fourth, though I won't swear to that. But I realized that although I enjoyed the first book (and gave it 4 1/2 stars), by the time this one came out, I'd completely lost interest. Here's the thing: I think authors get excited about the possibility of building a story arc which stretches over multiple books. They might think of Harry Potter or Twilight and the anticipation readers held for each subsequent book...but I gotta say, as a reader, this is soooooo rare.

I've read a number of YA series (and fyi, Twilight wasn't one of them -- I couldn't even get through the first one), and only a couple have managed to keep my attention throughout. However, there are different types of series -- those which have an on-going story arc and those which have the same characters but fairly self-contained arcs (or only separate arcs with one or two threads which spread over the whole series). The latter is much easier to pull off, imo. So of those I've read, the ones which worked well for me include Harry Potter (which was that rare combination of the two types -- large threads carried over, but each book was also somewhat self-contained), The Gallagher Girls (Ally Carter), Need (Carrie Jones), Wings (Aprilynne Pike) (though both of the last two had books within the series which lost my interest -- but by the fourth book, I was again intrigued), Gone (Michael Grant) (this definitely falls into the latter category with only one main thread carrying over and new challenges in each book -- and it's finally been resolved, even though I think there will be more forthcoming), Hex Hall (Rachel Hawkins), The Body Finder (Kimberly Derting), and Raised by Wolves (Jennifer Lynn Barnes) (though I haven't yet read the third, I bought it and plan to read it -- and I really enjoyed the first two).

Those which I haven't followed? Well, there are too many to list, to be honest, but they include a number of popular books (ie, YA bestsellers) and not as popular; all had a similar component for me, however. They resorted all too often to 'dirty' techniques to keep the story arc going -- the most common being someone keeping a secret from someone else for a reason which seemed completely unrealistic (to me). That actually wasn't the case in the one I just read -- in that series, I simply didn't care anymore. The characters and situations weren't intriguing enough for me to want to see what happened. I can think of nine series off the top of my head where I lost interest after the first book (ie, one of the following books pushed me beyond the point of caring) it's a risk. Even if your first book in a series is incredibly popular, it takes serious skill, imo, to pull off an entire series where readers will continue to care.

How about you? Do you like series or do you find they falter after a couple books?
Tags: book reports, book talk
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