Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Disappointing Series Enders

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! This week we are discussing disappointing series enders. I read a lot of series, so I have a lot to draw from for this week's topic.
 Top Ten Tuesday is a meme started on the Broke and the Bookish blog.
 They set the topic, we make the lists. Visit their site to see more on this topic!

Kelley Armstrong – Darkest Powers & Darkness Rising trilogies. 
I love Kelley Armstrong’s books, but I was very disappointed with the ending to the teen Darkest Powers and Darkness Rising trilogies. This story arc flowed over 2 trilogies, where each trilogy starred a different cast of characters. When the last of the 6 books finished, it felt like there needed to be more. The main characters did not have any participation in the solution to their problems. I mean…they found out they were supernatural, had been experimented on to create those powers, ran away…and then at the end, they were given a place to grow up by the same people who started their problems in the beginning. The solution was arrived at off scene (by the adults) and the main characters had no real say in that solution. It felt a little like a cop-out. The books are still entertaining and I recommend them to readers of all ages, but just be aware that the ending leaves a little to be desired.    

Charlaine Harris – Sookie Stackhouse Series
Here is another series where I was desperately waiting (for 13 books) for a stupendous series ender and the last book was underwhelming. It felt a little “well of course this is how it is going to end.” There were no real surprises and very little of the characters we have come to know and love (or hate). It seems like a few of our beloved main characters checked-out a few books back, taking the adventure with them. All that was left was emotional angst, which really wasn’t enough to keep the book interesting.
Yes, I know that Harris is going to come out with “After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse” in October, which will contain a series of vignettes used to tie up some of the story’s loose ends, but the 13th book was the last of the series and it didn’t live up to the adventure of the books at the beginning.

Barbara HamblyDarwath Series
This is an old series (1982-1998), but it is one of my all-time favorites. I really do love my swashbuckling, sword swinging, magic throwing, people stolen out of our world and taken to a new reality, fighting big bad alien stories, but the two books ending this awesome series fell flat. The first three books (starting with Time of the Dark) make a complete story arc, and it often feels that the last two were just tacked onto the end. In fact, this is one of my most re-read set of stories – I go back and reread the first 3 books every couple of years, but I have never gone back to read books 4 or 5. 
What’s really funny is that in writing this posting, I realized that I want to reread the series and I went to order the books for my Nook – I found that the first three books are offered as a bundle… not all five books. It seems like a deliberate snub to books 4 or 5...or is it just that other people agree with me?  

Rachel Caine – Outcast Season Series
I hate books that rely on a totally different series to explain the goings-on and endings of the set you are reading. This is my main problem with Rachel Caine’s Outcast Season. I liked the characters and the storyline (about a genie trapped in a human body on Earth), but because Outcast Season ran concurrently with Caine’s Weather Warden series, things in Outcast kept referencing the other series. And, because I don’t read the Weather Warden series, I totally did not understand the ending to Outcast Season. I hate walking away from a completed series and thinking, “What are we talking about, why did that happen, and who was that who came in and saved the day?” It is just frustrating.

Richelle MeadDark Swan Series
This story line had so much potential. Shamans, elves, other worlds trying to take over this one, Kings, prophesies, assassination attempts, demons, unexpected pregnancies that could birth a potential Evil Overlord, this series was shaping up to be totally awesome and then it just ended.  So the babies were born and hidden away and …what? Nothing. End of story. There has to be more, but the only way I will find out is if I imagine it. Me? Do the storytelling work? Well, no thank you. I want my fantasies spoonfed to me.

Kim HarrisonMadison Avery Trilogy
I love Kim Harrison’s Hallows series. I’ve read all 11 books and am highly anticipating the next. So, I expected her teen Madison Avery series to be just as good. I mean, a girl who is a ghost (sort-of), can control time, is searching for her body in order to become not-dead, has a smokin’ guardian angel watching her (just to make sure she doesn’t go over to the other side), and is in charge of reapers (death angels) just sounds all too intriguing. But, the series just sort of fizzles and left me wanting a stronger resolution.

Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games Trilogy
Overall, I really liked the Hunger Games trilogy, but I thought the third book, Mockingjay, was the weakest of the set. I understand Collins' intent, to demonstrate the horrors of war and the psychological trauma that’s one of its major consequences, but taking Katniss out of the action of the third book made it a slow read and made the reader feel disconnected from the plotline. I think the third book had too much thinking and not enough action in it. 

Alan Dean Foster – Pip and Flinx Series
Alan Dean Foster is a great writer.  I have read almost all of his books, but my special favorites were the Pip and Flinx books. A psychic orphan thief and a flying empathetic snake is just plain fun.  After a 35 year run, when the series ended in 2009 (with the 14th book), I was both excited to read it and sad to see it end. 
There were a couple of problems with the book.  First, some of the science/transcendental elements of the novel were beyond me.  I ended up thinking, “What just happened here?”  And, second, it didn’t really feel like the end of the series.  It felt like there was more to be said and that just might be the case.  I attended a conference where Alan Dean Foster spoke.  He said that he did not actually intend to end the series with “Flinx Transcendent”, just the major story arc.  But his publishers publicized it as “the End of the Series,” so what was a poor author to do?  Oh, yeah... end the series.  

Jane Lindskold – Through Wolf's Eyes Series
Jane Lindskold tells a great story.  Her characters are different and unique.  You will never see anything like them.  I loved this series, with an orphan raised by talking wolves, people with gifts, monarchs of warring countries, and politicians encouraging political intrigue.  But it seemed the last two books of this series wandered away from the fun and adventure of the first four books of the series.  Politics seemed to come to the fore instead of questing and daring exploits.  This was a good series, but I really want more adventure.

David Weber &; John Ringo - Empire of Man Series
I love the first three books of this series.  They are some of my favorite military science fiction mixed with an alien planet, political intrigue, practical examples of survival of the fittest, and lots of shooting.  The first three books cover the protagonist’s march across an alien planet.  The last book “We Few” takes place after they (well, some of them) get off the planet.  And, while I understand the need to go back and complete the mission and save the Empress of a multi-planet empire, the last book almost seemed like the beginning of a totally different series.  Although the characters were the same, it just wasn’t the same story.  But, if you are looking for good, adventure-packed, military science fiction, I recommend you try the first three in the series. 

Just to show the other side of the story, here are some Good Series Enders.
-Barbara Hambly – the Sun Wolf and Starhawk trilogy & the Windrose Chronicles
-Nicole Peeler – the Jane True series
-Cassandra Clare – the Infernal Devices trilogy
-Richelle Mead –the Vampire Academy series
-Lisa McMann – the Wake trilogy
-Ann Aguirre – the Corine Solomon series & the Sirantha Jax series
-Christine Feehan – the Sea Haven / Drake Sisters series
-Alan Dean Foster – the Founding of the Commonwealth trilogy & the Icerigger trilogy
-Brent Weeks – the Night Angel trilogy

~Mary P.


  1. I haven't read the last YA KArmstrong book. I liked the first trilogy but I'm not a big fan of the second. There's something about the heroine that I can't connect with.

    My Best & Worst

    1. I really liked the short stories (e-novellas) that Armstrong wrote in this series. They really flesh out the stories of Claire and Derrick and were a good component to the series.
      [FYI: The Darkest Powers Bonus Pack 1(2011) & 2 (2012) - Kindle only]

  2. Mockingjay 100%! It made my list too! I haven't finished Richelle Mead's Dark Swan series, but I've heard similar things about it.

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

    1. I liked your list. I had the hardest time coming up with 10, too. I felt bad going back to the 1990s, but most of my series haven't finished yet!