Usually when I decide I’m going to re-read a book, a long time has passed between the last read through and the current one. As part of my project to read all of the books I own physically I have been re-reading my favourite series from when I was younger to document them on Goodreads and give them a rating as an adult.
One of the series I’ve been re-reading since I was a teen is the Pellinor series by Alison Croggon. This series follows Maerad after she is rescued from a slave compound and discovers she is an incredibly powerful mage. Maerad is suddenly thrown into the centre of a world she has never experienced before along side Cadvan, her mentor, and rapidly discovers the true extent of her powers. I remember being completely captivated by the romance in this series which was unusual for me as I typically hated romance in books at that age. I am curious to see how I find the romance when I re-read the later books in the series.
I have had a mixed set of results when re-reading older series from when I was younger. Some series have not held up to the test of time and I would no longer consider them to be childhood favourites. However, even in the short list of series I’ve re-read I have had a couple successes.
I absolutely love re-reading, but only when so much time has passed that I barely remember what happened in the book. This lets me re-experience as many of the surprises in the series as possible. I especially enjoy when I only half remember a plot point and get to be shocked with how it plays out again.
One series where I genuinely did not remember what happened at all is the Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks. I remembered the first book followed an assassin’s apprentice as he is trained up by his mentor. I remembered very little about the fist book and absolutely nothing about the sequels, and unfortunately I had a horrible experience with this series. I adored the first book in this series and gave it a full five stars. This is a dark fantasy novel with a father figure/son relationship at the heart of it and I adored the relationship between the main character and his mentor. I still think about that first book even after the sequels.
The second book brings the supporting cast to the forefront as our main character sets out on a new adventure. This book really reveals how poorly written all the female characters are in the Night Angel series. One particular Goodreads review I read summarised it up very well and mentioned that the women are reduced to three archetypes with very little nuance. By the time we get to book three the issues I had with the characterisations is almost gone and I was loving the series again. I thought I was just going to sell my copy of book two and pretend its a duology from now on. And then the ending was so bizarre and made absolutely no sense. I won’t give details, but I tried to describe the ending to my partner and he didn’t believe me.
So this re-reading experience was not the best, but at least I now have a new favourite standalone fantasy book.
I also love re-reading books to prepare for the next instalment in the series. This lets me go into the latest book fully immersed in the world and completely caught up with all the characters. I’ve done this with the Witchlands saga by Susan Dennard for the release of Bloodwitch and I am really tempted to do the same for the next release in the series. At this point I remember the stories fairly well, and I’d really be re-reading more for the enjoyment than to refresh my memory.
I also can see myself re-reading a lot of my favourite series again in the years to come. If I am reading a book and can immediately anticipate how much I will enjoy re-reading that book it becomes immediate favourite material for me.
When do you re-read a book or series? Have you had any great re-reads that reminded you of how fantastic the series or have you had any bad experiences like my experience with the Night Angel trilogy?