Thoughts #62: An ARC Related Conundrum


Recently, I received an unsolicited review copy from a publisher, that was the third book in a science fiction series. Whilst I have read the first book, I haven’t read the second.

This has happened a couple of times – I’ve been sent books that are halfway through a series, or I receive the first and then a later installment. And this got me thinking: what do my fellow reviewers do when they receive a book that’s part of a series, and they haven’t yet read the previous installments?

I’m a bit torn about this. Firstly, it was an unsolicited review copy, not one I’d asked for, so I don’t feel there’s as much pressure to review it. But I also really love this particular publisher, and appreciate the crazy amount of books they’ve sent me over the past (almost) five years. I suppose I would have a few options here:

  • do not read the book
  • offer the book to a fellow blogger who has read books one and two, so that they can provide the publicity I cannot
  • buy or borrow the second book in the series as soon as possible, so that I can catch up before reading the third
  • just read the third as it is and review it, but then chances are I won’t enjoy it as much as I’ll have missed out a whole chunk of the story
  • read the third book after reading a detailed plot synopsis of the second book – but I don’t like the idea of this because what if I have a chance to read the second book later on? And it kind of feels like cheating
  • keep the book, read the second if I can get round to it but do not rush or prioritise it, as it was an unsolicited review copy

To be honest, the last option feels like the best one for me. I’m already quite behind on reviewing books I requested (story of my life), so this doesn’t feel like a big priority. It still leaves me feeling a bit guilty though!

Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do, or what would you do in my shoes?


12 thoughts on “Thoughts #62: An ARC Related Conundrum”

  1. I think it would depend how much you liked book one – if you loved it I would read book 2 first. If not so much, and you’re feeling behind on other reviews, I’d respectfully decline. I never like to read a series book out of order and I wouldn’t think the publisher would want you to.

    1. No I really don’t like the idea of reading it out of order to be honest.

      Book one was okay – I gave it three stars. Fun, but not amazing.

  2. This has happened to me many times! I always show and talk about the book in one of my book haul posts and usually say something like “let me know if you’re reading this series, I’ll pass this along to you,” but I’ve never had anyone take me up on it. I’ve also written to the publisher and said “thanks for sending ______ but I’m not caught up on the series”, just so they know not to expect a review soon.

  3. I’m not so lucky as to be on physical ARC mailing lists, but I won’t read a mid-series ARC if it’s not a series I’m up to date on. I like the idea of sending it on to another blogger, but as you have read book 1 why not hang on to it until you’re ready (or even drop the publisher a note – they might be able/willing to share an eARC of book 2?) – there are no deadlines on an unsolicited ARC (the way I see it).

  4. If it’s unsolicited then I’d probably keep the sequel and read the in between books at some point. There’s no harm in that, right? I sometimes get sequels to books that I haven’t read, and when that happens I’ll either pass the book on to a friend or a charity shop, or keep hold of it if I’m interested in the series. Which means I have quite a few sequels to books that I will hopefully (lol) get around to eventually.

    1. Yeah, I did do that for a while but I ended up with quite a lot of books I thought I would never read! I’ll keep an eye out for book 2 though – I can probably find it in the library system somewhere 🙂

  5. I think that your final option is the best. Drop them an email thanking them for the book, and explain that you want to read the second prior to the one that they have kindly sent you; you’re just not sure when you’ll get to it at the moment

  6. If you do plan on reading the second one eventually, I’d go with the third option too. Since you didn’t request the book, I’m sure the publishers will understand why you can’t review it quickly.

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