Top Ten Tuesday – Best Sequels Ever

September 24, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 22


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Best Sequels Ever.

I read a lot of series, which gives me a huge pool to draw from.  So to narrow things down a bit, I used these criteria: the sequel had to be live up to or exceed the original book, and it had to be a real sequel, not just another book set in the same world or milieu.  Mystery series featuring a specific detective counted as sequels.   I also ruled out series that are essentially one long book broken into volumes, like The Lord of the Rings (which would otherwise have topped my list.)  

As usual, these are in no apparent order other than the order in which they occurred to me. Oh, and I cheated — there are more than 10 choices here!  I could easily have come up with more, since the fantasy and mystery genres which I love are so rife with series. So please forgive me if I left out some of your favorites! 

  • all six Harry Potter sequels, but especially The Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, and The Deathly Hallows (J. K. Rowling).  Everyone has their favorites, and those three are mine (after Philosopher’s Stone, of course.)  That said, all the books are wonderful.  ‘Nuff said.
  • The Wise Man’s Fear (Patrick Rothfuss).  OK, he went overboard on the whole Felurian section; it could have been a lot shorter. But Rothfuss’s talent for superb characterization, picaresque adventure, and phenomenal worldbuilding is just as strong in the second book as the first, and there are a lot of new hints about the Chandrian and about Kvothe’s past and future.
  • Shadow of Night (Deborah Harkness) doesn’t convey quite the same level of suspense and danger that A Discovery of Witches does, but the richness of the historical setting, the opportunity to meet characters already dead in the first book, and the deepening relationship between Matthew and Diana make up for it in my opinion.  And besides, all those well-known Elizabethans!

  • The Dark is Rising & The Grey King (Susan Cooper).  You could argue that The Dark is Rising isn’t really a sequel to Over Sea, Under Stone because only a secondary character ties the two together.  (Book three, Greenwich, ties the the first two books together far more closely.)  But The Dark is Rising is that rare sequel which is significantly better than the first book, and The Grey King is another stellar entry in the series.
  • The White Dragon (Anne McCaffrey) I actually find this the strongest and best-written of the original Dragonrider trilogy.
  • O Jerusalem & Justice Hall (Laurie R. King)  King’s Mary Russell & Sherlock Holmes series are all entertaining, but the first book, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, is phenomenal, and these two run a close second.  I’m particularly fond of O Jerusalem, which strictly speaking is neither a sequel nor a prequel, since it expands on events which occurred during The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, but were only tangential to that plot. 
  • Dragonsinger (Anne McCaffrey)  Just as wonderful and well-written as Dragonsong. As a singer myself, I actually find Dragonsinger more appealing than the first book, because it takes place within the Harper Hall; the music-school details are delightful.  McCaffrey was a trained singer, so she knew what she was talking about.


  • Page, Squire, Lady Knight (Tamora Pierce).  The whole Kel series (officially called The Protector of the Small quartet) is probably my favorite of Pierce’s works, and each of the books is well-written and gripping.
  • Strong Poison & Gaudy Night (Dorothy Sayers).  Although I could make a good case for The Nine Tailors or Murder Must Advertise, as well.  Face it, almost every Lord Peter Wimsey book Sayers wrote is pretty darn good.  But these two, with their insights into Peter and Harriet both, are amazing.
  • Nemesis (Agatha Christie).  A double sequel — it’s a Miss Marple, and specifically it is a sequel of sorts to A Caribbean Mystery.  Nemesis is easily one of the best of the Miss Marple series, in my opinion.  Though I’m also quite fond of A Murder is Announced and a number of others.
  • The Horse and His Boy (C. S. Lewis)  The inclusion, however brief, of Susan, Edmond, and Lucy in this book qualifies it as a sequel under my criteria. It’s my absolute favorite Narnia book after The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe


22 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday – Best Sequels Ever”

  1. readerholicnotes

    You’ve got a great list, Lark! It’s always so interesting to read everyone’s lists and how everyone interprets the subject. I like your interpretation!

  2. Rita_h

    I have the Rothfuss #1 and Harkness #2 books already, but as a mood reader, I have to be ready to plunge into those genres to enjoy them. I will definitely read them in the future, probably before year’s end.

    I loved Discovery of Witches, after putting off reading it for months, and then read reviews and was surprised that some people didn’t feel the same way. She is a wonderful author. Haven’t tried Patrick Rothfuss yet; I got his kindle book when they were having a sale or something and bought it without knowing much about it. Thanks.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I know what you mean about being a mood reader… sometimes I just can’t bring myself to read something I know I will like, because I’m not in the mood for that genre.

      And total agreement on Harkness. There are a few things I don’t like — I’m not generally a fan of vampires; they creep me out. The fact that A Discovery of Witches managed to wow me despite that is a testament to how good a writer she is.

  3. Becki @ The Flutterby Room

    Great list! I included the whole Protector of the Small quartet as a sequel in my list, because it is in many ways an indirect sequel of the Song of the Lioness and shows the progression of nobel ladies ability to gain knighthoods. A bit of a cheat, but oh well.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      The definition of “sequel” was entirely up to the blogger, so I don’t think that’s cheating at all! For that matter, I really loved the Wildmage series, too — but Kel is my absolute favorite of Pierce’s books.

  4. Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous

    I’m definitely with you on Dragonsinger–those two books are pretty short so I tend to think of them as one unit, but I’d have to give the edge of preference to the second. I love going to the Harper Hall, we get more of Masterharper Robinton and Piemur is such a wonderful addition.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      🙂 Those two books were among my favorites in high school. And I loved Piemur in Dragonsinger, but not quite as much in Dragondrums, for some reason. And Robinton… what a wonderful character. How did you like Masterharper of Pern?

  5. Belle Read

    There are several that I haven’t read, some that I haven’t even heard of. I will have to check them out. Thanks for your list.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I like the Trickster series, too, but it was pretty dark at times. And Order of the Phoenix is good, but I keep wanting to shake Harry for taking his anger out on his friends. I love the DA stuff, though.