Trilogies and My Loathing of Them

Let’s talk books.  Specifically let’s talk romance written in a three (or more) book installment.  I’m sure it’s been around forever, but Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey’s success seem to have made it the format everyone wants to write in.  This makes me stabby!

I know there’s a lot of people who love this format.  Obviously.  They’re selling like crazycakes.  But I like a happy ending!  (pun totally intended)  So you can imagine how I feel about a cliff hanger…  cliffhangers make me feel bad.  That floaty happy feeling I get at the end of a good book?  Well the direct opposite of that is how I feel when an author leaves the characters hanging.

I do make an exception for the urban fantasy genre and my acceptance of the multi book relationship arc there.  I’m a huge fan of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.  I can handle the unresolved relationship in those books, probably because the focus is on a different story.  I also really enjoy the In Death series by J.D. Robb.  It’s always about Eve and Roarke, but they are always happy at the end of each book.  And again, the focus is more on the mystery than their (or Peabody and MacNabb’s) relationship, so I can handle a little bit of relationship suspense.  When the focus of the book IS the relationship, as it is in the romance genre, that’s when I have a hard time!

I’m not saying I’ll never, ever, ever read a one-relationship-focused-trilogy.  But you can be assured that if I do, I won’t read it until all three books are available and I can read them back to back!  And speaking of that, I wish there was some sort of identifier in a book blurb that gave me a heads up that the book I’m looking at is part of that kind of trilogy.  Because there are a lot of trilogies with a different couple featured in each book and a HEA at the end of each one.  That’s my kind of trilogy.  But how can I tell them from the trilogy of cliffhanger?  Right now my best bet is to search on Goodreads and read the back cover blurb for both book one and book two, as well as checking the tags people have labeled the book with.  To be honest, that’s more work than I like to do when looking for a book to read.

So, what do you think?  Do you love the three book relationship story?  Or do you hate it like me?  If you love it, I’m curious as to what appeals to you.  If you hate it, do you have a way to avoid it?  Please share!

8 thoughts on “Trilogies and My Loathing of Them

  1. I too love that instant gratification of a happily ever after at the end of a book. But I can't say I feel as strongly as Anne does about a same couple romance arc that crosses several book. My wallet appreciates when the whole trilogy is written before I read, so I know what I am signing up for money-wise. Because if the first one is well written you can bet I will be buying the next book ASAP. My problem with having to wait for the next insallment comes from how a strong pair of characters can kind of take over my mind. If I have fallen in love with the couple in the first book and then have to wait for the second book, I find myself spending way too much time wondering how they will fair in the next installment. Then, being the second of a trilogy, you know it's not going to have a happy ending (like Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back, it has to get really dark before we can get our HEA in Return of the Jedi).

    So for me the one couple multiple book romance is a double edged sword. I know I will go through alot with the pair. I could really like the story and spend months waiting and wondering or I might not really like them but not realize it until the last installment. The qestion becomes, will the time and money be worth it?


  2. I think the thing you like about it, Kate, the way it takes over your mind (bwahahaha!) is another thing that bothers me. And you are right about the middle book being the The Empire Strikes Back of the series! I hate being left in a dark place!

    You mention the money, too. I'm sure this is why trilogies sell. It's hard to exercise impulse control when I want to know what's going to happen NOW. So I try to exercise my control by not buying! ~Anne

  3. Abby Blake's “A Bride for Eight Brothers” series is six short books that follows the same couple…er, group of committed people. Initially I bought the first one because…seriously, 8 brothers?! But I really ended up enjoying them.


  4. A Bride for Eight Brothers? Is that some kind of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers reference? I'm not sure if I'm in, or if I'm offended!

    I know Kay hasn't had a chance to get online today. We texted briefly and she says Sylvia Day's Crossfire series is a single couple series and it's outstanding. So there's a recommend for you.

  5. Ok, I'm finally here. I do like the trilogy series. I'm not sure why because I am a known hater of a continuing series about the same couple. Anne, stop shaking your head. I agree with Kate that I fall in love with the couples. I don't plan on it, it just happens and then I'm all in. I also think it holds some measure of suspense so Anne that's probably why you don't like it. It's a high conflict situation because of the vagueness of the outcome and you are not a fan of that either. I would prefer just one book but sometimes you can't help but to keep on reading.
    It's the mystery and mystery was my genre for years and still holds appeal for me.


  6. Anne,

    The “a Bride for Eight Brothers” is just “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” except it takes place in the future, and on another planet. Oh, and Mikayla is the only bride for all eight brothers. Otherwise, it's just the same (*giggling*).

    ~ Kate

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