[DISCUSSION] Is It Really Too Much?

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So, I thought something that’d be fun to do was have a monthly discussion – basically have a discussion around books once a month. And, I was thinking, “Hm, what should I talk about?” and I thought something that’d be interesting to talk about, in the wake of a lot of people seeming to be unenthusiastic about new Harry Potter things, was authors adding more books, movies, novellas, etc. to their world and bookworms’ slightly hypocritical thoughts surrounding these additions.

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If you’ve been living under a rock for this entire year, an eighth Harry Potter book was released on July 31 called The Cursed Child, released as a screenplay. Everyone was excited. The world blew up. The book sold extremely well, and so did the play. Then the reviews came in. People absolutely hated it. The characters acted out-of-character, it didn’t have the same magic as the original seven books did, there were too many plot holes, there was just general WTF-ery, etc. 

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After that, three mini short stories were released from Pottermore and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was reported to add five more movies and be published as a screenplay. After the general disappointment of The Cursed Child, people just complained. “She’s already rich.” “She’s dragging it out.” “Stop with the Harry Potter stuff.”

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Yet, funnily enough, if I asked most of these people if they wanted more Harry Potter books and movies just a year ago around this time, I would be met with extreme excitement and general fangirling. How could these same people who were so excited just a while ago think that J.K. Rowling needs to stop now, just because she published one book that was a disappointment? Did they mean it when they said they wanted more in the first place?

Rowling, obviously, isn’t even the only author to come under fire for this. When Cassandra Clare is announced to have a new novel, some people immediately take to Goodreads to rate it one star and complain, even though they’re in no way forced to read the book once it comes out. Sarah J. Maas announced she was adding more books to the ACOTAR trilogy, and it was immediately met with negativity and trepidation. Rick Riordan continues to write in his magical world of Greek mythology with several spin-offs, and even long-time fans, the same ones who have mentioned once or twice that they could never get enough of Percy Jackson, are getting mildly annoyed. Sabaa Tahir and Victoria Aveyard also added more novels to their series, again, with some people being worried instead of excited.

Adding more books to series or adding novellas isn’t anything new, nor is it limited to YA series. Even back in the Twilight years, people were anxious for The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and Midnight Sun, which was supposed to be Twilight, except from Edward’s POV, but never got published. The 50 Shades trilogy recently got another addition to its series by the name of Grey, which was the first book from Christian Grey’s POV. Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster turned into a whole Maddox Brothers series. Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series has been going on since 2006 – over ten years – and so has Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, which is on its twenty-third novel, and has been going on since 1994. There were two more books added to Sylvia Day’s Crossfire series, also met with complaints from some of her die-hard fans.

But should we really be complaining as fans? Is it really too much, if we’re the ones who demanded it in the first place? I really want to explore the fact that it’s not always an author’s choice, and that we, as readers, definitely play a part in this. We as readers have more influence than we think. Take the recent controversy around The Continent, a book that hasn’t been released yet, but several bloggers/reviewers took to Twitter with ARCs in their hands to discuss how problematic it was in their eyes with its POC representation. A petition was created to delay the publication of the novel, and Harlequin TEEN responded by saying it would push back the publication date to fix these issues.

So, obviously, we have influence. It can do good things, and, as with all influence and movements, it can do bad things. The thing is, publishers listen to us. So, for example, when a publisher sees that a debut has done better than they expected it to do – such as the case with Sabaa Tahir and Victoria Aveyard’s debut novels – they probably think, “Well, how can we make money off of this?” Hence, more books. Money makes the world go round, as everyone says.

I mean, why let Cassandra Clare or Rick Riordan do something new when their original series sell so well? Both of these authors have different series outside their most popular ones – the Magisterium and the Kane Chronicles, respectively – that didn’t/don’t sell as well as their main series, which basically shows publishers, “Readers don’t care about this as much as they care about that.” And bringing it back to J.K. Rowling. She has written four other books – The Casual Vacancy and the three Cormoran Strike books. The Casual Vacancy had a TV mini-series in 2015 and her Cormoran Strikes novels were picked up by HBO , and she’s writing up the next book in the series now, and might have a whole different book idea up her sleeve. Yet, I’ve seen people make false claims that “she’s not doing anything else.”

And let’s also consider the fact that these people get paid for this. So, yes, authors write more books in their popular series, because that gives them their incomes. Just because some authors might be rich doesn’t mean that they should just stop doing their jobs, and I find the phrases “They’re doing it for the money!” or “It’s a cash grab!” to be quite silly. Yeah, they are, and yes, it is. It’s their job. They need to pay bills and shop for food and support themselves just like pretty much everyone else on this earth. For some reason, only jobs dealing with the arts are treated like this. How many times have you seen directors hated for series that amass over billions of dollars worldwide that continue getting sequels? Same with TV shows with several spin-offs or based off of movies and books.

Not only that, but it seems that fandoms like to flip flop whether they want more of something or not. After the fantastic-ness (get it?) of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the excitement for Harry Potter is back once again. And not only that, but Maggie Steifvater announced a couple of months ago that she was penning a brand new trilogy around Ronan Lynch, and, for some reason, it was met with positivity. Michelle Hodkin is writing more books taking place in the Mara Dyer universe, also met with positive reviews. Marissa Meyer wrote Fairest with popular reviews, and she, Leigh Bardugo, and Marie Rutkoski wrote novellas adding to their worlds met with excitement. Benjamin Alire Saenz, David Levithan, and Jenny Han are releasing sequels/spin-off books to their contemporary stand-alones/series, and not many people complained about that. There’s going to be a whole new spin-off trilogy added to Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, again, met with pure fangirling. (And all of that isn’t based off, like, scientific research, just Goodreads pre-reviews). It’s not as if Sarah J. Maas or Rick Riordan’s quality has dropped – in my opinion – so why are they met with negativity while Stiefvater and Hodkin and Brown are met with good vibes?

So is it really too much? For me, personally, if the quality is still great, then I’m ready for it. I trust my authors to do with the story the best they can. I’m super excited for Cassandra Clare’s three other Shadowhunter series, even though they probably won’t end until I’m, like, 30; I’m excited to dive into The Trials of Apollo and the Magnus Chase trilogy; I can’t wait for the Chaol novella and the three new ACOTAR stories; I’m ready for the new additions to Victoria Aveyard’s and Sabaa Tahir’s series; and, yes, I’ve been hella excited for the five new Fantastic Beast movies since they were announced, and that will never change (at least, I don’t think it will).  

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But, do I see the point in ruining the excitement for those who begged for it? No, definitely not, especially if you’re excited for a totally different book/series that’s pretty much doing the same thing that you seem to hate so much. And, trust me, I’m a culprit for this as well. I was ready to write a whiny review of Twilight: Life and Death, the gender-swapped version of Twilight, and Grey, but as you can see above, I’m excited for additions to my favorite series, too. I feel like some people (and I’m talking more about Goodreads than blogging because Goodreads can be a bit…much at times) just need to realize that instead of writing up a snarky one-star review for a book you’re not even going to read (this video from Emma at her Youtube channel, emmmabooks, explains all my issues with that), that they can just leave it alone, walk away, and let others enjoy what they want without guilt-tripping people and acting like they’re above them. Isn’t that what reading’s about? Loving books no matter what genre, page number, author, etc? As long as someone is reading, it’s a good thing, whether we like that book or think it’s necessary.

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Anyway, that’s it for this month’s discussion! I hope you enjoyed it and it wasn’t too sucky. I’ve thought a lot about this ever since the negativity surrounding J.K. Rowling, and I’m curious as to what everyone thinks about this topic. Feel free to leave your own comments and opinions and continue the conversation, since that’s the point of discussions!

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29 thoughts on “[DISCUSSION] Is It Really Too Much?

  1. Really interesting discussion topic! To my mind it’s a bit like film studios churning out remakes or sequels rather than original new work. They’re going with what works and they know will make money, less risk for them. Same with publishers. But can we blame them? It’s difficult to spot new talent, the next big thing. But to answer your original question – yes, I think there is such a thing as too much. Like bingeing on chocolate – eventually you crave something different and unexpected.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, yeah, I never thought about that! I know there are complaints about how the film industry seems to be running out of ideas and everything is basically a superhero movie or a sequel or a reboot or other. And I think the same happens with books sometimes, because even when something new is published, sometimes it literally feels like four popular YA books I’ve already read mushed together, which I really hate.

      I don’t like chocolate so I feel left out of the analogy. 😂 But, yeah, I get it. I have yet to experience that feeling, but maybe it’ll happen in the future!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree that at times there’s a point where enough is enough for me. When an author begins a series they have a specific direction in mind and everything they write builds to that end. When other authors jump it I find that their direction is too far away from the story and they don’t have the same detail and feel of the original author. The cursed child was just ok for me if you take it for what it was, which was a play, but it had nothing on JK Rowling!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, yeah, I get that! I liked The Cursed Child as well, but she actually wrote Fantastic Beasts with zero help, and I thought it was brilliant, so it’s not like Rowling can’t write a screenplay. I think she’s the only author I know of where other authors collabed besides Cassandra Clare.

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  3. This is so true! It is truly unfair that people mark a book with 1 star before the book even comes out complaining about it just because it is ‘too much’ I think that if it is too much for you just don’t buy the book, or don’t say anything to ruin it for those who are excited. No one is ever forced to read a book so it shouldn’t be something to complain about if you are not going to even give the book a chance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, yes, I agree! It’s one of the things that irked me about Goodreads: the fact that some users hated authors so much that they took any opportunity to bring them down. Like, just leave it alone! It’s not like anyone’s making you read this author’s books!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I actually have mixed feelings about this one. I don’t think it’s wrong for authors to want to add more books to their universe, but I very rarely enjoy these additions.

    The Cursed Child to me was a disappointment, but I never really blamed Rowling for it… I mean, why not, right? And obviously there’s an audience for it – tons of people watch (and love) the play. However, I LOVE Fantastic Beasts – it has flaws for sure but I think that’s an addition done right: the characters are different, the conflict is fresh, we’re looking at the world from a different perspective.

    I generally dislike novellas, though, and find them sorely lacking. I’m sure there are some great ones, but the ones I’ve read don’t really add anything to the existing universe and even make me think of certain stories in a differeny way.

    I don’t have a problem with authors writing more books for money, but I am kind of wary about those books – does it REALLY have a plot, a natural story to tell? Will it be written with the same passion and care? Etc, etc. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually liked Cursed Child (and I’ll be on my lonely party of a few since that’s a minority) and I loved Fantastic Beasts as well, definitely for different reasons though.

      I don’t know about novellas. I rarely buy them, just because when I end up having money, I don’t really want to read a collection of stories…I want a new book that I’ve never read before (this is probably why I suck at reading novella collections lol).

      It depends. I don’t think I’ve been disappointed by a spin-off yet, but maybe I’ll hate one in the future. Who knows? I might just grow out of these series, but for now, I’m content. 😄 But, yeah, it’s usually about the quality.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved this post – it really makes you think!

    With some books I think we always say we want more but sometimes we really don’t need it. I was thinking about this all day and sometimes more is good – in the case of FBAWTFT, because the films are new and original stories but, with other works, more isn’t always a good thing. For years people asked for a sequel to How to Kill A Mockingbird and the author was finally pressured into writing one, naturally readers thought it was pretty ‘meh’ and weren’t too happy with it.

    I don’t blame authors for writing books if the worlds work, but I have to say, with some authors they seem to lack originality and new plot after a while.

    On another note, I really don’t think novellas are necessary. They were never really a thing and then a few years a go they blew up and now there are novellas in every series. If you want your readers to know something about the plot or the characters then please, for gods sake, just put it in your book.

    Last thing, I swear! One thing I hate that authors do is when they continue a series with the same characters. Don’t get me wrong I will continue to read Rick Riordan’s books but I feel sorry for the poor souls who really want to read The Hidden Oracle but have to read PJO and HOO first – that’s ten books! It’s the same story with Cassandra Clare – in order to understand the inside jokes and who characters are you have to have read all of her other works in the Shadowhunter Chronicles. It’s just a lot of work, is all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I totally forgot to mention Harper Lee! I’ve actually never read TKAM (WHY???), but I remember people were really disappointed, much like with The Cursed Child, where the main character didn’t act like he had in the first book, from what I’ve gathered.

      It depends on the novella. If the novella is a bind-up, there’s more of a chance that I’ll read it. If it’s like a million short stories that I have to buy 99 cents for, I’ll usually just skip on that. 😝

      And, lol, I’ve never thought about! I’ve been following Rick Riordan since elementary school and Cassandra Clare since middle school, so I’m so used to it being my entire life. 😂 I know it’s probably frustrating for people when they want to read Lady Midnight and realize they need to read about nine books before doing so.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I agree with what you said at the end. The way I see it, authors can write whatever they want, and there’s no point in complaining because no one is being forced to read it. If I’m tired of a series and think it’s being dragged out, I can just… stop reading. Wow, what a crazy idea! Lol. But if people are still excited for it, then that’s great! I know there are some series I’d happily keep reading books in for the entire rest of my life, so why should I try and take that fun away from others who happen to like different series?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, that’s basically it! Like, I’m not a 50 Shades fan and I’m not a Twilight fan. So, of course I don’t understand when they have their spin-offs, because I never liked the series in the first place. I’ve always found it weird how people can dedicate time into writing a sarcastic review of a book of a series they have never read/won’t read. 😬

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think I fall in the middle in this discussion. When it comes to books that I’m excited for, I really am okay about reading more and more. I love all Rick Riordan’s books; although I wasn’t the biggest fan of The Heroes of Olympus, I loved Magnus Chase and Trials of Apollo. He is one of my favorite authors and I think I’ll keep buying his next books, because I can really connect with his writing style.
    However, there are also TV shows that never really stop. I used to watch Pretty Little Liars and Once Upon A Time, but after 5 seasons… It was just too much. I felt like the characters weren’t themselves anymore; there was literally no plot, so they had to make the characters go completely OOC in order to have something to keep the viewers excited. But I don’t think that this is the right way to keep someone’s attention.
    I feel like this is the problem that most people have when authors keep releasing more and more books in the same world. Not only it can be repetitive, but they’re afraid that stretching out the story will make them lose their interest on it.
    As you mentioned in the end of the post, what really matters is quality. If the author wants to publish 7 more books in the series, well, go ahead! But I don’t know if I’ll support him through it if these new books aren’t as good as the first ones.
    Either way, this was a fantastic discussion, Mikaela! It made me think a lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, yes, I love Rick Riordan. 😍 I actually have yet to read Trials of Apollo or Magnus Chase (I’m like, super ridiculously behind lol), but, yeah, I can’t think of a future where I’m not reading his books, same as with Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare.

      I suck at binging TV shows so I can’t relate. The closest to that is The Walking Dead for me, which I still enjoy and, again, need to catch up on. I never made it through PLL or OUOT because I got bored early on, but I get what you’re saying. Both of those shows seem as if they’ve jumped the shark and now it’s just all over the place, from an outsider’s stand-point.

      And yes, exactly, it always goes down to quality for me. As long as it doesn’t get too boring or the quality drops, I’m cool w/ it. I might lose interest sometime in the future the older I get, but I don’t know. Well cross that hurdle in the future. 😂

      And thank you so much! ☺️ I’m so shocked by the responses I’ve gotten.

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  8. I have mixed feelings regarding this. On one hand, I don’t care, let the author do what they want. It’s their universe & story after all, and if they’re good & happy writing it, go for it. On the other hand, I’m over it. Not necessarily with novellas, even though I don’t read them. And sometimes even a new series in the same world is great (Six of Crows).

    But then for Clare, I feel like TID and Lady Midnight were SO SIMILAR in plot with TMI. I didn’t even finish TMI because I felt like it wrapped up nicely in book three. So I don’t know, I guess it comes down to personal preference. Do you like the original work at all? How different does the author make it? Is the writing still just as good? MEH. You’ve asked me a question I can’t properly answer hahah

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ooh, yes, I loved SOC. I actually didn’t like the original Grisha trilogy too much, personally, and never continued after Book 1, but I know some people LOVED IT. I feel like I haven’t read too many spin-offs, besides Cassandra’s and Rowling’s (I still need to read Riordan’s ugh).

      Funnily enough, City of Glass was originally supposed to be the ending to TMI, but she added on the other three (which I didn’t like that much, unfortunately). I did like TID and LM, and thought they were pretty original (but then again, I think everyone has different definitions of original, really) and her cast of characters is always so entertaining and great. The answer to the question is all so complicated, but I love seeing different people’s opinions. 😁

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  9. I think fan expectations have heightened since Harry Potter came out. That series blew the world away, but now we all think that every new title should be just as good, if not better. But creating such an immersive world AND find a way to describe it beautifully is so difficult. Some authors may take several years to write one novel, while we can devour it in a day or two. And if the work is good, we are just salivating at the mouth, waiting for more.

    Unfortunately, this type of demand often puts so much pressure on the supplier (i.e. the author), which may change the way the next book is written. Whether it be fan expectation, publisher demands, or even the pull of money, sequels can be disappointing.

    Most of the haters don’t think of the blood, sweat & tears it takes to write a story. All they want is to be entertained.

    For the most part, I ignore most of the babble out there on the internet. If an author has disappointed you, there are hundreds of more authors that can surprise you. It’s not like any of us have dozens of books on our TBR list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so true, definitely! That opens up a whole new can of worms about originality and such: how some people think that YA books are doing the same old, same old. I believe that sometimes, but at the same time, it’s like, “Not ALL books have to be the next big thing,” which publishing is really big on, more than any other art, I think. They’re always looking for the next Hunger Games, the next Gone Girl, the next The Martian, and it’s great if you can, but not EVERY book has to be super original. That should be a discussion for another day lol

      Yeah, I know there’s probably pressure on authors to make every book bigger and better than the last one, especially when you have such a huge fanbase. It’s not possible to make everyone happy, which probably sucks, not to mention the pressure from their publisher to keep making books that give them a lot of money.

      And, yeah, exactly! There’s loads of authors out there for you if you want something different, which is why I don’t get it when people continually hate on an author. Fine, don’t read it, but no need to trash it if you’re never going to.

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  11. Your analysis of the topic is amazing, you did such a great job on this and you were right to brag :p I would’ve totally missed it otherwise.
    I agree with what you said about if the quality is still good I don’t mind. It’s just that more often than not, when the readers riot, it’s that the other is milking the cow too far. Some stories even stop making sense if you get what i mean because the new books feel far fetched and just NOT like the original books. That’s what bothers me most. Which makes me skeptical whenever new books are added (especially if done multiple times) no matter who the author is.
    By the way, Upside isn’t a spine-off to Simon vs. , it stands on its own 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks. I spent like an hour writing this and then a billion times re-editing it because I’m a nervous mess who hates having their opinions out there, but the response has been good so far! 😄

      Ooh, that’s interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a spin-off where it’s so far out that it doesn’t make sense anymore. Like, Lady Midnight still works well with the Shadowhunters series, and manages to expand on it, and same with Magnus Chase (even though I haven’t read it yet and really should lol). I haven’t even read too many spin-offs, but so many have been announced (even Leigh Bardugo is releasing a bind-up of novellas, and as I predicted, people were really excited for it)!

      And it isn’t??? I feel like I’ve heard somewhere that it was a spin-off because characters featured in Simon are in it and it’s based off of someone else’s cousin who was in Simon? None of that made sense, but thanks for correcting me. 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I yet have to read Lasy Midnight 😂 but I’ve heard only great thing about it so I’ll eventually get to it.
        And I also need to read something that Rick Riordan wrote, I will eventually, and I’m planning on reading everything, it’s just that my TBR is waaaay too long 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m at 69%, and I’m about to finish another one, so I give myself a pat on the back for that! 😂 I currently have four on my shelf, but then I have 15 requests pending??? At this point, I don’t think I’m ever going to get them, and if I do, it’ll be months from now.

        Liked by 1 person

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