Is there such a thing as too long?

I’ve noticed that as a book series continues, each release seems to grow in length. I say, seems to, as there are exceptions.

A look at a few series complete with color commentary–

Diana Gabaldon and Outlander:

I’ve always maintained I should have stopped with Outlander. By the time I got to Drums of Autumn the minutia bored me to tears. Besides, I detest the character Brianna. So there.

Outlander~ 672 pages

Dragonfly In Amber~ 762 pages

Voyager~ 1104 pages

Drums of Autumn~ 1070 pages

The Fiery Cross~ 1443 pages

A Breath of Snow and Ashes~ 1488 pages

An Echo in the Bone~ 1200 pages

Written In My Own Heart’s Blood~ an outlier at a mere 848 pages

J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter:

I, personally, didn’t make it past book three. By book four I was bored to tears. My husband and one of my daughters, however, loved the entire series. Except for the last book which they thought was hokey.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone~ 400 pages

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets~ 448 pages

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban~ 448 pages

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire~ 752 pages

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix~ 896 pages

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince~ 652 pages

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows~ 784 pages

Charlaine Harris and Sookie Stackhouse: 

Ms. Harris is remarkably consistent.

That being said, the longer the series lasted the less interest I had in Sookie Stackhouse. It was as if some vampire sucked all the energy out of the characters. I can’t remember exactly where I quit. Must have been not too long after Eric regained his memory.

Dead Until Dark~ 327 pages

Living Dead in Dallas~ 320 pages

Club Dead~ 320 pages

Dead to the World~ 320 pages

Dead As a Doornail~ 320 pages

Definitely Dead~ 352 pages

All Together Dead~ 342 pages

From Dead to Worse~ 321 pages

Dead and Gone~ 320 pages

Dead in the Family~ 368 pages

Dead Reckoning~ 368 pages

George R.R. Martin and A Song of Fire and Ice:

Books 1-3 had me enamored. In love. Filled with a burning passion. That fire was quenched forever by A Feast for Crows. A Dance with Dragons was plain unreadable. Blech. It’s rare that a television series is better than the written word, but the HBO series is much much better.

A Game of Thrones~ 864 pages

A Clash of Kings~ 1040 pages

A Storm of Swords~ 1216 pages

A Feast for Crows~ 1104 pages

A Dance with Dragons~ 1152 pages

J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy:

I first read the series as a kid, loved it. The Lord of the Rings seemed so magical, so mystical. I liked it less as an adult. I still enjoyed the first two books, the third struck me as barely more than a polemic. Sorry. The movie was better.

Tolkien seems positively abbreviated by today’s standards.

The Fellowship of the Rings~ 432 pages

The Two Towers~ 352 pages

The Return of the King~ 432 pages

Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time:

Jordan has sort of a wave action going on in terms of length.

I never could get into these. I tried and tried and tried. Jordan somehow managed to make time last forbloodyever. Each word was a bleedin’ slog.

The Eye of the World~ 832 pages

The Great Hunt~ 705 pages

The Dragon Reborn~ 704 pages

The Shadow Rising~ 1007 pages

The Fires of Heaven~ 992 pages

Lord of Chaos~ 1011 pages

A Crown of Swords~ 896 pages

The Path of Daggers~ 704 pages

Winter’s Heart~ 800 pages

Crossroads of Twilight~ 846 pages

Knife of Dreams~ 880 pages

The Gathering Storm~ 1120 pages

Towers of Midnight~ 1264 pages

A Memory of Light~ 1168 pages

On the other hand– Tad Williams and The Dragonbone Chair Series:

Now this is how it’s done. Tad Williams – Go read, young soul!

Memory, Sorrow and Thorn~ 800 pages

Stone of Farewell~ 768 pages

To Green Angel Tower, Part One~ 816 pages

To Green Angel Tower, Part Two~ 816 pages

 

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10 thoughts on “Is there such a thing as too long?

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt

    You’re funny – I wouldn’t even bother to compile the statistics. Not a fan of series, but I did read most of, and love most of, John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee stories. And Ian Fleming’s James Bond books – can’t STAND any of the movies.

    And of course I had bunches of Nancy Drews when I was a kid. And all of Sherlock Holmes. And all of Dorothy Sayers Peter Wimsey books at least once (though I’m STILL baffled by the Nine Tailors).

    I have promised myself the novel-in-progress, PC, will be one single trilogy (it may even be put into a single volume when I’m finished). I may write a few short stories, etc., around it – but it stops at the end, even though there may be tendrils. It’s already claimed too much of my life.

    You have books in series. How do yours fare?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. juliabarrett Post author

      My series do well. The first book tends to be the longest. I’m sort of stingy with words. Don’t like filler and don’t like to bore the reader. I too LOVED Nancy Drew. Had every book.

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  2. Marylin Warner

    Julia, did you do all this while getting over the flu, to make up for missing the wonderful vacation? Wow. You used illness more productively than anyone I know. For me, a book works or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t grab me–and makes me want to hold on–if doesn’t matter the length or if there’s a sequel or not…I’m not going to struggle to keep reading. There are too many good books, and too many different stories and wonderful surprises.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. juliabarrett Post author

      What can I say, Marylin? I’ve been bored so I decided to count pages. 🙂 If I really like a character I’ll stick with a series. Of course George R.R. has a bad habit off every character a reader likes.

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  3. anny cook

    Ooh, ooh! Someone else who’s read the Travis Magee series! I love them. I re-read them. Every year! Some series I love. Others…not so much. Some have died by the third book. Personally, I think you ought to choose a word length and stick to for the entire series. Then you know what you’re gonna get when you start.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. juliabarrett Post author

      I agree, Anny. Or maybe limit the number of books in the series? Like a story arc that takes three to four books to tell? Now I have to look up Travis Magee.

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  4. Roberta

    1.Conciseness of expression is an essential characteristic of astute, perceptive, or witty remarks. [Wiktionary]

    Sometimes I think people believe if they read a long book with lots and lots of pages it makes them intelligent.

    Sometimes i think authors think if they write a long book it makes them a better and more important writer.

    I don’t care either way. I just love a good read from Hemingway’s short Old Man and the Sea to Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Two of my favorite books, Roberta. One short one loooooong! If a writer tells a good story I’ll follow him or her anywhere. If it’s words for words’ sake, well, I’m done.

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  5. Roberta

    I have read Old Man and the Sea two times; and War and Peace (unabridged) three times. I want to read each once more before I leave this earth. I am weird that way.

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