Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why I Don't Like Trilogies

Confession: I don’t like trilogies.

     It’s not the trilogies themselves, a good story is a good story no matter how many books it takes to tell it. Many of the books I use as examples I actually really like, but many trilogies use similar storytelling formats that I don’t always enjoy.

Trilogies that do this: The Hunger Games, Divergent, Across the Universe, Inkheart
What it is: The first two books have a similar setting, style, tone, or type of telling the story and the third book breaks the well-known pattern.
Why I don’t like it: Often times I find myself looking for a certain type of book and it sweeps the rug out from under my feet leaving me shocked and having trouble adjusting.

Trilogies that do this: Darkest Powers, Darkness Rising, Sea of Shadows (probably)
What it is: Books stretched out into a trilogy that would have done better as a large standalone. Usually the first book introduces the characters, world, and teases at the plot. Not much else happens. The second book is heavy in action and explains more. The third book wraps everything up.
Why I don’t like it: I don’t like having to wait three years for a series to complete when it would have been better as a single book. Most of the books are good, but as a complete story it could have been great.

     I also find that when I’m reading trilogies I start losing interest after a while. This also has to do with how long it takes for the series to come out and the fact that I don’t reread before the next book. I feel like I love the first book and my love for it lessens until finally I’m just reading the third book because I feel like I owe it to the series. 

     I’m not saying that I won’t read trilogies. Many of the books in YA are trilogies and I do enjoy them, but I found that in general I will love a standalone, duology, or series more often, and with more loyalty, than I will a trilogy.

     Am I the only odd-ball or have you noticed it as well? Are there any other series that seem to fit the patterns that I listed above?



  1. Now Harry Potter shows how to do it right and Vampire Academy (and I know they're not trilogies, but still) I get where you're coming from though, it annoys me when the first books just basically boring because it's all set-up and wouldn't be able to stand on it's own. Like Amy Plums new book, After the End, bored the hell out of me and not much happened. I didn't even finish Sea of Shadows, I think I didn't even get to 15%. I like a book that yeah, may be in a series, but has to be able to stand on it's own as well as a part of a series, you know? Like with Harry Potter, all come to one main plot, but every one also has it's own plot. They can stand on their own.

    1. I know what you mean and agree with you completely. Series like Harry Potter, Vampire Academy, and Percy Jackson have a common thread that connects them, but the stories contained in those books are very much their own instead of one story being stretched to cover all the books.
      Another interesting thought is if you want to know what each HP book is about all you have to do is look at the title. #1 is about the Sorcerer's Stone, #2 is about the Chamber of Secrets, and so on. You can actually talk about the books separately without feeling like you don't have the ending.