I started reading the Harry Potter books in June of 2002. I tore through the four books that had been released at the time in about a week. After finishing, I was left needing more. I had so many questions that I needed answered! Just what was that “gleam of triumph” in Dumbledore’s eye all about? What was going to happen to the wizarding world now that Lord Voldemort had returned? I would have to wait five long years for all of my questions to be answered.
There was both some good and bad that came out of my wait for the release of all seven books. The need for information on the next release was intense. My desire to have my questions answered left me scouring the internet. While this fell into the “bad” category, it resulted in many things in the “good” category. The longing for info on the next book lead me to a great HP news site, The Leaky Cauldron. My need for answers to my questions helped me find some great discussions on the The Leaky Lounge. The friends I met through these sites, and great discussions I had, helped make the wait worth it.
Since finishing the Harry Potter books, I have discovered many great series. In some cases–like with the Uglies Series–all of the books had already been released. This meant I could read all the books at once and not have to wait long for the answers to my many questions. However this need to get answers quickly meant that I missed out on the opportunity to discuss the book and theorize about what came next. Perhaps had I found Uglies earlier, I would have discovered some great Scott Westerfeld fans with whom to share my love of the series.
Other times my first encounter with a series is purely accidental. Only after having finished a book had I realized it was the first in a yet-to-be completed series. This happened with Heist Society by Ally Carter. I now find myself often checking the author’s Twitter page for any updates on the Heist Society 2 manuscript. (Good news: It’s in progress! Bad News: Still only in first draft form.)
The last “series situation” I’ve stumbled upon is hearing about a book that is part of a yet-to-be completed series. I then have to make a decision: Do I start reading the series immediately and then wait with all my questions? Do I wait for all of the books to be released and then read them all? Sometimes I will ignore the dreaded wait and start reading the series right away. This was the case with Insatiable by Meg Cabot. I read the book knowing that only the first book of the series had been released. I was comfortable making this decision because I felt that the plot wasn’t as intricate as some others, and I wouldn’t find myself kept awake at night due to unanswerable questions. For the most case, this is true. While I would enjoy some word on that status of its sequel, I’m not searching the internet for any word about it.
As often as I’ve decided to start reading an unfinished series, I’ve also found myself making the consciousness decision to not read a series until just before the release of the final book. Such is the case with Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I made the decision to wait based on two things. The first of which was the wait. By the time I had heard about this series, the first book had been out for a while and the second was almost released. I knew that it wouldn’t be a long wait until the third and final book was out. The second reason was the suspense factor of the book. Everyone I know who read Hunger Games had many questions after finishing. These questions were not of the “Gee I wonder what happens” variety, but instead “I need to know what happens now!” It seemed these feelings only intensified after the release of Catching Fire. The extreme suspense, and relatively short wait time influenced my decision to wait until all the books had been released to start reading.
Now, was this the right decision to make? I’m sure that I’ve missed out on some great discussion by not reading the books as they were released. It seems that there has been no lack of theorizing about what will happen in the finale of the series. In many cases while my friends have been discussing the books, I’ve had to cover my ears and walk away. If I know a friend is reading the books, I read their status updates with my eyes half open in an attempt to avoid spoilers. While I can’t ever say if I made the right decision, I know that as I start reading the series ASAP in preparation for the August 24th release date of Mockingjay, it will be nice to know I’ll soon find out an answer to all my questions!