I started reading the second book in a high-scoring series in the Sci-fi/Fantasy genre.
In the opening two scenes, less than a thousand words, the author did a fantastic job of establishing a mystery some major characters needed to solve, and foreshadowing momentous events to come.
I was totally lost.
The names of many characters and groups were introduced but I had no context in which to place them.
It did not help that the names were all invented, but I would still have struggled if those were of the ilk, John Jones of the North Tribe.
REWIND! I just checked and the story description could not have been more explicit in its warning not to start reading at the second story. :-)
Still, I wonder, what do authors do to make it possible for later books in a series to be read as stand-alone stories?
That seems desirable, if only for the fact that some readers may have read earlier books some time ago.