Sequel Season: Autumn Follow-Up Fever in Mini-Review Form

It seems to me that autumn is the season for sequels. In the last few weeks, I’ve read several, which has necessitated much Googling of previous books’ plots and anguish about how long I have to wait for the next book. As a side-note, I think you should be safe from spoilers as I feel I have shown uncharacteristic restraint in not actually mentioning anything. This is really just 856 words of enthusiastic adjectives.

blood-for-bloofRyan Graudin’s Blood for Blood gave me no such angst, because it’s the second in a duology; while I still maintain that this is not actually a word, it is a concept I approve of, because my legendary impatience means trilogies (or worse) give me nightmares. Blood for Blood is the sequel to the superlative Wolf by Wolf, which the author pitched as “The Man in the High Castle meets X-Men,” and if that doesn’t make you want to read it then we can’t be friends. I’m teaching Wolf by Wolf at the moment and I think it’s even better the second time around. Blood for Blood carries on right where its predecessor left off; I won’t actually elaborate on that in case you haven’t read Wolf by Wolf but, seriously, if this is the case, what is wrong with you? I read Blood for Blood in two sittings and was emotionally scarred by the end; it’s a really excellent book with plenty of action and, excitingly, a lot more character development. I loved it.

torchI also read A Torch Against the Night, Sabaa Tahir’s sequel to An Ember in the Ashes, in September: a large chunk of this reading took place when I was struck down with a massive cold and it was a weirdly suitable literary companion to my suffering. It’s funny how reading about people being tortured and killed makes you feel better about sneezing a lot. As with Graudin’s books, these follow straight on from each other, with Torch focusing on Laia’s mission to save her brother (I don’t think this is a spoiler because this comes from pretty much the first chapter of Ember). All the hideous villains are back and they’re even more villainous than before, and, in the absence of Ember’s superbly creepy setting, many more sinister locations add a sense of horror to Tahir’s writing. I really like this series but have one serious complaint; there are two more books to come (YAY) but the next won’t be out until 2018. Unless I have slept for a year – and it doesn’t feel like that – this involves me waiting and remembering a plot for over a year and I just can’t even talk about how sad that makes me.

crooked kingdomA hugely anticipated sequel and the conclusion to another duology, Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, the follow-up to the magnificent Six of Crows, came out at the end of September. This involved the most intense Google-assisted revision as it turned out I remembered about 8% of what happened in the first book. So that was fun. What struck me about Crooked Kingdom was that it was bloody hilarious; I was chuckling and, at times, guffawing, until things got serious towards the end. Was Six of Crows this funny? I can’t remember, but I’m inclined to say ‘no.’ Interestingly, I’ve read Shadow and Bone in between Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom and am astounded by the difference; the earlier books seem positively adolescent compared to the duology. Also, warning: if you’re planning on reading the original Grisha trilogy and don’t want to be spoiled, be aware that Crooked Kingdom drops some serious spoilers which have made me feel like I probably don’t need to bother with the second half of Ruin and Rising or Siege and Storm. Crooked Kingdom is excellent; it gave me several emotions, sometimes all at the same time, and I was actually quite sad to think that there isn;t another book to come.

empire of stormsObviously, I can’t avoid mentioning Empire of Storms, the millionth book in Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series. It was really long. Nothing really happened for about 600 pages and then suddenly it was ACTION THINGS HAPPENING OH LOOK SOME MORE CHARACTERS YOU DON’T REMEMBER. I haven’t read the novellas so there were a few moments when I felt like I was meant to be excited about the appearance of some random person but actually I had no idea who they were. In other news, this was the first time I have cared about Manon, so well done, S.J.M. Still hate Rowan. Glad that thing they’ve been talking about since the dawn of time finally happened. Felt slightly uncomfortable reading about it. You know what I mean. Also where was you-kn0w-who-I-mean-if-you’ve-read-it? That was not okay with me. How many more of these books do I have to read? Please tell me it’s one. And that it’s 8 pages long.

And the sequel-related excitement isn’t even over, people, because Gemina, the sequel to my precious Illuminae is not in my hands yet at the time of writing. In terrible news, it comes out the day I go on holiday and it is really unlikely the airport bookshop will have it at 6.30am when I am shouting at its employees. So, having waited a bloody year for it, I will have to wait a whole extra week. It’s not okay.

Any sequels you’re looking forward to? Have you read any of these?

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