Sequels, Series, or Sets

can be for Sequels, Series, or Sets. So many choiceS

I like reading sets of books that have overlapping characters. There are a various ways that sets relate to one another. Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan novels all have overlapping characters, and I think that there is some character development over time, but each novel tells a separate episode in the story and has a clear ending. Some of the “Ryanverse” novels don’t have Jack Ryan as the main character — but all the novels in this set tell stories set in Clancy’s alternate universe. The later books also refer to events in the history of the Ryanverse, so it is easier on the reader to have some knowledge of that history, though it isn’t strictly necessary.

Sometimes a “series” is actually all one book. I would say that Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy is actually all one book. Similarly, George R.R. Martin’s Fire and Ice books are very closely linked and I think they just make up one long story. Sets don’t always do this — see on Clancy above. At the moment, I’m reading a trilogy by Robertson Davies, commonly referred to as the Deptford trilogy. The three novels that make up this trilogy have overlapping characters, but they stand on their own as individual works. Though I’m reading the three novels bound together in one volume, I don’t think that these books cry out to be bound together as much as The Lord of the Rings does.

Then there is the mystery series. In a mystery series, the detectives stay the same, but the cases change. There is usually some kind of personal development in the detective from book to book, but the main point of each book is the case, not the detective. Oh wait, maybe part of the point is the detective and his or her personal story as well.

What series or sets do you read? Do you always need to rush out and get the sequel? Do tell.

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