Book Lists, Book Reviews, Young Adult

Four Sequels That Are Better Than the First Book (And Four That Are Not)

Whether it’s upped stakes, the introduction of a new character, or a plot twist, the second book can really make or break a series. Here’s four sequels that, in my opinion, turned out better than their predecessor, and four that did not live up to expectations. If you’ve got a sequel that you love or loathe, let me know!

Four Fantastic Sequels

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction

I know I’m a voice in a loud crowd with this opinion. Katniss enters this story at such an interesting emotional point, and it is in Catching Fire that the rebellion truly ignites. Plus, there’s the addition of amazing characters like Finnick Odair and Johanna Mason.

The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air #2) by Holly Black

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

The drama turns up several levels in this sequel to Holly Black’s dark faerie novel. Main character Jude exhibits crazy, evil, and snake-ish behavior and I loved her for it. This book had me hooked.

Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2) by Richelle Mead

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

The second book in the Vampire Academy actually takes away from the academy and to a ski lodge. This new environement allows for a lot more interaction between the teenage characters and the adults. It also introduces possibly my favorite character in the series: Adrian Ivashkov. Justice for Adrian. If you know, you know.

A Court of Mist & Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Fantasy, Romance

I cannot speak about why this book is so much better than the first without major spoilers. All that I can say is that it delivers.

Four Lackluster Sequels

New Moon (Twilight Saga #2) by Stephenie Meyer

Gener: Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy

Listen, I get it. Edward had to go. That was the way to move the plot forward. But Bella’s ultimate spiral into depression over the loss of her boyfriend was painful to read. This book was a lot of nothing happening, and for what reason? All of the things that made the first book fun and exciting were not present here. No romance, no happy moments with sparkly vampires. Did Bella ever learn that her life was valuable and important without Edward in it? No. I’m Team Bella and this book was tough to read.

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove #2) by Shelby Mahurin

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

This sequel was incredibly slow paced and didn’t add much development to the story outside of personal squabbles between the characters. Lou and Reid felt awkward and immature in this book. It felt like a sequel filling space before the third book.

Insurgent (Divergent #2)by Veronica Roth

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction

I’ve discussed the problems with this trilogy on my blog before. The first Divergent gives Tris an epic arc, but after the first novel she is completely unreceptive to any feedback or growth. The stagnant protagonist, combined with a weak plot, kind of kills the rest of the series for me.

Torment (Fallen #2) by Lauren Kate

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

I’ve always felt this fallen angels series really struggles in the second book. Daniel and Luce spend the first book trying to overcome the curse on their love, and then in the second book Daniel takes Luce and… completely sidelines her. This book awakened the knowledge in middle school Julia that men being “overly protective” is neither attractive nor desirable. Daniel sucked in this book and it made the romance aspect of the series fall flat in the remaining books.

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