Reviewing Books in a Series

Discussion Post

One of the things I have trouble with when it comes to blogging and reviewing is…how do I review books in a series?

 

When I first started my blog, I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to review books in a series on my blog if they’re not the first book in that series. I guess I decided this because those are probably the reviews I least like to read on other people’s blogs. Not because they’re bad or anything, it’s just that usually I haven’t read the series they’re talking about. Or maybe I’ve started the series, but haven’t gotten to that book yet. And while occasionally I’ll read reviews of books I haven’t read yet, I definitely wouldn’t read a review of a book that was in the middle of a series that I haven’t read yet.

But a lot of bloggers do choose to review those kinds of books. And I feel like there are three kinds of reviews you can choose to write for those books. You can:

  1. Spoiler it up! Announce at the beginning of the post that there are going to be tons of spoilers, and that only people who’ve read the book should read your review.
  2. Go spoiler-free. Make your review totally spoiler-free. Most people don’t do this, because how can you possibly write a review for a book in the middle of a series that doesn’t at least spoil something small from the first book? But it’s certainly an option, it just takes some creative wording.
  3. Meet in the middle. Write a review with spoilers only of the previous books. So that people who’ve read the series, but haven’t caught up to that specific book, can still read your review.

But while all of these three options are popular, every blogger is different, so I don’t want to accidentally read a review I think isn’t going to spoil stuff…and then it does. That would bum me out! I purposefully try to go into all of the books I read completely blind, so I’d be really annoyed if even a small plot point got spoiled for me.

Since that’s personally how I like to read books, all of my reviews on the blog are spoiler-free. I go out of my way to make sure that, even if I really want to comment on something spoiler-y, I don’t do it. I guess it’s like “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” If I don’t like reading spoilers, why would I post them on my own blog? But it’s a perfectly valid choice for other bloggers, and I follow a bunch who do post spoilers! It really just depends on what kind of reader and blogger you are.

So, personally, I don’t post reviews of books in a series that aren’t the first book of that series on my blog. But I do post all of those reviews on Goodreads! And I try to keep that type of review as spoiler-free as possible — being vague about the plot points that readers who haven’t read the series might not know about, but still specific enough so that readers who have read the series, or even that particular book, will know what I’m talking about and can actually get something out of my review.

 

What about you? Do you post reviews of books in the middle of a series on your blog? If you do, which of the three types of reviews do you use? Do you like reading those kinds of reviews on other people’s blogs?

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11 responses to “Reviewing Books in a Series

  1. This is a great discussion question! I have reviewed series books, but you’re right, it’s hard to do, especially when there is something key in the plot and you feel you can’t review the book without talking about it. I have tried to keep my reviews spoiler free, but sometimes what one person considers a spoiler is different from another person’s opinion. Once I wrote a review that I felt didn’t have spoilers and I got an email from the author asking me to label the review with a spoiler alert!! Sorry I’ve gotten off topic:) When I read someone’s review of a second book I guess I’m looking for a yay or nay as to whether I should continue with the series. And when I’m reviewing a series I love, I do everything I can to convince people to start reading it!

    • Yeah, that’s a good point! I just had a conversation with another blogger friend of mine because I felt like something she posted in a discussion of hers was a spoiler, but she didn’t. It’s interesting to see where different people draw that line. Personally I tend to be SUPER conservative just to be on the safe side, but a lot of other people aren’t as bothering by spoilers as I am.

      Hmm I guess I never looked at reviews of books that were in a series as a way to convince more people to read it, but that’s a cool way to do it. I guess because I’m never interested in looking at those reviews myself, I forget that some people actually DO read reviews of those books before they start or get that far in the series.

  2. Great topic, Miranda! I read so many series books that they definitely take up the bulk of my review archives! When it comes to subsequent books in a series, I do try to tone down the spoilers in my reviews. Well, really I try to avoid spoilers altogether, but if I can’t help myself, then I definitely put them inside a spoiler tag so people can click and read them only if they want to. So I guess my approach is the “meet in the middle” one.

    I have to say that when it comes to reading these reviews, I definitely prefer a spoiler warning of some sort before I go into it!

    • Oh, yeah, definitely! No matter what, ALL spoilers should always come with a warning. And I feel like, if it’s not going to be completely spoiler-free, you should specify whether it’s okay for the person to read the review if they’ve read the first book or subsequent books in the series, or just to avoid it all together if they haven’t read the specific book that’s being reviewed yet. Because there’s definitely a big difference!

      I just feel safest completely avoiding them, haha. Most of the time, it’s usually that the person is reviewing a book in a series that I haven’t started yet, but it’s a series that’s already on my TBR list (or on my “not interested” list). So I feel like, personally, there’s no point in reading a review for the book if it’s not the first in the series, because I already know whether I’m going to be starting the series or not, and I don’t want to even take the chance that something from the first book might get spoiled.

      I’m personally so anal about it, though. I barely EVER read reviews of books that I haven’t read yet. I’ll only read them if (a) I haven’t even HEARD of the book before, so I want to know if I want to add it to my TBR, which is honestly a rare case, or (b) I’ve already read the book. I guess I look at reviews as more of a discussion opportunity than a convince-me-to-read-this thing. But maybe that’s just me? I’m not really sure how other people deal with book reviews. I think I just found my next discussion topic, haha.

      • Yeah I mean, if I haven’t read the first book in a series, I’m not even going to bother reading a review for any subsequent books in the series! What’s the point? And I’m the same as you. I generally only read reviews for books I’ve already read, because then I can properly discuss it!

  3. I don’t mind reviewing books on the blog if I haven’t already posted the other books in the series. But I WILL mark all spoilers. Spoilers are the devil. I see that you posted about in the comments you thought you read a spoiler… if someone told me that I would mark it as a spoiler right away instead of saying I didn’t think it was a spoiler. To me if it’s a spoiler to one person then it might be a spoiler to other people.

    • Yeah we had a conversation about it and she explained her side of it and why she didn’t want to use a spoiler tag in that circumstance. I guess it’s just a difference of opinion! Personally, I try to be super careful of spoilers on my blog, but it’s not my place to tell somebody else what to do on their blog and I respect her decision. I can see where she’s coming from even though we don’t technically agree. But I’m a fan of hers no matter what, so I’ll obviously still be a loyal reader…I’ll just have to make sure to be a little careful in how quickly I read her posts in the future.

  4. When it comes to reviewing books in a series, I use spoiler tags a TON, or mention in a bright red box even before the review starts that there are spoilers for the book in the first series, so read at your own risk. I think reviewing books in a series needs to be done because how are those second books, third books, fourth books going to get the attention they deserve when no one reviews them?! I rarely read reviews for books I haven’t read because I don’t have much to say about them other than “Oh, yeah, I wanted to read this too!” and that’s just a bland response to me. I know I hate getting those comments, so why am I going to leave them on another person’s blog?

    I think every blogger is different, like you said. I know some bloggers who review an entire series, and not the books themselves, because then they can just talk about their feelings toward the series as a whole. I think that works, but requires time and patience because you actually have to work through the book.

    Stick with what works for you. 😛

    • Oh yeah, I totally forgot to mention series reviews. Duh, haha. It definitely takes a lot of effort, though, since you end up only getting one review out of however many books there are in that series. And even you’re probably reading those books because you’re interested in the series to begin with, that’s still a lot of reading for one review.

      But it’s still a good option. I feel like it both includes the people who haven’t read the series yet and the people who’ve only read a couple of them or even the whole thing. I don’t really see many series reviews around the blogosphere, though. Probably because of the planning it requires. Like you can’t really do it for currently-popular series, because they’re not finished yet. And if, in general, you’re the type of person who reads the books in a series as soon as they come out and then wait a whole year for the next one to come out, it’ll be literally YEARS from when you started the review to when you’d actually finish it. And that’d just be crazy, haha.

      I did do one series review once, on The Hunger Games, back when the Catching Fire movie came out, and I kinda liked it, so maybe I’ll try it again in the future, instead of reviewing only the first book, like I’ve been doing. I like to marathon my series, once all of the books are published, so it’d definitely be easier to write that kind of review than if I didn’t read them like that.

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