Real Talk: A Case for Kindness

Posted May 30, 2018 by Cristina (Girl in the Pages) in Discussions / 9 Comments

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).

Let’s Discuss

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!


9 responses to “Real Talk: A Case for Kindness

  1. It makes me so sad when people complain about things like this. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of Cassandra Clare (I read TMI and I didn’t enjoy as much as everyone told me I would), I still love the idea of her expanding on the world that she created and really diving into it headfirst. I’m a HUGE fan of series’ because I love getting to know characters and to me, companion series’ are the perfect way to do that. I think the only time I was upset with an author over this type of thing (irrationally, for sure) was when Stephanie Meyer published her 10th anniversary edition of Twilight. I found it to be rather pointless (although that’s clearly a terrible judgment to make, especially because I never read it). We all just have these knee-jerk responses conditioned into us and we really need to recognize them and stop them. This is such a great topic, Cristina, and one that doesn’t get discussed often enough!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    • Thank you so much, Laura! I agree, I was underwhelmed by the concept of Stephanie Meyer’s 10th anniversary Twilight release as well (I read sections but not the whole thing) but I also think that’s a bit of a different situation because it wasn’t a new book, it was just the original book gender swapped. Again though, it’s not for me to judge! I personally love seeing authors flesh out a world more and more with novellas and spinoff series, and if I’m exhausted by it I’ll just make the choice to step away myself!

  2. I’m with you on this for sure! I think some series go on too long for my personal liking but I would never fault the author for having new ideas! I love that Leigh Bardugo’s books are all set in the same universe.

    I feel this way about love triangles that develop in series as well. There are a lot of people who feel personally attacked by an author who introduces one, even though they’re the author’s characters?? The reader isn’t owed everything they want; they were created by the author for a reason and with an intended “endgame” that we hopefully like.

    Lauren (Bookmark Lit) recently posted: Top Ten Tuesdays #185: Bookish Worlds
    • Right?! Like it’s not a personal attack, if you are really offended by it just stop reading the series before it gets to that point (AKA what I do when I rewatch Gossip Girl, I just finish off when Blair and Nate get together in Season 2 before Chuck ruins everything LOL)

  3. I’m generally nervous when an author announces that they’re writing a sudden “continuation” to a series (cuz yeah, we can just not read it, but it’s still nervewracking for favorites to be revisited suddenly, and likely we probably will read it), and less over spin-off series that take place in the same universe but with (sometimes) new characters. I like seeing more of a world I love. But like with all reviews, there’s being honest about your thoughts and being hateful/rude and the latter is never constructive to anyone.

    • Definitely, I think the word constructive is key- it’s one thing to express your honest thoughts about something, and then there’s just plain old cruelty and author bashing. You bring up a good point, there is definitely a difference between a spin off series and a continuation series that is announced much later on (though some authors do both). I personally like when there’s a spinoff series where the original series characters have small cameos of their future selves- then I think you get the best of both worlds!

  4. […] Real Talk: A Case for Kindness @ Girl in the Pages | Totally agree here. I commented on her post about people who tend to think the author owes them something based on their personal preferences. Authors are allowed to keep writing series if they’re confident that there’s still a story to tell. They can introduce love triangles if they want because they’re THEIR characters. etc. etc. […]

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