Friday, July 19, 2013

SERIES CHALLENGE FRIDAYS: Series, Let's Break 'em Down

The Summer Series Challenge has begun! 
Lauren @ Love is not a triangle
Follow #serieschallenge

Today I'm going to break down different types of series as I separate them out in my head. 

This post would have been a lot cooler if I were capable making flow charts. 

I'm sure I've neglected something here, because there are always exceptions, and sometimes series change types as they go along. But for the most part you can put your series into one of these three categories: Companion, Complex or Consistent Narrator and the sub-categories below them. 

P.S. I completely ran out of time, so none of these books/series is linked. SORRY.

The narrator/protagonist is different in each book of the series. I see this group having two major types: New Couple Companions and His/Her Companions. Each of the two types also can be broken down two ways.

A) New Couple Companions - Each book of the series focuses on a different character. Usually with his/her own love story.

1) New couple, new story 
Each book is its own completed story with some characters spread over all of them. 

ExampleHundred Oaks by Miranda Kenneally and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.  

2) New couple, same story
Each book switches narrators with their own personal stories and romances, but there is a large over arching plot direction that carries throughout all books. 

Example: His Fair Assassins by Robin LaFevers and Hourglass by Myra McEntire 

INTERLUDE: Where would you put Juliet Marillier's Sevenwaters series?

B) His/Her Companions - Each member of the same couple narrates a book in the series (i.e. book 1 is narrated by the girl, book 2 is narrated by the guy). 

1) Two different characters narrate the same story.

Example: Twilight and Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer, Hopeless and Losing Hope by Colleen Hoover

The first experience I ever had reading the same story from two different POVs was Midnight Sun, or Edward's retelling of Twilight. This technique is very popular now, especially in the New Adult genre. I've read some really great, insightful ones and some that do not seem necessary. I think Hopeless and Losing Hope are excellent examples of this type of companion. 

2) Two different characters narrate a pieces of the same (love) story. 

Example: If I Stay and Where She Went, Just One Day and Just One Year by Gayle Forman. 


Multiple narrators in each book with lots of individual stories running at once, but a major story direction that connects them all. Usually each book builds on the other, and the plot becomes increasingly complex as the series goes along. 

Examples: The Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta, The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

INTERLUDE: I'd place The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner somewhere between Companion and Complex, but probably more with Complex. 


The same person or set of people narrate(s) each book in the series. In YA this usually means one single first person narrator throughout the entire series. Sometimes there are dual narrators throughout.  This is the most popular type of series in YA. Within the series, there can be novellas or single books narrated by a different character.

1) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is all narrated by Katniss Everdeen.
2) Aria and Perry narrate the Under The Never Sky series by Veronica Rossi, except for a novella in Roar's POV. 
3) Meghan narrates all books in The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa except for The Iron Knight.

INTERLUDE: I'd probably still lump into this category series that start with one narrator but add the voice of the love interest in later books. Like Allegiant by Veronica Roth being narrated by both Tris and Four. Or Jennifer Armentrout's Lux series adding Daemon's voice in Origin. Or would you put those into a different section?

I would further break down the Consistent Narrator Series type into three categories: 
(This is the part where I ran out of steam and clever names)

A)  An overarching story direction, but each book has its own plot with a beginning, middle and end. Each published book builds on the others and can't really be picked up separately. This is the most common type of Consistent Narrator Series.

Examples:  All three books listed above would fall into this category The Hunger Games, Under the Never Sky and The Iron Fey, as would The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead and The Fire and Thorns series by Rae Carson. Most YA series fall into this category. 

B) One continuing story arc spread over multiple books. Each book reads like the author wrote one huge story and then broke up into multiple pieces. Usually (but not always) each book has some sort of climax, but the individual book pieces feel very incomplete without the others. I like to read these back to back if at all possible. 

Example: The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clark, Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

C) One narrator but more episodic stories. Minor plot-lines spread over the series, but they aren't the focus of the series. You *could* read the stories out of order. 

Examples: Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie's Perot series. 

What is your favorite type of series? 

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  1. I think my fave is when there's a consistent narrator. All my favorite UF have a consistent narrator, which makes me happy. But I like most of the others, too!

  2. Oooo love this post Lauren! You've so thoroughly broken down series and all the different ways they're made up. I'm with Mary, I think my favorite is a consistent narrator because I so love staying with one person throughout and getting to know them inside and out. That being said though, when a series is primarily romance based, I tend to like the new book, new couple format. I'm a sucker for some great romantic tension, and for me that comes mostly when it's a new couple doing the dance around one another before finally getting together. Of course that dance can be stretched over several books as well, and I'm good with that too. I think the answer to your question is series in general are my favorite. I take them any way I can get them!

  3. Lauren, I have no idea how you even thought of this. I knew there were multiple types of series, but this is just fantastic! I'd probably say Sevenwaters is like Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph - companion novels with different narrators but an overarching series. Also, the first three Sevenwaters books are a story of their own, separate from the villain an story of the last three Sevenwaters books. I think I probably like companion novels the most because you can read so many different PoVs, but honesty, they don't always work out for me since I prefer seein how one character grows and changes for the most part. Anyway, wonderful post, dear! :)

  4. Lauren, this post is absolutely fantastic. Who cares if there are no links, you had time to think of all this and organize and I love how you just broke everything down. I see the different kinds of series, but never take time to really think about what category they might be in (or what categories there are) so I LOVE this.

  5. Great post! Well, I like each these different types of narratives/ series, but I think as far as series go, I do so love companions, like Miranda's books and Stephanie Perkins. And as far as narratives, I LOVE how Gayle Forman gives us a duet, one book from the point of both the girl and guy:)

  6. Love this post! I love companion books because they are easier on my series amnesia. And -- I had no idea there was a Twilight from Edward's POV. How did I miss that???

  7. I don't have a favorite but I am starting to lean towards companion novels. It doesn't drag the series out too long. It allows you to stay in and expand on the same world & usually catch up with favorite characters.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  8. Fantastic post, you really broke them down! The Raven Boys was a tough read for me at first but then I really got into it and really appreciated how it all comes together. The His Fair Assassin trilogy is also one of my favorite series. I love that type because it takes place in the same world I am already familiar with and my favorite characters tend to make an appearance :)

    Alise @ Readers in Wonderland

  9. Wow-I am so impressed with how you broke this down. I tend to prefer companion novels-whether it's one overarching story or just set in the same world.


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