I love reading books that are included in a series. However, some series that I’ve read over the years have only contained one book that made a lasting impact – usually, it was always the first book. The following however many books usually was significantly underwhelming in comparison to the first book, and ended up leaving the series as a whole underwhelming.
I find this sad, because when I read the first book of a series and it has me hyped for the remaining books, it’s always disappointing to find that the following books a letdown. This isn’t always the case – I’ve read plenty of series where each book kept me thoroughly engaged. However, the following are series in which the first book was the only book that was worth reading (in my opinion).
The Twilight Saga
Don’t judge. When I was in high school, these books were my lifeline – or, the first book was, anyway. When I read the first book, I was about to enter my freshman year of high school, and the book meant so much to me. It was magical and everything that I wanted in a romance story at the time. For a shy, awkward, book loving 9th grader, I identified with Bella, and of course, I wanted my own Edward. But the remainder of the books were significantly underwhelming in comparison to the magic that was Twilight. In New Moon, I counted the pages until Edward came back. In Eclipse, I got bored with all the back stories of the secondary characters. And with Breaking Dawn… It took me over a month to finish. The entire concept of the fourth book was bizarre to me, even as a high school kid. After the first book, the series lost its magic for me.
The Hunger Games
I adored the first book of this series. If I remember correctly, I devoured it in about a day or a day and a half. It was beautifully written and unlike anything I’d ever read before. However, as soon as I began reading Catching Fire, my love for this series ended. The first half of book two, I kept wondering what in the world was going on. Why were Peeta and Katniss pretending to be having a baby and getting married? It didn’t make any sense to me. Halfway through book two, when they actually got back to the Games, the book got immensely more interesting. Mockingjay, however, was torture for me to read. Like the last book of the Twilight Saga, I believe it took me a month to finish Mockingjay. It was slow and confusing and almost seemed irrelevant to the rest of the series. The only book I enjoyed from this series was the first one; the rest, as the title of this post suggests, were underwhelming.
The Divergent Series
This series wasn’t as terrible to read. In comparison to the other series on this list, I devoured this books fairly quick. Still, though, the best book of this series was the first, Divergent. After the first book, the main character, Tris, whined too much to be enjoyable, when in the first book, she was incredibly strong. Insurgent could’ve been significantly shorter, and Allegiant ended quite terribly. The most enjoyable part of Allegiant, to me, was Four’s point of view. The entire third novel seemed to be simply thrown together to fulfill the common YA trope of trilogies. Frankly, the entire second and third book didn’t really follow the story line the first novel laid out. Out of this entire series, Divergent was the most remarkable, along with the small novella (titled Four) told in Four’s point of view. The rest were a letdown in comparison.
The Summer Series
The Summer I Turned Pretty, the first book of this series, was, like the rest on this list, the best of this series. It contained the most emotion and feelings and general awkwardness of being a teenager and in love with someone you feel like you can’t have. From what I remember, both the second and third books were great stories, they just weren’t as great as the first in the series. They don’t really count as “underwhelming books” in a series, but compared to book one, they fell a bit flat. Still, I’d definitely recommend this series. All three are good books, especially for teens.
The Shopaholic Series
Okay, considering this are chick-lit, light hearted books, they are fun reads. However, the first book of the series, Confessions of a Shopaholic, is definitely the best. The rest of the books are basically repeats of book one. I believe one more in the series has come out since I finished book six, but I highly doubt I’ll be finishing the series. Book one gave me everything I needed (and was infinitely better than the movie), but the five (or more) books fall flat.
That’s all I can think of for now. I have tons more series on my “to read” shelf that could probably go on this list, but until I read them, I won’t know. I just want to note, the series above are good books. Just the first books in the series are the best, while the rest failed to compare to the first book’s greatness.