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

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes I do, I feel that it should capture my attention the way the first one did in order for me to have purchased the sequel. Have me anticipate more or even which for a third one

MsMaiden said...

As a person with a voracious appetite for a good story, I always expect a lot out of a sequel. Especially when the previous book leaves it up to you to make up your own conclusions on what happens next. Sometimes the storyline is continued and sometimes, it mentions the previous story line and takes the story in a completly different direction. There are some books, like ones by Moses Mller and Mary B. Morrison that leave you so far off the cliff that you are patiently waiting for the sequel and they rarely disappoint you... Then there are others that... well... they should have stopped after the first book...

Tamika said...

Yes I do belive so, if the sequel was awesome we expect the next oen to be just as good or better and when its a little less then what we expect we mark it as a flop. So people should be careful with seuqels cause it can make or break your audience.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

I think people expect a lot from sequels, especially if they really loved the first book. It's hard to say if the expectations are any higher than if you really loved an author's first book and read something else by them in general. I think as readers, we want to recapture the same great feelings we felt when we read the previous book.

It's funny thing, because when I compare it to the cinema,we all know that the second and third movies are never as great as the first. LOL. Think Superman and Superman III. Sequels always tend to disappoint...

That said, I am so-oo looking forward to Midnight and I don't expect to be disappointed.

Gwyneth

Gwyneth

Chick Lit Gurrl said...

I'm actually not a big fan of sequels usually. However, if a writer decided early on that he/she will write a sequel, then I think the writer needs to think about things like when the books will be released. Putting out a sequel a year or so after the first book, great. A decade later, and I'm not that invested in the first book to pick up the sequel.

TheGRITS.com said...

For the reasons Shonie points out above, I'm not a die-hard sequel reader simply because too much time laps in-between the first book and the second one for he story to stay fresh and exciting in my head. Therefore, I do much better reading connecting stories than I do sequels. I find connecting stories can be read independently and if I really enjoyed the second book, I'm going to read the first one just to add to my knowledge base with the series. But again, I think it really depends on the reader and their preference.

As for expecting sequels to be good or better than their first books -- I believe this notion will vary across readers too. I have read first books that were mediocre to then absolutely LOVE the sequel because it is obvious to me that the author really found his or her rhythm with their story. Then I have read first novels that were quite good only to read the sequel and wonder if the author even re-read the first book themselves to remember where they left off - LOL! So even though I hope sequels will blow me away when I happen to read them, I've learned over time to just stay neutral with my expectations until I get around to reading them.

Monica Marie Jones said...

I was just reading another blog about "Midnight" and it sounds like people are not impressed. Sequels are a tricky situation. I personally would rather my favorite authors write what they feel moved to write. When authors write what they think we want, it ends up being a flop. I heard a VERY popular author say that they wrote each new book based on what was hot or what readers were into, but that was not his true niche and it showed in the reviews. I think authors are better off sticking to what they are intrinsically motivated to write.

I also agree that sequels should not be released a decade later and connected books are more fun to read.

Monica Marie Jones
Author
www.monicamariejones.com

Claudia Brown-Mosley said...

This was not a sequel per author

T-Black said...

The reader puts a lot of pressure on authors to come up with sequels. I have been to plenty of booksignings where the first question a customer asks me is "Is there a part 2". Your right about sequels messing up classic books I can definetly think of a couple and I bet most of the classics that weren't messed up were planned sequels like the Dutch series. The ones that didn't turn out so hot were probably intended to end after the first book.