Here’s the thing about book series

A few months ago I read The Maze Runner series (and saw the movie and wrote about it). I remember thinking (often) while reading the second and third books, I miss the good ol’ days when we were all back in the Glade and everything was familiar and nobody important was dead. You know, before Theresa showed up.

Sometimes when I read or listen to the sixth and seventh Harry Potter books (especially the seventh), I’m like, Remember when all we had to do was go to class and didn’t worry too much about Voldemort until the last quarter of the year? Remember Quidditch and Weasley twin shenanigans? Those were the days.

While reading Hunger Games, I at times, like Peeta, remember the cave and the first games and how innocent we all were (you know, besides the bloodshed). Those were simpler times.

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Last month I read the first two books in a series (third installment coming at us in October! which is too far away) by Ransom Riggs. The first book is called Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and the majority of the story takes place in a small island off the coast of Wales. In the first book, we follow the main character, Jacob, and his dad to this small island off the coast of Wales. We get to know them. We meet some peculiar children and we get to know them. We hang out with them and they’re great. There’s some danger, of course, but for the most part we’re living life with the peculiars, hanging out and making friends.

Riggs’ jam is vintage photography. He collects old pictures. And he writes. So one day he had the really good idea to combine the two passions. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is full of legit vintage photographs that serve as the story’s illustrations. I will say that when I was reading the book at night, I’d angle the Kindle away when the pictures came because there is nothing creepier than a one hundred year old picture of a kid, even if the kid is just standing their in their regular clothes in front of a regular house. But of course, Riggs didn’t write a story about regular old kids standing in any regular old place, so the pictures are extra creepy because they are children floating and children full of bees and invisible children and men without pupils and the scariest Santa Claus I’ve ever seen.

So the story is different and fun and intriguing and had me thinking about what came first in each instance – the character or the photograph? The plot point or the picture? I can almost picture Ransom Riggs sitting on the floor of his attic (because where else would you keep creepy vintage pics?) piecing things together like a big, novel-length collage.

The story is fresh, is what I’m saying, and so when I found out there was a sequel I downloaded it immediately after finishing the first. The sequel is called Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children and it’s good. It’s still full of slightly-off photographs and creativity. It still features Jacob and his peculiar friends from the small island off the coast of Wales. But we meet a bunch more people and we go to new places and we meet new peculiars and the dangers are more dangerous and things get kind of crazy.

While reading Hollow City I found myself thinking, Remember when we were all back in the loop on the small island off the coast of Wales? Remember when the whole gang was together just doing their thing? Wasn’t that nice?

Because apparently I get homesick for fictional people’s fictional homes. More accurately, I get homesick for where-it-all-began, for the firsts and the introductions. Back before the author was working under a deadline and heavy expectations. Back before the danger got too dangerous (because it always does, that danger.)

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Do you ever get homesick for fictional homes? Do you find yourself drawn to one part of a series over another? Maybe you’re a wrapper-upper and you love a good conclusion! Me, I’m at times content to read the first book in a series and leave it at that. Leave the ending up to me and my imagination! (Or in the case of Percy Jackson, forget the ending altogether because the firsts were so unenjoyable I don’t care if PJ stays lost forever.)

What’s your favorite series??

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5 thoughts on “Here’s the thing about book series

  1. I love this post! I definitely feel the same at times. Sometimes I enjoy the later complexity of a story more than the innocent beginnings, but I can still feel that nostalgic pull. I think it’s a consequence of two things. 1) Sometimes the writing just gets worse as you go. Sometimes you wish for the days when you didn’t know how much the author was going to screw the series up (ahem, Divergent). 2) Just as we age, mature, and feel nostalgia for our own simple days of youth, I think we can recognize that in our beloved characters. Even though everything wasn’t perfect back when Harry was playing giant wizard chess or Katniss was hopping from tree to tree alone in the arena, those times still seem much easier in comparison to their later adventures. Things weren’t perfect in our childhoods either, but it sure is easier to look back on them and reminisce about a time before bills or responsibility or understanding the darkness and pain in the world.

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