Starting a Series in the Middle

In the not-so-distant past, I always started a series with the first book, and if I enjoyed that first book, I’d read the rest of the series as long as new books were published. I didn’t skip books or mess around with the order, and I pushed through books that focused on side plots that didn’t interest me at all simply to be able to say that I’d read the whole series.

All of that changed over the last couple of years, and I haven’t been able to pinpoint any reason for it. Maybe it’s because I buy fewer books and no longer have that compulsion to own all the books in a series and to display them together on my shelves. Maybe I got tired of series that felt bloated with more and more books coming out that never matched the sparkle of the first few. Maybe I realized that spending any time reading books I didn’t enjoy wasn’t time spent well.

Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh

My recent binge read of the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh was the catalyst for thinking about how I read series. I’ve had lots of people suggest the series to me, but nothing about the blurb for the first book screamed “Read me!” to me. It’s harder to interest me in an urban fantasy these days after reading so many of them back-to-back a few years ago. I’ve also learned that I’m more of a vampire and shifter fan than an angels and demons fan, so a series about an Archangel didn’t entice me. Angels do, however, create vampires in the Guild Hunter world, so that caught my eye.

The final push to start the series came from a conversation on Twitter where multiple people called Dmitri from Archangel’s Blade their book boyfriend. He sounded dark and gruff, and I’m a sucker for that. My only hesitation was that the book is the 4th in the Guild Hunter series, but I finally decided that I didn’t want to read 3 books to get to the one I thought sounded good. Instant gratification scored a win when I saw my library had the ebook on Overdrive, so I began reading immediately. I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t stop reading.

If I read and loved the 4th book, I must have been wrong about how much I’d enjoy the series, so I had to read the rest! I did read the entire series, and it turns out that I was actually right about my lack of interest in the overall series. The story of Dmitri and Honor in Archangel’s Blade is my favorite of the series so far, and the focus of most of the other books (Elena and the Archangel Raphael) doesn’t do a thing for me. I would have missed out on a really great read if I’d started the series with the first book because I would have never made it to the 4th book. After reading 2 books I really enjoyed (Archangel’s Blade and Archangel’s Storm) and 5 that were okay but not among my favorites, I’m looking forward to reading book 8 later this year only because the blurb for that one doesn’t mention Raphael and Elena. It feels a little weird to have overall good feelings about a series while having no interest in the core couple.

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