Reviewing Books In A Series

If you’re a regular reader of the blog, you might have noticed that my current schedule is to post a book review every Tuesday morning. I tend to manage six-ish novels a month, theoretically giving me more than enough material for four reviews a month; but what happens when those novels are the second, third, or even sixth book in a series?

When reviewing the books that I read, I try to maintain a spoiler free approach.  When I’m excited about the first book in a series, I’ll gush about how much I love the characters, the turns of phrases that the author uses and the amazing ending that sets up the sequel perfectly.  By the second book though, too much has happened that relies on knowledge of the previous book and would spoil the series for a potential reader.  All this leaves me with in the way of material for a review is a carbon copy of my review for the first book, possibly with added gushing over a new character, or allusions to spoilery events.  None of this is especially helpful.

In an attempt to conquer this, I began my The Story So Far feature in which I review the series as a whole, based on my experiences with all of the books of a series that I have read to date.  I’m enjoying writing the feature because it gives me an opportunity to recommend a whole series that I love without spoiling anything.

But what do you think of this idea?  How do you go about reviewing books in a series?  Do you avoid it altogether, or do you forge boldly on, prefacing your review with the words: WARNING – HERE BE SPOILERS?

Click to see my Story So Far review of The Dresden Files.

Click to see my Story So Far review of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

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6 thoughts on “Reviewing Books In A Series

  1. I usually go the route of “here be spoilers, enter at your own risk!” if my review includes spoilers from the previous book(s) in the series (which, let’s face it, happens pretty often because it’s tough to review without spoiling that). If I’ve reviewed previous books then I’ll link to those reviews, too. Otherwise, I guess it’s kind of up to the blog reader…some people don’t mind being spoiled as much as others, but at least I know I’ve warned them! I like the idea of reviewing a series as a whole as well, though, because that way you’re not continually rehashing some of the same stuff that you said in another review.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Post (November 2) | Girl of 1000 Wonders

  3. When I am reading books in a series–sometimes out of order unfortunately-I always manage somehow not to put in spoilers! I tend to keep my reviews short and to the point–especially those that a part of a series.

  4. I can definitely see how reviewing a book in a series would be difficult to not include spoilers, especially since the book before ends in a huge cliffhanger or something big happened. I like the idea of “the story so far”! I would probably just put a warning that the review may contain spoilers if you have not read the first or second book, etc.

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