The phrase “jumping the shark” is often associated with television shows and was prompted by an episode of Happy Days when Fonzie jumped a shark while on water skis. From that time, opinions suggested that the show began a downhill trajectory. I think the same can be said for some series books, and I recently had an experience that convinced me that one series in particular had “jumped the shark.”
Last night, I received a notification that one of my library holds was available. This e-book is part of a series that I’ve followed for years. However, the past few titles have not been particularly engaging. I think that I’ve only read them to check in on the characters. In fact, I haven’t purchased something like the last five or six books in the series, but instead wait for them to be available through the library. When I first started reading the series, I couldn’t wait to purchase a copy. Over time, though, the series began to drag and what initially made the series an enjoyable read no longer seemed to work. The plots seemed contrived and at times I wondered if someone else had really taken over the series. The characters stopped evolving and growing. In addition, several of the characters became unrecognizable. I found myself confused by many of the characters and the books became filled with all of these details that really didn’t matter to the story. Characters had conversations that did nothing to drive the plot and I often felt as though I was drowning in unnecessary details.
I think that last night, though, was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. I downloaded the book, settled down in my recliner with a bowl of popcorn, and began to read. I kept waiting for something to happen. This series is supposed to include a mystery, but nothing was happening! I kept waiting for something to happen, but it wasn’t until late in the book that the crime happened and it was solved entirely too quickly. This book was such a disappointment and even the “cliffhanger” didn’t entice me because it was so obvious. Looking back, I’m not sure why I finished the book because it was such an unsatisfying experience. I had so many positive experiences with this series of books that it saddens me to let go, but there are so many other books to read that I don’t need to saddle myself down with something unsatisfactory.