Repetition — good or bad?

I’ve been listening to the Michael Scott series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. So far I’ve listened to the first three books (The Alchemyst, The Magician, and The Sorceress) and must report a few things about the series.

  1. This is not a series of books, it is all one book. There is one plot arrow, there is little to no resolution at the end of each book, and the story line so far has taken about four or five days of story-time in three volumes. Compare the Harry Potter books. Each Potter book has a plot that resolves, and each book takes a school-year to come to that resolution. Yes, there is a larger trajectory in the Potter books, but you can read one Potter book and feel like something happened, not that you were dropped into the middle of a story arc and then ripped out of it just as it might make a move toward resolution.
  2. There is an inordinate amount of repetition in the books. Possibly this is to remind you of pertinent details since this is all one book. Even so, the amount and detail of the repetition is wearing. The use of characters full names all the time is ridiculous. Every single time the point of view shifts to someone else, the new point-of-view character’s full name is given. Possibly this is Mr. Scott’s way of signalling that a point-of-view shift has occurred, but it is also wearing. And possibly silly.
  3. I’ve noted that there is a lot of repetition and that the action in each book seems to be about a day and a half or so. I think that the story might have been told in much less time and to much greater effect. I think an editor could help a lot. But maybe then not so much money would be made? Who knows. I’m just glad that the library has the books and I didn’t make any financial investment in them.

Do you know of other book series that are basically all one book? Do they repeat themselves all the time? Am I just becoming a grumpy person? Do tell.


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