Discussion: Length of a Book Series

A co-worker and I were recently talking to a patron about book series and how some of them can get to be too long, and honestly, I think it’s a problem with how long some series go on. Trust me, I love a good series where I can keep on reading about the lives of characters I love, but when does it get to be too much? How many books are the perfect amount for a series?

THE PERFECT LENGTH

If I have to choose, I’d say that trilogies are best type of series. Three seems to be the magic number when it comes to a book series. You get enough of your favorite characters without getting sick of them or having the story wear out. Most series can have a good ending by the third book, so just leave it at that, right? Right.

Except, some don’t. Some authors come out with prequels, which is actually a cool idea and I have no issues with whatsoever. On the other hand, there are some authors who have written spin-off tales that happen in between the series. However, I think can make it confusing for those who find the series later on. It happened recently with a patron at work and I had to explain that the book wasn’t really part of the main storyline, but an aside. So while spin-offs are cool in a way, I think they need to be limited in how many there are.

GOING PAST THREE BOOKS

When it comes to a series that goes over three books and if it’s too much or not, I think it depends on the series. There are some I have read that are 12-14 books long and I love the series all the way through and don’t tire of it. And of course Harry Potter is perfect at its seven books, as is The Land of Stories at six books. Then you have some authors like James Patterson or Patricia Cornwell whose book series’ never seem to end. Ever.

One of my co-workers was talking about these authors and how the early books are great, but as the series goes on, it dies out because it even seems like the author is sick of writing them. I can see that because twenty books in, how much more can you cover with a character? Seriously? I think some of these adult authors need to learn from the young-adult authors and stick to shorter series, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Then, of course, you have Agatha Christie whose Hercule Poirot series is 40-something books. Then again, we’re talking about Agatha Christie here. She makes the rules when it comes to series.

On that note, I’d like to share some of my favorite series that are, in fact, longer than three books, yet I don’t feel as if the series is “too long” at all.

SERIES I RECOMMEND (LONGER THAN THREE BOOKS)

The Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter – 6 books

The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer – 6 books

Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins – 12 books (and two or three prequels/spin offs)

Private by Kate Brian – 14 books (plus a prequel)

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – 7 books

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani – 6 books (I haven’t finished yet, but I love them)

LAST THOUGHTS

Aside from all these there are the classic series like Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys that are yet another exception to a series being too long. Even if you’re sick of them, they’re an exception. There’s always going to be kids reading those books, so why not have some modernized tales of those beloved characters written?

So really, for me, it depends on how the series is written over the course of the books, but I would like the series to end that some point. There are other books out there, after all.

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What’s your take on series? How long is too long? What’s the perfect amount for a series? And what are some of your favorite long series? Comment below!
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13 thoughts on “Discussion: Length of a Book Series

      • Genie in a Novel says:

        I actually didn’t say that. I didn’t respond because I typically do not get myself involved in online discussions about these sorts of matters. Just because I enjoy Harry Potter doesn’t mean I don’t care about people.

        However, despite what JKR’s beliefs are, it doesn’t change the fact that Harry Potter is a well-written, fantastic story that, until this all came into light, did change people’s lives. Boycotting her past work now or no longer recommending it isn’t going to change her mind. Also, she’s not the only author out there who thinks the way she does or, more likely, has a questionable past.

        I do respect that you do not wish to separate the author and her work. I’m just able to separate the author and story. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t be reading very much anymore. Again, that doesn’t mean I don’t care about others. Just as I am able to separate artists like Michael Jackson from their music.

        I’m also going to leave this blog post I found here about being able to separate the two because I feel the blogger gets it across without turning it into an online bloodbath, and I agree with her perspective: https://sffoasis.com/2021/08/26/can-you-separate-jk-rowling-from-harry-potter/

        Like

      • Jayati says:

        Right but you did respond and then deleted your comment

        And sure I get what you’re saying about separating the art from the artist but when she says that most people who read Harry Potter agree with what she is saying and support her views and her words are being used to pass anti trans bills, by recommending her books and getting others to buy them, you are financially supporting her and giving her the backing to harm trans people so no, if you recommend her books you are hurting people.

        Also I read the article and well, what they seem to be saying is enjoying Harry Potter is okay and yes it is, enjoy it – but recommending it and financially supporting the author is a different thing

        Liked by 1 person

      • Genie in a Novel says:

        I did because I decided I didn’t want to get into it then. But you seem to have left me no choice.

        I can still recommend the books and not financially support her in doing so, as I’m not telling people to go buy the books. All I’m saying is that the books are enjoyable. In as far as getting the books to read them, people can use their libraries, borrow from friends, or buy them used.

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      • Jayati says:

        If you didn’t want to get into it, you really show how mess you care about trans people and listening to their voices

        actually no, you can’t – I never said the books weren’t good although they are harmful and reinforce JKR’s ideas

        By recommending her books, you are giving her a platform and nothing will ever change how they harms trans lives even if you don’t want to accept it.

        And Michael Jackson is dead so listening to his music gals on a very different category since you can’t exactly either the platform of a dead person

        Like

      • Genie in a Novel says:

        Again, you’re saying I don’t care about people when you don’t even know me. This is what I meant by saying I didn’t want to get into it.

        And bringing up Michael Jackson was an example I was using due to his popularity, even after his death. The money is going somewhere regardless of the fact he’s dead.

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      • Jayati says:

        I don’t know you but when you refuse to listen to a trans person telling you how you are hurting them and other trans people by supporting JKR I can definitely infer that

        Yeah to the record company and his family who are not paedophiles while JKR is getting the money herself and furthering the anti trans agenda

        And again say you’re not financially supporting her, you’re still giving a terf a platform which hurts trans people too 🤷‍♀️

        Like

  1. spinellitwin says:

    The Hardy Boys and Chronicles of Narnia are two of my favorite series, and Harry Potter will always be one of my favorites as well! . And I’m happy to see Left Behind on here too! That was such a great series and it doesn’t get the love that it should!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Riddhi B. says:

    I personally feel book series like the Hercule Poirot books by Agatha Christie can be read as standalones as well, because they don’t really have a lot of link with previous books- I mean I have read a bunch of them, all haphazardly, but never really faced an issue.
    And I agree Nancy Drew and Harry Potters are very enjoyable!
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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