You know how when you start reading a book and you feel the obligation to finish it? Well, SOME of us feel this insatiable urge, even if the book is bad. It's kinda along the lines of "finish what you start" or "clean your plate."
So I just finished a book that I forced myself to finish thinking eventually this HAS to get better and it never did. It's by an author I adore, but the book was about cliche topics and went nowhere. The descriptions were gorgeous (but too long) the main character was good (but as plain as Great Value instant oatmeal) and the plot was interesting (but so convoluted I had trouble figuring out what to pay attention to and what to ignore).
After I finished the book I stared at the other two TOMES in the series and (here's the "reading first" incident) pulled up the Wikipedia entries to read the spoiler summary of both. Best decision I ever made. Saved me another week of torturous reading AND I found out what happened.
Part of me feels guilty because I didn't give the second and third books a chance. Then again, the readers on Amazon.com agreed with my assessment of the first book and didn't speak highly of the other two. My time is valuable and if I'm going to invest 3-4 days into a book, I need to 1) enjoy it and/or 2) learn something from it. I learned something from reading this one and NOT reading the other two: the bookworm secret agents didn't come take my reading license!