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Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments Am I the only one who is starting to hate the prequel? Several series that I've been reading have short stories in anthologies that drastically change your perception and enjoyment of the series. Where are these short stories and novellas to be found? Scattered in stand alone anthologies with other prequels and 'in-between' tales. I don't mind anthologies per se and I believe they are a good way of introducing a reader to a new author and world. But to put critical information in one of these stories and then call something else 'Book #1' is just wrong.

I've been fortunate to have gotten advice from other readers to avoid some of the reading out of order traps but not all of them. For example, I was told to not read Cry Wolf until after I had read the 75 page short story in On the Prowl. Great call to whomever told me that. In the short story the hero and heroine meet, start to fall in love, have a big battle, and basically rescue each other. The book that is supposedly the first in the series opens with the hero lying there still bleeding from the battle. Almost no explanation or backstory is given to set things up. It is just 'GO!'. It might as well have been starting on chapter four. I could even understand better if the story was in an 'Introducing new series' anthology where readers could read the new shorts and decide what they liked and wanted to try. But the Alpha and Omega prequel is bundled with three other short stories that all fall in the middle of the series. Grrr...

Another example is the book The Guy Next Door. Here we are offered three novellas. The first is the prequel to Lori Foster's Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series, the second is a stand alone by Susan Donovan, and the third is the prequel to Victoria Dahl's Donovan Brothers Brewery series.

The Lori Foster story is 150+ pages and lays a lot of groundwork for who the characters are and what the story is. Unfortunately I read this after I read the first book in the series, When You Dare. In WYD, the hero and heroine from the novella show up partway through with no real introduction or explanation. In our book club discussion I lambasted Foster for her huge plot holes and failure to connect points A and C without explaining there was a point B and how it played in with the whole. Now that I've read the novella, maybe Foster isn't the butcher I made her out to be. (Note: I've read and enjoyed many other Lori Foster books and couldn't understand how she went so wrong here.) Now I'll consider continuing with the series.

I could go on with examples of series that could have been so much better had they included prequels in the actual story instead of hiding them elsewhere but I'll stop my rant for now.

What I want to know is: 1. How do you feel about prequels in anthologies? 2. How about 'between books' books? and 3. Can you name any series that you think should come with a prequel warning?


message 2: by AH (new)

AH | 75 comments Sometimes, the "prequel" is either written or released after the novel, so it doesn't matter if you read the series in order. In the Cry Wolf example, you really need On the Prowl or you will not enjoy the series. I like that some authors like Roxanne St. Claire provides the prequel to Edge of Sight on her website. Big difference to that read - but the prequel is free and readily available.

I don't like to buy anthologies. If I can't get my hands on a borrowed copy or as a freebie, I won't bother. Usually out of 5 stories, one is good.

Between books can be fun. Sometimes I'll wonder what character X has done to cause Y. Again, I appreciate when authors provide these on their websites as extra stories - a lot of them do. It makes me want to purchase their books.


message 3: by Sandra J (new)

Sandra J Weaver (sandraweaver) | 366 comments I'm not wild about anthologies either. I tend to like one out of the four or five stories offered. However, they are good for getting a "taste" of authors I'm not familiar with. I don't mind stories that are essentially add-ons to an author's series, but I think including a story in an anthology that is a must read for the series in that something important happens that will affect the next book is rather unfair to the fans of that series. That goes for prequels, too. If a prequel is actually the set up to a new series (rather than an oh-by-the-way-here's-how-things-started), it's unfair to the author's fans to expect them to buy another book just to understand what the heck is going on. It's also unfair to the author's new series since I think it tends to turn people off the book. JMO.


message 4: by Barbara ★ (last edited Nov 13, 2011 08:57AM) (new)

Barbara ★ | 3550 comments I agree. Anthologies are crap! It's just a way publishers introduce new authors by using established authors as the hook. And they have to use the authors best series to ensure people will buy it since most people (me included) wouldn't buy an anthology even with my favorite author if it wasn't an established series. Because, let's be honest, from my favorite author I want a real book not a 100 page short story prequel to a future series.

Besides an anthology costs roughly $8 and if you are lucky 1 out of 4 of the shorts is decent. So you pay $8 for 100-150 pages and the rest is junk. When you could purchase an entire book/story for that same money. hmmm let me think. yup I'm buying the "real" book. In the past, publishers introduced a new author by offering their first book at a special price (usually $4.99). I totally hate it when a new authors debut comes out in hardcover. I won't shell out that kind of money for an unknown...in that case, it's library all the way! To me it seems as if the publisher is at fault here not the author who probably doesn't have much say in how these things are decided.

I do like the fact that some authors (the better known ones) actually supply free prequels on their websites. My beef with that is, how do you know what series has a freebie offered? And if it's something you need to read before the "real" book, how are you supposed to know this. It is hardly practical to go to an authors website (if you can even find it) before reading a book and searching for freebies.

OK my rant is complete.


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments There's a prequel to Edge of Sight? Perhaps it would have shown us some of the history they shared rather than just saying, 'they were hot for each other and he went back to the service'. But even if it is somewhere online and free, do you think you could put a freakin' note at the beginning of the book? 'Author's note: Welcome to my new series ... blah blah blah ... if you'd like to read the backstory and see how they met, go to www.ThePrequelThatShouldBeMentionedSo...'


message 6: by AH (last edited Nov 13, 2011 09:06AM) (new)

AH | 75 comments Photojim wrote: "There's a prequel to Edge of Sight? Perhaps it would have shown us some of the history they shared rather than just saying, 'they were hot for each other and he went back to the ser..."

I knew about this prequel from someone else's review. In my review of the book, I mention that the prequel is available on the author's website and that it is recommended reading before the book. But you only hear these things from your GR friends and their reviews.

Here's the link to the prequel for Edge of Sight.


message 7: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 433 comments I think Cry Wolf was only ever supposed to be the anthology short. The characters would have popped up occasionally afterward in the Mercy Thompson series. Fans convinced (basically yelled, bribed and begged) so the author gave Anna & Charles their own series, but it meant that she just continued her previously stand-alone story straight on.


message 8: by Sandra J (new)

Sandra J Weaver (sandraweaver) | 366 comments Maybe the prequel should be republished at the beginning of the series? Nah. That'll never happen. People who already bought the anthology would be irritated because they'd read it, and publishers would be irritated because fans wouldn't have bought the anthology to start with.


message 9: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 433 comments The publisher did bring out Alpha & Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf on Kindle, in case people didn't want to buy the anthology.


message 10: by AH (new)

AH | 75 comments Nairabell wrote: "The publisher did bring out Alpha & Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf on Kindle, in case people didn't want to buy the anthology."

But why should you have to buy the first three chapters of Cry Wolf separately? That's an annoyance.


message 11: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 433 comments AH wrote: "Nairabell wrote: "The publisher did bring out Alpha & Omega: A Companion Novella to Cry Wolf on Kindle, in case people didn't want to buy the anthology."

But why should you have to ..."


First three chapters? I'm confused.


Jim son of Jim (formerly PhotoJim) (jim_formerly_photojim) | 5294 comments The novella is three chapters long. They are basically the first three chapters of the book.


message 13: by AH (new)

AH | 75 comments If you just go ahead and read Cry wolf, you are missing the first few chapters which is On the Prowl. Just poor marketing and an annoyance to readers, in my opinion.


message 14: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 433 comments Yeah, but what I'm saying is that Alpha and Omega was supposed to be it. It's not a prequel, it's the first book. A prequel by definition is a literary, dramatic, or cinematic work whose narrative takes place before that of a preexisting work or a sequel (thefreedictionary.com).

I get what you're saying, but Alpha and Omega isn't a prequel nor was it ever intended to be.


message 15: by Katie (new)

Katie (skateanddonate) | 47 comments I think we are twisting the argument and getting away from the actual question 'how do you feel about prequels.'

I like prequels and in between stories. To me they expand my exposure to characters I have come to love from their book.

I haven't read the prequel to Cry Wolf yet (my library Kindle is waiting to be downloaded--but the site isn't recognizing my card #) so I'm not sure how I feel about it seeming to be the first 3 chapters. My problem with that book had to do with lack of plot progression during the beginning and middle of the book. I liked that the book started in the middle of the action. To me a story needs to hook me in the first 5 pages so I like a book starting in the middle of the action.

The Witches of East End book I hated. A month before release Witches 101 came out and was 3 chapters hooking you on the characters, but the story never got started till the very end. Then Witches of East End was released and the first 3 chapters were the same chapters from Witches 101. It pissed me off to no end. Came off as manipulation. Book starts boring, but with needed info to get you to identify with the characters so lets release those 3 chapters a teaser to get people to buy book. Then repeat them in the book. I didn't like it.

Anthologies are a mixed bag for me. I love short short stories that are written properly. So I usually like anthologies. If an author has the skill to write a successful short story than I'm willing to risk buying a book written by them. Unfortunately most authors do NOT have the skill to tell a complete story in a limited amount of space.

I hate the over pricing of anthologies by having one or two top name authors include stories and then most of the other stories aren't the same quality, but they are priced very expensive.

I hate not being able to get the prequels or in between stories as stand alone stories. To me authors (via publishers) are punishing readers by forcing them to buy the overpriced anthology that includes the story rather than releasing it as a short story in an e-book.

I hate when authors release short stories on certain characters, but don't give readers the ability to download or keep that story (for example Adrain's side after Vampire Academy before Bloodlines by R. Meade).


message 16: by Lynne (new)

Lynne (lovetoreadgal) | 1151 comments I have mixed feelings about prequels and "between" stories. I hate when I can't find or didn't know about them, but I like it when all those niggling questions are answered. I think it all comes down to authors' websites being up-to-date and clear about where those shorts fit into the overall storyline. Keeping track of series has become so complicated these days, at least Goodreads has updated the ability to see series, but it's still not a great system.


message 17: by AlbertaJenn (new)

AlbertaJenn | 0 comments The in-between stories aren't the ones that drive me up the wall the most. It is the whole series that are only in anthologies! It's like a never-ending spiderweb of extending-out series you get tangled into.

You buy book A for story 1, but then end up reading story 2. But then to find out more about these characters, you have to track down book B, which may or may not still be in print. I have come down to the point of not wanting to read the "other" stories, just cause trying to track down more multiple anthologies can be a battle.

Now that I have an e-reader, this has been (somewhat) simplified with being able to just buy the short stories I care about. But I still like erotica anthologies to listen to when I (irregularily) work out.

It is a conspiracy, I tell you!


message 18: by Nairabell (new)

Nairabell | 433 comments I didn't mean to get off topic, I was just pointing out one of the examples was useless in the argument.

I like anthologies, side stories and prequels. They're a great way for an author to tell more about a side character, or an event that wouldn't fit in the main books. The best examples are Karen Chance's story in On the Prowl which took Dory's roommate and told us her story which fits in with Midnight's Daughter. It wouldn't have fit in Dory's book but did give an explanation of Claire's gifts.

The other is Vicki Pettersson's story in Holidays Are Hell which tells us what happened with Joanna's daughter. It wouldn't have fit in the main Zodiac series (it is a prequel) but it is an event that echoes throughout.

Plus anthologies can introduce you to new authors in a group, giving a chance to try out their writing style to see if it suits. Some of my favourite authors I found through anthologies, and some of my least favourite would have been avoided had I read an anthology with them in.


message 19: by D.G. (new)

D.G. | 4477 comments I feel you, Jim. I hate the prequels that are basically the first few chapters of another book (like Alpha & Omega). I'm glad I knew I had to read it first!

I don't care for 'in between' stories either. Not every author can write good short stories and I have too many good books on my TBR to waste my time in mediocre reads. I can count with my fingers those that I liked so in general, I don't read them, even for series I follow.


ஐ Briansgirl (Book Queen)ஐ (briansgirlkate) | 0 comments I don't like prequels, but tend not to read series that have them floating around (usually, or that I know of). In Between Stories in Anthologies however, I enjoy.... provided they don't include must have information to understand the overall series arc. Cute fun little stories that sometimes flesh out side characters on a mini adventure or something is fun, but I don't want to have to buy an anthology just for one novella or miss having vital information needed to understand the next main full novel.


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