Completion Compulsion

The series that I obviously had to complete.

A couple of days ago, my bookish Twitter list was buzzing with excitement, which left me a bit at a loss because I wasn’t paying much attention to that lately with the move back to the house and such. It didn’t take me long to figure out why they were excited — it was the release date for City of Fallen Angels, the latest installment in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series.

I was all: Oh okay.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

I can still wait. I can still wait.

Don’t get me wrong here. I liked The Mortal Instruments series, and it was one of the books that got me reading again. I loved City of Glass, and I thought the ending was just perfect, so the idea of releasing another three more books after the trilogy has ended didn’t sit quite well. Still, I was curious, and that didn’t lessen the love I had for the original trilogy.

But in the time between reading City of Glass and now that City of Fallen Angels has been released, I have read so many other books in between, both good and bad, that somehow, the excitement and need I had to always complete a series has diminished, almost to a little disinterest over the entire thing.

Never mind that I am on book buying fast for Lent. I feel that even if I wasn’t on fasting, I still wouldn’t prioritize buying this. I haven’t even read Clockwork Angel yet — I don’t even have my own copy.

Again, this isn’t anything against the series or Cassandra Clare’s work. In fact, I am still curious about her books, and given the time and money, I’d get them. I’m talking about book series in general. You see, years before, I had this compulsion to complete everything. If it’s a trilogy, I must have all three books and I must read them in order. If a new book comes out, I must read it up to the end, even if some of the books weren’t really that good. I hesitate in buying books that I know are a part of a series because I know that I would need to get ALL books. Sometimes I won’t even read the first book if I know I don’t have the next books with me because I didn’t want to be left hanging. I don’t know why, but I must complete the books. I must see it all the way to the bitter end. (See, this is why I read the Twilight series all the way to Breaking Dawn and even The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner.)

Now, I don’t feel that need to complete. Maybe it depends on how much I liked the first two books (I’m setting two because sometimes the first book isn’t always that good and sometimes it picks up on the second book). Sometimes it depends on how much I like the author. Sometimes, it depends on the hype (but I’m very wary of hype nowadays). Maybe this is me being choosy, or growing up in terms of my choice of reading.

Cliffhanger endings are a different story, though, but again, it would depend on how much I loved the first book before I decide to get the next one, if there was a next one.

Have you ever felt the same need I used to, to complete a series no matter how bad it may be? Were there series you used to love but now you don’t feel the need to get them all? Or were you never a series person and you’re happy with just one?

9 Thoughts on “Completion Compulsion

  1. i don’t often read series… none of my fave books are a part of a sereis. i must be a stand alone kind of reader


    one thing i have gotten better at is giving up on books. i can give up half way in or even 3/4 of the way in. i usually give up after 100 – 150 pages (occasionally less if it’s a library book) a few years ago i used to keep reading books right to the end. thankfully i have gotten over that habit ~

    i have only read the first book in the mortal instruments series… that was enough for me

    • I admit that I got caught up in the hype of all those series books that I tried to complete. Now, whenever I find out that a book I was interested in is a part of a series, I hesitate in buying because I don’t know if I was willing to invest. Companion novels are a different story, though — I like those, and I find spin-offs always interesting. :)

      Oh but I love standalone novels. I like the feeling of accomplishment it brings when you get to the last page.

      As for finishing books…ah, I’m still more in the “reading all the way to the end” person, but I marked my first did-not-finish book this year. I’m learning to do that now, but it’s usually for review copies/e-galleys. For books I actually buy, I try to finish all the way to the end because I feel like I need to get my money’s worth for it. :)

  2. Like you, I judge based on how much I like the first one. But sometimes I am faced with the dilemma of whether to get a boxed set of a series which will result in a cheaper price of each book but then there is the possibility that I might not like the series at all. So, I get stuck with books I don’t like, when I could’ve used the money to buy other books. If I get the first book and loved it and buy the boxed set after, I’m left with two copies of the first book. Haha =)

    • I think I’d only splurge on boxed sets if I’m sure I’ll like the series, or I already know the author. :) IMHO, I think it’s never wrong to have multiple copies of books you really like. :)

  3. I got series books too, but mostly depends on how I enjoy the first book, especially the author writing. Stories can be develop but If I don’t like the style of writing I don’t usually get the next book. I also buy boxed set books. I usually wait for a series to be completed before I buy the whole set, which is one of the reason why I am left behind with new releases. I just don’t want waiting every year for the next books. It’s frustrating somehow.

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