Do you ever read a book and think, “There is no way I can ever review this?”

Kylie Chan has written 3 series of books that are set in Hong Kong and feature Chinese mythology and Taoist spirits.  I read and reviewed the first book but it was hard.  I didn’t review the next two.  They happen immediately after the first book and there is no way to explain what happened without in depth knowledge of the first book.

In the last week I read books 4 – 7.  It was one of the times when you read one and then immediately download the next one because you are mentally stuck in the world and want to see what happens.  I kept thinking that I was reading a lot of pages of nothing I could talk about without sounding like a complete idiot.

Let’s see:

  • Some of the characters are immortal so they keep getting killed in battle and have to be processed through Hell which is really annoying the Celestial Judge because it keeps happening.
  • Most of the Gods can change their gender which is nothing because they can also change into animals.  Yes, they discuss the sexual ramifications of that.
  • There are sentient stones that can also turn into people and they run computer networks.  They are led by The Grandmother whose Earthly form is Uluru.  She’s scary when she is mad.
  • By now even the main human character is turning into a snake at times and keeps getting IV infusions of demon essence against her will.
  • Riding on clouds is a preferred form of long distance travel.
  • There is a gay African-American man who is paralyzed who is now Immortal after fighting it for 9 years in Hell who can now turn into a lion and is dating an Immortal male turtle shen who is thousands of years old and they just adopted a toddler.  That’s just one storyline.

See, unexplainable but diverse as all get out and they entertained me to no end.

I often have this problems when reviewing series, especially ones that have a lot of books.  The Dresden Files comes to mind.  I love them and when a new one comes out I want to fangirl all over it.  But, no one is going to understand unless they are up to book 15 or whatever it is now.  Even talking about characters at this point can be major spoilers since it shows who lives.

How do you review books in long running series?


8 Replies to “Reviewing Unreviewable Books”

  1. I feel like you may have recommended this series to me before? Or maybe mentioned it before? Or maybe that wasn’t you at all. In any case I feel like this series was in my periphery and now I REALLY NEED TO FIND THIS SERIES.

    I don’t do much reviewing any more, and I know part of that is definitely because I read so many series. Usually if I’m reviewing a series I do it as one giant review of the series as a whole, or I will do discussion posts about each book (with full disclosure there’s going to be serious spoilers). Basically it’s impossible to do spoiler free reviews for series because…then what on earth can you even talk about?!

    1. I’ve reviewed the first few books so maybe you saw them then but I feel like that was before I knew you so I’m not sure.

  2. That’s true! I also have a hard time reviewing series. I usually tend to just say less and less about it as the series progresses. Thanks for stopping by the Lit Lovers Link Party!

  3. I totally agree with you that some books are hard to review. If I read a series all in a row, I usually only review the first and maybe last book. The ones in the middle all just run together for me and it’s hard to write a review about a later book without spoiling what came before. If I read a series with a nice distance between the books and they’re stand-alone enough to really get into, I’ll write a review then.

  4. I usually add a spoiler alert at the top of any of my subsequent-book-in-the-series-reviews because oftentimes, just the dang synopsis from Goodreads has spoilers. I usually review each book, unless I had nothing to say about it… but usually I always have something to say.
    ~Litha Nelle

  5. For a series with a continuing storyline like this, of course you mention to start w/ the first book. You could take those elements you mention and do a Top 5 list like, warriors, magical tools,etc. I sometimes give a re-cap, breaking it down to no more than 3 sentences and then saying what’s new. “Continues the story of Tris and Four as they struggle to bring peace to their world.” Just an idea.
    Visiting via the Discussion Challenge I thought your post was going to be about books that are so bad they’re unreviewable! That’s my problem right now.

  6. Oh, this is a fun thought exercise. I don’t know about reviewing a currently published long running series… but I think doing what you just did above, listing some of the unique/interesting things about the books so far and just generally saying “I’m loving this!” is a pretty good way of doing it. Especially if you do a full review of like the first book of first few books together.

What Do You Think?