I’ve just started reading Laini Taylor‘s sequel to Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Days of Blood and Starlight. Daughter of Smoke and Bone was glorious, an unusual fantasy featuring chimerae and seraphim, with a resurrectionist who brings the dead to life using teeth. I’d been looking forward to the sequel, but I’m not enjoying it as much as I’d hoped.
Part of the problem is that sequels these days are almost always the middle book of a trilogy. And middle books suffer – they don’t have the impact of the beginning, nor do they have the satisfaction of the ending. The main problem for me, though, is that I find myself a little lost. Usually it’s been months – if not a year or more – since the first book. No matter how fresh, how new, how exciting, it is nigh impossible for me to remember the details that are necessary for the second book.
Before you castigate me for my poor memory, please know that despite my nearly insatiable appetite for books, I *do* remember what I read. (And my goodreads list and reviews are a big help.) But more and more – especially when reading YA – I find that I’m not enjoying the second books of these trilogies. Often, I’m not even adding the third book to my to-read list.
Perhaps I should wait till all of the books come out, and then devour them in a single sitting? A feast of reading… (Happy Thanksgiving, by the way.) Or at least re-read the first book before starting the second?
This hasn’t always been an issue. I distinctly remember waiting YEARS between each volume of Harry Potter and not having any problem remembering who was who, why Voldemort hated Harry, et cetera, et cetera. Same goes for Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Or any of the middle grade trilogies or series, really: Wrede & Stevermer’s Sorcery and Cecelia books, Riordan’s Percy Jackson books, Shulman, DuPrau – the list goes on. Even, I must admit, Meyer’s Twilight trilogy. (Not to mention the endless grownup mystery series I devour like potato chips…)
But Taylor’s books aren’t the first to make me doubt my memory. Recently, I read Stiefvater’s The Dream Thieves, sequel to The Raven Boys. I remember enjoying the first greatly (though not as much her Scorpio Races, it must be said), but I slogged through the sequel.
First book, WOW! Second book – okay.
Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm. Lyga‘s Jasper Dent books. Cashore’s Graceling trilogy. Carson’s Fire and Thorns.Even Roth’s Divergent books. (Don’t flame me, but I’ve no desire to pick up the third.) I’m sure I could come up with more if I skimmed my list.
What is up with YA? I’m pretty sure when I go to read Gleason’s next Stoker & Holmes book, I won’t have any trouble sinking right in. Do middle grade authors make it easier on their readers with details that recap the action? Are the YA fantasy worlds just more complex? Or is it the sophomore slump?
I don’t know. But I suspect I’m going to have to do a lot more re-reading if I want to enjoy these trilogies.