I came across a blog post that made me stop and think for a few minutes. The blogger discussed whether or not a person should read the sequels to books they’ve already read. She cited a couple of books that she thoroughly enjoyed but didn’t want to read the sequels to these books because she felt like she got everything from the first book that she needed, that the books felt complete to her without the sequels (I’m paraphrasing, but this is the gist that I got from the discussion.)
When I read books, I tend to read the sequels. It’s very rare that I don’t read the sequels to books. There have been a couple where I just never went on to finish reading. The one that jumps out in my memory is the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. For one of my college classes, we had to choose a YA theme and read books within that theme that we picked. I happened to pick science fiction and I chose Uglies because I thought the concept was interesting. I never finished it because I had to read a lot of young adult books for college and didn’t have time and second of all, I didn’t enjoy the story as much as I thought it was. It was too oversimplified for me and just didn’t grab my attention as much. If it was by any other writer, I probably would’ve enjoyed it more, but I didn’t.
To me, the main point of reading a series or a book with one or two sequels is so that you can continue on a journey with the characters you fell in love with in the beginning. If you liked the story and you liked the author’s style, then you should continue to read it. But I’ve come across books where I never should have read the sequels.
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Last year I read this book right before the movie came out. I read it in two or three days. I then proceeded to read the sequel and I was a little disappointed. It just didn’t have the same sort of tension and sense of bated breath that you got from the first book. It was rather underwhelming and deflated. There were good things that I enjoyed and if you treated it as its own book and didn’t compare it to its predecessor, then it’s an enjoyable read. However, I felt like Moyes should have left it up the reader to imagine what happened to Lou afterwards. Most of what was written didn’t need to be written, let alone 300 pages worth. It was what I could have guessed (most of it) without needing a book. But that’s just me.
The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy these books, I think they’re well done, but I don’t think it needed so many books at 900 pages every time. If you want to read these books, be aware that these are a time commitment and if you’re looking for something shorter, these won’t do it for you. I wish I never started because now I have to finish them.
These days, it’s rare to find a stand alone novel. Most books are either a trilogy or part of a series. It’s hard for authors to let books be just books without extending it into the unforeseeable future. Mainly because people can’t let things go and they’re in love with money and think that if they pump out the same characters and formulas then they’ll get more people buying them. Myself, I’d rather have one good book than three mediocre books in a trilogy that would have otherwise been a good concept.
Read them all if you enjoyed the first one, but if you don’t feel compelled to read them for whatever reason that suits you, then don’t do it. Don’t let publishers think this is what people want if you don’t really want them to do it. If they can’t make money off of sequels, then they’re not going to have authors write them.