The Lament of the Unfinished Series

It used to be different. When I was a kid, there was a new Nancy Drew every few months. You had to wait but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It was anticipatory and exciting.

And then there was Harry Potter. I am proudly old enough to not only remember the first book coming out but having to wait for the second book (and the third, and so on). The hype, the fun, and the fanfare just increased with each book! It was a joyful thing to read one, read it again, and then wait for the next book. Harry Potter pre-dates the massive use of social media and one-click access to our favorite authors and waiting was still fairly normal. But as we moved from book one, published in 1997, to book seven, published in 2007, use of the internet and social media changed dramatically. Not to mention the binge watching brought to you by streaming video services.

The first time I felt a shift in attitudes was with Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. This book was recommended to me by a friend somewhere around 2012. That meant I was able to zip through both book one in The Kingkiller Chronicle and book two, The Wise Man’s Fear. Then, I knew I would have to wait because the friend had warned me that the series was unfinished. Which is fine by me but apparently untenable to others. Just take a quick peek at the Goodread’s comments for book three. Some of them are hilarious, some are from the author himself, and some are just absolutely ludicrous. The main theme is: you owe us this book. And, man, people have absolutely no problem telling this guy that he is not supposed to go anywhere, write anything, or have any thoughts that are not focused on finishing the third book.

The sentiment is tempting though, isn’t it? I know I have made at least one off-handed comment along the lines of, “please write faster dear author.” In fact, just last week I accidentally fell deeply in love with the Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer. I read A Curse so Dark and Lonely and immediately headed to my local bookstore for A Heart so Fierce and Broken. One hand closed the cover to the second book as the other hand reached for my phone to find out when the third book was going to be available. Some sources say 2021, others say later. And, you know, I was disappointed. I wanted it now. Which is just ridiculous.

In this day and age of on-demand full access, readers like me often extoll the virtue of books as being one of the last places you can find quiet. In fact, one of my favorite quotes about reading is,

“Reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes a place for that.” – John Green

I love that idea. The practice of reading. Of sinking into a favorite chair and becoming immersed in a story or another world. Finding that quiet.

I see a return to the emphasis of patience and anticipation in shows that debut weekly like The Mandalorian or the new Dr. Who series or (my personal favorite Schitt’s Creek). I have friends who are waiting for all the episodes to become available so they can binge watch them but I have re-arranged my schedule so that I can watch them one at a time as they become available.

The waiting is part of the fun. There are loads of other books to keep me company while I wait. Patiently and quietly.

Tell me, please!

How do you feel about reading unfinished series books?



13 thoughts on “The Lament of the Unfinished Series

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  1. I found I preferred that The Mandalorian was released on a weekly basis too. I prefer some time to ruminate on an episode, rather than feeling the mad dash to binge as much as I can, making a season a big blur of content. Bingeing does have its appeal sometimes too, but I’m fine with waiting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a true epiphany for me to watch The Mandalorian on a weekly basis. I hadn’t realized how much I enjoyed the whole looking-forward-to-it feeling.

      That being said, I had no problem watching a whole season of Parks and Rec in one weekend so I think we are in the same boat!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I am slightly impatient for the third book in the Kingkiller Chronicles but I do think its hilarious the amount of comments and reviews are already on the goodreads page! When/If it’s released it’s got a lot of hype to live up to 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Re: weekly TV, I rewatched the first however many seasons of GOT last year in preparation for the final season and…it was a lot. Watching 5-7 episodes a week was extremely draining, and also made inconsistencies and weaknesses in storytelling much more noticeable. I won’t say I enjoyed the last season better, because it had some problems, but returning to a weekly TV schedule did make for a better viewing experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so interesting! Now that you say that, I definitely notice little things that would have been ignored when I binge. I also feel like I talk a LOT more about a book or story when I take the time to savor it.

      GOT stressed me out – I can’t imagine binge watching it!


      1. It was EXTREMELY stressful! I don’t recommend it.

        I did it because my husband hadn’t seen any of the previous seasons, and I told him that if he wanted me to watch any of it with him, that was his window of opportunity.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I would probably not have read 1 &2 if i had known the third wasn’t ready!! A friend of mine recommended rothfuss and i jumped right in… The first two had such great writing i think it drives people crazy if they dwell on the absence of the third😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You can literally smell the frustration and anger people feel toward Rothfuss about that third book in the comments on Goodreads.

      For real though – that unfinished trilogy is the reason many people give me for not starting unfinished series books.

      Thanks for visiting!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t mind starting an unfinished series. However, I start to get cranky when a decade (and a complete friggin tv series) passes and a nearly complete series hasn’t had a new book. (Lookin at you, GRR). Most of that frustration has to do with the fact that I’ll reread the previous in the series before the new one. In Rothfuss’ case, while I’d love to read the third book, it’s only two books I gotta reread.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ah! Of course! I read the first Game of Thrones and all the way through I was confused, uncomfortable with the amount of specific sex the characters were having (I mean, honestly, the author knows there are other positions right?) and I swore I wasn’t going to read the next one and then…..dragons. Still, I couldn’t get into it enough to continue. I hope this book comes to you soon!

        Liked by 1 person

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