Reviewing Sequels Without Reading the First book – Let’s Talk Bookish

Good morning!!! Look who’s alive?! Yes, it’s me. I am BACK at least for today my friends and I am very happy that I have a little bit of time to write this post. I know I was gone the past two Fridays and I didn’t even say anything about that or have Dani do the linkup (sorry!) but I’ve just had too much on my plate and blogging fell away for a time.

Anyhow, we are here, and it is Friday, and of course, we shall have a lovely discussion today. For those of you that don’t know, Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme, hosted by me & Dani @ Literary Lion, where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each other’s posts.

Today’s topic is: Should you review a sequel, without reading the first book? (Dani)

This is an awesome topic, so thank you to Dani for suggesting it! As far as I’m concerned, the very short and very simple answer to this is No, but I am not a “very short and simple answer” kind of girl, so let’s discuss.

First of all, people actually do this????????

Why, just why would you read the second book in a series and then review it without reading the first book first? THERE’S A FIRST BOOK FOR A REASON.

Okay, before I go back to yelling, let’s talk about series and sequels.

Some types of series are the kind where you can read the 14th book and that is totally fine, because each book is technically independent of each other. It’s probably happening in the same world with the same characters as in the previous books, but you can read that 14th book without being completely lost.

Sometimes, there is also this side plot that is continuing from the first book, such as a romantic situation, and you might be a little lost when it comes to that, but usually not enough to make you be frustrated with the story. And it’s a side plot, so it’s really not that much of an issue.

In that kind of series, I can kind of understand you reading the sequel without the first book. But at the same time…it’s not really a good idea.

There are other types of series, where by not reading the first book, you are going to be 100% lost in the story, and have no idea what on earth is going on. Or maybe you are awesome at deductive reasoning and you can figure out what’s going on, but you are missing vital parts of the character’s growth.

You don’t know how much or how little a character has had to suffer in the first book that may possibly be the reason why they are taking this course of action in the second book. You don’t know what betrayals they’ve faced, or if they’ve lost someone close to them. You don’t know how that has affected them and therefore affected the course of the story.

You may hate them and their brusque, borderline cruel behavior, but maybe you missed an important part that shows you why they’ve became that person by skipping the first book.

In this kind of series, I can not comprehend why you would skip the first book and review the second.

Even if you actually liked the second book and gave it a high rating, I still think it’s wrong, because knowing the context and what happened in the first book can drastically change your opinion. If you give it a low rating, that’s just worse, because of course you won’t like it! Maybe the series is indeed just bad but how can you tell when you skipped the very vital FIRST book.

Don’t skip the first book guys. Seriously.


When selecting ARCs do you ever choose sequels where you haven’t read the first book in a series?

I don’t get ARCs frequently (I don’t think they’re even technically ARCs but let’s go with it), and when I do, they are usually standalone books. There’s been only one time that I got another ARC that was a sequel, and I had read the first book prior to requesting it.

I know someone who does request the second or even third book in a series as an ARC and then she gets approved for them even though she hasn’t read the first or the first 2 books. However, she makes a point of reading those first books before she starts the ARC and then she ends up reading the entire series in the span of a week or so because she wants to write the review for the second or third book in time.

It’s actually a great way for me to get her to read certain series lol, but I know that she will go back to read the first books before starting the sequel.

I also think it’s worse if you review an ARC that is a sequel without reading the first book since your review might determine whether or not hundreds, thousands, if not millions of people will want to pick up that book. You don’t have the whole story, so your review can’t accurately reflect whether the series or characters have grown positively or not.


To conclude:

I don’t believe reading and reviewing sequels without reading the first book is right, unless it’s from the kind of series where you can jump around with the order of the books and it doesn’t affect your understanding of the story.

The incidents and things mentioned/explained in the first book might make you have a better appreciation for the next book, or make you hate the sequel instead of love it if it doesn’t follow what the first book promised. You really won’t know until you read the series in the correct order.

And that’s my two cents for today.

I want to include all the posts from the past two Fridays as well as from today just in case you missed some of those awesome posts. So here they are:

Camillea @ Camillea Reads talked about reviewing self-published books

The Pros & Cons of Book Blogging:

Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den | Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads | Dani @ Literary Lion

Kayla @ A Couple of B’s | Jane @ Blogger Books | Sophie @ Balivernes

Rian @ Dogs and Books | Abby @ Beyond the Read | Siena @ Booksophobia

Reading Seasonally Discussions (lots of book recs!):

Ashley @ Tiny Navajo Reads | Sophie @ Balivernes | Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books

Dani @ Literary Lion | Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads | Sammie @ The Bookwyrm’s Den

Kayla @ A Couple of B’s | Rian @ Dogs and Books | Kelsey @ Islander’s Caper

Eleanor @ Wishing Upon a Star

This Week’s Participants (Sequels):

Dani @ Literary Lion | Evelyn @ Evelyn Reads | Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

Dorothy @ Starlit Shelves | A Couple of B’s | Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog

Dini @ Dinipandareads | Sophie @ Balivernes

How are you all doing? What do you guys think on this? Have you ever reviewed a sequel without reading the first book? Why or why not? Did you participate in any LTBs these past two Fridays that I missed? What’s something fun you’ve done recently? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

26 thoughts on “Reviewing Sequels Without Reading the First book – Let’s Talk Bookish

  1. I completely agree with you! I kinda feel like this is more about the spin-off type series, but I really don’t understand anyone doing that either. I don’t even like reading a series if I know that it’s a spin-off of a series I haven’t read yet so it blows my mind that people do this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, I wasn’t even thinking about spin-offs, but I don’t think it’s all that bad if you read a spin-off without the original. You might not get some jokes or references, but it’s kind of like a new series in a way. I still get what you mean though and wouldn’t do it either.

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  2. I totally agree with everyone you said. I didn’t even know that people do this and again, why would you do it?! 😅 There are some cases where you can read sequels without reading the previous books because the subsequent stories are standalone (like in a lot of romance series) but I can’t imagine doing this for a fantasy series because the first book(s) always lays out the world-building and base character establishment. Really enjoyed answering this week’s question and can’t wait to join in the discussions in the coming weeks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was my reaction too 😂 Yeah exactly. In certain series, that can work, but most of the time it doesn’t. Aww, I’m so glad you enjoyed and participated! I can’t wait to catch up on reading all of everyone’s posts 💕✨

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  3. Much as everyone else, I agree with you! I don’t understand why people do this. I can understand requesting it and not knowing it was part of a series but to deliberately request it? No. Just no. I try to research every book I request just to make sure it’s not a different book in a series. It’s not fair to the author or the first book if I rate the 2nd book poorly because I don’t understand what’s happening!

    -Amber

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly, accidents are fine and understandable, but to do it intentionally? And then read it without reading the first book first?? It makes me feel a little outraged each time I think about it XD. I’m thinking maybe if you heard the first book was bad, but you’re interested so you read the next book…but even that still isn’t a good idea! Lol, true! It’s not fair to the author or other readers who may read your review.

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  4. Great post, Rukky! I have only done this when the book works as a standalone, or if I was unaware at the first that the book was part of a series. That is sometimes the case with crime novels. For a series where you need to read the first one to know exactly what has happened, I completely agree with your thoughts! ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Stephen!! Yeah, it happens. And you’re right, that happens a lot with crime and mystery novels. But the mystery is usually completely different in each book, so I do jump around with those because I don’t care much about the subplots. I have had one instance where I read the final book in a mystery series without knowing, and I loved a character that was introduced in that book, but there were no more books after that. It made me so sad lol.
      Anyway, thanks for reading! ✨

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read the second or third book in a series without reading the first one a few times because I’m a rebel haha. no actually it’s not because I’m a rebel it’s because I’m rly dumb and several times I’ve gotten a book without realizing that it’s a sequel (seriously books need to make it super clear on the inside flap or something when they’re in a series why do they make it so hidden??) and then I just start reading it and because I’m stubborn or stupid I just finish it… and then either let it go or go back and read the first book later?? (my first Holly Black book I read was the third book in a series and then I went back and read the first two and now it’s one of my all time favorite books/series so who knows why am I like this). I veeeeery rarely do this now I did it quite a bit in like middle school so there’s another case for why middle school sucks haha I shudder to think of that and all the other stupid things I did in middle school. anyways, I would probably read and rate a book that I hadn’t read the first book of but I wouldn’t write a full review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha being a rebel is totally a-okay, though I would need your secrets because I get confused too much to do that. Yeah, actually most books don’t really mention that they are the second, third, etc. book in a series? I just had this memory of a time when I picked up a book at the library and I read it, and I was confused because there were a lot of references to things that hadn’t happened, and then I searched it, and turns out it was the second book. That explained a lot, but the book itself doesn’t really state that it is not the first. Lol, yes, I regret a lot of things my naive middle school self did and I try not to think about it a lot. Even my high school self is something I don’t want to think about a lot 😂

      Thanks for commenting Kay, this made me laugh so much! And I’m so sorry I’m only just replying!! 💕

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  6. I hadn’t thought of spinoffs! I guess it’s fine to read them without knowing what’s going on in the original story, but is that not missing the point of a spinoff at the same time? It thought these were an extension of the universe for fans to enjoy even more, and I’m sure you would miss lots of references as well. Like you, I just don’t understand that people would actually do this!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great point! By not reading the main series, you are still missing key things and the angst/love that comes from loving the main series. Yeah, you would probably miss references and it can make your love for the book even less. Haha, well maybe sometimes the first book is a true slog but they’ve heard the next one was better, but yeah…I wouldn’t suggest it for sure 🙂

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  7. For some series it is definitely possible!
    But for some it is not, and than it is not fair towards the book/author! Especially if the review would be negative!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. When I first found out that some people do this, I was very shocked. 😅 Why would you read the second book, or the THIRD book, without the first one?? But one of the first ARCs I received was actually a sequel/companion book, and I didn’t know that… so I had to go and read the first one, even though my ARC was technically a companion book and I didn’t have to read the original book to understand what was going on. I could never read a book without the others first – I already get confused during some books as it is!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, when Dani suggested it as a topic, I was in complete shock. Like really? People did that?? And on purpose??? Lol, yes, especially with fantasy. There’s so much complexity and things to understand that it’d be hard to continue without knowing the basics that are explained in a lot of detail in the first book. Even when I have fantasy series where I’ve read the first book, but it’s been a while before I start the second one, I’m pretty lost trying to remember how everything works/where everything is. At least then I have some vague memory, but without reading the first book at all, it’d be a nightmare.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So glad to see you back Rukky! Life happens to all of us so it’s fine to let blogging fall through sometimes. This is just a fun hobby so other things need to take priority!

    It looks like we agree entirely on this topic. You cannot properly review a sequel without knowing what the first book was like. You miss out on critical world building and character developments. Not to mention that the plot is bound to be confusing! I definitely agree about ARCs too. When I choose sequels I always make sure I read the first book before reviewing the sequel so that I can give a fair review. It’s absolutely impossible to give a “fair” review when you haven’t bothered to read the first half of the story.

    Lovely discussion as always Rukky.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thank you so much for the mention! I did review one book before reading the previous books, but that specific book was more of a “spinoff,” and I actually really enjoyed it. That said, it’s not a thing I ever intend to do again because I feel like I’ve grown as a reviewer and “know better” now.

    Liked by 1 person

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