I’ve recently been reading books in two long-running series that came out after a really long time has passed since the last installment. I’m a big advocate of authors having something at the beginning of each book in a series that reminds the reader of what happened previously. If you aren’t reading the books back to back you’ve probably read A LOT of books in the meantime and won’t remember the fine details of what happened in the last book of the series.

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher is the 16th book in the Harry Dresden series. The last book came out 6 years ago. (I would check at least once a year to make sure Jim Butcher wasn’t dead. I did not enjoy the wait between books. )

This book picked up pretty much right where the last one left off. There wasn’t much help with remembering what was going on.

I figure an author can help you remember in a few ways. They could just put a summary in the front of the book purely to jog your memory. They could work some dialogue in to remind you of what happened in the past. Nnedi Okorafor is good at that. In this case, I was lucky that Dresden Files has a big fan base so I was able to look up characters on the Wikipages to remember what was going on.

American Demon by Kim Harrison is a book that picks up the Hollows series 6 years after it supposedly ended. Only a few months have passed in book time. (I’m glad about this because I absolutely HATED the way it ended.) This book had a great way of reintroducing the series.

It started with a police dossier on everyone who had been in the series from the beginning. It served to remind you of past plot lines and characters who had died in early books who you may have forgotten. Since the main characters work a lot with/around the police it made sense to have a dossier complied of their known associates.

What is your favorite way of remembering what is going on in a series?

3 Replies to “How to Restart a Series”

  1. At one point I tweeted “Why is it that TV producers don’t expect us to remember what happened last week without ‘Previously on’ reminders, and yet book publishers expect us to remember the details of a story for a whole year or more? Can’t we have a ‘Previously in’ in our books? Pretty please?” That tweet got over 3,000 likes, so obviously lots of us have this problem!

  2. If I started the series since book blogging, I’ll have either a review or some notes I can refer back to. Before book blogging though, I’ll just have to restart the series if the author doesn’t give readers some help. 😅

What Do You Think?