A few days ago, I listed five SFF series I have started and intend to finish at some undefined point in the future. But there are plenty of series I don’t intend to finish, whether it’s because I got sick of the characters or the plot or because I just lost interest in them. I’m a little salty about some of these, because I spent a lot of time reading a stack of tomes, and I ended up getting so angry at later volumes that I wanted to throw them at a wall.
No books were actually thrown at a wall. They were big books. I didn’t want to damage a wall or break a window or something.
But I’m still salty about them.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
A now-ex-boyfriend loaned me the first book of The Wheel of Time (Eye of the World) at the beginning of our sophomore year in college. This was Fall of 2001 (which ended up being a crazy semester thanks to world events). I blasted through each of the first four books in a week or so each (because escapism), but the farther into the series I got, the longer it took me to finish each book. I was frustrated by the constant repetition (if I have to hear Rand/Mat/Perrin say “I wish Rand/Mat/Perrin were here. He knows how to talk to women”, I might scream), the endless characters who would show up for five minutes and do a thing before being killed off or disappearing into the sunset (yes, I know, they’re all meant to have done something vitally important to the plot, and I don’t care), and having main characters be entirely absent from later books while Jordan rambled on like he was being paid by the word. Book nine, Winter’s Heart, was the last book out at the time, and it took me about three months to finish it– and that was only because I skipped anything that didn’t involve the series’ main characters. I gave Winter’s Heart back to the now-ex-boyfriend and didn’t bother with the following books as they came out in the following years.
Jackie at Death by Tsundoku convinced me to give the series another try in the summer of 2019, and I figured ‘why not? it’s been years. I’m a different person now’. So we buddy read Eye of the World, and it was fine. Then I picked up the second book, The Great Hunt, and made it halfway through before I decided that I just didn’t care. Rand was already irritating me, and the rest of them weren’t doing much to endear themselves to me, either, so I declared the attempt at an end and took The Great Hunt back to the library.
I’m not going to bother with it anymore. I probably won’t watch the television series, either.
The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
A friend recommended this to me back in 2011, saying the books were amazing, they were his favorites ever, that the characters were amazing and the writing was gorgeous, etc., etc. So I checked out The Name of the Wind from the library and read it in a few days. I thought it was great! My friend was right on most counts, so I checked out the second book, The Wise Man’s Fear and read it fairly quickly, too. I had more reservations about this one (namely Felurian, because why was there an interlude with a sex-fairy in the middle of it all?), but it was fine overall and I was looking forward to the third book which, if Rothfuss had followed along with the publishing schedule of the first two, would have been out a few years later, which seemed reasonable at the time.
So I waited.
And we’re still waiting, and there’s no sign that Rothfuss will ever finish the third book (The Doors of Stone, so they say), and I’d have to reread the first two again because it’s been ten years, and in those ten years I lost all interest in finding out what happened to Kvothe in the end or how the series came to be called ‘Kingkiller’. I don’t care how pretty the writing is. I don’t want to reread it all. I’m pretty sure that Kvothe’s obsession with Denna would piss me off if I read it again, and I’m pretty sure the interlude with Felurian would, too.
So let’s just bypass all that and let it stand as “I don’t care”.
If Rothfuss ever decides to finish the series, you can read it all you want. I’m not going to.
The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
Back in 2010 or so, when the first book of The Stormlight Archive, The Way of Kings, came out, I was curious. It was a gigantic tome with a big cast of characters and a weird world that was nothing like medieval England. So I checked it out from the library and gave it a shot. And it was fine. There were parts that annoyed me (I rarely enjoy flashbacks or sections that just wander off to investigate another part of the world that have nothing to do with the main characters), but there was enough that I liked that I decided I would keep going with the series when the next books came out.
Then Words of Radiance came out in 2014, and I checked that one out from the library, and it was mostly fine. I still didn’t like the flashbacks or the interludes where the narrative wanders off, but a character gained an ability by the end, and I just hate it when any character (superheroes included) get that power, and it made me not want to read the next book.
So I didn’t. Oathbringer came out in 2017, and I didn’t bother with it. But then in 2020, after watching a bunch of BookTube videos that were so excited about the upcoming release of book four, Rhythm of War, I decided to give the series another shot. I found a hardback copy of Oathbringer for a good price at the used bookstore and finally got around to starting it last winter.
By the time I got to page 123, I realized that I didn’t care. Over the course of seven years of not reading The Stormlight Archive, I’d lost all interest in it. I don’t care what happens to any of the characters, and Sanderson’s writing isn’t compelling enough to make me want to wade through another 2,500 pages of it to get caught up with the series. Plus, there are flashbacks. I still don’t like flashbacks. And the narrative probably keeps wandering off to take a look at other places on Roshar, and I never cared about that to begin with. Stick with the main characters, please. They’re the ones I’d be there for. In their present, not in their pasts.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
I remember what high hopes we had for the HBO series. How well it started out. How it declined after Martin left the show (because he had a book to write and all. . .). And how lousy that last season was. Seriously. I didn’t mind it so much at the time, but the more I think about it (I try not to think about it), the less I like it.
The same goes for A Dance with Dragons, which I inhaled the first half or so of on the day it came out on a god-awfully hot day in Chicago back in 2011. Why did I read it so quickly? Because in the fourth book, A Feast for Crows, the narrative wandered off (notice an overall pattern here?) and spent most of the book talking about characters I didn’t care about in lands I didn’t care about, and I was desperately hoping that Martin would go back to the characters he’d started with and tell us what was happening to them.
Which he sort of did. For a few of them. But most of the book was spent wandering around talking about even more characters I didn’t care about in lands I didn’t care about.
I finished it, though, and thanks to that ending I wanted to read the next book in the series. While I was waiting, I reread the whole thing in 2013. And I still didn’t care as much about the last two books. But I figured the sixth book, The Winds of Winter, would be coming along soon.
But it’s 2021, and we’re still waiting with no expected publication date in sight.
And you know what?
That’s right. I don’t care anymore.
I gave my paperback copies of the Song of Ice and Fire to a friend. If I wanted to read them again, I could get them from the library. It’s been several years since I gave them away and I haven’t wanted to read them again. I doubt I’ll ever want to. If The Winds of Winter ever comes out, I’ll just check out a synopsis somewhere to find out what happens. I’m not interested in wading through another George R.R. Martin book.
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
I started reading The Dresden Files early on in its life. I can’t remember how many of them were out at the time, but it wasn’t many. Maybe three or four of them. But after reading the first couple of them, I was hooked and read each of them as soon as they came out.
All the way up until the fourteenth book, Cold Days, came out in 2012. By then, the Dresden universe was getting huge and crazy complicated with all sorts of magical creatures coming out of the woodwork (and from different dimensions, apparently). And there was some dark conspiracy in the background, and I quickly get tired of dark conspiracies in the background. I also wasn’t a big fan of the direction the series was taking. So when book fifteen came out in 2015. . . I didn’t read it. I still haven’t read it. And now books sixteen and seventeen are out, and I don’t care anymore. I don’t care how excited people are about the last couple of books. It’s been nine years since I read one of them, and I’ve lost interest in it.
These are a few series that I’ve decided to stop reading. Probably the most popular ones. If I were a BookTuber, I’d have a lot of people railing at me for giving up on them. Good thing I’m not on BookTube, huh?