Well dreaded by me, writing it, that is. I don’t know what it is about sequels—sometimes I don’t even like to read them myself because the first book was sooo great, and then the second in the series disappoints. I remember a book I really liked—it had cool assassins and mysterious mages, fair damsels and murderous wenches and magic swords and, really, I liked it. A lot. Hero got the girl at the end, naturally. So I bought the second book, only to be utterly disappointed that instead of all of the above, the sequel started with fifty pages of previously non-whiny bad-ass Hero waffling on about his virgin girlfriend not putting out. It was not what I expected.
And that’s the trick, isn’t it? The second book has to meet the expectations brought by the first book—in this case I was expecting mucho swords and intrigue and what I got was an emo. But it can’t be the first book all over again either. In romance, it’s slightly different I suppose—a character from the first book maybe gets his/her HEA, which is your basis. But when it’s not exactly romance, then you need an ongoing story, and there are those expectations and…..and that’s when I start tearing my hair out.
At this rate I could be bald by summer. The plot needs to be of a similar level to the first. Which means I’m confusing myself! The characters need to be changed/have learned from the events of the first book—but not too much, because they have to be the characters that people liked the first time round. Etc. etc. ad infinitum.
So what do you look for in a sequel? Do you want a reprise of what went before, or are you happy for something a little different, or even totally different? What turns you off, and what turns you on?