Recently I was looking back at the books I’d read this year on my Goodreads account, and I realised something: I almost always read books that are part of a series, rather than standalones. This got me thinking about series vs standalones, and why I seem to massively favour series.
My main theory is that it’s to do with my genre preferences. My favourite genre is fantasy, and a majority of fantasy tends to be series, and I can see why. When you’re building an entire world for your book, it almost seems a waste to only use it in a single book (although I have read the odd fantasy standalone that I’ve loved – Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, for example!).
I also love YA, which tends towards series a lot, simply because they sell. So many authors in recent years have had huge hits with YA series, and so it makes sense that publishers are always on the lookout for the next popular series.
However, I don’t think my preference for series is all genre-related. In a lot of ways, the idea of longer and more complex stories built over a number of books appeals to me more, and if I fall in love with a book’s characters then I fall hard. I will definitely want to read more about them! In fact, one of my favourite feelings when reading is that one you get when you read the first book in a series and it blows you away. Because you know there’s more to come, and that it isn’t goodbye yet!
Series do come with a few pitfalls though, one of them being when you get that excited post-first book feeling and are then let down by the sequel (Red Queen, I’m looking at you!). Not to mention the wait you often have for the next book in a series if it’s still a series-in-progress.
And despite my preference for series, there’s definitely a place for standalones in my reading life, as sometimes I’m not looking to commit to anything longer than a book. I just want to read a story, enjoy it, and then move on. Definitely in certain genres I much prefer the one-and-out approach, namely with thrillers and contemporaries.
So I’d love to know your thoughts on series vs standalones. Which do you prefer? And how long do you like your series?