I've been mulling the idea for this discussion post over in my head for a while, mostly because I've found myself saying "But it really gets good in the second book! Promise!" a lot lately. When I saw Bekka post a similar post, explaining why honestly she just doesn't care if a series gets better, I decided to finally cobble my thoughts together and post a friendly answer as to why I'm one of those people who is willing to hurry through a not-so-great series starter (or a mediocre first season of a TV show, hello Parks and Rec/The Mindy Project/the first two episodes of The 100) to get to the goods.
Angie has been reading one of my forever fave fantasy series, the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima, and she was struggling a bit during the first book. "Don't worry!" I said over and over, chewing my nails and stressing out but trying not to let it show. "The first book is the intro book. I also found it a bit slow and not as gripping. It's in The Exiled Queen where shit gets CRAY. I PROMISE. HANG IN THERE."
(She hung in there, and shit got cray,
I've read a lot of series where I found the first one good or merely okay (or even very good, but not AS good) but wholeheartedly believe the following books leveled up considerably. The Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, Throne of Glass, Vampire Academy, the Lumatere Chronicles, the Remnant Chronicles, Percy Jackson. Even my ABSOLUTE BAE series, The Song of the Lioness, my favorite childhood books, I recommend with the "JUST HANG IN THERE UNTIL THE SECOND BOOK PLEEEEEASE" disclaimer. Apparently, I say this a lot.
Sometimes some series need a bit to get going, for whatever reason. Some series take time for the world to grab you, or for the authors to really settle into their groove. Some characters are an acquired taste, and you need to stick with them for a bit until you really get them. And you know what? It is TOTALLY fair to bail on a series if it takes too long to get to the goods. It really is. I mean, books are long and life is short and all that jazz. I don't think it's at all wrong if you're a "Don't care if it gets better, I want better NOW" reader. There's no wrong way to read. (Unless you read books backwards. That's just wrong.)
I've realized lately that I'm apparently a pretty patient series reader when I believe the goods will come.
(*cue my mother laughing in the distance at the fact that I just called myself patient*)
I guess I'm willing to invest in the time and the effort if I know the payoff is going to be great. If i have the feeling that once I chew through this cumbersome world building, or indulge this weak intro plot, i'll strike gold. Of course, this doesn't always pan out--it just can't--but I'm pretty good at being able to tell that there's gold in them thar sequels. And even if there isn't...well, okay, I just wasted 400 or so pages, but that's fine. No page is a waste. ONTO THE NEXT BOOK. I am a book conquerer, onward bookish soldiers, I don't know what I'm talking about anymore so let's switch paragraphs.
I mean, usually I go off the recs of my best bookish friends. If they say the second book is where it levels up, I trust them. I'll hang in there. I can roll with a slow series opener if, say, a MONDO SHIP looms on the horizon. (You can always get me with a ship. I'm just that cheap.) It's funny; I'm quick to DNF standalones or books where the rest of the series isn't out yet if I know they're just no bueno or pas pour moi, but if a whole series or at least a sequel or two is published, I feel more incentive to give it a shot. Because maybe--MAYBE--I'll find the same magic there that I found in The Exiled Queen, Crown of Midnight, and Frostbite, taking a series from *shrug* to *SCREAMSOBBING FOREVER*
What about you? Are you like Bekka, or like me? Do you want the goods NOW, DAMN IT, NOW, or are you willing to put in the time? If you are willing, what makes you stick around?