It’s not a new topic, I’m sure. And still. I would like to know your opinion. Some reader (fans ? acolytes ?) claim that readers new to a series have to start with the first instalment of it (Ian Rankins or Karin Slaughters series have been named). Do you have to ? Is there any real necessity ? What do you think ?

I like to read books and not series and I would think that a good writer can sum up the life of his/her protagonist in a few word, so that there is no need to read all the books you don’t care for. Therefore, far more interesting, can you give examples ? Serials where the reading of the whole series brought something new to you, like shattering your expectations build up in earlier instalments of this series - expectations regarding the plot line or the authors style.

One example: William Kent Krueger leads his protagonist, Cork O’Conner in the earlier instalments of his series through some tough personal crises, so after “Blood Hollow”, where O’Connors life settles down, one wonders whether Kruger can keep the drive up in this series. Obviously Krueger realized that and surprised the reader with a stunning final in his next book, “Mercy Falls”. You don´t have to read the series but in this case it adds to the fun.

Can you think of more examples ? Please, brain me up, please.

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It can be fun either way. I've read most of Robert B. Parker's Spenser books, in essentially random order. It was fun to read some of them and realize, "This is the book where Hawk (Vinnie, Chollo, Rita Fiore) first appears," or, "this is the problem with Susan they sometimes talk about.." I did the same thing with Robert Crais' Elvis Cole stories, and it didn't detract from my enjoyment in the least. On the other hand, I read Dennis Lehane's Kenzie/Gennaro series in order, and it was cool to watch them grow as the books progressed.

So I guess I come down firmly and squarely on both sides.

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