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Book Related Banter > Details from prior books in the series

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message 1: by N.M. (new)

N.M. Martinez A writer I follow on twitter brought this question up, and I thought it was a good question.

When reading a series or trilogy, what do you think of the retelling of the previous books within the stories?

Hunger games did this in the second book. She was a little more sly about it than some other series I've read, but it sort of annoyed me. Granted, I did read them one after the other, so perhaps I would have felt differently if I had been reading the books as they were published?

But in general, I hate having the prior book in a series summarized.

What do you think?


message 2: by ♥Meagan♥ (new)

♥Meagan♥ (fadedrainbows) I feel the same way, especially if as you said, I read them back to back. Although, there are times if I have gone a year or two between two books the reminder is nice (I am thinking of longer series here, though, like the In Death series by J. D. Robb).

So really, I guess I am saying that in general I dislike it, although it does depend on the series.


message 3: by Lori, Super Mod (new)

Lori (tnbbc) | 10035 comments Mod
Ahhh Nina, that is an interesting question. I toss and turn on that based on whether I am reading back to back or as the books publish. Back in the day, I read the first 7 or 8 Left Behind books back to back, then had to wait as they hit release dates... so much time (and many many books) would pass between them that I actually appreciated the recap. It helped refresh my memory.

Same for the Dexter series. Read the first 2 back to back then had to wait for the third.

And ditto again for the Sookie Stackhouse novels. Read a bunch together, then had to wait as each one released.

I think it is a useful tool for authors, and an appreciated gesture from the readers if it is done smoothly and fluidly.


message 4: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (nasiryn) I agree and dislike this as well although for some books it is necessary such as like with George RR Martin's series A Song Of Ice And Fire. Since it's been over 5 years since the last book I would be quite upset if there is not some type of summary in the next installment since each of the books in the series is over 1000 and there are 6! However I do not require that type of "hand holding" in most other series.


message 5: by Krys (new)

Krys For me, it depends on how the author does the recapping.

If it's done in the story, with one character thinking through or explaining the events of past books ... it can get kind of annoying.

I've seen some authors put a "Story Thus Far" section at the front of their books (like Kevin J Anderson in Saga of Seven Suns). I don't mind that, because I can just skip it if I want to.

I've seen one or two authors who have a way of letting the reader know what happened in previous books without doing either of those two things, though. It's hard to explain how they do it, but it's very subtle. Jim Butcher pulled this off fairly well in the early books of the Codex Alera, in my opinion.


message 6: by N.M. (new)

N.M. Martinez Oh the "story thus far" is an interesting way of doing it. I don't think I've seen that used very often. That is a great way for new readers to hop right in. I'd probably go for that if I were curious about a series.


message 7: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicasey) Nina wrote: "A writer I follow on twitter brought this question up, and I thought it was a good question.

When reading a series or trilogy, what do you think of the retelling of the previous books within the..."


Great question. I have to say it depends on my...situation with the series.

Reading back to back, it's frustrating, so I just skim read my way past that section. "Nope, I know that, know that, keep going...ahh stop, right there is where it picks up again."

As for a series I've followed all along, I like a little touch back as it refreshes the memory. But again, if my mind remembers the info I just skim read through to the new action.


message 8: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (cassielo) | 42 comments I'd rather have a summary than not. When I'm reading books back-to-back, it's annoying, but I can skip it. But if there's a gap between books, I'm completely lost if there's no recap, and I enjoy the book much less than I would have because I'm constantly wondering what's going on in the beginning.


message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth | 137 comments Especially with mystery series, I think dropping a hint about something that happened early in a previous book is okay, but not giving away the whole plot, especially "whodunnit"! That ruins the suspense for someone who happens to pick up a series book out of order. The hint(s) can be a teaser to get the reader of the current book interested in reading a past book in the series.


message 10: by Allison (new)

Allison (sockweasel) | 432 comments I really like the idea of a "the story thus far" section at the beginning that could be skipped if you're reading books in the series back to back.

Generally I don't mind a summary as long as it's done fluidly. And sometimes when there's been a chunk of time between books in the series, I really appreciate the re-cap. :)


message 11: by Dee (new)

Dee (austhokie) | 616 comments I like it when the backstory is worked into the current story and its not all the obvious...it will be interesting to see how Auel does a re-cap, if she does in the last of the Clan of the Cave Bear series in a few weeks, since its been 8 years since the last book came out


message 12: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicasey) Good point. I know I don't recall everything from that long ago!


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