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Thursday, September 24, 2009:
Plum-tuckered out: trying to survive Jumping the Shark Syndrome
If you know anything about me at all, you've probably figured out that I'm a pretty forgiving reader. I will endure while other will throw up their hands in disgust. I can let things slide that make other readers see violatile shades of red. I prefer to enjoy than rip apart. Most of the time. Of course I have my own hot buttons and issues that turn me into a raving critic, and I can be adequately scathing when the need arises.

My latest complaint revolves around a series that many people have given up on awhile ago. I came to the Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich relatively late, but caught up rather quickly. What I loved about the stories was that they were quick, fluffy reads that didn't take a lot of concentration or dedication on my part. I just had to read and enjoy. And I had been. For thirteen books. Sure, I was ready for a commitment. Our cupcake has been vascillating between Joe Morelli and Ranger for years now, but like Stephanie, I myself had a hard time choosing sides. Yeah, Joe is sexy and stable and he loves our girl, but Ranger was a temptation no living, breathing woman could pass up, and for some mysterious reason that even baffles me, he's got a bit of a thing for Ms. Plum. He might even love her. In his own way of course.

I finally picked up "Fearless Fourteen" over the weekend, and I gotta tell you, I'm done. I'm bored. I'm plain tired of the same old, same old. Even Grandma Mazur has failed to elicit a giggle out of me this time around, and she was always a sure thing. These characters don't evolve, and entire conversations can be said in a word:


That's it. One word which holds a wealth of meaning. But a woman likes to talk, and there's not much talking going on here by anyone. Like Joe and Ranger, I'm feeling like the readers are being strung along here. I'm also thinking Ms. Evanovich might be trying to count to 100 with this series, and I'm gonna die long before then.

I hate to say it, and I know it's already been said by stronger readers than me, but the series has officially jumped the shark. It's time to pick a team and let the boys off the hook, Stephanie. Cuz we ain't getting any younger here, and really, we already know the winner; it has been decided almost from the get-go, so now we just need to finish the game and bow out of the race.

Have you read the Plum series?

How far did you get before you declared defeat?

And because I just have to ask: Joe or Ranger????

Any other series that have jumped the shark?

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  1. I read book 15 and it was there I came to the understanding that I should give up, I wont of course but sighs, the constant babe, the stringing along, no one evolves. Something big should happen, like her being pregnant cos else, well...

    JOE!! :D

  2. Hey Stacy,
    I have to agree somewhat. Fourteen made me wonder why I was still reading the series, but I am a total Plum addict so of course I read fifteen. And while it does not have the same spark that the first few did, fifteen was better IMHO than the last several have been. Definitely made me laugh, but seems like it's turning into a sidekick show instead of about the main characters. I think that is what I am missing the most. Sure Lula, Grandma and the host of other secondary characters are fun, but the series is about Stephanie.
    I would love for Stephanie to finally choose and see how she reacts to getting engaged, married, having kids. I think it would be very entertaining to see how she would deal with all of this while bounty hunting. Give the series some new life.
    For me it's Joe all the way. Yeah Ranger is all alpha mysteriousness who smells great, but Joe is the reformed bad boy. Doesn't get much better than that :)

  3. Wow Stacy I'm impressed. I think I stopped reading after book 8.
    See I fell for Joe right from the beginning so basicaly when Stephanie slept with Ranger it was the end of it. I read the reviews for all the books after but nothing tempted me to read them myself.
    I HATE HATE HATE love triangles and this one is possibly the worst ever.
    Too bad because I really enjoyed the characters and Janet Evanovich writting at first. (I remember I read the first 7 books in a week... so really I was hooked).

  4. I haven't read this series but understand from another devoted reader that the series has gone on far too long..

    Great post Stacy!

  5. Hi Stacy,
    I read this series up to 9 or 10 (not sure). At first I loved the Stephanie, Joe, Ranger thing.
    I would choose Joe, because I think he will always be there and with Ranger I'm not sure.....

  6. I'm still plugging away with this series, but I suspect that's only because I don't read them. I listen to the audiobooks. The reasons you stated for liking them? Yeah, that's why I listen. They're "undemanding" listens and I know what I'm gonna get.

    But yeah, the ZERO character growth issue drives me batshit crazy. You'd think after 14 books she'd learn to take her damn gun out of the cookie jar.

    All that being said? Still haven't listened to the last Between The Numbers book (Plum Spooky?) and still need to listen to #14.

    One of these days....

  7. I stopped reading at 12 after I heard from a JE interview that she didn't want to turn these books into romance novels and that she had no plans of making Steph choose. I stopped reading then.

    You are a brave soldier to continue on so long..=)

  8. I jumped the shark after book thirteen. She's never going to resolve the Joe-Ranger-Stephanie love triangle, is she?

    I'm more in the Joe Morelli camp. My favourite guy in the series is Mooner, actually, but he's not exactly love interest material!

  9. I gave up around 5 or 6...they were ok, but I don't miss them

  10. I'm a forgiving reader too but we all have our limits so I completely understand.

    I've read a couple of these and they were cute but I never wanted to go back and read from the beginning. Ok, maybe I had that thought for about a minute and a half but after that? Not so much.



  12. Hey Stacy, I read the series, but I felt the same way you did. I have read all the way to fourteen, and I think it is about time Stephanie committed to Joe and be done with it. My problem was that I read the entire series in succession, so I didn't really take a break from them until I was done. I think that the series is done with the next book. I can't give up now because I want to see how the series ends. I want to see if Stephanie, "Mans up" if you will, or will she choose ranger.

    Now, I like both Ranger and Joe, and it is very difficult to choose between the two. But, if I really had to I would say Joe, because he is so normal.

    Peace and love,
    Paula R.

  13. Hmmm. I haven't read this series...the first is on my TBR list but I have my reservations about it...and your post beautifully summed up why :)

  14. I've actually never read any of the Stephanie Plum books. I've heard great things about them, but I have so many other books I want to read first, this series has just never been a priority for me.

  15. I haven't read the Plum series. I tend to stay away from these books that go on forever with the same characters because the shark will be jumped at some point. It's inevitable. I tried to read the In Death and the Sookie books(though I love the show) but have stalled around book three or four. I just lose interest. I have the attention span of a three year old so that may explain it :)

  16. Stacy interesting post and seems to have generated quite a response.

    My take on this series is that I still read and enjoy it for the most part. Evanovich gets the Jersey character down so perfectly. Funny too is that I know people like Stephanie and Joe. Well there life isn't filled with murder and car chases and all that but they pretty much stay the same over a long period of time.

    From Evonovich's standpoint she still has a good thing going with this series. Write and release one book a year about characters you don't have to put much thought into. The books must still be selling reasonably well as they are still releasing in hardcover and they usually end up on the NYT bestseller list for at least a week or two so by publishing standards she and they are still a hit.

    I enjoy the deversion to Stephanie, Joe and Ranger land for a few hours each year and will probably continue with the series...number wise anyway. I really don't like what Evanovich calls the "between books". The shorter ones that usually involve some holiday and decided after the lasst one...Plum Lucky I think it was that I would not rush to read those. First one was cute but the ones after that have had almost no story line and they did bore me.

    Now cost wise on these books I would not pay full hardcover price. One of the book clubs I belong to always has these books so I get my Stephanie fix for $10.65 a pop and it's worth that much to me.

    One more thing is the time ine in these books everyone else is thinking that years have evolved since the first story...I on the other had have always thought that they are written in real time much link the "In Death" books....maybe that's why the lack of character development hasn't gotten to me yet.

  17. Hi Stacy,

    Now I love Janet's books and have read practically all of the Plum series. I haven't read the last 3 or 4 books. I defintely agree that it is time that Stephanie makes the choice which guy she wants to be with. Maybe book fearless fifteen she finally fesses up.

  18. I've stalled at 13. I think it's time she made her choice too. It's getting too old now between Ranger and Joe.
    And for the record, I'm a Joe girl.

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