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When to stop reading a series?

Updated: Apr 13

Lolth's Warrior, R.A. Salvatore

It is a question I have had to ask for two series of books specifically that I have read since I was a child.

Margaret Wies and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance series beginning with Dragons of Autumn Twilight, followed by the Dragonlance Legends, in many ways a perfect combination of storytelling and nostalgia for me, are the first up for consideration.

The next up are the many books of R.A. Salvator, specifically starting with The Crystal Shard, marching through some 39 books and counting about the well-known character Drizzt Do'Urden now.

I have recently reread the Dragonlance Legends, a story at its core about the relationship between two brothers who love and hate one another, and their literal adventure through time. I read them because new books have been released in the world, by the same authors, and I have asked myself “Should I read them?”

I am struggling to find myself saying, “yes.” I have nothing but love for these books I listed above. They are books which helped create the person I am, focus my love of fantasy novels, and in my opinion predominantly hold up to the test of time. How much of that is nostalgia I don’t know but that is perhaps part of the point. We have to be careful before we drag nostalgia forward and update it. It won't be the thing you recognize from your past, and sometimes that is okay.

If Weis and Hickman have elected to write another series to get a new generation of readers on board with fantasy novels, I am okay with that. I want there to be more people who love the genres I love. But I think we also have to know when to jump ship. We need to know when at least for us, the story is done. I realized this about six books ago for the Drizzt series as well. The character had reached a satisfying place for me. I have no doubt that the author is sufficiently creative to find new stories to tell, but I realized I had come with the character to a place that I didn’t want to go any further. His story was complete and could stay there in my mind forever as resolved.

I double I will ever sit down to reread all 30 something books I have on my shelf, but I pass them by and sometimes stop to look at them and think about each book, its story, and my memory of it. They are happy memories, but I think that is where they will remain.

It is possible to outgrow our favorite things, just as it is possible for them to outgrow us, become something new for someone new who will enjoy the stories into the future.

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What a nice post. When I stop reading a series, its usually because I don't like the direction it's gone, the characters aren't learning anything, there's too much frustration based conflict, ... I often reread books or series, but I have noticed that I've outgrown some authors. Conversely, I recently finished a series I had had stopped more than 15 years ago, because I didn't like the way it was going. I was pleasantly surprised and really happy I did keep going. I like to think that we can eventually grow into authors and series too.

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