Earlier last year, I wrote up a discussion about the series vs. the standalone novel. Seeing as we’re almost two months into the new year and I have a HUGE pile of series books to read, I started to think about series books and how I read them.
I do love a good series. Mostly, I enjoy a series that grabs me from the beginning, holds on, and doesn’t let go. A series where each book can stand on its own, and — most especially — a series where I can immediately pick up the NEXT book in the series and start reading.
When I think about this, there are a few series that come to mind, most specifically the Across the Universe series by Beth Revis. I absolutely LOVE this series and know exactly what happened in each book and know what will be happening in the next book and will be able to dive right in. But then, I think of a series like Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin — a book I loved when I read it — and how I feel like I should reread the first book in the series because I just can’t remember enough of what happened in the first book to continue on with the second book right now.
Of course, this year Anne and I are doing a Book Bingo challenge where part of the challenge is to reread books, so I feel okay about rereading some of the first books in my series, but then I wonder whether I should HAVE to reread a book in a series. Some series books seem like they’re just a continuation of what happened in the last book, with the middle book of a trilogy, for instance, being filler — whereas other series books act like they could stand on their own, so jumping into the next book in that series is like starting a whole new story.
Take Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, for instance. I can read the next book in that series not remembering a lot of what happened in the previous book, but I have enough character knowledge to dive in. Also, there’s enough recap throughout the (1,000 page) book that I can get an idea of what happened in the past. But then, I think of a series like Kelley Armstrong’s Darkest Powers series, where it felt like the second book was more filler until the last book in the series. This is what I think about when I think of the Mara Dyer books — the second book is not something that I can just jump into, instead I need to reread the first book.
Maybe it’s just personal preference, but for me — like I said — I prefer a series where it’s easy to pick up each book in the series, a series where each book can stand on its own. There are so many books in the world that I want to read as many as I can!
But, to end this discussion (my part, at least), I have to say to you — don’t be afraid of the reread! Before I started blogging seriously, I would reread my favourite books, but once I really got into blogging, I found myself rarely rereading my favourite books. To this I say, why call them our favourite books if we won’t ever reread them? Or, why do we keep these books on our shelf if we’re not going to reread them?
Maybe I’m just torn on the subject.
How do you approach series books? Do you reread the other books in the series first? Are there series where you have to do this — or series where you can just pick up the next book without a recap?