Prologues yay or nay?

10.08.2022
Share:

Do you like prologues in books? I've seen many readers or bloggers say they skip prologues and jump straight into the action while others savor every word.

I'm on the fence about it. While I never skip the prologue for fear of missing out on something important, I don't always like it. And sometimes I love it. 

I think prologues are enjoyable and can set the tone very quickly if done well. I like prologues as long as they have a bearing on the plot.  A little insight, a little taste of what's coming, a bit of information that doesn't quite fit into the narrative but is essential. A well-written prologue accentuates the readers' knowledge of events is good. What interests me is when the author starts with events that aren't fully explained but are intriguing enough to grab my interest. I'm not too fond of prologues that are either infodumps without any real context or a setup to a prophecy that practically spoils the plot of the entire book. The prologue is something that should tease or set up, not explain the world as a whole or what will be the driving force of the plot.

I always use the 'look inside' feature before buying a book on Amazon. The prologue (if there is one) influences my purchase decision. An enticing prologue acts as a hook, and a poorly constructed one (info-dumps, boring, too little, too much) irritates me, particularly if I may have enjoyed the book. I don't recall ever being dissatisfied with a book whose prologue gave me a strong urge to turn the page.

I'm not too fond of info-dumps or history lesson prologues. I'd much rather learn those details as the story progresses. I think prologues should be more like a pre-title sequence in a movie, either a set-up or a short story. 

My second book in Chimera Trilogy had a prologue explaining the different races, their magic, and how mixed breeding conducted to the loss of magic in offspring (the info dump I was criticizing earlier). In my case, everything explained in the prologues could be intertwined with the story and explained at the right moment, which is exactly what I did and got rid of the prologue. For my book that worked perfectly. However, other books have great prologues.

As usual, I included a list of book recommendations for you. Below you can find books that fans swear have great prologues.

Book Cover A Game of Thrones / A Clash of Kings / A Storm of Swords / A Feast for Crows / A Dance with Dragons
Title: A Game of Thrones / A Clash of Kings / A Storm of Swords / A Feast for Crows / A Dance with Dragons
Author: George R. R. Martin
Released: 27.10.2015
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.70 (buy)
GoodReads:
4.58 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover The Final Empire: Mistborn Book One
Title: The Final Empire: Mistborn Book One
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Released: 30.03.2010
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.70 (buy)
GoodReads:
4.46 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover Gardens of the Moon
Title: Gardens of the Moon
Author: Steven Erikson
Released: 28.07.2009
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.40 (buy)
GoodReads:
3.90 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover The Runelords
Title: The Runelords
Author: A.K. Mulford
Released: 01.04.2007
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.40 (buy)
GoodReads:
3.77 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover The Eye of the World
Title: The Eye of the World
Author: Robert Jordan
Released: 10.08.2022
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.70 (buy)
GoodReads:
4.18 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover Running with the Demon
Title: Running with the Demon
Author: Terry Brooks
Released: 23.02.2012
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.60 (buy)
GoodReads:
3.98 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover Small Gods
Title: Small Gods
Author: Terry Pratchett
Released: 19.01.2010
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.70 (buy)
GoodReads:
4.30 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover The Curse of the Mistwraith
Title: The Curse of the Mistwraith
Author: Janny Wurts
Released: 24.06.2010
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.20 (buy)
GoodReads:
3.76 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover The Blade Itself
Title: The Blade Itself
Author: A.K. Mulford
Released: 18.06.2009
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.50 (buy)
GoodReads:
4.19 (read)
Our review: No review yet

Book Cover The Way of Kings
Title: The Way of Kings
Author: Brandon Sanderson
Released: 30.12.2010
Reviews:
Amazon:
4.80 (buy)
GoodReads:
4.64 (read)
Our review: No review yet

 

 

Share: