What Makes A "Good" Series?

Pretty much anyone who's in the book blogosphere and has an internet connection is aware of what happened last week Tuesday: Sarah J. Maas released her newest book, A Court of Mist and Fury (ACOMAF).  The book's Goodreads rating is off the charts.  Last I checked, it was 4.75/5!  So high of a rating is insane -- and almost unheard of.

The first moment my schedule freed up, I hurried over to the bookstore and picked up a copy.  I read the 600+ page monstrosity in just a couple of days, and thankfully, loved it.

So, ACOMAF was an amazing sequel, but other books in series aren't always so . . . fulfilling.  What makes a "good" sequel?  What makes a "good" series?

Let's discuss!

Personally, my main criteria is boiled down to the following:

1. The storyline is intricate and well-thought out.

The best example of a book series that accomplished this feat well is J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.  I think a big reason why the whole world fell in love with Harry Potter's realm is because the storyline is so masterfully interwoven.  The planning, outlining, and prep J.K. Rowling must have gone through is blatantly obvious in her work.  Every character, every action, and every plot point just makes sense!  When a plot "bombshell" drops in any of Rowling's books, the reader's mind is able to instantly connect back to all of the previously dropped hints; book one connects all the way until book seven.

2. Books connect to each other logically.

When I read Veronica Roth's Divergent back in middle school, I loved it.  And a few days after, I went to buy both Insurgent and Allegiant.  Don't get me wrong; at the time, I still enjoyed books two and three.  However, they came nowhere near to my original love for Divergent.

Why?  I'm not sure if other readers hold similar reservations, but in my personal opinion, Insurgent and Allegiant seemed like books from a completely different series.  It felt like Veronica Roth only planned for one book, but then had to scrounge up something in order to make a trilogy.  In my mind, books two and three didn't logically connect to book one.

I think a "good" series requires books to actually have some sense of unity.

3. Characters experience growth, but don't do a complete "360˚."

If you're a fan of Sarah J. Maas books and her Throne of Glass series, then I think a specific book will come to mind for this point.  Namely, Queen of Shadows and Chaol's apparent personality switch.

Personally, I didn't have much of a problem with the book or Chaol's character, simply because I was never really in to Chaol.  But that doesn't mean I don't agree with the criticism: characters shouldn't have a random, seemingly instant, change of heart.

So, what do you think makes a "good" series?  What are your favorite series?

Thanks for discussing!

Julia's a dreamer. She often zones off periodically throughout the day thinking up plans for the future, pining over fictional characters, and concocting up possible plot lines for stories.

You can find Julia on her main blog, Peach Print, on Twitter @peachprint, on Instagram @yapeach, and of course, right here on the APCB blog.


  1. This is such a cute blog, and such an interesting discussion! I think I like A Court Of Mist And Fury because it had a lot more RHYSAND action, and I always felt like there was more chemistry between Feysand! I definitely agree - logical connections and character growth totally make or break a book! I'm so glad that ACOTAR had these elements! SARAH J. MAAS IS A QUEEN.

    1. YES! All hail Sarah. I am a self-proclaimed diehard Rhysand fan, ahaha. :-) Thanks for the comment!

  2. I just finished ACOMAF and I freaking LOVED it!! I did think parts of it dragged in the middle, but man I had to give it 5 stars. I absolutely love Sarah J. Maas's characters and swoon worthy romance and her intricate plot. Everything was so well done!

    1. I totally agree -- ACOMAF was just amazing. I couldn't give it anything but a 5. I'll be patiently waiting until next year's release!

  3. Great post and discussion! I think the PLANNING is key!! My favorite series is The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater -- it just concluded and one thing MS wrote about it was that she planned it/knew what would happen before she wrote a single word! This makes such a difference! Series seem to fail for me when they are not planned, especially the ending, and the author just decides after the first, second, or even third book how to end it.

  4. I love this post, and I completely agree with all of your points Julia! I think the characters have to be well-developed and the story has to be well thought out and engaging. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! ♥

  5. This is such an interesting discussion! I completely agree about the Divergent series. I really don't remember Insurgent all that well, but I thought that Allegiant felt like a completely different series in a completely different world! I hated Chaol's personality switch as well! I have never given any thought to what makes a good series to me, but now I will have to think about this. I think all of your points are excellent! Great post!

  6. I think my preferences for a "good" series is the same as what you said above. I was totally annoyed at Chaol's sudden character change during Queen of Shadows too! I was like, "Um, EXCUSE ME PAL WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE."

    I think the most important think is #1. I really love it when the story is well-written and well-thought out, espescially if it's fantasy, because I can really imagine myself in that world. :)

    (Also, I haven't read ACOTAR yet but I'm really excited to! Everyone's saying how awesome it is and I just really want to know if I'm going to love it as well.❤️)

  7. Great topic! I agree with you on those essential criteria, a good series must be cohesive and their characters must grow in a logical way, not change into different people entirely.

  8. It seems so simple when you put it like that! Yet why aren't there more stellar series's? I love it when each book in the series impresses me more than the last. Like I didn't think the story could get any better, but BAM! As an example, Queen of Someday by Sherry D. Ficklin and Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card.

  9. Oh IA with everything you said above -- and character growth and consistency above all else, I think. Really great food for thought in this post!

  10. This is a great discussion post! Personally, I loved Divergent and Insurgent, but I absolutely hated Allegiant because it felt like Veronica Roth created the entire world without thoroughly thinking through a feasible explanation. Also, I didn't like Four's perspective and I felt like the characters regressed. Basically, I like to pretend that the series ended with Insurgent.

    About Queen of Shadows, I do agree that Chaol's personality flipped. I also think that book needed some serious editing, because it should have been cut down by a couple hundred pages. Awesome post!

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

  11. Ooh, this is a great topic! I would think have an interesting premise...? But that sounds like a horrible answer. haha. So far, I've adored Starflight because it's a world so largely and beautifully explored & The Delirium trilogy was another knockout trilogy, but I was never a fan of the Divergent series. (My best friend "attempted" to read the books. He said the movies were better.)

    I still need to read Harry Potter! I've heard nothing but great things! Terrific post! <3

  12. I love that you point out Chaol's behaviour in Queen of Shadows. In the beginning of the series I was absolutely team Chaol. I got my boyfriend to read the series not too long ago and he actually read Queen of Shadows before me and he didn't understand why I was upset with Chaol's behaviour in the last book.

  13. I really agree with this post! It can be hard for sequels to be done just right, especially the second book in a trilogy. Most of my issues with those second books in these series is that there isn't a unique plot line for the books - it's just a continuation to get to the conclusion. Which is why each book needs it's own plot that builds up together nicely in the end.

  14. Consistency... From page one of book one, to the last page of the final book, everything that happens just FITS. Everything makes sense.


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