“Get two for the price of one!” At least, that’s the implied message of books that contain two or more novels in one book.
Most of the graphic novels and manga that I read have multiple episodes or chapters in one volume. I seldom have a problem with reviewing graphic novels with chapters because each chapter is so short, and I see the total book as one book.
I have trouble wrapping my head around doing this with novels. For example, I have a hard time writing reviews for any of the three volumes of the Night World series or the three-in-one omnibus of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. I feel more inclined to break it down by each individual novel. As a product, though, the two-in-one and three-in-one books are products and part of that is that they hold all of these novels in one book.
Should you comment on there being multiple novels in one physical book?
As a “bang for your buck” item, the fact that there are several novels in one volume should be noted. The condition and weight of the book could be commented on too. I like the almost two-for-one deal, but weight determines if I can carry it with me.
Beyond the physical and monetary concerns, does this add to the meaning of the books? For anthologies, the similarities between the stories or novels could be history, author, theme, region, subject, etc. Those similarities could be reviewed for their effectiveness and accuracy. From what I have read about writing scholarly reviews for anthologies, you do not and generally cannot review everything in the anthology.
In the case of a trilogy in one volume, the connecting element is the series. The review could be of the entire series, but that increases the risk of spoilers for at least the first book in the series. But this is also a concern with reviews of sequels. I have seen more reviews of entire series lately.
Should you review each novel separately or include them in one total review?
One argument I heard for reviewing it all in one review is that you are buying the total series (in some cases) in one volume, so you would want a review of the whole series.
I could go crazy with breaking down how many items I should review. An obvious concern is reviewing each book. Going further, perhaps each chapter needs to be reviewed, especially if the novel was serialized by chapter. This would get tedious and would surely give away more spoilers than the average review of a sequel.
If each novel should be reviewed separately, should each get its own review post or should each have a section of the total book review for itself? Both ideas have their merits. On some level, I feel that I would cover more bases if I tried to review them both ways: a review for each novel and a review for the physical book.
How do you tackle reviewing multiple novels in one book? Have you read any lately?