Thursday, May 6, 2021

To Recap or Not to Recap?

Posted by: Nicole Luiken

 There are many different kinds of series. Some are like episodes of a TV show, with the same cast of characters and a  different plot with perhaps some overarching plots. Some are like chains, switching romantic leads every book. Some are like one massive story divided for the convenience of the reader (and the physical limit of paperbound books).

I have some of the massive-story fantasy books on my TBR pile right now. Some of them have been waiting for a while--not because I'm not interested in the story, I am--but because it's been months or years since I read the last book in the series and I'm daunted by how much I don't remember. The main characters, sure, often a few plot events. And many authors are good at dropping in little reminders in the early pages of later books. But the details? (And sometimes those can be vital.) The names of the minor characters and their relationships to each other? Not so much.

My husband has suggested taking notes while reading book one, but that seems like a lot of work, plus I'd need a  filing system, so I don't know how practical that is. Plus, it doesn't help with the books in my stack now.

I've noticed a lovely trend with massive fantasy tomes such as Brent Week's Lightbringer series: the recap. At the front of the book there's a section titled What Has Gone Before, that summarizes previous books in the series. I LOVE THIS. Can we normalize this, please? Authors often have synopses already written, just lying about... Or the recap could be on the author's website. 

What do you think? Would you read/like a recap for a series, or not? Or just the huge fantasy tomes?

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