It’s true. Sequels get a bad rep.
We all love the first book in the series. We review it, we take pictures of it, and then when the second book comes around, everything goes downhill.
But why? What about the poor sequel over there? I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately, so I decided to write a post on why the second book is “never good enough.”
There are, truth be told, a multitude of reasons everyone has heard of Anne of Green Gables but I bet you 3/4 of the population can’t name the next couple of books after it.
First of all, it’s hard to live up to an amazing book. When an author writes a wonderful, fabulous, marvelous book, the world of readers go crazy. We blog about it, we buy it for everyone we know (well, kind of), we ship its characters, we fangirl over it.
And when we hear there’s a sequel coming, we go even crazier! We preorder and reread the first book and get so excited!!
So when the first book was a little better, there’s a giant letdown. The first book was so much better! I loved the first book! The first book was the best! The sequel just couldn’t live up its preceder, and therefore it doesn’t become as well-known.
Secondly, sometimes the introduction to the “world” is the best part of the reading experience. Often, the first book is considered better just because it’s the one where you first fall in love with the setting, characters, and storyline.
I’m sure some people feel this way about the Harry Potter series. I personally believe the rest of the books completely enhanced the reading experience (and maybe even improved it?), but I can see how the first book would be the best. You’d get to meet Harry, Ron, and Hermione, see Hogwarts for the first time….
Third: accidental, or unplanned, sequels can sometimes seem a little forced. Forced books definitely aren’t fun to read. Meaning people would enjoy the first book better.
I feel like sometimes authors tie up the story really nicely. The mean girl becomes friends with the nice girl, the good defeats bad, etc, etc. It seems like the plot can’t really thicken anymore and there won’t be any follow-up books.
And then the author writes another book.
Suddenly, things feel forced. There now has to be a problem so the story can keep moving along. But there doesn’t have to be an issue?! Can’t this town/family/universe just live happily ever after?!
We readers can be picky people. We like our books the way we like them. We like ____ to end up with ___, ___ to be win, and _____ to get turned into a rotten eggplant.
If the sequel messes with our perfect idea of what is supposed to happen, things are going to get messy. (Except since it’s just a book, “getting messy” means we’ll frown and say that we like the first book better.)
I’m really into the Harry Potter gifs today. I just love McGonagall’s head shake of disapproval. 😉
I also want to point out that this isn’t always the case. Sequels aren’t always considered second-best. In fact, I can think of quite a few series where (in my personal opinion) the books just continue to get better and better.
- Harry Potter
- Percy Jackson (both of those series. and all the other series by Rick Riordan.)
- The Land of Stories
- The Mysterious Benedict Society
- The Mother-Daughter Book Club
Slight Disclaimer: all the series listed above happen to be a few of my favorites. So obviously I’d say that I love them! 😀
Favorite books aside, I have noticed a recurring theme of sequels getting a bad rep. However, I’m definitely not saying that sequels can’t be as good as the first book, or that I always think that way!
Thanks for reading! Before you go, I just want to remind you that I am having a Q&A on September 25th! If you’d like to ask any questions, go comment them on this post. 🙂
What do you think? Have you noticed that sequels don’t seem to always get the same hype as the first book? Why do you think that is? I’d love to chat with you in the comments. See you there!