Real Talk is an original feature here at Girl in the Pages where I’ll discuss random things that come across my mind in an honest and sometimes spontaneous manner. It may be about books, blogging, life, or anything else!
You know what I’m really and truly tired of? All of the negativity and author hate that I see happening when authors decide to continue writing multiple series in the same universe. I’ve seen everything from people claiming these additional installments are no better than fanfiction to the old “they’re just milking the cash cow argument.” While there are definitely series and universes that I dropped off the bandwagon for, I’ve never wished the author any ill-will for it- I just decided the books were no longer for me, whether it be from a lack of interest, declining quality, etc. However there are also a many major authors that I’ve seen continuing to write in elaborate universes they’ve created that I’m thrilled about, and I just don’t understand the chronic author bashing and hate because of it.
Let’s start with perhaps one of the most infamous examples, the Shadowhunter universe. Yes, Cassandra Clare has continued with multiple series, short stories, companion novels, etc. in her universe that started with The Mortal Instruments. Have I read all of them? No- I’ve read the three major series but a lot of the short stories (such as the Shadowhunter academy stories) just really aren’t my cup of tea. However it astounds me that people spend the time and energy to drag these books through the mud on Goodreads before they’re even released, just because they’re set in the same universe. If I was an author and I spent so much time building an elaborate universe, I’d likely want to keep writing in it too! Also, if you’re not a fan of the author continuing the series, use the power of capitalism and don’t spend your money on the books. But bashing a series/universe/author just because you’re fatigued of the universe has never made sense to me- it’s easy enough to not consume media you’re not interested in.
I’ve seen these negative sentiments taken even farther recently with The Court of Thorns and Roses series, with the recent release of A Court of Frost and Starlight. Many folks didn’t like the novella and found it boring, which is totally fair- they’re not for everyone. However, I’ve seen sentiments going so far as to say that Maas is ruining her characters by continuing to write these books and that just truly baffles me. As much as readers become attached to characters (and trust me, I am very attached to my ACOFAS characters), they still are at the end of the day the author’s creations, their blood, sweat and tears, and frankly their right to proceed how they see fit with their stories for them. Have I always agreed with the direction authors take their characters or the backstories they’ve imposed on them later on? No, of course not. But I’m also aware that I didn’t create them and wouldn’t expect an author to cater to my (or really any fan’s) expectations or wishes regarding their ultimate fate. And if I really have a problem with it, I’ll usually just stop watching/reading/listening/etc. to the story or only engage with it up to a certain point (such as how I pretty much stop all Gossip Girl re-watching at the duck pond episode in season two so my Nate+Blair ship can sail forever in my memories without being tainted with other romantic pairings *coughChuckandBlaircough* on the show that I disagree with).
Ultimately, readers are titled to their opinions, which they absolutely should be. However, it’s disheartening when the issues they take with a series or universe continuing morphs into negativity directed toward the author themselves for continuing to write. It seems cruel and like honestly a huge waste of energy, and can really put the damper on the reading experience of others. It’d just be so much easier to move on from an author/series/universe when one no longer likes it, creating less animosity and more kindness in the YA community. A far fetched ideal? Completely, however I’m a firm believer in this instance that it takes much more time and energy to be cruel than to be kind (or even just impassive).
What’s your take on spin off series and/or authors continuing to write in the same universe? Do you think the animosity toward these continuations is warranted? What is a series or literary universe that you’ve had to abandon because it was no longer a fit for you (or one that you’re happy to continue reading)? Do you think the author bashing for those who write extensively in one universe has gotten excessive? Let me know in the comments!