Thursday, June 5, 2014

Discussion: Re-reading Books in a Series

As you may or may not know, I've been spending much of my reading time in the past two or three weeks re-reading The Mortal Instruments series before diving into the final book, City of Heavenly Fire. Obviously I've fallen a bit behind where I initially wanted to be, having planned to finish the first five books BEFORE the release and having actually just finished the third book, City of Glass.

I talked a bit about re-reading books I've already read with my mother, who thinks that once you've read it you can just move on to more books. While I agree with her in the sense that I could be reading new books, like the ones I got at BEA, I feel like re-reading the previous books in the series is helping me get into a better mindset for the final book. On the other hand, I have also had some bad experiences with re-reading.

One of the best re-read experiences I've ever had was with The Infernal Devices trilogy. While it had only been about a year (maybe less) since I first read Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince, I dove right back into them and loved every second of it. I felt so many feels - even feels about insignificant characters! Super minor character deaths gave me extreme feels! I never regretted, for one second, re-reading these books because it allowed me to see some of the clues and hints I didn't catch through the first read and made Clockwork Princess that much more enjoyable.

One less favorable re-read was Delirium and Pandemonium before the release of Requiem. I was actually really excited to read Requiem - when I read Delirium and Pandemonium, I really loved them and I was beyond excited to read Requiem (I mean, the ending to Pandemonium, RIGHT?!). However, while I was re-reading the first two books, I started getting bored of the series and kind of itchy to get to Requiem. Perhaps it was that I loved the series when I first read it but my tastes had grown to like it less, or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a re-read. Either way, I felt like re-reading the series almost had a negative affect on how much I enjoyed the third book. (Although the third book could have also been the reason...)

Divergent is one series I wish I had done a re-read for before the release of Allegiant. I feel like the mindset I had going into Allegiant was all wrong - I had a feeling about what was going to happen at the end, although I didn't actually know, and I kind of just wanted to rip off the metaphorical band-aid  and get it over with. The result was feeling extremely detached from the characters. In hindsight, I wish I had taken the time to re-read Divergent and Insurgent. Allegiant was a book I was so excited for - I watched the title and cover reveals live - and I ended up pretty much hating it. I'm actually kind of still hung up about it, which may say something about the book and may not.

I'm really not sure what's best: re-reading the previous books in a series right before the next one comes out or just diving straight in. Yes, a lot of books have recaps and reminders of what happened, but it's not the same as being fully immersed in the story. I think I'm going to stick to re-reading only before the last book and not before other books in the series.

What's your opinion on re-reading books in a series?
Let us know in the comments!

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