Saying good-bye to a series

Deborah Harkness, book witch
Late on Thursday night (actually, early Friday morning), I finished Deborah Harkness' The Book of Life, the last book in the All Souls' Trilogy. Ever since, I've been left with an ineffable feeling of sadness. I usually read mystery and thriller series; those buggers go on forever, even when they should end. When I finished The Book of Life, I wanted to start over with the first book just so that I could have some more time with the characters and the amazing world Harkness created.

I can't win. Either series last so long that the characters stop growing and the plots become stale that I stop reading them. This is usually what happens. Mysteries series have been doing this for ages. If you have a series that continues to sell well, why not milk it for all it's worth? Or the series are so short that they're over much too quickly. Creatively, the trilogies and short series are probably the best thing for authors. It lets them move on to something new, so that they don't start to phone it in. They have to focus on their words, because they have limited space to do the job. I have yet to see a long (five or more books) series that didn't start to sprawl.

Even though I'm not going to write a review of The Book of Life*, I will say that I was pleased to see how the book ended. Mysteries were solved. Plot threads were tied up. Justice was served. But what I loved most about the ending of The Book of Life was the way Harkness made it clear that Diana Bishop and Matthew Clairmont's world would go on without us readers looking in on it. This is one of the signs of a great read: if you can easily picture the story carrying on even though you've reached the last page.

I decided to post about this because of this week's episode of Dear Book Nerd and because of all the book hangover references on the book-net blogs I follow. At least I'm not the only one who has a hard time saying good-bye.  


* I don't review books in a series after the first one. I usually find that I don't have anything to say beyond, "Well, things are carrying on as usual." Unless the author has a planned ending point, there usually isn't an over-arching plot to talk about.

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