Discussion Sundays: Series vs Standalones

Series vs Standalones Edit

Hello everyone! It’s almost the end of the weekend, which means it’s time for another Discussion Sunday post 😛 I’m really excited for this week’s topic and I can’t wait to hear what you all think ❤

As always, “Discussion Sundays” will help me get to know all of you better and for us bibliophiles to be honest with each other, without judging or comparing ourselves to anyone else. The only things I will ask for everyone to do is to a) be true to yourself, even if your answers/reasons aren’t the same as mine/anybody else’s I would LOVE to hear it! b) be respectful to each other and don’t negatively criticize people’s comments/opinions. Without further ado, let’s get right on to our topic!


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Today’s Topic: Series vs Standalones

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(Photo Credit: here )

First off, what is the difference between a series and a standalone?

Series: A number of things, events, or people of a similar kind or related nature coming one after another. (Or in our case, books!)

Standalone: A book that is able to operate independently of other books. Basically, there is only one book written in that world with the same characters and plot.


My Thoughts: 

Oh, the ongoing debate between series and standalone books… For me personally, I tend to prefer series, but I also really love a good standalone when it is able to deliver a short, impactful punch. However, I totally realize that this topic is something that can really go either way… So for this week, I have decided to change up my format and show the pros and cons of both series and standalones ❤


Why Series are better than Standalones…

Thorough world building and easier to imagine

Series are more often than not fantasies, and fantasies NEED amazing world building. As they are not set in “real life”, readers have to imagine all of the different parts of the world, and pretend that it actually exists. One book is never enough for a thorough world building because let’s be real, it’s almost impossible to cover the descriptions of the fictional world in one book without being info dumpy or sacrificing other elements of the story (ie. The characters or the writing) 

More connection to the characters 

Series means more books which means more time spent with the characters. You start to develop genuine feelings for them (whether they are good or not) and care about their existence. They begin to feel real and tangible, as if they are only a couple meters away. I always feel more connected to characters in a trilogy or a series, because I get to know them better and they are harder to forget than the characters in a standalone novel. 

CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

Character development is SUCH an important aspect of books for me and I have to say, series takes the crown when it comes to how frequent character development occurs. I am in no way bashing authors of standalones because it is so hard to realistically change a character’s thoughts and actions within the span of a 400 page novel. In series however, the total pages often go way past 1000 pages so character development just happens naturally. 

Often explain unanswered questions

This is another key reason why series are better than standalones. Books always makes you question everything. “Why did this person act this way?” “Why is the government blind to the obvious actions of a rebellious character?” “Where are we located in this dang world?” And series just has more time and flexibility for the author to come up with thoughtful answers to the million questions running through our minds. They make us less frustrated and annoyed, as we have the blind hope that the following books will hold the key to the numerous plot holes and confusion.

Gives you the hope that there might be a happy ending

Oh, the silver lining us readers try to see even when we are 99.9% sure that the character will a) die b) end up with someone we don’t want or c) just turn frustratingly annoying…XD Series that end in cliffhangers or are clearly headed in an unexpected direction still gives us hope that maybe the author will get their head out of the clouds and notice what they are doing! Standalones on the other hand? What is done is what is done… *Shakes head*

I just NEED more!!! 

Yes, this is an extremely valid reason why series are better than standalones. YOU JUST NEED MORE! You need more of those amazing characters, more of the descriptive world building, more of the beautiful writing, more of the heart wrenching romance, and more of the plot twists that make you smile and cry at the same time. YOU NEED MORE! Imagine if you are literally sprinting towards the goodreads page and it says that the book is meant to be a standalone and that there are no sequels coming. *Sobs hysterically*


 Amazing Series (That needs to be a series)

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

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Can you imagine there being only one Harry Potter book? Only one year spent at Hogwarts with these amazing characters? 😦 Cause I won’t  can’t!

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

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I mean, Rick Riordan knew what we wanted and gave us The Heroes of Olympus as the spin off series because … Come on! We NEED more Percy than just what we get in a 370 page novel ❤

The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas

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I haven’t read Throne of Glass yet (shame on me…) but I know for a fact that the series gets better and better with each book! More character development, fast paced action sequences, and kick butt heroines? I’m totally sold 😛

The Shatter Me Trilogy by Tahereh Mafi

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The first book in the Shatter Me series was basically just a set up for the beautiful world Tahereh Mafi built. Juliette just discovers what she can do with her powers at the end of the book, and of course we need more Warner!

The Raven Cycle Quartet by Maggie Stiefvater

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The Raven Boys is an amazingly mystical book that just pulls you right in! All of the characters are loveable and there are so many questions left to be answered. Of course, it needs a sequel. Or two. Or three…


Are you convinced yet? If not, maybe you will side with me when I argue for the other side and say that standalones are better than series… 

Why Standalones are better than Series…

Keeps your interest without letting it run off

While the anticipation of the next book in a series can be really exciting, you have to admit that there are so many other books on your TBR. To have to wait another year for the sequel can sometimes push your interest way down and oops! you might even forget what the story is about. (Maybe it’s just my bad memory XD) 

You do NOT need to wait for another year (or two, or three!) for the next book to be released

To go along with the first point, the worst thing that can happen to you when the release date of your most anticipated sequel gets closer is when the publisher decides to push back the date!!! You suddenly panic and rush to the internet for an update but all you can see is that “the exact date for the publication of x is yet to be announced.” *Book lover meltdown :'(* 

Quality over Quantity

Standalone novels can really be the perfect example of quality over quantity! Authors that have a knack for writing amazing standalones can easily steal the heart of the reader within a couple hundred of pages. Good standalones don’t NEED a sequel. Their pacing is perfect, the characters heart felt, and the themes moving and genuine.

Sometimes just one book is enough!

Having one book to devour can sometimes be just enough! We don’t NEED stories to go on forever and they can be more realistic if they are cut at the right time. Most often, standalones are contemporaries and while they are enjoyable at the time, it doesn’t make sense if they are 2 or 3 books long.

Keeps your TBR to a minimum

Guys, let’s all be honest with ourselves! If we ONLY read series that were 3 to 4 books long, we would NEVER have time to read a variety of books. Standalones are our saviours when we need a break from those bratty characters and those cliffhangers that stomp on our hearts without mercy. If standalones didn’t exist, we would all at one point or another be suffering major book hangovers XD

More than one book = Can sometimes lead to EPIC FAILURES

Some authors just can’t write good series. The only reason they try is because they need to explain the plot more or develop the characters. However, if the books go on for too long, they may even become worse, with no clean way to end the story. Some books are over 7 books long and that is just (in my opinion) way too much!


 Amazing Standalones (That needs to be a standalone)

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

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Just thinking about The Book Thief gives me the chills ❤ Marcus Zusak’s writing is so beautiful and Hans Hubernmann just might be my all time favourite fictional father.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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All of Rainbow Rowell’s books work perfectly as standalones. Eleanor & Park especially has the hint of a melancholy ending that leaves the readers wanting more, but also understanding that that is the only way the story could end.

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

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Stolen is a poetic, breathtaking novel written as a letter from Gemma, a sixteen year old girl who has been kidnapped and taken away at the airport. There is no way it could have been written as a series or even a duology, it is perfect just the way it is.

I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson

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I’ll Give You The Sun is one of my all time favourite books and for very good reason. Jandy Nelson’s writing is just gorgeous and the characters (especially Noah!) are so loveable and real. This standalone hits all the notes of a perfect novel, wrapped in it’s glorious cover ❤

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen download (1)

Sarah Dessen has written so many standalone contemporaries and she is truly amazing at what she does. I love the story of The Truth About Forever, filled with the adorable romance between Macy and Wes as well as the deeper layers of what it means to be growing up.


Thought provoking questions: 

(Just a side note that you do not have to answer any/all of these questions to leave a comment! I would love to hear any of your thoughts <3)  

  1. Do you generally prefer series or standalones? Why?
  2. What are some of your favourite books that are series?
  3. What are some of your favourite books that are standalones?
  4. Which books do you think should have had more books/only one book?
  5. Who are some of the authors that you think are the best at writing series/ standalones?

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And those are all of my thoughts for today! It’s your turn:

Do you prefer your books to be series or standalones? I would love any opinions or thoughts on this topic! Let’s discuss in the comments below 🙂

As always, thanks for reading loves xoxo,

-Jenna <3-

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8 thoughts on “Discussion Sundays: Series vs Standalones

  1. Jolien @ The Fictional Reader says:

    I like both series and standalones, and I find myself agreeing with your points on both! I think the character development and world building are the reason so many fantasy novels are part of a series. But at times, I feel annoyed that a book is part of a series. Because it didn’t need to be. I feel like duologies are severely underrated! They provide a lot of the positives of a series without being too much 😀

    Great discussion!

    Like

  2. wonderfilledreads says:

    I like both series and standalones. I really enjoy binge reading a series and then I’ll switch it up with a standalone afterwards for a break. Series can be great for a time but they are a commitment and sometimes I’m just not in a mood to jump into one. Like you mentioned, I absolutely hate having to wait for the next book to come out in a series because I’ll either forget about it and just not ever finish the series or by the time it comes out, I’ve forgotten what happened previously so I have to go back and reread the books.
    However, I agree with all of the pros that you mentioned about series. Some books only make sense if they are a series, fantasy novels especially. World building, character development, and plot are extremely important for fantasy and dystopian as well, so they need multiple books to completely explain and flesh it all out for the readers. However, Neil Gaiman can write fantasy standalones and completely knock it out of the park because he is amazing like that. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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