I get a lot of cozy mysteries for review every month. And 95% of them are not the first in a series. Which actually works out fine, as I’ve noticed that in that genre you don’t need to have read any other book in the series and can start from wherever. (Which is a huge plus when I get sent book #9, or #22!)
But I also get fantasy and occasionally sci-fi books. Sometimes I request them from NetGalley because the synopsis makes me want to read it immediately. And then I find out as I’m reading it, that it isn’t a first book or standalone. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not.
I’ve found if it’s a 2nd book, then I can usually read it without many issues even if I haven’t read the first book. Once I ended up with book #4 and it turned out to be the last in the series. But I didn’t realize this until I was 30-40% of the way into the book. The author did an awesome job of explaining what was going on, so I didn’t need to have read the earlier books. (But it was SO good I now have the first three on my “to buy or borrow” list.)
Since this used to happen to me pretty frequently, I now try and check the book out on GoodReads before I request it, buy it, or borrow it from the library. But I still sometimes find out after it’s in my hands that it had other books I should have read first. (Just finished a library book and found out it’s the first in a series, but GoodReads does not list that it is a series at ALL… so I lucked out by grabbing the first one and not the 2nd one!)
I think I’ve been fairly lucky so far, in being able to pick up what was going on. But it made me wonder if anyone else read books out of order. Or if, once you realize that it had prior books, if you stop reading the book until you’ve gotten the first one(s)?
So what do you guys do? Do you read the book and then go back for the others if you liked that one? Do you try and get the previous book(s) from the library before reading/finishing the review book? Or do you just skip reading the book since it’s a series and you don’t think you’d understand what’s going on?