Let’s Talk Bookish: Long Series vs. Short Series

Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme that was originally created and hosted by Rukky @ Eternity Books starting in August 2019, and was then cohosted with Dani @ Literary Lion from May 2020 to March 2022. Book Nook Bits has hosted since April 2022.

May 5: Long Series vs. Short Series
(Hannah @ Hannah’s Library)

Prompts: What is the ideal number of books in a series? Does it depend on the genre? Do you prefer longer series with five or more books, or shorter series with less than that? Have you ever read a duology and if so, did you wish it was longer, or was two books enough for the story?

For me personally, I like a series that’s between 3 – 5 books. Though the more duologies I’ve read the more I appreciate them. And yeah, I do think it very much depends on the genre. Horror, for example, you rarely see ‘sequels’ in or full series outside of horror geared towards younger audiences. Not to say it never happens, but by it’s nature horror lends itself towards shorter forms – either a standalone book, novella, short stories, etc.

Whereas other genres lend themselves to more long running series’, in different forms. In Crime/Thriller and in Romance, it’s not unheard of to have more than 5 books in a series – many even exceed the 20 book mark. For these genres, it’s likely you can pick up a new book anywhere in the series and dip in, without having to go back to #1 and read from the start. You get a new crime or new couple often, so starting partway through doesn’t really matter.

Fantasy lends itself to longer series’, too, though it’s very versatile in this and they can range from duologies to books going way up into double digits. Unlike Romance and Crime/Thriller, however, they tend to be ones where you need to start from #1 to grasp the whole story – books tend to be set in a particular place, with specific characters, and a long running story.

I do prefer a series that comes in under 5 books, largely because at least then it feels achievable to read it all. Though I have picked up Romances that are 5+ plus, and picked it up from book 2, or 4 or 6 etc, and find myself wanting to go back and read from book 1, not because it feels necessary but because I like the particular writer and characters.

For duologies – when they’re done well, similarly to novellas, you are definitely left feeling like you wish there was more, but also like “yes, I can see why the author only did two”. I love duologies; I love finishing a book I’ve really enjoyed knowing there’s more to come, but also the sense that as much as I love these characters, I only get a limited time with them, and let’s face it, sometimes that’s much better. Either it feels like going for a trilogy or longer is just putting these characters through way too much, or if it goes on for a touch too long you might end up frustrated at the characters. Duologies are excellent for giving you just the right amount.

To add to this, too – sometimes, when I find out a book series is in double digits, it puts me off even reading the first one, as it can be a huge commitment.

How about you – do you prefer standalones, duologies, trilogies or longer?


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