Thursday, March 06, 2014

Dear Diary: Confessions From A Blogger (23) Companion Books

 
We all know what goes on behind the scenes at our own blogs but rarely do we lift the curtain and share those experiences with others. Dear Diary: Confessions From A Blogger stems from the curiosity. This week I wanted to talk about Companion Books.

Here is my confession: 

Lately, I've been noticing a lot of books initially published as Stand Alone novels going the route of adding companion books. While I have nothing against companion novels when used in the traditional sense (ie attached to a completed or nearly completed series) the sudden increase of them being attached to wildly popular stand alone books has made me a bit leery.

Now, my problem with the sudden influx of companions stems from the books themselves. I feel like the Authors of the supposed "Stand Alone Book" know good and god damn well they have more story to tell as many have the companion announced alongside the initial book. So why do Authors do it then? Is it lack of imagination on the Authors part? Bad writing? Publisher pressure? I'd really like to know because it obviously bothers me. I simply can't stand the idea of sitting through yet another book that promises to be a stand alone only to find out that the Author already has a deal in place for companions to be released in the future. Like I said above I love companions but I don't like them when the story should so clearly be a sequel.

In my opinion and you can interpret this how you want but I believe Authors and their publishers can see a shift in readers possibly being burnt out on series as a whole. However, by adding a companion they eliminate the stigma of being yet another series and by focusing on side characters or new ones entirely they can keep the "series" going for however long they like. The reader gets to be happy because if they want to read it as a standalone they can and the Author gets to keep diving into the world as long as he or she wishes without committing to a fixed story arc. It's a win-win.

However, I don't like it. Companions should be written as a side dish to the main series and certainly not to a single book in a series (especially those that can't hack it as a stand alone in the first place) many, nay all the books I've read like this as of late leave the world and the characters so open ended that the only logical path for the story and the characters to take is a sequel. I don't care about the lives of bobby sue and billy jean 3k miles away when I know Tom and Jill in the here and now still have a story to be told. It's gotten so bad that I nearly dread starting any Stand alone on the off chance it leads to a companion instead of a sequel.

Case in point Not a Drop to Drink (you can read my review here). That book was solid overall but the ending was rushed and unsatisfying. I was so excited to hear another book was in the works since it certainly could support one but that quickly dissolved when it was announced as a companion. Another book which I've been pretty vocal about when it comes to the companion department is Nil (you can read my review here), great book, awesome characters, huge climax and then.....rush, rush,rush no questions answered but the characters are happy in the end so that's what matters right? Wrong, it was so thoroughly unsatisfying that I nearly gave the book 1 star out of frustration.

Sadly, both the above mentioned Authors have chosen the companion route and while there isn't anything to do but grumpily suffer in silence concerning those, I still have a voice when it comes to future books. Even if I'm the sole, crazy,  passionate reader in the crowd using mine, lol. 


Now that you've read my confession, Tell me some of yours:

What do you think about Companion books? 
Do you enjoy companions to stand alone books or series more?
Have you read either of the books mentioned in my post?

Leave your responses in the comments below, I love reading them. Have a question? Leave that as well and I'll try and answer it.
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That about wraps up this weeks confessions from a blogger.  Thanks for stopping by and reading,sharing, or commenting on this post. As always, it is appreciated.

3 comments:

  1. The whole time I'm reading your post I'm thinking "Not a Drop to Drink, Not a Drop to Drink". I read it because it was pushed (hard) as a stand alone. You cannot convince me for a moment that the so-called "companion" book isn't a sequel. I have a feeling if you can ignore the terminology and view it as a sequel, it will read like one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm sure it will and I agree I said the same thing when I read what it'd be about.

      Delete

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