Mary's Minute: When to say goodbye

Way back in 2008, I was addicted to vampire novels. I finally succumbed to pressure to read Twilight so I burned through Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse and then sought out other books like it so I could stay in my little vampire bubble, only branching out to The Host because at least it was a Stephenie Meyer book. My addiction found me combing through the YA section at Borders (RIP!) for readalikes, which led me to Vampire Academy, EvernightVampire Kisses, Bloodline by Kate Cary, and House of Night (weirdly, I never got to Blue Bloods or the Morganville Vampires in this vampmania). I was totally obsessed and eagerly anticipated each new installment. I realized Vampire Academy was going to have SIX books, which was amazing. Evernight got a spinoff. Vampire Kisses and I broke up quite quickly because I hated Raven and only barely managed to hate read through book 3. House of Night, it turned out, was going to have TWELVE books PLUS novellas for other characters PLUS graphic novels, and I was so happy! House of Night for years and years and years!

I had quickly burned through books 1-4 and waited forever, it seemed, for Hunted. But I realized I was kind of getting tired of Zoey Redbird and her friends. I started noticing some frustrating things pertaining to both character development and plot. I kind of.... stopped liking them? I kind of realized... they weren't great? I kind of... started resenting these books I'd invested a ton of time and emotional energy researching and theorizing about? I'm not one to DNF, and I don't like to leave series unread (but I'm actually really good at not finishing series, oops), but I found myself not caring each time a new HoN night book released. "I'll catch up when the next one comes out," I'd tell myself. "I'll like it this time." But I never caught back up. Even now, all twelve books are out. All four novellas. All the graphic novels. And I have no desire to pick up another book in that series or attempt to finish it.

Sort of related to the vampires, I also fell in love with The Mortal Instruments around this time (because I was hooked on paranormal, as we all were), and I remember how excited I was when I discovered TID, when TMI was extended (WILL IT BE ABOUT SIMON??? we all wondered. WILL WE STILL GET CLARY AND JACE???), when Cassie kept posting tidbits and extra scenes on her many websites, when Magnus got to be front and center. But... I put down City of Heavenly Fire in September 2014 and haven't picked it back up. I stopped reading The Bane Chronicles because I didn't want to pay for serialized novellas when I could buy the book, yet I still haven't read the entire bindup yet. I haven't read The Shadowhunter Codex or Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy, and I can't pick up Lady Midnight or Lord of Shadows or The Eldest Curses until I get back to CoHF, but now I feel daunted by the prospect of getting back into it. It's a hugely intimidating world, and there are soooo many books in it! And what if I never like it as much as I did five years ago?

Fast forward to 2016-2018. There are two authors who perennially publish 1-2 books per year. I've loved them both a long time. One of them has two books in a genre that she's not as well known for that I've never read, but I always read the books in the genre in which she's touted as a queen. Like, when people talk about this genre, her name is almost always listed as a recommendation and for a book to be compared to her work is a glowing compliment. The other writes in a similar genre, and she is also constantly recommended as a go-to for readers looking in this particular genre. But I've discovered that each book they release, I enjoy them less. The first author, I started reading a new release last year, put it down to prioritize something else, and haven't picked it back up. Nor have I picked up the other two books published recently(ish). The second author, I've dutifully read everything except the last book in her most well-known series (because I'm terrified I'll hate it when I actually was one of the first people to beg for that book to be written).

I've read these two authors for coming up on five years, and each book I like a little less, I become annoyed a little more. I resent the time I spend reading them when I KNOW there are books I'll enjoy more. But I'm having a really hard time saying goodbye. I add each new title on Goodreads. If I find an arc at a conference, I always excitedly add it to my haul, hoping THIS will be the book that brings me back into the fandom. And yet... I keep sliding. I recently decided the most recent book by author #2 will be my last, at least for a while, and although I haven't officially said I won't read other releases by author #1, I haven't picked up any of her books in months.

So I have two questions for you, readers: 1. Have you ever experienced this? 2. How do you know when it's time to say goodbye?

For me, when I stop associating the story or author with good feelings, when I start feeling angry or resentful, that's when I know it's time to move on. Also, I find it easier to not officially acknowledge the breakup. I prefer to "set things aside" rather than formally DNF and place things on hold with the option to give it a try later than cut the series off permanently, even if I don't have plans to go back (like with HoN). 


  1. I don’t tend to read series that are longer than three books because I personally find that I can’t really focus on a series for that long, especially if you have to wait years for the series to be complete. I tend to find that I have to either *really* love a first book in a series OR be invested enough in what’s going to happen next to even be willing to continue reading a series. The only series I can think of where I had a similar situation as you was Eragon. I ADORED the first book, but the second book dragged for me and I think I attempted to read the third one but just... couldn’t get into it since I’d forgotten everything from the first two books at that point. I still remember it fondly, but I know I’ll never finish that series.

    Also, I’m cyborgcinderella on instagram and I follow you via email!

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  3. I share the same sentiment. I enjoy reading book series, as opposed to stand-alone novels but at times it gets difficult to get into the series as it drags on especially with new releases.

    P.S. My Instagram handle is @sincerely_abby and I follow you via email.

  4. It's always hard for me to decide when to let go of a series or an author. I sometimes will tell myself for more than five years that I'll return, but I know that I won't and eventually, I decide to just let it go because there is no point in steadfastly holding onto something that I'm no longer passionate or interested in.