Sunday Salon: Books in series

The Sunday Salon

I have been thinking recently about how I review books in a series. I have not exactly been consistent up until now. Do you guys have any rules that you follow?

The thing is, different series throw up different problems. In some cases it is near impossible to discuss sequels without giving away spoilers from the earlier books. I found this a little with The Alexandria Quartet but I had so much to say about each book that I still gave each a separate post.

Sometimes spoilers aren’t an issue. For instance, the Claudine books reveal plot developments in their titles! But then the plot is hardly the point here.

In some cases there isn’t much new to say about successive books in a series, other than the new plot, so reviews get progressively shorter. I suspect this will be the case with the Philip Marlowe books, but I’ve only read the first two so we’ll have to see. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t yet published a review of the James Bond books (which I’m halfway through reading). I’ll probably write about one of them but I see no point discussing every one separately. (For exactly this reason, I have reviewed just one of the Modesty Blaise books I have read.)

Line up

With comic books/graphic novels I have tended to write a single post about the whole series. With Scott Pilgrim, I was so eager to read the whole series that I didn’t want to stop to make notes in-between. With Echo I would have run across the problem of spoilers, so my review really concentrated on the first book and overarching themes (I had both of these problems with Y: the Last Man, a review of which is coming later this week). With Southland Tales, I just didn’t think they were very good and so, though I had a lot to say, I saved myself from writing three separate negative reviews by just doing the one!

I am thinking about this because in the past couple of years I have read a fair few first titles in a series, and in some cases I really really want to read the rest (Tales of the City, for example) but I’m not sure I’ll be able to write much about it so I put it off. I know that’s silly, that this blog shouldn’t stop me from reading great books, but there we are.

Do you have any favourite book series? And do you review every book you read?