Is there anything worse than excitedly picking up the sequel to a book you loved, and finding yourself disappointed?
This happened to me recently when I read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I enjoyed it so much I immediately bought the next book on my Kindle and started reading it, which is something I hardly ever do anymore!
However, after finishing Glass Sword I felt pretty underwhelmed… The characters I’d loved so much in the first book somehow became incredibly unlikable for me in the second book, and their motivations seemed shaky and unclear. Not to mention that the plot felt aimless and meandering!
In short, I found the book incredibly disappointing, especially because my expectations were so high after Red Queen. Glass Sword wasn’t exactly the worst book I’d ever read, but after loving Red Queen so much, it just felt a bit ‘meh’.
And I absolutely hate when this happens! Going into the sequel to a book you loved, you want so much to like the next book, and you’re expecting to like the next book, so it seems so much worse than if you find yourself reading an underwhelming standalone or first book.
A few other sequels where this has happened to me include:
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.
This is probably going to be an incredibly unpopular opinion, but personally I felt that the Hunger Games books declined with each book. Personally I absolutely adored the first book, liked the second book, and then felt pretty ambivalent about the third. It’s been a few years since I read it, and it was that unmemorable to me, I couldn’t really tell you anything that happened in it. I didn’t hate it, I was just disappointed since I’d loved the first book so much!
- Allegiant by Veronica Roth.
I don’t know what it is with dystopian YA trilogies, but the Divergent series was exactly the same as The Hunger Games for me. I loved the first book, thought the second was just OK, and then felt a little let down by the third. Although, to be fair, I think a lot of people felt the same about Allegiant, what with that ending!
- The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh.
I liked The Rose and the Dagger just fine…it was OK, but after loving The Wrath and the Dawn so much, I’d kind of hoped for more than ‘OK’!
- One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake.
Again, I thought this book was perfectly fine, just not as amazing as I expected, considering how much I loved the first book in the series.
- A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas.
I love, love, love the Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, but I think we really could have done without this fill-in novella. Nothing really happened in the book that moved on the plot, even if it was kind of nice to see the characters again. I would probably have just preferred to wait for the next full length book though!
As I’ve said, I by no means hated any of these books, I just had high expectations after reading the previous books, that I didn’t feel were met. And of course, authors can’t please everyone: I know for a fact a lot of people (seemingly most people!) were perfectly happy with the final Hunger Games book. There must have just been something about it and the direction the characters and plot went that wasn’t where I’d thought it would go, and left me disappointed.
But it does pose the question, when a sequel has disappointed, as to whether or not you decide to continue with the series (if there is more books). With Glass Sword, for example, there’s two more books in the series, and maybe they’ll recapture the magic of Red Queen…or maybe I’ll end up wasting more time on books I’m not super excited about.
I sometimes think series can go a bit flat in the middle, but then pick up again at the end, but I don’t think there’s any way of recovering a series once you’ve come to really dislike the two main characters!
So it remains to be seen if I’ll carry on reading the Red Queen series, but I’d love to know if you’ve had any experiences like this! What sequels have disappointed you? Have you then gone on to read the next book in the series?