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Read it in the Right Order!
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After reading through my goodreads.com page, I thought to do an entire blog on the idiocy of reading a trilogy out of order.  I've written two trilogies, and my theory behind the writing of them is that each novel has its own story arc, but the trilogy contains a larger arc that is integral to the enjoyment of the entire story.  Reading novel one in a trilogy and not the others is okay, I think.  You can figure out if you like the smaller arc for certain and what you have of the larger arc mostly.  Picking up with book three, you've missed out on say half of the larger story arc, and usually, the smaller arc is partially based on that larger structure.  You will likely be adrift, unless you are prescient, carefree, a genius, or a mind reader.

I think most people know this, or so I thought.  It's something I've figured out over the years:  Don't start reading The Number One Ladies Detective Agency stories on book five.  Start at one.  Don't pick up the last Harry Potter book and imagine you will know what's going on.  At least go back to book two.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest?  Give the Dragon Tattoo a go first.  Otherwise, relationships, plot points, character information, etc, and so on, is lost to you, and you will be inferring like a mad woman reader.

So I went on goodreads.com today, and lo and behold, I noticed that some bad reviews from my six romance novels (all from trilogies) started with something like "Maybe it's because I didn't read the first two books in the trilogy, but nothing made sense.  I didn't know who these blasted people were or what they were fighting the aliens for."

Okay, I thought.  Well, just read the two other novels.  Problem solved!

But in about five cases, there that same type of comment was.  "Maybe it's because I read these out of order" or "Probably if I read the book that came before it...."

I started to grind my teeth. 

Hate my books for better reasons, people!  And yes, people do hate my books for better reasons.  Maybe they don't like the setting, the characters, the plot.  Fine.  Excellent!  I admire you for having your own sense of aesthetics.

But to write "Maybe it was all explained in another book" makes me want to write back, just to say, "Heck, yeah it was!  There was that entire scene in book one where you learn who they are and what they are doing there."

Reading those comments from readers makes me want to break the cardinal rule and write back.  But don't worry.  I didn't.  I wrote to you all instead.

Jessica