DISCUSSION - Should books in a series have a book recap section?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Should books in a series have a 'previously in book 1' section?

So that question might not be worded quite the correct way, but in a nutshell, what I mean is books that are in a series, whether it be a duology, trilogy, or an even greater amount, can get quite confusing, especially when the release dates between each new installment can be about a year. 

Personally, I read about 150 books a year. That's quite a bit, and sometimes, the amount of time between when I'm able to read the next one can be pretty lengthy, mainly because I have a ridiculous amount of books. This was a problem for me even before I started blogging. Short of rereading the whole series of books before the new one comes out, I've found only one other alternative. The Recaptains is a book blog solely devoted to recapping what previously happened in the book before the one you're about to read. It's a great tool, and extremely thorough, but I always seem to forget about it. (See? I can't even remember to look it up conveniently located on the internet. Clearly, I have memory issues!)

Anyways, I saw someone tweet this weekend about book recaps, which really sent my mind in a tail spin. You know how on pretty much every single tv show you've seen in your entire life how they say 'previously on this season of....insert tv show here'? Well, wouldn't it be cool if they did that for books?! 


It would save me so much confusion. The majority of books I read in a series, well to be honest, I have an extremely hard time connecting to because I can't for the life of me remember what the heck happened in the last book. Minor characters are given a bigger role and I don't even remember them being in the first book. I wish I could reread the books previously published in the series, but the fact is I just don't have the time. I wish I did, but the time I do have to read is devoted to books I have yet to read or new releases, because I kind of have this thing about rereading (i.e. I'm not a fan. Occasionally I'll do it, but hardly ever!). 
At the beginning of the year, I read the final installment of the Ashes trilogy by Isla J. Bick. I had to push through the entire thing despite only knowing maybe an 1/8th of what was actually happening, which wasn't surprising because all of the books in Bick's trilogy are carefully woven together with a ton of freakin' main characters. Don't get me wrong...it's brilliant, and my brain hurts even thinking about how she managed to write it, but the point is when I finished the book, I found this clever little thing at the very end. I'm telling you, I'm pretty sure it was the last pages of the book even after the acknowledgements. It listed all the characters and what they had previously done in the other books and so on. It was awesome! What wasn't awesome was the fact that I had no idea about it until I had powered through roughly 600 pages!! If it would have been conveniently placed at the beginning, that would have been heaven.

So the point of all that mess of rambles is that I think it would be epic if each book in a series put a little previous book recap, just because I'm old and can't remember things. Of course, I could see the problem being that someone would not read the previous books and just read the recap in the new one, but if they do that then they are dumb, because they are missing out! 

Let's discuss!
Do you think it would be epic to have a book recap printed at the beginning of new books in a series? No? Why or why not? I'm really curious to see what everyone else thinks about this!

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  1. Depending on the series, I'd have to agree with you that some sort of recap could be great, but also placed in a way that could be skipped, because when you end up binge reading a series, you don't want to read through a lot of recapping when you've just finished the previous book...

    I usually don't have that big a problem remembering about previous books when reading the next installment, but the more series I juggle, the harder it gets! Recaptains is a gem for sure!

  2. Yes!! I would love if they would point out important things that happened that will be important to know for reading the next book. Thank you so much for that blog link!! I did not know of their existence, but I freaking LOVE it!!! I personally have a journal that I write out plots for each book I read... just so that if I forget I can go back and see how something ended. BUT sometimes I don't always include things... like Anna and the French Kiss, I made no mention of Josh or Isla and I'm like WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE????

  3. YES. I would love this. I constantly find myself googling book summaries and never having any luck. I love Recaptains but obviously it's not possible for them to work with every single book series out there. I don't reread books that often either, so previous book summaries and recaps would be great - even just a paragraph or page at the beginning of the book.

  4. Oh I love this idea! I honesty think books in series/trilogies should have a recap especially since it can take up to a year for the second or third and so on the come out! Plus, since it takes so long for the sequels to come out, I end up forgetting about them so it takes me even longer to read the next book. So once I do, I end up completely forgetting about what happened in the previous book. I forget the plot, who is who, and why the conflict is happening, etc. Sometimes I'll remember right away, other time it can take me up to about 200 pages to finally remember! So I do think a recap would be extremely helpful (:

    Amber @ bookish wonders

  5. Yes! I think it would be a great idea~ Just a short recap to jog our memories would be so nice! Maybe also a warning that there are spoilers in case someone who hasn't read the previous book(s) flips through it.

  6. OMG! I sooooo agree with everything you just said! There are soooo soooooooo sooooooooooooo many books out there that I haven't re-read one in years! Especially since I started blogging over 5 years ago, I've added to my tbr pile, it's not even a pile anymore! It's a TBR Mountain of Doom! LOL

    So yeah, re-reading, ain't going happen sadly! I did discover the Recaptains as well but sadly, they don't always have my series listed. And it's only YA which cuts out about half my reading pile!

    I wish there could be a mini recap in the beginning. In Rachel Caine's Weather Warden series (adult) her character (since it was 1st person pov) would always do a short recap of what went down last time around. It wasn't even a full page, but it was enough to give you the major points that happened towards the endish. That was always a joy, because it was super helpful too! I did binge read up to like book 4 or 5 though, but it was helpful from thereafter!

    I know sometimes we get little threads of recap as the character moves forward with the next book, but sometimes, it just doesn't come soon enough! I mean, I need to know what the freak is going on and why we're getting the evil eye from the dude in the corner and the hero/heroine is just sighing, like great. It's those little things...you know?!

    In my own writing...which I've been horrendously bad at the past couple of months...I was trying to weave what little recaps I could front and center...so to speak. I mean just giving the down and dirty version of what my heroine was doing last go around. Though in my head, my "series" features different heroines and whatnot. I sort of compare it to Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series, in that you could pick up any book really and just start reading. Though you're missing out on other stories, but you wouldn't be overly loss. Though if a villain returns, you'll just have to deal with not knowing the first encounter to the letter!

    That kind of thing is easy to deal with when it happens in books I read. It's no biggie! But ohhh for the life of me, I wish all books would have a small little recap. I loved Rachel Caine for doing that with her series...now why can't everyone else in the whole wide publishing world do it too?! lol :)

  7. This is an amazing idea! I have the same problem as you. Right now, I'm about to start Vampire Academy 5 and 6, and I read 1-4 back in February and March! What was the cliffhanger in book 4? I have no idea! Yes to recaps!! :D

  8. I like this idea because like you, I forget a lot of what happens in previous books. This is especially evident when sequels don't come out for a year or even more. Very good post!

  9. I like it when books use the first chapter or so to shortly summarise what happened in the previous book(s). One, because I have the memory of Dory from Finding Nemo, and two, because, like you, it sometimes takes a while for me to pick up a sequel. While I liked that Insurgent immediately dived into the book and I read Divergent pretty quickly before, I do believe a lot of people needed Veronica Roth's blog post which listed all the important things that happened in Divergent. I think it's just nice if they freshen up your memory a little.

  10. Yes! The only series that I've experienced this with is Victoria Danann's Knights of Black Swan series and I LOVE it, it is super helpful and if you don't need it you can just jump to the story.

  11. I definitely think it would be very helpful and beneficial. The Recaptains are great - if they've recapped what you need! Personally, my memory is pretty good, so I wouldn't bother reading recaps of books in a duology or trilogy, but any series with more books, it would definitely be great.

  12. YES! I would love it! Sometimes I have to reread my reviews or go back to any notes I made because it's been so long so I would love a bit of recap in the front of the books :)


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