[To be as transparent as possible, I have not read the series in question. I can only gauge the content from the reader reactions I have seen online.]
In contrast to so many reader flame-ups regarding series direction, authorial choice, quality decline etc. this reader rage-fest was caused by a decision to extend a promised trilogy (the Crossfire books) to a (minimum) of 5 books—and in a less-than-transparent way that caught many readers who pre-ordered by surprise when they reached an abrupt ending in book 3. As of this morning, at least 50% of the readers who left reviews on Amazon are feeling taken advantage of, duped, misled... None of which is good for Sylvia Day's reputation.
A few examples:
Give me the bad writing of 50 shades any day of the week compared to this rip off!
I expected an ending but was left hanging. Trilogy means three, but not here I guess.
As a consumer I feel used and taken advantage of-- and I hate that I looked forward to this book so much...She issued a response to complaints about the series on her Facebook page, largely blaming her publisher, but failed to adequately address the primary complaints: the abrupt ending and the lack of transparency/impetus behind the extension of the series.
Here's where Ms. Day has gone wrong: It's TERRIFIC to make money off of your writing. But don't mislead your readers while doing so. Promising a self-contained trilogy (which Ms. Day very clearly did) and then extending it at the last moment is dishonest. Regardless of the reasons. In the retail world, we call that Not As Described, and it is a legitimate reason for issuing a charge back through one's credit card provider. It's also one reason why I believe readers should be allowed to return ebooks they've finished but are unhappy with. Readers entered into a relationship with the author, trusting her to share a story in three parts. The reader understood that they would receive a complete story for the price of three books. In essence, Day has decided that readers should pay $20 more in order for her to deliver what she's promised. And that, in my world, is not professional.
If Day had promised a serialized novel in an unspecified number of parts, there would be no issue. But her very specific marketing of this as a trilogy means that she has broken faith with her readers. And yes, despite denials, there is NO reason other than monetary for doing so. Otherwise, those last two books would be offered for free to those readers who had already purchased 1-3.
This very scenario is one reason I have been so vocally opposed to a serial novel. It takes a lot of blind faith to trust an author to a) finish the book and b) not drag it out simply to collect more money. I want a finite number of installments and a finished price. I do not want to trust in an author's sense of fairness.
There may be no discernible repercussion for Ms. Day. Enough readers may be perfectly happy to hand over another $20 to get the ending to their story. But Ms. Day should be worried. It's not that readers are simply unhappy about the way the book abruptly ended. It's not about disliking the actions taken within the story. It's about feeling used by an author. And of those who left scathing reviews on Amazon, a select few among them will not only NOT buy another Day book, they will be actively discouraging others from buying her books as well. The animosity and broken trust is personal for many, and there's really no way for Day to get that trust back.
Trust is a currency, too.