Thursday, December 16, 2010

To Read the Sequel?

While participating in First Come, Second Serve month, which features reading sequels to books we've loved, I've thought of an interesting question. I'm curious what other think of it because this question has come up with in my own reading life quite a bit recently.

If you didn't like the first book in a series (but didn't outright hate it either) is it worth reading the sequel?

I have asked myself this on multiple occasions. Every time I finish a book and only rate it 3/5 stars, I always say I am still excited to read the sequel, because I am. But then I buy the sequel and check it out from the library and find so many other books that I want to read more, so I never get around to reading that sequel. I feel like I'm wasting time that could be spend reading something much for valuable and better.

The idea of First Come, Second Served was to narrow our TBR pile of sequels. I only put sequels on my list that I think I'm genuinely excited to read, but others I didn't include because I wasn't sure if I really wanted to read the sequel in the first place. It got me thinking, and this post was born.

If the first book isn't very good, can the sequel still be amazing? I really have yet to come across any like this, but please share with me. I'm so divided on this subject right now, I don't know if it's worth my time to pick up sequels I'm not expecting much from.

Recently, I have come across a few sequels that I'm not sure if I should pick up. If you love any of these books, let me know so I should read them.

Should I read any of these:

Torment by Lauren Kate
  • See my review of Fallen
  • Besides another awesome cover, I'm not sure if there's anything in this book making it better than the first, and I don't really want to take the time to go through another huge book.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

  • See my review of Shiver
  • Before you start hating me- listen!!! I know so many people who love Linger and Shiver. So that's why I'm really going to give Linger a chance. I even liked Shiver, a lot. I'm currently reading Linger, but I've been reading it for a week and a half now, and I am still on page 50. Somehow I keep finding myself reading other books and wondering if Linger is worth it...
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
  • I read Wicked Lovely a long time ago, way before I had a blog. Looking back, I probably would've rated it a 3/5.
  • I checked this out from the library probably 3 times now but have never read it before it was due. I still really want to read it, but I'm not sure if it's worth it.

Sequels I will most likely never read:

Blue Moon by Alyson Noel

  • Ehh... Evermore is not a book I would ever want to read again. Nothing original at all and I couldn't stand the characters.

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

  • See my review of Leviathan
  • I've seen a bunch of great reviews for Leviathan, but once again, it just wasn't for me, so I'm not interested in the sequel, though in this case I believe it will probably be better than the first.
I want to hear some other opinions- comment on this discussion! Have you ever read a sequel WAY better than the first book, or decided simply not to continue a series/read a sequel? We all have but I'm curious- what books in paticular?


  1. Linger was better than Shiver, which I disliked, so I recommend that! :)

  2. A sequel I will never read? The sequel to Eragon.
    Struggled to get through the first book, it was so filled with mediocre writing, six hundred billion Fantasy cliches and did I mention the tedious writing style? Yeah. I did pick up the second book... only to find the first (too many) pages were nothing but an elaborate recap of the last book.

    One I'm not sure I'll read the sequel to... Wondla. I was really disappointed in that book. I might be tempted to try, to see if it gets more interesting... but seeing as how I thought it was a stand alone book in the first place, and instead it turns out to be just a so-so first book in a series... I might not.

    As for sequels I like better than the first book? Hmmm... maybe the stuff by George R.R. Martin. I crave more of his work... but is he writing any of it? NO! GAH!

    I have to say, so far I am loving all of The Hunger Games series equally. I've heard a lot of people say "Oh, the first is the best"... but I'd have to strongly disagree. I'm on the third book now, and I care so much about these characters that the book has moved me to tears... that would never have happened with the first book alone. The second, and now the third are really building a deep, complex story about revolution.

    I also think that some of the later Harry Potter books are WAY better than the first one. The third in the series, specifically.

    The Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce also is getting better as it goes along. I enjoyed the second book, possibly more than the first.

    And one series that was amazing to start with and the second book was even better... D.M. Cornish's Monster Blood Tattoo series. It has a silly name, but is by no means silly in content. I haven't read the third one yet... mostly because I want to go back and read the first two before beginning it.

    I love this post :)

  3. Oh! Two more series I think are getting better and better is Michael Scott's The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series... and Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series (I'm including Lost Hero in this)... and I suspect if Riordan continues on his (in my opinion) winning streak, then the Read Pyramid series will only improve too.

  4. I completely agree with you about Torment and Linger, as well as Blue Moon-- I couldn't even finish Evermore. Interesting, how some series debuts make you clamber for the sequel and some leave you thinking 'meh, I might get around to it one day'. Have to disagree with Heather on Eragon, though. I know a lot of people despite the Inheritance Cycle for its fantasy cliches, but I'm actually a huge fan. (Guess I'm too much of a Lord of the Rings fan to resist books so similar.) Same goes for Behemoth-- I really want to get my hands on that one.

    Great insights into this sequel challenge, Ava. :)

  5. This is a great question. I guess it depends on the individual books, who the author is, etc. Generally, however, I won't read the sequel to a book that was only okay. Also, I've had the exact same experience with Linger. I mean, I got 2/3 of the way through and could. not. go. on. I liked Shiver fine, but I won't be reading Forever. And there are other books like Need and Evernight that I wouldn't read the sequels to. Honestly, sometimes I won't read the sequel to a book I *did* like, like "The Forest of Hands and Teeth." I thought that was great! But I haven't touched the sequel. My feeling lately has been: Are sequels even necessary? The answer, for me, is no. Like, for Harry Potter *obviously* it worked. But a lot of times, it seems like in an effort to *have* a series, authors kind of have to bloat their plots or drag the stories out to fill three books. And this, in some cases, decreases the quality of the story. I really, really think there's something to be said for standalone books. /end rant. Interesting post! Clearly got me thinking. ^_^

  6. I actually haven't read any of those books, no interest in them really...well except for shiver and linger, but I think it will be a while before I get to them. Typically, if I don't like the first book in the series, or if I just thought it was okay, I don't bother reading the second one. however, I know that I just thought City of Bones was OK but I still read the next book after that and was really glad I did. *shrugs* I guess you just never know with books! I suppose I haven't been helpful at all LOL!!

  7. This is such an awesome post! I've put up a post of my own to send people your way!

    I personally liked Linger better than Shiver (but I loved Shiver as well) so I think it is definitely worth the read. I also liked Ink Exchange better than Wicked Lovely so my answer is yes to this one too.

  8. Great post! I think the books that have sequels that are better are the ones that are really good to start with. And its not that they get better, but more like they have more depth and we continue to care about the characters. For example The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Immortal Instruments series, etc. I will not read the sequel to I really didn't like Evermore either but read Blue Moon for some reason and it was slightly better, but not really worth your time. I haven't read Shiver yet...Iv'e read some reviews of people that hated it so it kind of tainted my opinion before I even read it.

  9. I really didn't like Fallen all that much, but really enjoyed Torment, so i would give it a go.

    Ink Exchange is marginally better than Wicked Lovely, but i don't think i would read it again.

    Both of these both got fairly good reviews on my blog but wouldn't read them again. I'd say try Linger and Torment, but forget Ink Exchange.

    Haven't read Evermore yet, it's on my shelf so i can't say much about that.
    I tend to read the sequel, if i've thought the first was ok or better once i've started something i tend to go through the series, However if i disliked or worse, i won't bother.
    Think it depends on your mood and what else you have to read.

  10. Wow, thanks for the comments! I've gained a lot of new insights just by reading your guys replies.

    Melissa: Good to know you liked Linger even though you didn't like Shiver so much! Thanks for sharing.

    Heather: Sorry you didn't like Eragon much. That was a case where I didn't like the first two much but I managed to read the third one and I actually really enjoyed it. I guess that's an example of when I did stick with a series and thought it got better. Also, good point about Harry Potter... they started getting really good at the 3rd book! I'll have to check out some of the series you mentioned too. Thanks!

    Kat: Glad to find someone who couldn't finish Evermore! And it seems like a lot of people who hate Eragon- nice to know somebody likes it :) As I just said, I like it now once i got to the 3rd one especially.

    Bea: Oh, good point, some books don't need sequels. While I love The Forest Of Hands and Teeth and it's sequel, the sequel was not neccesary and I think of them as stand alone books. But Harry Potter was obviously created to be a series and it works perfectly that way.

    Straylights: City of Bones is a great example! I thought the series got better as the books went on.

    ajmitchell: Thanks for the link!!!

    Danielle: Yep, probably won't be reading Blue Moon, thanks for sharing that.

    barmybex: Yeah, I think it does depend a lot on what else you have to read! I probably won't read Ink Exchange, but I'm still gonna try Linger. Thanks for sharing your opinions!

  11. About the only series I didn't continue after reading the first book was...Twilight. I barely got through the first book by telling myself it HAD to get better (plot-wise), so there was no way I was going to pick up the second one.

    Other than that, I tend to pull out books of a series all together so there's usually no point in me not continuing. If a 1st book was just okay, I usually give it the benefit of the doubt and continue with the series in hopes of improvement.

  12. Hmmm, good question...usually if I am kind of "meh" about the first book in the series, but I think it has some potential, I'll pick up a copy of the next book at some point - but from the library. If it was so mediocre, though, that I don't even remember to look up the sequel...well, then, it's probably not worth getting it. Sometimes if I see a lot of positive reviews for the series/sequel, I may give it another shot.

    I wasn't crazy about Shiver, but I did read the whole thing. Then I got out Linger from the library a while after, and honestly I couldn't remember a whole lot that had happened in Shiver. I cracked open Linger but never gave it a really good try (I think I had some more appealing books at that point) and it didn't suck me in from the first page.

    I think I found Evermore to be okay, but nothing great. Pretty sure I skimmed Blue Moon and possibly Shadowland in the bookstore, and the series just seemed to get worse in my opinion. You aren't missing out!

    As for the Hunger Games, I actually preferred Catching Fire to the first book. Not sure I can compare Mockingjay with the other two, because it had such a different feel.

  13. Very nice post! Actually I haven't read any of the books you've got doubts about. I hated Fallen and couldn't finish Evermore so no sequels in my way, please! I liked a lot Wicked Lovely so I'm certainly going to read Ink Exchange! One book I'm really having doubts about reading it is The Clockwork Angel sequel by Cassandra Clare. I loved the Mortal Instruments series so I was expecting a lot of CA and it was juts plain, not bad but not awesome, what I can say was very disappointing... Now to read or not to read Clockwork Prince?!


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