Chat Between Chapters: Reviewing books in a series

June 14, 2015 Chat Between Chapters, Featured Posts 29


 Let’s talk about reviewing books in a series. Do you review one book at a time as you read them? How do you keep from repeating the same things about the characters and world in your review? Do mini reviews instead? A top 10? Or do you just do a series overall wrap up?

Julie Review Avatar Julie:

I struggle with reviewing subsequent books in a series. The world is unchanged, the characters are the same (though with more development) and I find myself saying again and again how awesome X is and how fun Y is. Like recently I’ve been gobbling up the Charley Davidson series, but my reviews are quick since what can I really say about the books that isn’t a spoiler about the plot of that particular story and hasn’t already been said in my previous reviews? I’m leaning toward doing a series review or skipping some books and just doing one here and there. The series reviews would be hard since the book details using the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin (affiliate link) are set up for individual books. I’ve been doing a book here and there but not in order, but it still doesn’t seem to be working for me too well. So I’m curious how other people do it. Or, how our readers want to see it. Do share your thoughts!



I haven’t really reviewed many books in a series, but this is an interesting question. I do think that having to describe the same set up for multiple reviews isn’t very enjoyable to write, or read. I like Julie’s idea of a series review, but that requires having read the entire series. I tend to read the first book of a series and then get around to the others at a much later date instead of reading all of the books at once. Or if I’m waiting for the other books in the series, there is a big gap in time between reading books. If I were to  be reviewing the books in a series, I’d probably link to the previous reviews, write a brief plot summary of the current book, and then add the reasons why I like the current book. But yes, that’s probably repetitive after a while. That’s why we need some suggestions from our readers. 


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29 Responses to “Chat Between Chapters: Reviewing books in a series”

  1. Elizabeth

    I usually don’t read a series straight through, so this hasn’t been a big problem. One thing that does happen is I receive an ARC that is mid-series and I am unaware of that fact. If there is time before the post needs to be up, I try to get the first book to read either first or before I write my review. I’m writing a review right now for a series where I’ve read the first two books. I don’t think I would review a book mid-series where I’ve reviewed others, unless I had to because it was an ARC.
    Elizabeth recently posted…Things I Collect BTB #3

    • Julie

      I try to review most of what I read, since I read so little these days, and then this blog would not have any reviews lol

  2. alyssaz

    There are some great comments here, but I might as well toss my hat in the ring as well. I’ve done different things with series reviews, depending on the book and my time. The post I have linked to this comment, shows how I briefly touch on book one, enough so that my thoughts on book two made sense. I didn’t want to spend the time writing a while review for the 1st book.
    In the past, when reviewing subsequent installments I try to focus more on the plot or how the characters have changed/grown.
    I don’t think I’ve yet reviewed a series longer than three books however. It’s good to read the comments and help concerning longer series
    alyssaz recently posted…Two Roads Home {Review}

    • Julie

      I agree, if I skip reviewing one of the books, I can kind of do both in the next review or at least touch on it. It does help if there is a lot of change/growth between books 🙂

  3. Tina

    For me, it depends on the series and when i read the books. But I do like the idea of a whole series review or lists. I think I would probably do the series as whole if the series is complete. If it isn’t then I’d do the whole list thing.

  4. Silvara

    I try to find things specific to that book to talk about. Not spoilers unless they’re hidden under a spoiler tag. But things like if I did or didn’t like a character more in that book as opposed to the last one in the series. Or if there’s a plot point that happened in one book that didn’t happen in another (and isn’t too spoiler-y).

    New characters or areas of the world that were introduced in one book but not the previous one.

    Occasionally I end up mentioning something I might have said in a previous review in that series, but I try to think up new things to say for each book. I don’t want to review all the books or multiple books in one review as a lot of the time I’m not reading them close together.

    For the ones I DO read in the same month, I’m always afraid I’ll end up writing a novel if I review more than one book at once. I tend to babble a lot as it is. This comment is a case in point! *laughs*
    Silvara recently posted…The Undying Legion (Crown & Key #2) by Clay & Susan Griffith (review)

    • Julie

      Yea the non-spoilery tends to get difficult since a lot of times the plot is the only thing very different from book to book. My reviews tend to be short anyway, I have the opposite problem heh, never can think of enough cool things to say.

  5. Bookworm Brandee

    I don’t typically read a series straight through so I’ve never had this problem. There’s always a good chunk of time in between my reviews and although I don’t recap the world building, I do review the particular situation the MCs are in. (I think *ha*) Julie, I’ve recently started doing bullet reviews of books – particularly those that have been reviewed to death but I’m just now reading. So a bullet list of what worked for me and what didn’t. It makes the review faster and doesn’t bore anyone who’s read 100 reviews of the book. Great post!
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…Audio Review ~ Unbelonging ~ Sabrina Stark

    • Julie

      I like a bullet list – I’ve started doing that with the latest few reviews I scheduled. Thanks Brandi 🙂

    • Julie

      I think putting them together if read back to back is a good option – especially for shorter, completed series. I’m with you that I often don’t complete longer series.

  6. Cynthia

    Personally, it depends on the series. When I read the Lunar Chronicles series, so many bloggers had already done reviews for all the books. I knew I couldn’t really contribute many things that hadn’t already been said, so I just did mini-reviews of every book in one post. Otherwise, I probably write a full review of each book.
    Cynthia recently posted…June New Release Giveaway Hop!

    • Julie

      I see that too, if you’re reviewing a popular book that has already been reviewed by so many it feels like you can’t really say anything new. The Lunar Chronicles is a good example of the series focusing on a different character for each book, so there’s more to review in each subsequent book.

    • Julie

      Yea I guess it would be easier to review a spaced-out reading of a series than a binge read.

  7. Braine Talk Supe

    It depends for me, when I binge read Elemental Assassin, the recap parts started to annoy me. I guess that’s for the benefit of long standing fans as the books come out on a yearly basis. But when you read it in succession, it can get annoying.

    Now if it’s something like Dark-Hunters, where the characters and settings change, i can binge read it without a problem.
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Suped Up Feature: King Arthur’s Sister in Washington’s Court by Kim Iverson Headlee

    • Lynn

      I think that annoying factor is one of the reasons I don’t binge read, Braine. I just kind of feel like I need a break from the characters, especially when the author is telling me the recap from the book I just read. I does make more sense, though, if you are reading the books with some time between them.

    • Julie

      Well, you really don’t need to do a recap in a review if you have the blurb, but for books where the setting/characters is the same, it gets difficult to just review the specific plot development only.

  8. Ramona

    I haven’t reviewed many series, I admit. But I keep it short as a rule. It’s an interesting question – maybe the best thing is to review the whole series when it’s complete?
    Ramona recently posted…Planning A Novel. Or Not.

    • Lynn

      Good point, Ramona. Especially if you are reading all of the books in a row. Just review them in one post.

  9. Melissa Robles

    I tend to read one book at the time mainly because I don’t want to mix things up in my reviews. I haven’t really considered about writing series review, I guess I’m more like a single book review person. When I talk about the characters, I always describe them more in the first book review, in the second one I state if there was character growth or not focusing more on the plot, and on the third I try to compare their differences from first to last book. It’s not a general rule though, I’m not that great at following an order. 🙂
    What I always struggle is in if I should do a summary of the first book in my review or not. I sometimes think it’s pointless since I always put the book’s info on the post. It works better on the second or third book since that’s when I can briefly explain what happens in the first. 🙂
    Melissa Robles recently posted…Why We Need Good Translated Books

    • Lynn

      Thanks, Melissa. I like the suggestion about showing character growth over the books. That’s a good idea!

    • Julie

      The character growth overall is a good idea for series reviews! I tend to let the blurb do the summary for me lately but you’re right that it is easier to talk about past books in a review, where it makes sense to bring in their details.

  10. JJ

    Interesting post. I have only reviewed a couple of series, and done a couple of reviews of books from series where I’ve just reviewed one or two books because I read the others before starting my blog, but I haven’t found it to be too much of an issue, because the plots are different and I usually like/dislike different things.
    JJ recently posted…Sidekick Showcase Saturday #9

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