Great Series Read Update: A Look at 2021

It’s amazing to me that I’ve kept up this project for three years running now, with decent success! For those who have not read my original post way back when, the Great Series Read Project was something I cooked up to help me get over my pesky habit of starting a series and never finishing, either because I took too long between books or I felt guilty about all the other unread books on my shelves already and avoided purchasing sequels. The premise is simple: I choose (in theory) one series to focus on, and I read one book from that series per month until I’m finished. Mood reading and review commitments being what they are, it rarely works out as perfectly as that, but as long as I’m reading a sequel of some kind every month, I’m happy with my progress.

Since this project began, I have completed twenty-six series and am caught up on another nine series that are currently still releasing sequels. Now that’s some progress to be proud of!

I also want to shout out that this year, I reread five books that were earlier in a series before moving on to the new release. This is huge because I rarely reread these days since my backlog is so huge, but I’m getting better about acknowledging I will enjoy a book more if I remember what came before, even if it takes more time!

Series Started AND Finished in 2021

  The Blade Itself  A Spark of White Fire

This is my favorite category because it takes the most effort. ARCs for new releases tend to get a little more priority in my review stack, so sometimes I lose track of backlist I want to be reading. Knocking out THE FIRST LAW was a big victory for my “I can’t believe I haven’t read this” category. With the CELESTIAL TRILOGY, I technically started it a previous year, but I ended up rereading the first two books before finishing the series, so I’m counting it in this column!

Hoping next year I’ll be able to make this list a little longer, I really want to get to more backlist series, which means resisting the call of shiny, shiny ARCs. We’ll see!

THE FIRST LAW by Joe Abercrombie
THE CELESTIAL TRILOGY by Sangu Mandanna

Series Finished/Caught Up in 2021

 Spellslinger  The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids  Velocity Weapon

This category owes a LOT to my status as a book reviewer, as ARCs give me both access to new releases and extra motivation to stay on top of new series. That said, there were a few backlist series I finally finished off this year, including SPELLSLINGER, a six book series I started last year, and the AMRA THETYS thief books, which I’ve read through currently released book five (with a sixth book on the way). It is SO satisfying to see how many series I get to mark complete this year – that means new adventures await!

Caught Up (9)
THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher
THE REBORN EMPIRE by Devin Madson
AMRA THETYS by Michael McClung
THE MURDERBOT DIARIES by Martha Wells
A CHORUS OF DRAGONS by Jenn Lyons
THE SILENT GODS by Justin T. Call
BURNINGBLADE & SILVEREYE by Django Wexler
THE DIVIDE by J.S. Dewes
ROOK & ROSE by M.A. Carrick

Finished – Backlist (3)
POISON WAR
by Sam Hawke
SPELLSLINGER by Sebastien de Castell
THE BOOKS OF AMBHA by Tasha Suri

FinishedLast Book Released in 2021 (8)
THE FARIAN WAR by K.B. Wagers
TEIXCALAAN by Arkady Martine
THE KEEPERS by David Dalglish
WAYFARERS by Becky Chambers
THE PROTECTORATE by Megan E. O’Keefe
THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi
THE GREEN BONE SAGA by Fonda Lee
CAMELOT RISING by Kiersten White

Series Begun in 2021

 Illuminae  Empire of the Vampire  The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn

Self-explanatory, these are all the series I started this year. Some are fully released, while others are book ones released this year in series that I fully plan on continuing with as more books become available.

ILLUMINAE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
ARDOR BENN by Tyler Whitesides
EMPIRE OF THE VAMPIRE by Jay Kristoff
BLOODSWORN SAGA by John Gwynne
MAGIC OF THE LOST by C.L. Clark
THE BROTHERHOOD OF THE EAGLE by Tim Hardie
VESPERTINE by Margaret Rogerson
STAR WARS: THRAWN ASCENDANCY by Timothy Zahn

Series Projects Still in Process

 Red Sister  The Last Sun  Skyward

This category is my pile of shame. These are all the series I’ve started in past years (since I’ve begun this project) that I haven’t managed to finish or catch-up with yet. In theory, I’m supposed to start one series and stick with it until I’m finished, but for various reasons, that hasn’t been the case. THE BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR in particular is a sore point, because I started that series in 2019 and haven’t ever returned, despite very much wanting to. Hoping to prioritize it in January! And also hoping this section will be much smaller come next year’s write up.

I should note, I feel no shame about STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES being on this list. Those behemoth books take the right head space and timing tackle and they will be read when they are read.

THE HARWOOD SPELLBOOK by Stephanie Burgis
THE HEROES OF SPIRA by Dorian Hart
THE TAROT SEQUENCE by K.D. Edwards
THE BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR by Mark Lawrence
THE AURORA CYCLE by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
SKYWARD by Brandon Sanderson
THE STORMLIGHT ARCHIVES by Brandon Sanderson

Series I am DNFing

 Gideon the Ninth  Rosewater  The Thousandth Floor

I was honestly on the fence about including this category, because I like to stay away from negative content when I can. HOWEVER, I know some people have hang-ups about DNFing a single book, let alone a series (I should know, I’m one of them!) so I thought it would be healthy to acknowledge that I am moving on from a few things.

I should point out that most of the series below aren’t necessarily bad! They either weren’t my personal cup of tea, or I’ve just decided that they will never make it to the top of my TBR because life is short and I keep finding other books I would rather prioritize. David S. over at FanFiAddict wrote a fantastic piece earlier this year about reasons to embrace the DNF, and that includes “reverse FOMO” – the idea that reading something you only find “meh” may delay or stop you from finding your next favorite book. Case in point: THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR series is a trashy teenage soap opera set a hundred years in the future that I enjoyed the first two books of (an adaptation of this ABSOLUTELY belongs on the CW or Freeform). I’ve had the third book on my radar for over a year, however, and I can’t quite motivate myself to pick it up and I don’t see that changing. It’s time to admit I’ve moved on from this series, AND THAT’S OKAY!

So here’s to the books that didn’t work out. Perhaps one of these, dear reader, will be YOUR next favorite instead!

SERPENT & DOVE by Shelby Mahurin**
THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR by Katharine McGee
THE LOCKED TOMB by Tamsyn Muir
THE WORMWOOD TRILOGY by Tade Thompson

**Special note to this one – the first book is FANTASTIC and can be read as a standalone. The second book was a bit of a mess and I found myself not wanting to continue with the series.

And that’s this year’s update on the Great Series Read Project! Looking forward to tackling even more series next year!

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