Monday, September 8, 2014

Analyze This: Switching Characters in Series

So, you know how in some series, the main character in each book is different?

For instance, in The Forest of Hands and Teeth series by Carrie Ryan, the first book follows Mary, the second book follows Gabry and the third book follows Annah. Maddy says the Abhorsen series is a bit like this too, and she also noted The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Also, The Chronicles of Narnia.

What do you think of series like this?

I've been thinking about it a bit and I don't think I like it.

When I read a series, I get pretty emotionally invested in the characters. Sure, I like the world that the author provides. But, the characters make a series. Thus, I get pretty frustrated when a conflict is not complete (either a character's personal conflict or a conflict that includes many people/a world) and the next book suddenly decides to focus on a different character.

But here's another question: what about multiple series that take place in the same world, but with different characters? For instance, Tamora Pierce's series all take place in the same world. Each quartet (or duo) focuses on a different main character, but we still see that character appear again in future series.

For me, the difference is that the original main character's storyline has been concluded. I'm no longer left wondering what happened to them, so when I see them again in the future series, it's just like an update.

And then there's companion books. These books simply focus a different character from the same world, just like Tamora Pierce's books do. Anna and the French Kiss is an example of this, or the Pushing the Limits series. These are fine for me too, because again, the main conflict of the character and the story has been concluded.

But if I get a different character for every book? For the most part, I am left feeling jipped that I didn't get to experience the rest of the conflict with that character that I had grown so attached to. 

What do you think? Am I just crazy? Do you like series that switch characters with each new sequel? Can you think of an example where it worked?

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