Bookish Ramblings: Lamenting the loss of the stand alone

Standalones.  They feel to me like a holy grail in terms of books at the moment.  I feel every book that I currently reach for is either a duology, trilogy or series.  I think the last time I read a standalone was last year when Jo Michaels released Utterances. Even the very stand alone Ready Player One has now had a Ready Player Two in the works, which was announced at the latest trailer release for the film.

My question to any authors reading this is why shy away from stand alone stories? Growing up I think the only series I read was The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  My favourite horror writer Shaun Hutson, all the way through to my beloved Jodi Picoult – these were all stories which stood on their own feet.  Then about 10 years ago (maybe a little more) something shifted, either in the books I moved into reading or maybe publishers perhaps wanting to drag out a sure thing – books all started to expand. Games of Thrones, The Hunger Games etc  I have seen this move increase exponentially to a time where I now struggle to find a book to read from start to finish, cover to cover.  Recent fairyloot reads, The Last Namsara and The Hazel Wood – started out as standalones but then evolved, what changed?

It’s true of both traditional and indie published works.  There will be 8 books in theThrone of Glass series by Sarah J Maas when the last book is released later in the year and a book that an indie author approached me to review recently is part of a series of 6!  As a reader and reviewer I feel like I am in a perpetual cycle of starting series after series, with no hope of ever completing them or even remembering what has happened from book to book between releases.  Stories where I have fallen in love with characters and their journeys then never to reach my mind again.  Why not wait until the whole series is released? I hear you say, well it’s the curse of the reviewer.  Yes we are very lucky to be provided with these fabulous books for free and ahead of release but it’s part of our duty to get the reviews out there which in turn helps books 2,3 and beyond reach a wider audience.  Why don’t you just re-read the first book before the next one comes out? again I hear you cry.  Simple answer is time and tbr.  Im one of probably thousands of book bloggers figuratively suffocating under the weight of their tbr piles and also, I’m not a huge re-reader.  I think I can count on one hand the books I will return to again and again.  It’s all a bit of an unhappy mess.

If you’re an author reading this or even another blogger with insight I would love to know your thoughts and feelings about this, surely i’m not alone or maybe you can point me in the direction of some great stand alone fantasy – I think it’s what I need to kick start me out of my current reading slump!

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