What do you when a series you once loved breaks your heart?
After loving the previous book(s) SO MUCH, what do you do when you wake up to the fact that nothing went as planned in the latest installment? The plot went off course, the characters aren't what you remember, or the story just never lived up to the hype you'd made of it.
It's worse when you'd previously raved about the series and pushed it on friends. You just want to take it back and say, I'm sorry for convincing you to read this! For some reason you even feel a little bit personally responsible for the disappointment this book will bring on others.
It's even harder when it seems like everyone else LOVED the direction the story has taken, but you are scratching your head in confusion. You feel sad about not understanding what happened.
On the other hand, what if all your friends are exclaiming about how AMAZING a book is!! You're so excited to read it, so that you too can have the same reaction that they did. But when you finally get a chance to pick up the book for yourself, you end up having the opposite reaction from them. You wonder if you picked up a different version of the story from everyone else. Where did you go wrong?
Do you wonder how you got to the place where you're heartbroken and confused over a book?
How do you cope?
Below are some tips that have helped me deal with series disappointment.
Come to terms with how this happened in the first place.
1) I get emotionally involved in the books I read. I don't see this as a bad thing, but owning it can be hard when a book doesn't go as planned. It's even worse when the book is part of a series I had previously loved. However, it's impossible to like everything I read, or perfectly rule out all book disappointments ahead of time. Accepting this fact is a helpful first step in understanding where I went wrong with a book.
2) My number one reason for series disappointment, especially, in final books, is the inclusion of a love triangle. That is why I'm going Love Triangle Free these days.
3) I've noticed that series flaws I may have previously overlooked in the wake of hype or excitement about a story or love interest (ahem), often catch up to me by the final book. Sometimes it's clear that a series wasn't planned out well from the beginning and it eventually becomes impossible to see past that huge plot holes. Sometimes the author's lack of writing experience plays a part in this.
4) It's important to realize that the author's vision is not my own. Their book wasn't written specifically for me. Perhaps an obvious statement but it can be a painful realization, especially when I start thinking about all the potential that wasn't realized (at least according to my perspective).
5) I've come to the understanding that some publishers disappoint me more with series ends than others. One in particular, I don't trust any more and need to be very careful about starting new books they publish.
How to cope once you've entered the mourning process.
1) Finding friends who will rage and overanalyze the book with you, can be incredibly cathartic. This has helped me the most when I find myself incredibly disappointed in a story.
2) Realize that grieving is a process and it takes time and stages to get through. However, it is a year after a few disappointing series ends, and I've still not reached the acceptance phase.
3) Remember these are just characters. They aren't real, and the author didn't personally write this book to make you angry. I completely get feeling ownership over them, but sometimes you have to let it go.
2) Realize when it's time to move on and stop torturing yourself over the book in question. I.e. sometimes you just have to stop talking about it.
3) Follow up the bad book with a guaranteed good book.
6) Write your own alternate ending.
Help me out here!
How do you come to terms with a book that doesn't live up to expectations?
How do you cope with a series that has gone sour for you?