Confession: I Need Order!

Posted August 29, 2016 | 60 Comments

Want to know what gives me hives? Reading a series out of order. I’ve gotten a little better over the years, though. It doesn’t bother me when it’s more of a companion series that you mostly find in romance. They tend to focus on different characters in each book, so it isn’t that big of a deal.

However, I draw a hard line when it comes to a series that follows the same main character(s) and continues an overall storyline. Urban Fantasy is a genre that is big on this, and it makes me want to pull my hair out just thinking about not reading a series in order.

annoyed squid smallI’m the type of person who needs to know what transpired with the characters from the beginning. I like basing my assessments on the whole picture and understand where everyone is coming from. I hate reading something knowing I’m missing pertinent information and connections. Drives. Me. Nuts! If I’m ever abducted and my captors want to torture me, this is the way to do it.

Listen, I’m not trying to tell people how to read, but holy crap it’s like nails on a chalkboard when I see someone read the 6th or 7th book in a series without reading the previous ones. How do you live with yourself?! 😀 It really does suck though, when someone does this and then proceeds to talk negatively about it because they don’t understand what’s going on or understand the characters. I mean really? You don’t say.

Anyway, it’s just one of those things.

Okay, give it to me. Tell me whether you can do this or not. It will probably be painful to see some of you say it’s fine, but I can handle it. I have lots of wine ready.

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60 responses to “Confession: I Need Order!

  1. Lexxie
    Twitter:

    I’m with you 100%, Christy! I can’t imagine reading The Hollows, Mercy Thompson or Kate Daniels out of order. That just wouldn’t do! Especially because in all these series, there were seeds planted in the first book… and maybe they didn’t grow enough to be noticed until book 8 – but having read book one first, I knew where that thing came from, you know?
    And it’s a really bad idea to let people know how to best torture you, just sayin’ :p
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: Destined for a King – Ashlyn MacnamaraMy Profile

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Omg, Lexxie, I saw someone on GR once, who read like the 7th book in The Hollows w/o reading the other books and blamed the author for her not liking it. I seriously had to take several deep breaths.

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Yeah, I try to wait until there are at least a few of the books available already, but even better when the series is complete.

  2. Heather
    Twitter:

    There are some books that I will refuse to read until I have them all in my possession which is why I have yet to read Throne of Glass or the Lunar Chronicles but I have read JD Robb’s In Death series out of order but in my defense I read the first twenty something books and was then sent book thirtysomething and I skipped ahead but it was fine!
    Heather recently posted…REVIEW – Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay KristoffMy Profile

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Oh you’re in for a treat with the ToG series! Ahh, I need to start the In Death series – there’s SO MANY!

  3. Ha I totally agree if it is a series that isn’t just a companion series. I accidently read Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad – detective books – out of order. I didn’t realize it was a series at first. I was super annoyed. But I read the Hundred Oaks series last book and was ok with it even though I haven’t read the others.
    Grace recently posted…Review ~ Game OnMy Profile

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Ahh, see, The Hundred Oaks series is one that pains me when people read out of order. Yes, they’re more companion, but I love how they kind of build off of each other and then goes to the next generation. Plus, the earlier books are even better.

  4. I’m one of those who sometimes jumps into a series midstream. I don’t EVER give a negative review because I might not know pertinent information. The fault is my own for not starting at the beginning. I do warn readers that they really should start at the beginning though. Just give them a heads up that it will be better to do so. If I really enjoy the characters, I go back and grab the other books. You should see one of my bookcases. It’s all loaded with the many series I’ve read and has two shelves for series I need to finish. And I do work on those. It’s part of a personal challenge to do so. LOL
    Laura Thomas recently posted…Oh, how the mighty shall……The Fall Of Lord Drayson ~ Release Week GiveawayMy Profile

  5. You are right sometimes you can read romance series books out of order and be fine and I have done that several times after reading a great review. Urban Fantasy is extremely hard to do but I have to admit to doing it a few times. I don’t like it but at least I had read the first few books before either finding a later book on Net Galley or being asked by an author or someone to review a later book. Mostly it’s worked but I would never fault the author! Last time it happened I gave it 5 stars! Now that I have made you cringe, my job here is done:)

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Oh yeah, I try to make sure I read the novellas in order, but I hate when they’re numbered 0.5 but the events happen after several books. Ugh. Why make it seem like a prequel?

  6. I’m right there with ya, Christy! I’m even more particular about it with romance series than you are. I know that I *can* read some series out of order – and I have read only a very few that way – but I prefer to read them in order so I can get the “full” experience. This is especially true with UF. And it also drives me nuts for readers to read out of order and then knock a book. How can they really know the characters and understand the over-arching plot if they start at book 6?!? I’ll keep my fingers crossed that neither of us are ever abducted by out-of-order reading aliens!! 😀

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      I know, I still try to read any series in order, but sometimes I want to jump directly to a certain couple. It isn’t an easy thing to do! lol

  7. What I abhor is when a reviewer writes a critical/negative review for a book in a long standing series when they haven’t read any of the previous books and they admit that they use other people’s reviews for background information. WHY even read and review that book? You only hurt the author!!!!! GRRRRRR…

    Love your body, Larry….
    Kristin recently posted…Review: Torch by Karen EricksonMy Profile

  8. Yeah, I don’t know how someone can jump into a series in the middle when it’s one that focuses on the same main character the whole time. I will admit that I do jump around when it comes to those series that focuses on a new couple with every book but that’s usually because they can be read as stand alone and don’t tend to have an overall story arc.
    Kristin (Book Sniffers Anonymous) recently posted…Excerpt: My Wild Irish Dragon by Ashlyn Chase [Giveaway]My Profile

  9. For romance series, I don’t need to read books in order. They follow different characters with each book and most authors do a great job of filling the reader in on what they missed in the previous books so it’s not really needed.

    I completely get why you’d need to read books in order for fantasy & Urban Fantasy series because it’s a continuation of the last book.
    Rowena recently posted…Week in Books (32)My Profile

  10. Yeah, I totally agree with you. I have read a few books in a romance series out of order, but that’s because each book is a standalone with a focus on a specific couple. But if it’s the same plot and same characters, I NEED ORDER!! NetGalley is horrible about NOT letting me know that a book is part of a series. I have been approved for books before that are the second or third in a series. When that happens, I know I will not be giving feedback on that ARC, at least not unless I decide to read the others in the series. I just can’t read out of order.
    Cynthia recently posted…DISCUSSION: I’ve lost my reading mojo!My Profile

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Oh yeah, NG needs to add a button that leads directly to Goodreads like Edelwiss does. That way you can at least easily check instead of tracking it down. But they really should provide that info ON the site.

  11. Nathan

    I try not to read books out of order, but I admit to doing this a few times. Sometimes at the library I pick up a book and only realize later it is part of a longer series. I started the Chicagoland vampires series on Biting Bad (book 8) but to be fare, it was the first vampire book I ever read, and it got me hooked and I right away went for the start of the series and mean to eventually read my way to the end. Actually, knowing that things get better by Biting Bad, makes reading the other books easier, but that is kind of like cheating. However, I understand where you are coming from, and yes, it is normally best to start a series in order. I will say you just couldn’t read House of Night out of order, it would just not work at all.

  12. I am totally with you on this! I am so OCD when it comes to series (even the companion ones though not as bad). A few weeks ago I thought I had the next book in a historical mystery series I like and as I listened to it I was like…what..when did that happen…I listened to the whole thing but kept thinking it wasn’t right, then checked and yep I read book 8 before 7!!! Made much more sense when I read #7. It drove me nuts when I realized I did this. I do try to be careful, especially when getting something off of Netgalley cause they never seem to know how to put second in series on the blurb!!!! 🙂
    Stormi Johnson recently posted…Review of Wynonna Earp: HomecomingMy Profile

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Oh no! That stinks. Talk about spoilers. lol. Yeah, the publisher should really add that info on NG. It’s kind of a pain trying to track the book down on GR just to see if it’s in a series.

    • Christy
      Twitter:

      Yeah, I get a little bothered when I read say book 4 and the couples from the previous books play a big role in it. I want to understand those inside jokes and stuff.

  13. Bea

    It’s easier to read a series in order for sure but I seem to have a knack for starting a series mid-stream. It’s rarely on purpose, I just seem to find a book that appeals and then discover that I’ve missed some. That said, when possible I prefer to read in order, regardless of genre. Mysteries and fantasy do seem to work better when read in order while in romance it depends n the series.
    Bea recently posted…Blog Tour Review of Fall Into Crime, a Happy Homicides AnthologyMy Profile

  14. Yeah, I can read companion novels out of order (though I like reading even these in order when I can!) but if it’s a full-on series like the Harry Potter books, reading them in order is the best way to go. How else will I know what’s happening? If people want to read out of order and review the books, that’s fine – but they really shouldn’t then complain about not understanding characters or following the story line.

    -Lauren
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  15. I completely agree Christy. Especially when it comes to fantasy reads. I’ve found with contemporaries where each new book focuses on a new couple isn’t too bad, you can usually pick up the storyline and see which relationships were preexisting beforehand, but a fantasy series needs to be read from book one to understand the overall picture and reading and reviewing the fourth book without reading the first three is not only unfair, but readers are doing themselves a disservice by missing out. I struggle with fantasy at the best of times, I don’t know how readers can pull it off picking up a storyline halfway through. It’s a bit like reading only the second half of every book you pick up.
    Kelly recently posted…Holding Up The UniverseMy Profile

  16. Yeah if it’s a series and I’m going to read it I gotta start at #1. None of this starting in the middle crap. Because if it’s the same characters and they’re gonna grow and stuff I need to be in on the ground floor, not playing catch up. So I guess I agree. 🙂 Especially if there’s relationships- after all if it’s a series I’m gonna compulsively need to read them all anyway, and I can’t imagine coming into a relationship in the middle or something and then going BACK to the beginning. Well I can, but it would suck. 🙂
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  17. YYYYYEEEEEESSSSSS. That gif of Squidward is literally how I feel when I see people read the 6th book in a series without reading the others and then complain about it. It is YOUR fault that you don’t know what’s going on, not the author’s. It is not their job to rehash and explain every little thing that was already explained and happened in Books 1-5. That would just be annoying to the people who read the whole series like the author intended them to do. And it’s not even fair to the author when people do this! Because they’re not getting all the information, not seeing all the character development, not getting all the backstory, and even if they still somehow manage to enjoy the book, they might’ve LOVED the book had they had all that. It’s the interconnecting details that make series so amazing! I can understand reading a later book if it’s a series that focuses on different MCs in each book, but I don’t even skip in those just because you usually still miss *some* information, even if it’s not super important to the main storyline. Also I love your comment replies about drinking wine and glaring at every who is doing this, haha.
    Kristen recently posted…Book Review: A Faerie’s Curse (Creepy Hollow Book 6) by Rachel MorganMy Profile

  18. I am usually really strict about reading a series in order, but when I find something like the 12th book in a series that sounds awesome and I can’t for the life of me go back 11 books to read everything, I take the plunge AND… sometimes I get lucky and it’s a self-contained book, other times it’s a travesty! But i dfinitely hear you here!
    Verushka recently posted…#LoveOzLit: Gary Kemble reminds us that beauty is only skin deepMy Profile

  19. I’m totally one of those people that can read out of order Christy! That being said though, in a UF situation where we follow the same main characters, I’ve only ever skipped one book, so I at least have read the early books and am familiar with the world and characters, just not the specific events of the previous book. I’ve done that with Mercy Thompson. I still need to go back and read River Marked 😉 I’m with you though, if you do pick up a book mid-series, don’t write a review in which you tear apart the characters or world for being confusing, unless you went back and read all the previous books and were still confused.
    Jenny recently posted…Review: Wild EmbraceMy Profile

  20. Um… got that wine ready *faint, nervous laugh* I read out of order frequently. Sometimes on accident and sometimes on purpose. I generally do alright since I read mostly in the romance genre.

    But now, good news for you, I don’t tend to read UF, historical sagas, etc out of order. I do really try to read in order. And, biggie, here, I’ve never given a negative review for a book just b/c I couldn’t get into it or figure it out when it was out of order.

    Hopefully you didn’t get too tipsy after that confessional. 😉
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti #ReviewMy Profile

  21. I HAVE to read books in order. If I end up with a book that isn’t the first in a series I will have to buy the first book and read it.
    I’ve read companion books but I always double check with the publisher or author to make sure they can be read out of order, and even though I do take thier advice I tend to check the publication date, and read them in publication date order.
    Michelle recently posted…The Sunday Post (78)My Profile

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