Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How To Read a Trilogy: Slow and Steady, Quick and Greedy?

I've been caught up in reading two trilogies lately. I finished Mockingjay, the last book of the Hunger Games series, this weekend.  And I just finished book two, The Girl Who Played With Fire, of Stieg Larsson's trilogy. The two couldn't be more different - post-apolyptic YA versus tightly plotted thriller - but they have their similarities: they're both brilliantly written, and almost impossible to put down.

Mockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)There's another difference for me personally. I read the first two Hunger Games books before Mockingjay came out, and I waited for months and months to read it (serious anticipation!). In that time, I began to develop my own thoughts on how the story could end well. Team Gale? Team Peeta? Forget it... I was Team Let's Have Katniss Grow Up and Make An Emotionally Healthy Adult Decision On Who She Loves. But then, I'm a killjoy like that; I would be okay with the books ending without Katniss making a decision, but how many other people would be? (For the record, I totally support Suzanne Collin's right as the artist to tell the story she had to tell, and I think she did so brilliantly!)

I loved Mockingjay, but it was weird to come to the end of a tale we were so heavily invested in and have it end... differently... than what I imagined. There were areas where I was fully satisfied and a few where I wasn't, althogh I'm not going into details to avoid spoilers (If you'd like to talk Mockingjay with me, there's a spoilers-allowed conversation in BlogFrog, because I'm dying to talk about it!). 

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Vintage)Stieg Larsson's series, although just as addictive for me (I read all 724 pages of The Girl Who Played With Fire between yesterday and... now), is a different story sequel wise. I have no ideas where I want the books to end up, except that I want to see a happy ending for both Lisbeth Salander and Blomkvist.  I think that's because I started the books after all three had been released, and there's no waiting - and wondering - and daydreaming up my own ending.

Do you have a preference, fellow book lovers? Do you like to be among the first to discover a great new author even though it means waiting forever for the next installment of a story, or do you prefer to read all the books in a series one after another?


Kittie Howard said...

I'm hooked on Larsson's series. There were moments in "Dragon" that I fumed over long boating scenes, didn't realize how tightly scripted the book was, and have delayed the second book until Labor Day Weekend, just want to read and enjoy...although, I think part of the kicker was I never thought something like that would happen in Sweden.

Guinevere said...

Kittie, I know what you mean! Larsson's big theme is men hating women, and I realize that's an issue outside of the U.S., but I think of Sweden as being so... civilized. And then the Larsson books are just a reminder that, actually, the entire world is jacked up, thanks for playing. lol.

Summer said...

I definitely prefer to wait for the series to be complete. Cliffhangers and I do NOT get along. Of course, I rarely take my own advice. Most of what I read is half-finished!

I haven't read Larsson's books yet. I've been on the fence...

brookeamanda said...

I read "The Girl Who Played With Fire" in two days and the first book in about a week. Here's a warning..."The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest" moves A LOT slower and introduces a ton of new characters. It took me awhile to get through that one.

Old Kitty said...

I do like the anticipation of the next installment if the series is really really intriguing and suspenseful.

But having all of the series in one go is also great! :-)

I really cannot wait to get stuck into the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series!!!

Take care

Jen said...

Hi Guinevere!! I would say that I love when the series are all released, that why there is no guessing if I get so in love and want to read more!!!

That being said I'm currenlty waiting for the next installment of Matched, Hex Hall, and Firelight and I can't help but wait in anticipation, it's kind of a fun feeling, you get to relive the amazing words you read again and again until the next one is released.

Thank goodness that didn't happen for Harry Potter. I waited until all seven books were released, I wanted to know that ending :)