In my many years as a reader I’ve read some disappointing sequels. I never really felt the love for Rose in Bloom, the sequel to Louisa May Alcott’s Eight Cousins. Something about the book never really captured me the way the initial story of Rose and her adventuresome cousins did. To be honest, I didn’t love Jo’s Boys either. In fairness, the books might have suffered from Fabulous First Book Syndrome, a condition where the original novel is so spectacular that no book can possibly follow it.
This might also explain my lack of adoration for Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. While I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books (to a near manic extent) something about the final novel never clicked. I loved the pairing – I was always Team Peeta – but the rest of the story didn’t quite satisfy. I admired some of what she did with the tale – especially the death of a key character that brought us full circle from book one – but I did not feel the love. The same is true of Cress and Fairestby Marissa Meyer. Cinder was brilliant, Scarlet good but these two? If the series wasn’t so close to a conclusion I would probably give it up.
The Inkworld series by Cornelia Funke was another that went from brilliant to pfft. The first novel, Inkheart, is a magical, lyrical tale about books coming to life and the magic and mayhem that that leads to. It’s an incredible story and not to be missed. The sequels Inkspell and Inkdeath had none of the charm so prevalent in the original book and the magic was lost.
These were disappointing but some books get a sequel so awful it never should have been written. Such is the case with Sliver of Truth by Lisa Unger. In the first novel, Beautiful Lies we learn that Ridley Jones has a lovely life. Or had a lovely life. When an act of heroism has Ridley’s picture splashed all over the news she learns the truth. That wonderful family and fairy tale upbringing? They are all part and parcel of a series of beautiful lies covering a horrific truth. I loved Beautiful Lies and eagerly grabbed up Sliver of Truth only to find that the author twists everything to create the sequel. It was a redundant, nonsensical tale that just about destroyed the joy I took in the first book.
I hadn’t expected to like Andrew Fukuda’s The Hunt, a violent YA thriller about murderous vampires but I did. I became thoroughly engrossed in this story of a group of humans in a world where they were food, considered the rarest and most delicious form of delicacy. Both The Hunt and its sequel The Prey set us up for a big payoff in book three. But that book, The Trap? The payoff never came and what we learned and how it ended made me want to smack it against a wall. (I had it on e-reader, there was no way my Kindle was paying the price for this travesty so it never got the beating it so richly deserved.)
In romance my most disappointing sequel was one I shared with many others fans. Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann, part of her Troubleshooters series, was the sequel to Into the Fire. In these two novels Brockmann broke up couples she had been setting up for several books in the series to give us whole new pairings. It was a nightmare for many, who had voted in polls and participated in discussions which strongly indicated that the original duos would be the ones we would see finalized in print. Some readers, myself included, took her off their buy lists. Others were so angry they sold all the novels they had originally loved as well. I can’t remember another book that caused such universal ire in the romance community.
So now it’s your turn. What book(s) was the most disappointing sequel for you?