Hey guys! So recently I had a ShowerThought about a first book in a series that I loved, but the rest of the books haven’t really matched that level of awesome. And then I immediately thought of another book that did that too. And then I realized there have to be more and that it might be a fun topic to look into.
Here’s my definition of what I’m talking about: 1) these are books that may have initially been meant to just be standalones and the publisher ordered more books but it was never actually meant to be a series or 2) it was always supposed to be a series but the first book would have been fine on its own.
Let’s get started! Also, if you know of any I’ve left off, feel free to leave them in the comments! I definitely want to hear if you agree/disagree with me as well!
Top Ten Series That Should Have Been Standalones
1.Divergent by Veronica Roth
Funny enough, this wasn’t the first book I thought of, but it’s definitely the best example of what I’m talking about. I’m a fan of this book and I was waiting impatiently, like everyone else, for the final book. But after reading all of them, Divergent is far and away the masterpiece in this series and I almost wish that was the end of it. Like, the rest of the books are unnecessary.
2. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
This is actually the book that set this off because at the time of writing this, I’m reading the third and final book in this series. And it hurts me that I completely adored the first book so much (Rhen, Grey, and Harper are this amazing trio I just can’t get over), but the rest of the books don’t have that same magic. Book 2 focuses more on Grey and less on Rhen and Harper, which kinda sucked but it wasn’t a bad book, and I’m really missing the urban fantasy elements we got in the first book but have never gotten since.
3. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
I’m actually almost mad at myself for putting this on the list, but I have my reasons. Look, The Goddess Test is one of my favorite books ever. I reread it all the time. And the other books aren’t that bad either. (I sometimes reread the 2nd one too. It has some really good moments too.) But despite that I actually like some of the other ones, I feel like the plot suffered in them. The relationship between Henry and Kate was what kept the stories afloat. But after book 1, the rest get a bit melodramatic and rely on misunderstandings and overreactions to keep the story going.
4. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
I feel like this one’s going to be controversial with some of you. I thought the premise of the first book was awesome. I loved the idea of magic in the blood and the training and the underground movement. All of that. I even really enjoyed the second book. But. That third book. I just could not even finish it. It was too sadistic, too long and drawn out. Ugh. I think I would have been happier if the series had just stopped with book 1.
5. Freya by Matthew Laurence
I’m not sure how many of you have ever read this series (duology, I think?) but the first book was definitely better than the second. This is about ancient gods who are finding ways to survive in our modern world when people don’t worship them anymore. We follow Freya, who is hilarious and so much fun to watch get into trouble, as she tries to bring down a group that’s kidnapping these gods for their own purposes. By the second book, the story just felt stale.
6. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
This one might be controversial too. So like, ok, I liked the first book and maybe the second, but I either aged out of this series or too much time passed between books and I just lost the thread of it. But I think the premise of the first book was strong and I wish it had stopped there. Or that it had at least stopped when the series was supposed to after 3 books, maybe.
7. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
I don’t actually have a problem with Where She Went, except that it does come across as whiney at times. My thing with this one is that when I think of this book, I don’t even think of it as a series. (Some of you might not even have known there was a sequel.) Granted, I liked seeing what Adam and Mia were up to after the first book, but I didn’t need it.
8. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh
The first book in this series is stunner. A weird dark fantasy that ties itself to Edgar Allan Poe and his stories, this is creepy and funny and strange all at the same time and I loved it. But the second book was rough. Again, maybe I aged out or lost the plot by the time I read the second, but it really wasn’t doing it for me. Perhaps I’ll reread it some day and my opinion will change.
9. Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
I know I’ve read this whole series, but really all I remember for sure is that I loved the idea of the first book and that it felt recycled and stale in the rest of the books. Higgins is a pretty talented writer (I’ve enjoyed some of her more recent books a lot), but I think, if I remember right, her writing was a bit immature at this time. Or maybe that was just 2000s YA. Either way, I’d have been happy stopping the series early.
10. The Vicious Deep by Zoraida Cordova
Ok, I’m not going to lie, by the time I got to this point trying to find more series I hadn’t liked all the books in, I’ve gone back almost a decade. I don’t remember what happened in this book, but I rated this one a 4 and the second one a 2, which I almost never did back at that time unless it was really bad. So that’s what I’m basing this on.