What Makes a Good Sequel?

Posted May 20, 2017 by Adalyn in Discussions / 6 Comments


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Is it just me, or are there a lot of sequels being released recently? I guess there are always lots of new sequels, but this month it seems like there are a lot more than normal. And not just sequels, but also third, fourth, etc. books in a series. I love reading series and I especially love sequels because they build on the first book, but sometimes they don’t do everything right, and the series is just kind of ruined for me. So here’s what I think makes for a good sequel (most of the time).

It builds on the previous book

I mean this as it strengthens the plot, the characters develop more, etc. So it’s building off of what took place in the previous book and it’s improving and strengthening it even more. I think it’s very important for authors to continue building off of the first book as the series goes on. They have to keep developing the characters, otherwise they all just kind of fall flat. Of course the author has to keep the plot going and make it even stronger and more interesting, Because this is going to be going on for more books to come, so you definitely have to add more and more subplots to the original as well.

Stays True

Seriously, if the sequel doesn’t stay true to the other books, then the series is just kind of over. For example, if a character has water magic in one book but the author decides to give them fire magic, it just kind of ruins the series. I guess that’s kind of an extreme example, but for real, authors need to stay true to the other books because otherwise things just don’t make sense and it will probably turn readers off.

Has to be creative and new

I also think this is really important. Authors have to continuously find new ways to make their books more original and have to use their creativity. In my opinion, this especially goes towards sequels. The author should take what happened in the previous book and keep going with it, but also add a new, interesting twist to it. ike I said before, the same ongoing plot can get really boring after a few books, so to make a really good sequel, you should  keep the plot going, but add new, interesting twists to it.

Remind readers of what happened before

This one is kind of small, but also important. As a reader, if I’m reading a series as each book is released, I tend to forget lots of things. So authors should always make sure to remind readers of what happened by bringing them up here and there. It can be nice when authors fully explain what happened before, but I prefer brief mentions here and there.

Don’t be cliche!

There’s a good tip you should always follow. If you read a lot like I do, you’ve probably noticed a pattern in sequels and their cliches. So authors should always be trying to make their series creative and not following all the typical tropes and cliches of sequels. Branch out and do something crazy and unique with your story! I always love when you expect for one thing to happen in a sequel, but the author does something completely different.

Those are just a few things I think are important for sequels! I thought this post fitting because I’ve been reading so many sequels lately, and there are also lots of firsts in a series being released. So let me know, what do you think is essential for a good sequel? Anything I missed?

6 responses to “What Makes a Good Sequel?

  1. Great discussion post, Adalyn!

    I’m 100% in sync with everything you said. For the the “staying true” bit, I haven’t come across a book where an author was inconsistent with things like that but that would be a major turn off for me as well. Also, another aspect that I look in good sequels are the lack of filler plots. Sometimes I find that series-espeically the longer ones-will have “filler” installments where if feels like literally nothing happens and consequently the plot of the entire series seems to be dragged out.

  2. I’ve got a TON of sequels on my TBR this year too! It must be the year of all the follow-ups for sure. My biggest problem with sequels is forgetting details from the first book, so I’m VERY MUCH with you on please let sequels have small subtle recaps. It’d save lives. I also need sequels to have different plots from the first book, but still have the same feel/tone. Like I love it when a book is super sassy and actiony and then…in the sequel it all just stops and it’s like just a plot of travelling or something? BORING. I need them to be similar tone or I don’t know what to expect and get disappointed.
    Loved your list!

  3. This is so relevant for me because I’m reading a sequel right now (The Infinite Sea). I’m trying to make sense of the book in connection to the first book, but it’s been a couple years since I read book 1 that I can’t remember much. The more I read, the more it makes sense though, and I think The Infinite Sea checks off most of the things on your list. Great list ♥

  4. I completely agree with everything you’ve said here! I think sequels are definitely tricky – you have to advance the story and plot so it doesn’t feel like a filler book, but you also need a few pages to summarize what happened in the previous book. Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous post! <3

  5. Recently, I’ve been tackling all the sequels and what irritates me the most is when they don’t stay true to the series. I have the worst memory ever so I love when authors remind me what happened in the last book! But I think it’s hard to find the balance between including subtle prompts and just blatantly summarising the book before, which can kind of ruin the flow of the book. Great post 😀

  6. These are all so true! I feel like there’s definitely been a pattern developing in trilogies lately and it gets really repetitive and annoying really quickly. A little creativity goes a looong way! Great post 🙂