*Activates grandma voice* Back in my day, we didn't even have prequels. We only got however many books were in the series, and we had to rely on flashbacks and our imaginations to figure out more about the stories and the characters. It gave us something to do while we walked five miles in the snow.
Seriously though, all this extra material does seem to be rather popular nowadays. I'm sure it's been talked about before, but *I* haven't come across any discussions on it, so let's do this!
So first, the question…
Do I read prequels?
If I love the series:
Hell yes! Of course I read the prequel. And every short, novella, extra, and deleted scene in existence. I want every bit of information I can get on my beloved characters. I couldn’t stand to know there’s something out there about them that I haven’t read.
If I dislike the series and am only reading it because I’m forcing myself to for some reason:
No. I’m already forcing myself through the books as it is, why would I torture myself further with a prequel?
If I feel kinda meh about the series or am enjoying it but not LOVING it:
It depends. If I can get the prequel for free, then I might read it. In some cases I still won’t though.
But are prequels always a good thing?
The thing about prequels (and shorts/novellas/etc., but I’m just going to use the word prequel from here on out to keep it simple) is, I feel like they’ve become overdone. Not every series needs a prequel.
It seems like many of the ones I’ve read were pointless. A prequel should add to the story. If it doesn’t do that, truly do that, should it really exist?
Showing me some random event from the POV of a character who was barely a character in the novel or not in the novel at all, for example, rarely adds to the story. Those types of prequels make me feel like the author simply wanted to make more money and wasn’t concerned with actually giving the readers something of value. Showing me the events leading directly up to the start of the first book, the way two characters met, the relationships they used to have, or something traumatic that happened that shapes who the protag currently is or shapes the story, however, most definitely adds to the story. And I will gladly hand over my money to know those things.
Deleted scenes, scenes from a different character’s POV, or even unnecessary prequels that authors give away as freebies are a different thing entirely. I will never complain about anything an author gives away for free, no matter how random or seemingly unimportant to the story, because those things are just fun for loyal readers of the series.
So now I turn the questions over to you!