Friday, June 13, 2014

Series, Serials and Cereal

I used to avidly read series of novels when I was a child. Biggles, the Chalet School, Barnabas Collins (though I never saw the TV series), and more. At first I didn't care what order I read the stories in; I just picked them by the title or the picture on the cover, knowing I was bound to enjoy the story too. But I gradually learned how the tales fit together; Chalet girls grew older, got married and had daughters of their own; Barnabas Collins? --- I never quite figured him out; and Biggles moved on to better planes. I learned the joy of overarching story and began to organize my paperbacks so I could read them in order. I was hooked on series!

I still am, of course. I watch the stores for the next Dresden File to come out in paperback. When Jim Butcher spoke at Powells, I was delighted to learn that a) he's a great speaker, and b) Dresden really is a series, with beginning, middle AND end (though there's still a long way to go). Kat Richardson's Greywalker novels look set to be a series of series, with one storyarc well concluded and another just begun. And Christine Amsden's Cassie Scot, ParaNormal Detective series will come to a conclusion soon with the release of book 4, Stolen Dreams.

Christine Amsden has written some great posts about series as she toured the internet with book three -- This series is meant to be read in order, and  The life and death of a series, for example. Her description of the difference between series and serial in that second post is really cool; a series might tell a longer story through many shorter ones (each with beginning middle and end), but a serial's entries might lack endings as they wait for the greater tales to come. Which is why I don't like serials. If I'm going to forego lunch and writing to finish the book, I want to feel I've finished something when the last page turns (or clicks).

I remember American and Australian TV serials reaching English TV while I was a child. I learned the dreaded words "soap opera," and discovered some stories lack beginning and ends, but mishmash their middles in a dizzying sprawl where each turn is another cliffhanger to the next episode. Being famously bad at spelling, I thought they were cereals--lacking interest and nutritional value, but probably filling a hole.

Cassie Scot, ParaNormal Detective is not a cereal. Neither's Dresden, nor the Greywalker books. And I'd rather eat eggs for breakfast and read series for fun. Meanwhile, here's the cover to Cassie Scot #4, coming to ebook on June 25, print October 15. And here are my reviews of Cassie Scot 1, 2 and 3.

Stolen Dreams, Cassie Scot #4....

Edward Scot and Victor Blackwood have despised one another for nearly a quarter of a century, but now their simmering hatred is about to erupt.

When Cassie Scot returns home from her sojourn in Pennsylvania, she finds that her family has taken a hostage. Desperate to end the fighting before someone dies, Cassie seeks help from local seer Abigail Hastings, Evan Blackwood's grandmother. But Abigail has seen her own death, and when it comes at the hand of Cassie's father, Victor Blackwood kills Edward Scot.

But things may not be precisely as they appear.

Evan persuades Cassie to help him learn the truth, teaming them up once again in their darkest hour. New revelations about Evan and his family make it difficult for Cassie to cling to a shield of anger, but can Evan and Cassie stop a feud that has taken on a life of its own? Conclusion to the Cassie Scot series.

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