Long Story Syndrome

Written By: DonnaKeeley - Jul• 25•15

So my Kindle account kept recommending the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and I finally took the plunge.

And what a plunge it was! Fourteen books!

Fourteen 600-plus page books to tell one story! I gave up after finishing the second book because by that time I really didn’t care anymore. Yes it was interesting but HolyFreakingMotherofPearl I don’t have the patience for fourteen books just to find out what happens in the end. A lot of it I can guess due to foreshadowing.

In reading the Wiki about Mr. Jordon, even Tom Dougherty of Tor Books, his publisher, said that he “wrote long”. Yeah. Understatement of the year.

Now I know not everyone hates long books. The Harry Potter series is pretty fun for me, until the last book where she has to lock down the characters in the last chapter. That was rushed in my opinion. But that series is half the size of this one.

Even Tolkien gets mind-numbingly long-winded in his initial series. No, I did not read the Silmarillion. Elvish eventually becomes babbling to my brain and everything is a flashback. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the story, but like an Ent he takes a very long time to tell it. Again, this is just me who likes a beginning, a middle, and an end that doesn’t take an armful of books to tell.

The trend towards multiple volumes began in the 1970s and I remember how frustrated I was when I would stumble across an interesting title in my local bookstore only to find out it was Volume 2 or Volume 3 of a series. And of course the first volume wasn’t on the shelf. So many books I didn’t buy during that decade because I had to commit to a series.

Here is an example of how I want my book series to be: I am a huge Andre Norton fan and I love her books. Even when she has multiple books to tell the story, it is possible to read one and still be satisfied. I was very happy with The Year of the Unicorn and the Zero Stone long before I knew there were others. A beginning, a middle, and an end all between the covers. How amazing is that?

I still believe that readers are drawn to Young Adult fiction because even if it is several books, they aren’t 600-800 pages for each volume. Reading is supposed to be fun, not a contract that the reader has to read however many volumes the author (or most likely the publisher) sees fit to produce to finish the story. Fourteen books! Yikes!

Sorry Wheel of Time, it’s not you it’s me. We need some time apart.

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