Discussion: Book Series with Character Titles

There is something that's bugged me off and on with book series that uses the main character's name as the book's title. I think doing this is a spoiler. As books are being published, this isn't much of a problem but after several books are out in series, to me, it's giving away plot points in the previous books by just using the characters name. I'm not going to call out the series I've seen this happen with but if any of you have noticed this, you know which ones I'm talking about.

Here are a couple of examples on why I dislike character names as book titles:

  • There have been times a character is portrayed as a possible antagonist but the readers aren't sure of the character's loyalties until the end, it's part of the suspense, the story's build up. But if the title of a future book in the series is that character's name, isn't that a dead give away that the character isn't the main bad guy?
  • Or here's another scenario, a character is in the position of being possibly killed off but then you see the title of a later book in the series is based on that character. So obviously they aren't going to get killed and you know they will survive.

I love the mystery and the suspense in what I read its part of what drives me to read as much as I do but when I see this, I have to wonder why do they do this? What's the reasoning behind it? Does this bother anyone else? Have any of you noticed this also?

17 comments:

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

I don't know why publishers do this. I'm not sure what series you're talking about it, but have seen it done, and it annoys me. I'd rather be surprised then have the info given to me.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Donna [F.D. Ramblings] said...

Colette - I've seen this several series...mainly in PNR. I really wish they won't do this, surely they have the creativity that goes into coming up with a title.

Christa Holland said...

How much it bothers me depends rather heavily on the genre. I mean, in a typical romance, I'm not really expecting someone to die (mostly due to the happy ending expectation). So in that case, I'm more excited because a character I loved in one book is going to get their own book, yay! On the other hand, I agree that it is detrimental in other genres where death/other ambiguities is a more viable option for characters.

And, when it's all said and done, I'm less likely to pick up a new series with character's names as titles. I want something a bit more poetic, suspenseful, intriguing... you know? So, although it won't stop me from picking up a book/series, it's not a selling point to me either.

Donna [F.D. Ramblings] said...

Hi Christa! I guess I'm not as lenient because to me it doesn't matter which genre it is, I still want the mystery, etc to build. I don't read contemporary romance but I do read paranormal romance and this is the genre that I have seen the books titled with character names that are spoilery.

Erotic Horizon said...

When I read this the first time - I thought I must not be reading the right set of books...

But after reading a second time - I figured it could only be PNR, that does that crap....

Thats one of the reasons I dont read alot of them - as much as there is a lesser expectation for HEA, the suspense is the key to alot of PNR.. espeically series...

You might want to explore a few other genres - Suspense Romance or thrillers are generally a safe bet....

Happy reading hon...

E.H>

Smokinhotbooks said...

I'm warning you I have only had 1 cup of coffee so if I don't make any sense just ignore me.

I don't think I mind (points to self spoiler junkie fanatic). For instance like Ilona Andrews Kate Daniels series, named after main character. Is this what you were referring to? Or more like character series. Where you don't know who the next book is going to be about until it is released?

Donna [F.D. Ramblings] said...

EH - Yep it's PNR that I'm talking about. I haven't seen this any other genre. I love reading PNR, I just don't get why author or the publishers would do this with book titles.

KC - LOL! I need several cups of coffee to makes sense on any given day. :)

Yes, to your last question, that's what I'm talking about. I don't mind the series being named about the main character of the series.

Jessica Kennedy said...

I agree. Why spoil it? Be creative a choose something else that's fitting.

Chris said...

*blink blink* Huh. I hadn't thought about this before.

Donna [F.D. Ramblings] said...

Jessica - Exactly! I have the same thoughts.

Chris - I came across this in two PNR series I've read this past year...and just irks me to no end. Sorry if I brought something to your attention that you were unaware of. :(

Chris said...

Happily, I'm sure I'll forget. It IS allergy season, after all. :D

Alexia561 said...

I agree, as it sort of ruins the suspense if you come to the series late. I really wish that publishers would give the authors more control over their books and let them pick the titles and covers instead of the marketing department!

Dottie (My Blog 2.0-Tink's Place) said...

Hi Donna!

I too agree, I've seen myself at the beginning of a series where we're left wondering if the character is still going to be present in the later books....i.e. the character has been snatched away and presumed to be dead or vanished, cursed, bloody trail, but when looking for the next book in the series, you come across the characters name on one of the later books!! And you think, hmmmm, I guess the character didn't vanish, die, regardless of the blood trailer ... spoils the series for me. Where the mystery, suspense, thriller? I guess if I would have caught the series when it was first released, it wouldn't have been a problem. But, isn't that what we all read for, the discovery of a new author or series that we've missed? The fan base builds instead of being stagnant? Surely, publishers realize that new readers will be picking up the series AFTER the first release. Come on Mr. Publisher (who has the final say on titles and covers), give us readers a break! LOL!

((hugs))

Dottie :)

Mandi said...

Nice post..I just read a book (that has a name for the title), and one of the characters was set up as the villain and when I was browsing on the author's website, I noticed his book is coming out next year..so obviously he is going to be redeemed..but there is a book before his..so yes, I kind of wanted to discover that for myself, but now it is a bit spoiled.

Moonsanity said...

Hmmm...it doesn't bother me at all, but I'm not sure that I'm thinking of it the same way or maybe I pick my books differently? For instance, I only started reading paranormal romance in 2008- so a lot of books were already series. I'd look up information on them, see that they were a series and try the first one to see if I liked it. For me it was never a question of whether the main character would make it- since it wasn't a stand alone I assumed she/he would as with Kate Daniels. The mystery for me is whether the OTHER characters make it through the story. As we all know, they can be killed off at any time, so that is suspenseful for me. I hope that makes sense:)

Patti said...

I must not be reading the right books b/c I don't think I've ever noticed this. Or maybe I don't pay attention to the titles? If I'm reading a series that's been out for awhile I try not to read the blurbs ahead of the book I'm reading, but I never noticed this title issue. Must pay more attention!

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