Catching lightning in a jar … repeatedly.

I just read Jim Butcher’s latest Dresden Files novel, Skin Game, and while I did have some minor quibbles with the book, what amazed me was how good it was, how well written, with banter that made me grin and characters I still have a stake in pulling at my heartstrings. I much prefer reading series to reading stand-alone books–I love to commit to a character and watch them grow over time–but I don’t know a single other author that has kept a series going for fifteen books (and counting) without either burning out or jumping the shark. Patrick O’Brian’s Master and Commander, Laurie R. King’s Holmes/Russell, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan, Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner, Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson, and countless others I’ve read have mostly lost something essential around book nine or ten, if not earlier. I get to the point where I read the new installments in the bookstore to see if the author has gotten over their slump, but I stop needing to own the new books either to reread them or just to support the author, and finally I stop reading the new books at all, even for free.

Continue reading