Recently I posted a review of The Hunger Games (which I loved more than I felt I really should) which is of course the first books of The Hunger Games Trilogy. In the comments I got a comment from Andrew @ Where Pen Meets Paper. Andrew suggested that The Hunger Games lost something simply because of its nature as a first book of a series. It’s never something I have really put any thought into before but Andrew if right in at least one sense, when you read a book from a series it automatically has a predictability just because it is a series book. You know that no matter what happens in the story the main character is going to be okay (at least until the last book in the series) because otherwise the series couldn’t continue.
Does this really mean the book is spoiled though? Certainly it takes a certain level of suspense out of the story, and this is particularly pronounced in The Hunger Games because the main bulk of the story is about a battle to the death. However I do wonder how much you think of it at the time of reading though. If you are caught up in a story do you really start thinking rationally at moments of high tension? When Katniss was in danger can I really say that I thought ‘it’ll be okay, there are 2 more books, she has to survive’? I honestly can’t say I remember for that particular book that I thought it.
Plus maybe sometimes it’s a good thing to be able to think it. When all feels in despair and like nothing can ever save your lead character there is a certain comfort that you can think it will be okay because there is another book to come. I think I used this protectionism for a certain extent when reading the Harry Potter series, at times things looked helpless, I thought there was no way Harry could survive but I gained comfort from knowing there were still more books to come, so he must survive. It’s the same reason that only the last book really made me cry, I couldn’t have that comfort anymore.
I guess as well reading a series really spreads out the suspense, because you know someone will be okay by the end of the first books and the penultimate books but do you really know that they will be okay by the end of the last book?
What do you think does reading a series take something away from the story? Does it add something? Or is it just like reading a very long book with lots of twists and turns?