Do You Continue a Series if You Hate the First Book?

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on November 25, 2014 | 30 Comments

I’ve seen a few people on Goodreads who will be reading the 3rd (or sometimes 4th) book in  a series, complaining about how it’s not any better than the last two (or three), or it sucks; or have marked it as to-read and say things like “I don’t even know why I want to read this after the last two” or “this book had better not be as terrible as the last two.” Upon looking at their profile, I see that they gave very low ratings – as in 1 or 2 stars – to the previous books.

My question is: WHY?! Why would you waste your time reading an entire series if you hated the first couple of books? I can understand continuing after one. But two?! Wouldn’t you realize after two whole books completely sucking that the series wasn’t for you? That it wasn’t going to get any better?

aint nobody got time for that

When it comes to series, if I rate the first book 1 or 2 stars, I DNF the series. Sometimes I won’t even continue if the first book was 3 stars. There’s too many other books on my TBR (um, 1800 of them) that have the potential to be 4 or 5 stars.

I’m not dissing anyone here. To each his own; I’m just trying to wrap my mind around it. Maybe it’s just me, because I’m not one of those people that HAS to finish something when they start (well, not when it comes to books anyway). If I’m not enjoying a book at all, I DNF. There was a time when I would push through even if I hated a book in hopes of it improving, but not anymore. I’ve learned that it doesn’t do any good because that’s time I threw away that I could have spent on a book I love. Life is too short to read books you hate! If it’s shitty in the first 200 pages, it’s probably still going to be shitty in the last 200. In my experience there has NEVER been a book that did a complete and total 180. If it’s just ‘meh’ in the beginning, maybe. But not if it was terrible. So, if you’re struggling to read it…


let it go gif 2Well said, Elsa. Well said.


Jessi (Geo)

Posted in: Discussions | Tags:

Subscribe to Novel Heartbeat to get more posts like this!

30 responses to “Do You Continue a Series if You Hate the First Book?

  1. Hmmm… for me it depends on how much I actually hated it. I didn’t like Cassandra Clare, so I didn’t finish her series (I found the writing style terrible and the plot lackluster), but take The Young Elites for instance… I really loved her writing style and description but for some reason the book is just too incredibly dark for me… HOWEVER, I will most likely pick up the sequel. If I absolutely hate a book with everything that is in me, you better believe I will most likely never read a book by that author again.

  2. For me it depends why I didn’t like a particular book. If it’s because of something like world building or lack of action, I’ll tend to keep going with the hopes that the second book will be better. Most of the time though, especially if it’s a DNF, I won’t read the sequel because like you said, ain’t nobody got time for that.

  3. That’s a really good question! If I’m honest there are sequels to books that I’ve given 4 or 5 stars to that I haven’t read yet, so I don’t get how people can waste time giving books they know they probably don’t like a go…though maybe they do it just so they can complain at someone? Who knows! I’m a curious person so I’d probably read book 2 just to see, but if I knew I’d hate it then I definitely wouldn’t.

  4. If I rate it three stars, then I’ll probably at least read the second book. If I rated it one or two stars I’m almost certainly not going to read it. If I come across the later books in a bookstore or something though I may flip through it out of curiosity. I’ll probably also read reviews of it just to see what people are saying. There’d have to be something significant in the reviews or something though to make me think the series would have gotten better for me. There are too many series that I actually enjoy where I still have to read the later books.

  5. I can see how this would be baffling behavior, but I’m definitely guilty of doing it for a whole battery of reasons!

    1) If I enjoyed Book 1 and hated Book 2, I might still go on to read 3 or 4 because second books in general are notorious for being worse. An author can spend years perfecting Book 1, and then when they go to write Book 2, they’re suddenly under a lot of pressure from the publishing house/fans/themselves. So if I liked the first book enough, I’ll usually keep reading to see if they regain their footing.
    2) If the book is a very breezy read then the entertainment value/time quotient might still be high enough to make reading the next one worth my while. (For me, this is especially true of manga and graphic novels).
    3) Sometimes when I’m feeling depressed or agitated, my brain just needs to read something trite. The healing powers of bad characterization and obvious plot twists are miraculous. Besides, it’s possible to enjoy something and still be able to see that it isn’t very good. This is sometimes the case with books I rate a 2.
    4) The genre has slim pickings. This might not be a problem for dystopian YA or contemporary romance, but some subgenres or tropes are just so small or specific that you have to take what you can get.
    5) If the series is hyped enough, sometimes it just feels important to be part of the conversation.
    6) I’ll admit it, it can be fun to watch a series trainwreck itself. ‘How can this get any worse?’ you wonder, and then it exceeds all your expectations in the worst possible ways. It’s a beautiful, awe-inspiring, rage-inducing, sob-worthy feeling.

    There are probably plenty of others, but I think that’s already way more than I meant to write!

  6. Absolutely not. I even have a ton of series out there where I was all eh about the first book but didn’t hate it and just clearly didn’t like it enough to continue on. There are way too many other books out there.

  7. The only way I can see that happening is in this specific situation:

    1. You read book #1 and hate it.
    2. You decide to give book #2 a try because it got RAVE reviews and you think it might be better than the first.
    3. You hate book #2.
    4. You decide to read book #3 because even though you hate the series, you HAVE to know how it ends. I can understand that compulsion.

    BUT… it seems stupid (and kind of unfair) to review it at that point. Odds are you’re going to hate it, so is it even fair to purposely read something you’ll probably hate AND write a review of it? Blegh.

    Speaking personally though, I never move past book #1 if I hate it. Even if book #2 gets great reviews, I probably won’t give it a try. I have better things to do and better books to read (for me).

  8. Good question! No, I don’t. Usually, I read book one and give book two a go. I’ve had series that surprised me and caught me after the second book. But if I hate book 1 and book 2 then no way in hell will I struggle through the rest of the series. Yes, I get curious about what happens, but that’s I’d rather read reviews that contain spoilers than struggle with a book I’m very sure I won’t like.

    I don’t understand why would people continue reading, but even more so why would they review it. Seems like a waste of time, money and energy.

  9. Yeah I don’t get that either. I understand sticking with a series if you really liked it at first and then there were a couple books that were disappointing – you hope it will return to what it once was. But if I didn’t fall in love with it, why bother? I’ve gotten a lot better about not finishing books I don’t like for the same reason.

  10. I’m with you on this. If the first one doesn’t do it for me I don’t read the other books. If I get to book two I may finish just to see how it ends.

  11. I’m trying to figure this out for a series I’m in the middle of, actually. I just read Cruel Beauty and there were certain parts that just killed me! I ended up giving it a three, and I do plan on reading book two despite that. I decided mostly because it was the love triangle and not the writing style, so I’m really hoping that the romance issues will go away so I can enjoy the storytelling. But if I hate everything about a first book, there’s no way I’ll read the second!

  12. I’m not too sure why people do that. If I rate a books 3 stars or under, I give the second book a shot depending on why I rated the book that. But if the second book does the same thing I just give up on it. Why spend the effort on books you hate, when there are too many other books in the world that could actually be an amazing read.

  13. I did just think of a good example that I’ve come across in my reading experience. I read Divergent and liked it, and the second book (can’t remember what it’s called) and liked it but I haven’t got around to reading the third book at all, I liked the series but I’ve read better so have kind of pushed onto a ‘will get round to eventually’ pile in my head. Saying that I do know how the series ends (my friend didn’t realise I hadn’t finished it and spoiled the major plot point) so I don’t have the burning curiosity like I do with some books.

  14. Hmm…for me it depends. If I completely hate a book and it makes me want to throw it across the room, I won’t continue reading the series. But if I didn’t like the book but it had some appealing qualities, I will most likely read book two, but if I don’t enjoy book two then I’ll DNF the series. For an instance, I bought the second book in the Hush Hush quartet because it was on sale, and then when I got around to reading Hush Hush I wasn’t too keen on it, but there was something about it that made me want to find out what happens, so I will most probably read the second book but if I strongly dislike it, I most probably won’t continue the series :)

  15. You know, it depends on how much I feel invested with the characters. I understand that series book are built over the course of the series so you may not get all the information that you are looking for in the first book. So sometimes I will go to the second in hopes for more development on the characters as well as the plot. If the second book fails to do that, then I usually break up with the book. Most of the time for me, the second book is better than the first.

  16. It depends how much I hated the book and why. Sometimes I like to give it another shot because the story held potential and I hope that the sequel is better. Most of the times it’s the hardest when the second book in a trilogy sucks.. I want to finish the series, but what if the third book is even worse?

  17. I’m with you on this one. If I hated the first book, I won’t pick up the second. Or the third. I’ve been moving towards DNFing more and more books too because you’re right, there are just too many great books out there to waste time on ones that I don’t like. I can understand people needing to know how something ends, but I don’t usually get that feeling. Especially with stories I don’t connect to. But if I really need to know what happened but I hated the books, it’s easy enough to find the spoilers somewhere. Then I know and I didn’t waste time. Best of both worlds. :-)

  18. Well, someone asked me the same thing too when I mentioned about how I hate The Death Cure but still reading it. And I guess it’s for my own satisfaction. It’s the last book in the series and I’ve read The Maze Runner (like it) and The Scroch Trials (hate it) so I just can’t put it down for good without knowing the WHOLE secrets.
    But I am not gonna read the rest of The Selection series though, I don’t like it, it’s weird, the whole thing.
    I agree with you for not reading the rest of the series if it sucks from the beginning, but if the one sucks is the last book, can you just live without knowing the ending? I don’t think I can.

  19. I am in two minds about this because I do continue with series that I didn’t particularly enjoy but I also DNF series if I really don’t like them. I don’t like to leave things unfinished and if I’ve heard great things about a series or about book two then I will carry on and see what I think. I would also definitely finish a trilogy if I’d read the first two books even if book two was awful. I like to know how things end. Sometimes you can hate the writing or the world but still love a character and want to find out what happens to them so you keep going even if it makes your eyes hurt.


    If the first book was terrible and I haven’t seen anything but negative reviews of the rest of the series then I’ll leave it rather than wasting my time.

  20. I generally do not continue a series if I was less than impressed with the first book. Heck, who am I kidding? I generally do not continue a series if I enjoyed the first book! The only series that I didn’t care for but forced myself to finish was the Twilight series. I actually liked the first two books, but I hated book three. In most instances, I would have stopped there, but seeing as only one book remained in the saga, I gave it a go.

  21. *hits keyboard* It posted without me finishing. XD Anyway, to continue:

    There are books I have reated meh-ish but that part of me is curious as to what will happen in the sequel? It’s weird..
    Sometimes, I LOVE the first book and then refuse to continue the series. This usually happens when the love interest dies and I become so inconsolable I can’t bear to see read that series ever again.. I get very attached, haha!

    Great post! Rita xx

  22. If I don’t like the first book, I don’t usually continue with the series. . . unless I read a lot of reviews saying that the second and subsequent books get better, in which case I might try book 2. I agree with you, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” I don’t, anyway! :-)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.