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.