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.
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.
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.”
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).
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.
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!