Resurrecting Reviews Revisited!

[This is a transcript of a resurrected series of solo podcast episodes I’m starting, as part of the Will You Still Love It Tomorrow podcast I co-host monthly with my husband, Dave – if you prefer, you can listen to it instead.]

Hello, and welcome to Will You Still Love It Tomorrow. I’m Annie.

In each monthly main episode, my husband Dave and I take it in turns to pick a film, book or TV show we were a fan of before we were married, and that the other one doesn’t really know. Then, we both watch or read it and come together to discuss our reactions. There are usually lots of spoilers.

But, as you might have noticed, Dave isn’t here today, and our next scheduled episode isn’t due to be released for two weeks.

When we started this podcast, back in 2019, I used to do mini episodes on my own, where I would pick something I’d reviewed sometime since 2005 (when I started posting all my reviews online), reread or rewatch it, and then compare my reaction to my original review.

I’ve decided to resurrect these interim episodes – at least for the time being – with a focus on books or films I either don’t remember having read or seen before, or that I remember having a strong reaction to. I may also do some episodes in a different format, discussing other book-related stuff.

The reason for this resurrection is because, in the year of Our Lord 2024, I have discovered BookTube and fallen down the rabbit hole of watching other people discuss books in online videos. Yes, it’s official – I have re-invented the secret of fire and everyone will worship me forever more!

Anyway, this obsessive BookTube viewing has inspired me to dig a little deeper in my media reviews – and, rather than starting a YouTube channel of my own – because, just no – it occurred to me that I could create similar content as part of the Will You Still Love It Tomorrow podcast.

I had the amazing idea of looking at my reviews catalogue, picking some books and films I’d read or watched a long time ago and couldn’t really remember, then revisiting them and comparing my reactions. And that was when I discovered I’d already had that idea five years ago and produced thirteen solo episodes with that exact format.

What can I say? Great minds think alike? Even if it’s actually the same mind, five years apart?

I’ve been really enjoying trawling through my spreadsheet of everything I’ve reviewed in the last TWENTY years and picking out a ton of exciting stuff I’m really looking forward to revisiting. It’s amazing how often I’ve come across a well-known book or film I would have sworn I’ve never read or watched and seeing it immortalised in a spreadsheet cell…

But I’ve also noted down some ideas for other types of content, based on the videos made by my favourite BookTubers – so, if doing a deep dive review of something every month gets too much (like it did after a year last time), I might intercut the Reviews Revisited episodes with snippets of other stuff.

One of which is looking at the number of book series I’m officially in the middle of and figuring out what to do about it. This is something my two favourite BookTubers, thebookleo and emmie, both did some time ago and I thought it looked like a lot of fun.

It has, though, led me to wonder why on earth I’ve decided to start rereading books I’ve already read, perhaps once per month, since that means less time working on getting through my To Be Read pile…

Okay, so let’s get to some numbers…

Before diving into my records and lists and whatnot, I thought I was pretty much on top of all the series I want to carry on reading. I listen to a lot of series on audio and I add the next one to my library whenever I finish the previous one, so it’s easy to keep track of where I’m up to and what books I most want to listen to next.

I went through all my reviews of the last 20 years and counted 108 series that I’d DNF’d in that time, which was quite a surprise! Can you imagine how many books would be on my TBR list if I’d wanted to carry on with all of those?

I then made a spreadsheet of all the series I’m currently partway through and that I want to continue – and it’s 33… I’ve only read a book in 13 of them in the last year… And there are six where I last read an instalment more than five years ago (for Malazan Book of the Fallen, it’s nearly seven years)… Overall, it’s a lot more than I thought it would be! I only listen to about 25-30 audiobooks per year, so that’s over a year’s worth of books right there, or about six months of reading physical books.

And it doesn’t stop there!

There are currently 47 books on my actual TBR shelf, of which five are continuations of series I’m in the middle of – and three are first books in new series I haven’t started yet.

On my wish list of physical books I want to read one day, there are 72 books, of which five are continuations of series I’m in the middle of – and 11 are first books in new series I haven’t started yet.

My wish list of audiobooks has 31 books on it, of which 13 are continuations of series I’m in the middle of – and six are first books in new series I haven’t started yet.

So, that’s 150 books in total, which is less than two years of reading if I don’t add any more (because of course that’s going to happen… In fact, I added one between writing this script yesterday and recording it today – sigh!). But it’s also 20 additional series of books that I want to start at some point in the future… Perhaps I ought to be encouraged by the fact that I apparently DNF more than 75% of series I start…

But so many books, so little time… It’s enough to spark some kind of existential crisis about what I’m doing with my life!

Before I disappear into a black hole of despair in which I never pick up another book again, let’s look at the reviews for some of the series I decided not to carry on with, because some of them are quite interesting.

I discovered the Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K Hamilton in 2006, and fell hard. According to my reviews record, I read the first six books in the space of a month. I don’t have any reviews for the rest of the series I read, for some reason, which is alarming because it means my list is incomplete – how many other books and series am I missing? I remember somewhere around number ten being my favourite, since I centred around a peripheral character rather than Anita herself, which made a refreshing change. Not long after that, though, I started keeping track of the ratio between actual plot and gratuitous sex – and when the sex tipped over into well past 50%, I decided to call it a day. However, I will always be grateful to Anita Blake for introducing me to one of my all-time favourite authors – Sharon Shinn – whose books Anita reads on planes to distract her from her fear of flying.

A DNF’d series that might prove controversial is The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin, especially since it’s one of Dave’s favourites. I gave it a try in 2009 and here’s what I said:

I didn’t really get on very well with this.  I thought it was a bit slow and the prose was a bit dreary.  It picked up a bit towards the end, but not enough to make me want to read the rest of the trilogy.  The main character wasn’t remotely appealing, and the story thus seemed a little pointless, as I didn’t much care about what happened to him.”

So, short and not so sweet. I’ve heard similar things from other people I’ve talked to about this series, so I’m not alone, though I know it’s massively beloved by a lot of others.

Next on the list is the Safehold series, by David Weber… This one is a bit like Anita Blake – great start, with me getting through the first three (pretty chunky books) in three months in early 2010. I did read three more, eventually giving up after number six at the end of 2012. My review of that one reads as follows:

“This was a particularly sad experience – sixth book in a series that I started out absolutely loving, but that I gave up on after about 150 pages.  To begin with, the series was about 75% awesome plot and characters and 25% rigging and weaponry.  Annoyingly, in this latest instalment, the ratio seems to have flipped.  I found it increasingly difficult to wade through all the discussions of gun design and eventually decided that skipping pages and pages in an attempt to find the interesting bits wasn’t worth it.  A real shame.”

So, in fact, very similar to Anita Blake, but with endless descriptions of weapons instead of all the sex.

I thought the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey was another disappointing one, because I remembered having real issues with the audiobook narrator and that being the reason I gave up reading them. But apparently, my recollections are quite wrong! Mike Carey is the author of one of my all-time favourite pieces of media in any format – namely the Lucifer comics – so I was excited to find he’d also written a series of novels about a professional exorcist in a world where ghosts are just generally wandering about all over the place. According to my records, I read the first three in physical form in three consecutive months at the tail end of 2010 and, while I had some issues with the structure and exposition, I really enjoyed the characters and overall storylines, with each book proving more enjoyable than the last. It took me six months to get round to reading number four, but it was still really good. I read the fifth book in July 2011 and apparently thought it would be a good place to end the series – which I thought it had.

In 2016, I decided to revisit the series and listen to the audiobooks, and this is my review of the first one:

“I nearly didn’t manage to listen to it all the way through – because the narrator’s accent was *awful*.

Wikipedia says:

“Michael Kramer is an award winning American audiobook narrator of over 100 titles.”

The key here is that he is American – and Castor is very much British.  The book is set in London, and nearly all of the other characters are also British.  Unfortunately, Mr Kramer had evidently been told that, to sound British, one must make use of only long vowel sounds.

So, in the audiobook, things were made of “plar-stick”, people got into the “par-ssenger seat” of a car, and at one point I think Castor (or should I say “Car-store”) was “slar-shed” with a knife.

It made me wince every time, and threw me right out of the story, which is a shame, because the story was actually quite good.

I won’t be continuing to listen to that series, or any others narrated by Mr Kramer – though I suspect any American books he narrates would be fine.”

So, having only remembered the audiobook experience, I listed this as a series I DNF’d, when in fact I read physical copies of all the books that had been published up until 2010.

BUT – on looking at GoodReads while writing this script – I discovered there’s a sixth book that was published in 2023 – FOURTEEN YEARS after the last instalment! As far as I’m concerned, that’s just RUDE – since I can’t remember anything that happened and I’m certainly not going to reread five whole books, just so I can understand the last one… So it turns out it’s a DNF’d series after all.

When I embarked on this mini-project, I had no idea what a rollercoaster it would turn out to be!

Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge is another one where my memory is worryingly faulty. I was given the first book as a Christmas present by my brother in 2017, and read it in January 2018 – so not all that long ago, in the grand scheme of things. The next Frances Hardinge book I read was Gullstruck Island in October 2022, which I know I absolutely loved. But, somehow, by that time, I was under the impression I didn’t really like Fly By Night, so I never read the sequel – and wouldn’t be able to pick it up now because I can’t remember what happened in the first one (a perennial problem, it seems). However, looking back at my review from 2018, it says:

“One of my Christmas presents was Fly By Night by Francis Hardinge, who seems to be winning a lot of awards for her novels. This is the first in a series about Mosca Mye, a little girl who gets embroiled in national politics and social unrest, accompanied by her faithful goose, Saracen. It opens with two pages of background notes to the world, and then a prologue that contains a potted history of the realm. This is a bold move, putting so much exposition at the very start, but the narrative itself is so well-written and the world so fun and interesting that it mostly works. Things really pick up once we get to Mosca in the present day of the story, fleeing her village with Saracen, after setting her uncle’s mill on fire. What I loved most about this book was the language – really masterful description that serves more purposes than just explaining what things look like so doesn’t slow down the narrative, inventive and distinctive imagery that adds tremendous colour, and a wonderful way with words, which fits with a protagonist who loves books and whose greatest desire is to expand her vocabularly. The plot flounders a bit in the middle, while Mosca wanders around a very adult world, not really understanding what is going on literarlly over her head, and not really having any agency. But it picks up dramatically towards the end when she decides to take action anyway, and also takes responsibility for the consequences of her previous choices. There’s a bit too much explanatory monologuing at the very end, but there are also several satisfying twists, and overall it’s tremendous fun. At one point, Mosca says, “I don’t want a happy ending. I want more story.” Me too! And I shall look forward to reading more of this series.”

Major missed opportunity there, it seems! Oh well…

I was introduced to the Slow Horses series when the first one was selected by my dad for our family book club. This is what my review from August 2018 says:

“The current Family Book Club book is Slow Horses by Mick Herron, which introduces a set of MI:5 operatives who have all been relegated to an undesirable posting as punishment for various mistakes they’ve made. I listened to the audiobook, rather than reading a text version, which is the first time I’ve done that for book club.

I started out ripping it to pieces, thinking about the things that made no sense, criticising the laboured and pedestrian writing, and jumping on the token woman being described as ‘forgettable’. But every time I thought of something wrong with it, the next few pages subverted my expectations. There were explanations, good descriptions, and several much more complex female characters to come.

I realised after a while I was quite enjoying it. I mean, the main reason I couldn’t criticise the female characters for being stereotypes was because pretty much all the characters were stereotypes, and some of them gained some distinction as the book went on. None of them were likeable (in fact, the only character I even remotely liked disappeared halfway through, never to return), but I did find myself entertained by their antics. Plus, the author caught my notice a few times with some elegant or amusing turns of phrase.

It certainly wasn’t high literature and it started to drag a bit towards the end, but it mostly fit together quite cleverly in the end and it kept me reading overall. I won’t be continuing with the rest of the series, but this was a reasonably enjoyable experience.”

This was another surprise when I looked it up yesterday, since, again, I was under the impression I really hadn’t liked it… So much so, that I massively resisted giving the TV adaptation a try when it came out in 2022, even though lots of people told me how good it was. I’m really glad I eventually gave in, since I’ve largely loved all three seasons to date, even though some of it is a bit too violent for my tastes.

The last series I want to talk about is Empire in Black and Gold by Adrain Tchaikovsky. It was the first of his books I tried, way back in 2013, and this is what I said at the time:

“I read six books in two weeks in the first half of January (admittedly they were all quite short, but that’s still pretty good going) – so, when it then took me an entire week to read 100 pages of this, I decided to give it up as lost.  It wasn’t bad, per se, just not engaging enough to make me want to spend a lot of time reading it.  Standard fantasy rite of passage story, with a disparate group of youngsters going on an important mission together.”

So, I’m really surprised that I picked up any more of Tchaikovsky’s books, though I’m really glad I did, because I’ve read six of his other books and loved all of them, as far as I remember (though apparently I really can’t trust my memory of these things). Several of the new series on my TBR are others of his.

I became such a fan that I tried Empire of Black and Gold again in 2019, and this time, my review reads:

“Continuing with my Adrian Tchaikovsky obsession, I recently read Empire in Black and Gold, the first in the epic fantasy Shadows of the Apt series, of which there are currently ten novels completed.

Unfortunately, though the writing is good, the world is interesting and the characters are appealing, it didn’t grab me enough to want to carry on with the series. Basically, there was just too much fighting and not enough of everything else. I was also confused by how the different types of humans are affiliated with different types of insects, as the rules by which their various abilities manifest aren’t explained very clearly. It also falls into the “every person within one racial type is the same” trope (ants fight, mantids bear grudges, beetles are stolid, spiders are sneaky, etc), even if the protagonists themselves do have a certain amount of nuance within that.

I did like the group of students thrown into a world of spying and intrigue well beyond their depth. And I also liked the way the bad guy developed into a more three-dimensional character as the novel went on.

But I found myself skimming the battles more and more and, in the end, it didn’t feel as if there had been enough plot to fill a 600 page book. Having read other, similarly martial series before, I suspect the balance of fighting vs character/plot will likely swing even further towards the fighting as things progress, so I’ll be leaving it here.

Lots more stand-alone Tchaikovsky to try, though!”

So, I did at least finish it on the second try, but still DNF’d the series again.

And that’s it for this episode of Reviews Revisited. It’s been really interesting looking back at my reviews, though a little troubling that my perceived impressions of certain books I read just aren’t accurate. At least it should make it more interesting as I revisit other things and analyse them in more detail in the coming months before comparing my 2024 views with what I thought the first time around – and whether or not that’s as I remember it!


Many thanks to Cambo for our theme music. And thank you so much for listening. If you like the show, please rate and review it wherever you get your podcasts.


And if you have any comments, or if you want to tell me about a time you revisited some media, and whether or not you still loved it afterwards, you can email me at I’d love to hear from you.


I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If so, I’ll see you in the next instalment, where I’m going to revisit The Secret History by Donna Tartt, which I first read in 2010. If not, well, you can always just skip these episodes – and, never fear, the regular ones will still be appearing monthly, with the next one being Black Sails, in two weeks.

Bye for now!


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