We all know the dreaded scenario:
*turns off lights and holds flashlight underneath face*
You get one, two, three, maybe even four or more books deep into a series when it stops, possibly on a cliffhanger, and then suddenly…
There are no more books!
That is just the worst.
Except recently I actually read the first book in a series I knew was abandoned and am contemplating starting some more abandoned series, and it’s making me think about this in a new way and wonder if maybe it’s not the worst afterall. Of course it’s also making me wonder if I’m crazy for wanting to start series I know I won’t get closure for, so let’s discuss!
Why Unfinished Series Are the Worst
I think this is pretty obvious. After investing so much time and emotion into a series, we want to get the full story and know how it ends! We want answers to all the questions left hanging, we want to know what happens to the characters, we want to know if they accomplish their goals, and we want closure.
If there’s a cliffhanger at the end of the book, this applies even more.
And unless the author has a good reason for doing that (e.g. personal/health/financial/life problems), I consider abandoning a series to be akin to abandoning the readers who have loyally followed it.
Why Unfinished Series Are Still Worth It
When you think about it though, is a book that you enjoyed any less good just because you didn’t get all the answers in the series? Did you enjoy it any less while you were reading it?
I think it depends.
If I don’t get the full story of that one particular book, then I feel gypped. Every book should have a full story, even if there are still some things hanging in the air for the rest of the series.
But as long as the characters resolve the problem/goal of that individual book, I can feel satisfied. If there are big unanswered questions or a cliffhanger that comes after they resolve the problem of that book, it’s frustrating, it is, but maybe it could be considered an open ending. Really, no ending is a true ending anyway unless the character dies (and even then, depending on your beliefs, there could be life after death). So even if I’m left wanting to know how the future will turn out, that doesn’t necessarily ruin the enjoyment I had while I was reading. If I laughed, if I cried, if I felt, that can’t be taken away from me.
Starting a Series That Has Already Been Abandoned
So now the question is, is it completely crazy to start a series even if you know there will never be an ending?
As I mentioned, I’ve done it. There are some books out there that I really want to read, that seem amazing, and it seems a shame to miss out on them.
I also wonder if going into it already knowing it won’t be finished makes a difference. If you know, at least you won’t be disappointed by incorrect expectations.
My Overall Thoughts
While I would much prefer that authors finish every series, I still think the abandoned ones are worth it sometimes. If the books made me feel something, or gave me enjoyment, or helped me pass the time, or taught me something, I can’t bring myself to regret reading them. Of course, I could have spent that time reading another series instead that would’ve also made me feel, given me enjoyment, etc. and given me a satisfying conclusion, but if I loved a series enough to be upset about it being abandoned, then it must’ve been damn good, and I wouldn’t have been able to get that same exact thing from any other series.
The same applies for starting abandoned series—if a book is calling to me that much, chances are I’m going to love it and gain something from it. And if I do, it’ll still be worth it.