Sometimes we read each book in a series as they come out. Other times the books are all released, but we read them all spread out anyway. Other times we binge read all the books in a row.
So that means sometimes we write reviews before we’ve read the rest of the books in a series, whereas other times we write reviews after we finished them all.
What I want to know with this post is, do you write your reviews differently for each scenario? Should we be writing our reviews differently for each scenario? It’s something that I’ve been thinking about lately, so let’s discuss!
Why You Might Write Reviews Differently
You might be wondering why there would be a different way to write reviews whether you’ve finished a series or not, but I’m going to make up a little scenario here to explain.
Let’s say I read the first book in a series, and I love it. I give it 5 stars. Then I read the next in the series… but it’s not as good. I give it 3.5 stars. Then I read the last book, and it’s even worse. I give it 2 stars.
Now, if I had been reading those books and writing the reviews for them as they came out, then those would be my ratings, and the reviews would reflect them. I’d totally rave and fangirl over that first book. I mean, 5 stars! That’s an awesome book! Then when the second book came out, I’d write my 3.5 star review with significantly less fangirling. Then when the last book came out, well, you get my drift.
But if I binge read all three books, should I still give them those same ratings and reviews just as I would have? Should I give them the same ratings and reviews but also include a mention in the first one that the series goes downhill? Should I change my ratings lower and/or make my reviews more like series reviews to reflect how the whole series made me feel?
But if I’m going do that for series I’ve binge read, should I also do the same for series I read as they came out? Should I go back to previous reviews and edit them to reflect how the rest of the series turned out?
What about the other side of the argument, is it wrong to base a rating and review off an entire series or numerous books in a series when each review is really supposed to be about that single book?
Nobody panic, I’m not requesting that you actually answer all these questions, I’m just trying to make a point about how complicated this is. The real question is, is it my responsibility to tell other readers how the entire series turns out in my review of the first book? Or is just my responsibility to review each book individually?
I’m leaning more toward the second. I don’t think it’s my responsibility to essentially include a series review in my review of an individual book, even if I have already finished the series. That just gets way too complicated because then, as I mentioned, it would seem like I also need to go back and change/add to my reviews for books I read as they were being released. I trust that anyone reading my reviews is adult enough to understand that sometimes series get better or worse as they go on and my review is merely a reflection of one single book (unless otherwise stated) and to make their own decisions based on that. I know that if I am worried or curious as to how a series progresses, if it gets better/worse/more emotional/darker/etc., then I will go glance at some reviews for the later books. It’s risky doing that because there could be spoilers for previous books, but, if it’s that’s important to me and it might actually make or break my decision to read the series, then I’ll risk it. Or I’ll just dive in with the first book and cross my fingers that the rest of the series will be good, and oh well, life goes on if it’s not.
However, if anyone ever wants to mention later books in the series or talk about the series as a whole, that’s totally fine too. I have done that in some reviews. Sometimes I want people to know that I didn’t love the first book but that the series got way better just so people won’t give up without giving it a chance. Sometimes I find a series that is way more than the sum of its parts, and talking about the one single book just doesn’t do it justice. Sometimes a series is just too cohesive for me to even properly separate the books in my mind. Or sometimes I might want to warn people about later books in the series. But I don’t always feel the need to do these things for every review, and I think that’s ok too.
So basically, I feel it’s ok for everyone to write their reviews for books in series however they want, but it’s not anyone’s responsibility to review books any differently depending on the situation or in any certain way. But of course that’s just my opinion, and now I want to hear yours!