Friday, March 16, 2012

Is the First Book Always Better?

At least recently, I've been finding that the first book in a series tends to be more exciting. Perhaps it's because we have no experience in the world and we get to be immersed in it for the first time without skepticism. Examples: The Hunger Games, and I've heard that Crossed isn't as enjoyable as Matched. I'm really hoping that Insurgent by Veronica Roth is as good as Divergent.

I'd like your input. Do you find that the first book of a series is always the best? If so, why do you think that is?


  1. I sometimes think this is true, too. And it's definitely true for Hunger Games. The first one was great, the second was mostly brilliant, and for me, the third one was a thud.

    But there are also a few cases (C.L. Wilson's Tairen Soul series and the Dresden Files), where the first books were shaky for me and then the series really took off!

  2. I think it depends partly on the story, partly on the reader. I think nearly all authors struggle with that second book, because the first one they've had a) no pressure and b) no deadlines for producing it, but once their trilogy is bought, suddenly there's not only expectations for book two to be as good as book one, but also they've got to get it written and revised and turned in in just six months to a year. For slower writers (not you, Ms NaNo-in-a-week! :D ) that's tough.

    I do think Hunger Games was the best in that series, mostly because I didn't like a couple of the plot twists that happened in the next two books. I still breezed through and loved them all, though. I think Rowling really hit her stride with the HP books though, as I liked each instalment better than the previous (except #5). Cassandra Clare's pretty good at carrying a series, I think (though I was only so-so on #4 of The Mortal Instruments, which would probably be better off treated as the first book of its own trilogy). Robert J Sawyer's WWW trilogy got better with each book, as did Lisa McMann's Dream Catcher trilogy. And the second book of Holly Black's Curse Workers was at least as good if not better than the first (haven't read the third yet).

    But yeah, I thought Crossed wasn't as good as Matched; Crescendo as Hush, Hush; Spells as Wings; Fire as Graceling. I haven't read book three of any of these though, so it's possible there was that "sophomore slump" and book three will be better.