Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy discussion

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General Discussion > Recurring Characters or not?

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message 1: by Starling (new)

Starling In another discussion someone mentioned that she didn't like books with recurring characters. I find that I actually prefer that if I'm reading a series set in a single universe that the characters do recur and continue with their lives.

In fact, in a couple of cases, I've stopped reading authors who start each book with a new man and a new woman although the universe is the same and where there is no continuing story in the background.

Which type of series do you prefer, and why?


message 2: by Jael ~ *~ Syhren ~* ~ (last edited Jul 08, 2009 01:36PM) (new)

Jael ~ *~ Syhren ~* ~ (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejael) It never really bothered me. I can read and enjoy recurring characters as much as new characters for each book. I think it all depends on how it's written. If at the end of the book the main characters story has a satisfying closure than I'm all for learning about others within their world but if at the end of the book the main characters story leaves questions unanswered than yeah I'd like the story to continue just to see how everything unfolds. it's really a toss up for me.


message 3: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 449 comments I prefer some continuation between the stories in a series. I don't mind if each book features a different main character, like in Lynsay Sands' Argenaue series, as long as the other characters also continue in the series.

I'm not sure that I would even consider it a series if there isn't either a continuing storyline or characters. Part of being a series to me is that there is a sequence that the books should be read in to follow along with the story - not just that they are all set in the same universe.


message 4: by Barbara ★ (new)

Barbara ★ If the book is really good and the characters grab hold of me and won't let go, then yes another book featuring them is great. However, if the book is lame or the characters irritating, then no I wouldn't read another.

I also really like series, where there are a bunch of characters initially and they pair up and get their own stories. It's fun to follow each new pair and yet keep track of previous pairs as well.


message 5: by Lori (new)

Lori  (moderatrixlori) I like each book to feature a new couple but also mention the characters from the preceding books. It doesn't have to be a lot but I like the feeling of familiarity I get when they are mentioned. Carol Lynne's Campus Cravings series does a great job with this. The circle of friends and family grows with each book as new characters are introduced. It's making it very hard for me to say goodbye and so I have put off reading the last book of the series.


DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (darkheart) | 737 comments I love when characters have recurring roles in books. I'm currently making my way through Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series, and love that we continue to see the different couples throughout the series, even after their story is told.

I think J.R. Ward is very good with this as well, with her Black Dagger Brotherhood series. In fact, one of my favorite aspects of the latest book was that six books on from their story, we got to catch up with Wrath and Beth again and see how the over-arching storyline has affected their relationship.


message 7: by new_user (last edited Jul 09, 2009 09:50AM) (new)

new_user | 1389 comments Hm, I probably mentioned this before, but I do not care for one couple to be the main characters in all the books of a series. I don't mind if we see cameo appearances of them later, but if the book is UF or romance I get bored of seeing the same main characters, particularly when, say, one question has been answered, such as the romance question, and the remaining books are their "adventures." Actually, I dislike it more when the heroine waffles between heroes or does not resolve her relationship with the hero across multiple books, so there you have it.

I just don't feel like there's enough powering/motivating a UF or romance to justify drawing it out. There's just not that much scale.

Epic fantasy is completely different. I will read about the same characters when it comes to that.


message 8: by Christina (last edited Jul 09, 2009 03:24PM) (new)

Christina Russ (WEIRDteensAreNORMALteens) | 3 comments I really enjoy reading series with recurring characters, but i don't mind reading series that don't have recurring characters. One series that i enjoyed was the Heir Trilogy, which did not have a recurring main character. The author did, however, tie in all of the characters from the previous stories. Characters from the previous books remained a crucial part of the plot, and they were somehow connected to the main character in the book. Although they weren't main characters, they were characters. Everything took place in the same universe, but everything was well-drawn together.


On the other hand, i think that there are some series that pretty much have to have recurring characters. I couldn't see series like Harry Potter and Twililght without recurring characters- more Harry Potter than Twilight. The story just wouldn't flow as well without recurring characters in some series.

If anything, though, i think that The Mortal Instruments series could have been summed up in one book. It's not like there was too much information to fit; it was just drawn out into three different books that were a waste of paper and money. Some stories really don't need to be so long, because that makes things kind of predictable in a way.


message 9: by Susan (Suz) (new)

Susan (Suz) (sharney) | 253 comments I personally like reading series with recurring charachters but at the same time it's interesting to follow a series that introduces new characters and follows them for awhile and the other characters end up showing up now and then, like the Kelley Armstrong Women of the Underwold series, it's kind of fun....


message 10: by Morgan (new)

Morgan (neimanmarxist) | 19 comments I prefer series with recurring characters. I usually find myself so wrapped up in their lives, that I don't want to let them go. But I also agree with what Susan said.

I guess it depends on the type of Series. Outlander and Twilight obviously need the characters to be recurring and series like Women of the Underworld or Immortals after Dark can have characters that may not have every book based around them, but still pop in from time to time.


message 11: by Christy (new)

Christy Stewart (christyleighstewart) | 160 comments DarkHeart wrote: "I love when characters have recurring roles in books. I'm currently making my way through Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series, and love that we continue to see the different couples through..."

Ditto, she does the best job with recurring characters because the characters don't just sit around while the book isn't theres, they are doing their own thing that you then get to go back to in another book. It makes the universe 3 dimentional.


message 12: by Starling (new)

Starling Well, I got some interesting answers.

I'm currently reading a Jo Beverly romance book. Not a paranormal. This one is historical and set early in the reign of George III. But what is interesting is that she writes the kinds of series book where she creates a universe and where all of the people you met in earlier books are side characters in the current book.

But what I like about how she does this is that the individual couple and the individual romance in each book is totally different from the other books in the series. The story lines and plots change from book to book even though these are romances and the idea is that the couples will "couple" by the end of the book.

But my original question wasn't about this kind of series. My original question was about series books where the story line continues through several books, as opposed to books that were either stand alone or part of a series where each book has new protagonists.

In my opinion Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris and Kim Harrison all write Paranormal Romance even though each individual book is not a story about a couple becoming a couple. They have other things going on in their lives too, so the story continues.


message 13: by Maureen (new)

Maureen | 20 comments I like the continuing universe and recurring characters in the background. I've noticed though, that when these series get too long, there always seems to be one character that gets the short end of the author's attention. In other words, there seems to inevitably be one book where the author seems to have had an off book or she was tired or what have you such that it's really a stinky book. I'm reading Christine Feehan's Ghostwalker series. I'm on Deadly Game. I like the Ken Norton character but my gosh, it feels like Ms. Feehan is lost and scrambling around for something to say. She's repeated practically the same scene now 3 chapters in a row! She's not the only one. Cherry Adair did the same thing with her T-Flac series. Poor Derek Wright. I loved the other stories but his story annoyed me. Ah well... It's hard to get it right every time.


message 14: by Starling (new)

Starling Actually it was the Christine Feehan books that I was thinking about when I wrote my first post in this thread. I gave up on them earlier than you did. I thought she was getting tired too.


DarkHeart "Vehngeance" (darkheart) | 737 comments Ah, well if we're talking more of the UF style of books where the same character spans from book to book - they're my favorite. Series like Mercy Thompson, Kate Daniels, Georgina Kinkaid, Shifters, Maker's Song, etc. - I love that we become so immersed in their worlds. I build up such a great attachment to those characters of the course of the series. The relationships aren't the main focus, but they're always there in the background and I love the roller coaster ride of highs and lows that they inevitably suffer. I find myself running back to PNR when the emotion of a UF character's life gets me down and I need a happy ending. =)


message 16: by Starling (new)

Starling I guess that was what I was talking about. I really don't see that these are two totally separate genres. I guess some people do think that, however.


message 17: by new_user (new)

new_user | 1389 comments Uh, publishers do. LOL.


message 18: by Starling (last edited Jul 15, 2009 06:55PM) (new)

Starling Probably has something to do with the fact that the bookstores can't figure out where to shelve the books we all like to read.

Personally I wish they would just make up their mind what to call it so I can find it.


message 19: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) Starling wrote: "Probably has something to do with the fact that the bookstores can't figure out where to shelve the books we all like to read.

Personally I wish they would just make up their mind what to call it ..."


At book stores they tend to put PNR and UF all in the science fiction/fantasy section. Though books like the highlander series, BDB, and the dark hunters are all found in romance.

And some UF like Anita Blake, and Georgina Kincaid is in AF. So it all just really depends...

You would think the publishers would talk to book stores :P




message 20: by new_user (last edited Jul 19, 2009 02:20PM) (new)

new_user | 1389 comments I think in the bigger stores they usually place UF and PNR in romance. They do that here. They usually overlap anyway, and they have more in common with romance than they do with fantasy.


message 21: by Christina (new)

Christina Russ (WEIRDteensAreNORMALteens) | 3 comments They do that where i live, too. I often find many of the books i'm looking for in the Young Adult or Romance section, instead of in the Fantasy area.


message 22: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Borland (kgborland) I don't find to many in the romance section. Course all the major series in PNR and UF are put on the ends of the aisle so its all good :P


message 23: by Schnaucl (new)

Schnaucl | 21 comments I much prefer reading a series with the same major character and supporting characters. I at least need a trilogy focusing on the same set of characters before moving on, and i really despise series that start with two people and the next set of books has their kids as main characters. Madeline L'Engle's series are a little different because I started with with the kids.

When I was much younger I read a lot of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books, which tended to be a trilogy or duology focusing on a set of characters. Sometimes they were set in the same time period as other dulogies or trilogies in the series, but not always.

One of the reasons I can't get into Kelly Armstrong's Otherworld series is because each book has different protagonists.

I read Barb and J.C. Hendee's Noble Dead series but I don't really have any interest in continuing now that the protagonist has changed.




message 24: by mlady_rebecca (new)

mlady_rebecca | 75 comments I greatly prefer urban fantasy style series where the same characters are followed from book to book, and the same perspective on the world is maintained. I prefer continuing, evolving relationships to the immediate "you've met your soul mate".

But then I come from a SF/Fantasy background. I prefer to have a fantasy book with elements of romance, rather than a romance book with elements of fantasy.

Pure romance is too formulaic for me. Even paranormal romance borders on it. A series where couple after couple pairs up gets repetitive really quickly.


message 25: by Starling (new)

Starling mlady_rebecca said:

Pure romance is too formulaic for me. Even paranormal romance borders on it. A series where couple after couple pairs up gets repetitive really quickly.

Boy do I agree with that one. But I've seen it done well too. Jo Beverly who writes historical romance does it very well. She builds universes and each book is a separate romance, but the universe moves through time and you get to see the old characters again. I haven't found a PNR author who does it as well.


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