Friday, June 3, 2011

What? What? That's Not the End?


So many times I've gotten to the end of a book and realized there's another one coming and I'm left with an agonizing wait. Other times, I've read books that have a satisfying ending and found out months later (or weeks, depending on how slow I am on the uptake) that there is a second book. I'm left thinking, did I have any questions at the end of the first one? Should I read the second if I was pleased with how the first one ended?

The same sort of goes for movies. In light of movies like The Hangover II, I'm left wondering, did I have questions about what happened to everyone at the end of the first movie? Am I moved or interested enough to care what happens to them in the next? Currently, I'm still undecided and will probably wait for video. (Video!?! Am I dating myself here?)

But back to books. I recently read an excellent adult fiction book by the fabulous debut author, Deborah Harkness called A Discovery of Witches. Okay, she's not debut as in she's never published a book before, but her other books were non-fiction history books so I think she sort of counts as debut fiction author. Anyway, as I got to the third act and realized that for as much as she put in play in the previous two acts, there was no way she was summing everything up in such a paltry amount of remaining pages. Sure enough it's a trilogy. And I'm left waiting and wondering. Did I say waiting?

On the other hand, one of my all time favorite authors, Katherine Neville wrote one of my all time favorite books, The Eight. And to be honest, when I read it, I didn't have any questions at the end. I was satisfied. But a decade later, The Fire, a sequel featuring the daughter of a MC from The Eight was released. I was excited to read it, because well, it was the first book Ms. Neville put out in a long time. It could have been a book about the life of gnats and I would have read it.

As a reader, if I know it's a trilogy I often think more seriously about my purchase because it's not just the investment of that one book, it's the commitment that I will likely buy the next two or three or four.

So what's your take on sequels or trilogies? Does there need to be a cliffhanger at the end to get you to the next book? If you liked the characters and author enough would you read a second or third book even if you were satisfied at the end of the first?


  1. Min,
    Great post! I'm apt to want to get the books right away (even if I know I have to wait for the sequels). Sometimes it makes me happy, knowing that a character(s) story is going to continue.

    If an author can make me fall in love with a world/character/setting, I'll endure the wait (LOL).

    That being said, I just recently read a great book where the author left it open for their to be a book 3. However, later, I read on her website that the publisher had opted not to request anymore books in that series (totally bummed me out). I mean, she tied things up neatly, yet there was still a lot of new plot lines that could've been handled.

    I loved the characters and was sad that they wouldn't get another book.

  2. Min, I am a fan of series/trilogies. More trilogy though. My biggest issue with series tends to be authors or publishers not knowing when to let go. There are series that I loved at the beginning and then they got repetitive. They can kill a great character or series.

    As far as pulling me into the story continuations, I don't need cliff hangers at the end. I think a well written story will leave you with unanswered questions that have you wanting more, but not leave you totally dissatisfied at the end of the book.

    And hey Becks, you never know, they might right a book three and self pub. Keep hope alive!

  3. Thanks for weighing in, ladies! :)