Thursday, October 2, 2008

Do We Expect Too Much From Sequels?

Lately, there are a lot of recent and upcoming releases that are either sequels or a 3rd or 4th installment of a series. One of the books that people are anticipating is Sister Souljah’s Midnight: A Gangster’s Love Story. This has to be one of the most anticipated sequels in a long time. Now that the book description is floating around and the cover is out, readers are already weighing in on if they will purchase this book or not. This brings me to this topic: Do we expect too much from sequels? To me, this topic is two-fold. On one hand, I like sequels if the first story was so compelling that I didn’t want it to end. On the other hand, if a book is a classic or near classic, then I feel a sequel isn’t needed because it will mess up the story. Sequels can be problematic because readers may be expecting the sequel to be just as good as or better than the 1st book. Readers may also expect the sequel to start exactly where the previous book left off.

From a reviewer’s standpoint, a sequel or other books in a particular series can be hard to properly review if the previous books have not been read. I have read some sequels without reading the 1st book because the author assured me that it can stand on its own. I’m here to tell you, that is very rarely the case. I think subsequent installments of books should not been released unless there is a huge demand from your readers to do so. Most readers also expect that next installment to be a true sequel and not a prequel or a totally different story. For example, when The Coldest Winter Ever came out years ago, a lot of people wanted Sister Souljah to make a sequel and have been patiently waiting for it. Now that Midnight is coming out in November, it doesn’t seem to be a true sequel but rather a prequel that delves into the early life of Midnight. Authors do have the creative license to continue a story as they see fit. However, I think that authors do need to take into consideration of what their fan base wants as well. After all, it is the readers that actually purchase and spread the word about your book.

-Radiah of Urban Reviews