The problem with reviewing any piece of a story without the context of the whole. It’s a rather vexing issue.

I almost want to call this an addendum to my concerns regarding book reviews. However, as it stands, it’s really part 2, since I have a few more thoughts on the matter of reviews.

First, let’s start with the obvious. Stories are generally meant to be read a whole, interpreted and analyzed as complete pieces. Reviewing each individual story segment doesn’t do any good without the context of what is to come and what came before. Serialized stories, such as comics and particular television shows, experience this problem on a regular basis.

Taken by themselves, they’re almost useless. You wouldn’t take a chapter of a book and review that chapter with the same merits as the entire story. The expectations are different. Or, at least, they should be.

Second, and probably most important: THEY DO NOT TELL A COMPLETE STORY. This is important. No, really. One of the major problems with the Star Trek Relaunch series, specifically, the Star Trek Voyager Full Circle trilogy is that the second book, Acts of Contrition, clearly cannot stand on its own. It is entirely a position of pieces and set up. That doesn’t mean I haven’t enjoyed the Full Circle trilogy. I have. I can’t wait for Atonement to come out in AUGUST, so I can review the COMPLETE story.

But, I don’t know how the story will end. It could fall flat on its face, thus weakening the entire story. Or, Atonement could elevate the trilogy and everything that came before it. There’s simply no way to know.

And that’s the crux of the problem.

It’s the reason I haven’t started reading A Song of Ice and Fire, why I don’t remember The Wheel of Time series fondly (though the WoT had plenty of other issues in its pacing). And why, as much as I love comics, they’re problematic.

Any opinions on an incomplete work are flawed. Even books can be incomplete stories.