Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Middle Man Syndrome

Apologies in advance to my non-blogging readers but this post also affects you, too. The purpose of this post today is to discuss the difficulty I have in writing reviews of books in a series that are not the first book. I find that I have a lot of trouble trying to articulate why I like the book without giving too much away about the direction of the plot AND spoilers from the first book. Gah! I don't know why I've been struggling with this so much recently but I feel like an idiot trying to be vague yet detailed about writing a concise review. I don't want to spoil the book for those who haven't read it...yet I want to be able to tell you why I liked it and that includes the plot...but for people that haven't even started the series how much detail from the first book do I include?

I know, I know. Just add that lovely asterix'd warning of **SPOILERS AHEAD** but I hate that for some reason. I want to be able to write reviews that anyone can read but I find if more difficult to do so without revealing some spoilers from the previous books or plots. For example, I just binge read the entire Fever series by Karen Mare Moning and as I'm writing my reviews I felt so repetitive about saying, 'the plot gets better' and 'oh my gosh, each book goes into more details about this world.'...BORING. But for this series I will totally ruin the surprises of the plot and the amazing reveals of the previous books if I don't put the plot into some context. I used to write reviews revealing ALL the plot and talking about each part and why I liked it...yeah, that was WAY too much freaking work and my reviews were ridiculously long. And while I really don't like doing the spoiler alert I'm finding that I have to otherwise the review ends up being too vague and boring and pretty much useless to the reader.
What do you guys think?
Am I overreacting? 
Do y'all care that much?
What are YOU looking for in a review of a book in the middle of a series?
Do you read reviews of books in a series you haven't read? 
Bloggers--do you have difficulty with this, too? 


  1. I don't think you are overreacting. It is difficult to write a review that can cater to both those who've read it and those who haven't and i've often thought of writing a review in two parts for that exact reason. I generally go the route of being spoiler-free even if that means my review is a little vague. Is it helpful to those who haven't read the book? I have no idea. But usually what I look for, if I read a review for a sequel in a series, is whether or not the reader liked it, how it measured up in comparison to previous book(s). Did it further the plot? Develop the characters? Finish in a good place? And I have no problem reading reviews to sequels because I want to start a series that I know is going to get better/end well. If I am unsure about a first book in a series, I often wait to read reviews for the sequel to make up my mind. So I think your dilemma is valid, I didn't really give you much help though, did I? hah.

  2. Yes! I'm in the same boat, Kelly, and have been struggling too. I've been avoiding writing the reviews for them :(
    I'm thinking that I'll either have to use spoiler tags or just write mini reviews? Oh, what to do, what to do...

  3. Kelly, I struggle with the EXACT same thing. I still have half-finished reviews for The Girl of Fire and Thorns series and the Throne of Glass series on the docket from this summer that I don't know how to finish. I like Hannah's format for her Series Speed Date feature. I've thought about mimicking it and only doing series reviews together. However, the big downside with that is I often go SO LONG between books in a series... I'm not sure I want to wait until book six to come out in the Throne of Glass series before I write about it, you know?! I don't want to write reviews that people can't read if they haven't read the whole series, so I try not to put spoilers at all. But with most series it's almost impossible NOT to talk about spoilers on some level.

    All to say, I don't really have any real suggestions... and need some myself! Haha. Series are kiiinda a pain in the butt sometimes.

  4. I struggle with this sometimes. What I try to do is pick up on non-spoiler things (like character development, relationship development, etc) and talk about those. Those types of things won't ruin the book for anyone and they are helpful for the reader.:)

  5. You're totally not overreacting! Its a real struggle. I hesitate to read reviews of later books in a series if I haven't read the first. All I really want to know about a sequel is if its good. I just want to avoid starting series that are going to crush my spirits in the end (thank you Sookie Stackhouse).

    If its a book 2 I want to know if its a good book on its own-or just a filler for a 3rd book. But this is something I'm struggling with also.

  6. UGH yes this is hard! I typically try to highlight what makes it great (is there continued development? new characters? crazy twists) and where it may fall short (is it zzzz, lackluster, wtf filled) and go with that.

  7. Oh yes, it's so hard to review sequels, that's why I'm now going to try to do more series review where I talk more vaguely about the overall series instead and how it made me feel.

  8. I know exactly how this feels! It's actually the reason that I've started to appreciate being able to binge series, and then just write series reviews for the entire thing. But when I do try to write reviews for second/third/etc books in a series, I try to focus more on what I think were elements of this book I thought were great - story, romance, character, setting, etc. I usually want to know if the author has managed to still keep your attention, and if the transition feels natural, and if the story is further developed. While I've not really been including actual spoilers in my post, I usually just include a disclaimer that says that this is a book that's part of a series on top of my own reviews.


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