After reviewing Wise Man’s Fear yesterday, I’ve started to think about other books that suffer from Middle Book Syndrome. These are books that do not serve the overall plot of a trilogy, feel unnecessary and tend to drag terribly.
Wise Man’s Fear
I spoke about this in depth in my review yesterday- it has all the symptoms of suffering from Middle Book Syndrome. It’s slow, self-indulgent, repetitive, uneventful and just does not live up to the standard set by the first book. Overall, I was phenomenally disappointed by it- but I am hoping that it is just a prime example of middle book syndrome and that the last book in the series will pick up.
I’m cheating a little with this one because honestly this series went downhill after the first one, so I don’t know if it really counts as suffering from middle book syndrome. Honestly, I was not a fan of how Magic Study turned out. The first one was so exciting and different- but this one was just a generic fantasy filler (before the ultimately boring, crackpot conclusion that ruined the whole series for me). I could never understand how a series that started out so well became so awful. Having read a lot (6 or 7) of other books by Maria Snyder now, I have little hope that her books will ever recapture the same magic as Poison Study.
PS I Love You
Ok, technically this isn’t a middle book because it’s the second in a duology (although there is definitely room for it to turn into a trilogy). In my review I talked about how pointless this book was. Although there were still parts I liked (for instance the sister relationships) I really did not like where Han took the romance. Basically, (*mini spoilers*) it felt like Han spent the whole book convincing the reader that the relationship in the first book wasn’t any good, which was pretty depressing, but once she’d convinced me of that she went and reinstated the relationship- and that didn’t make any sense! So yeah, I wasn’t a fan. Other books in the romance genre suffer from similar problems- sometimes that happens because the author is regurgitating a formula that’s already worked, but usually because once the romance has been established they have to invent a fake conflict to keep the reader interested- which never works.
Gosh there are soo many terrible middle books in YA dystopian books- I feel like it’s almost guaranteed in the genre (possibly because dystopian books aren’t really designed for sequels). I’m using Crossed (Matched 2) as an example because I completely lost interest in this series after book 1 and it because it is filled with non-existent conflict (despite, ironically, being in the middle of a war zone), but I easily could have referred to the Resistance (Declaration 2), Burning Kingdoms (Internment 2), Independent Study (The Testing 2), Prodigy (Legend 2), or The Elite (The Selection). Many of these are prime examples of a dystopian sequel that goes nowhere. In a lot of these books *nothing happens*. Side note: even though Catching Fire is a regurgitation of the first Hunger Games, I still think it is not in this category because it is eventful (if a bit repetitive) and the plot does progress as a result of the things that happen in this book.
No one is saying Twilight is great- but my goodness it wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if it had just stopped after book 1- I mean why didn’t Edward just let her become a vampire then and then we’d have all been spared all the creepy paedophile stuff. Though it is the third in the series, this one was ultimately the pits- because (forgive me for being repetitive) *nothing happens*. This book pretty much was just there for Meyer to foist the ridiculously pointless love triangle on us- the whole “plot” revolves around Jacob being confused with the concept of what a third wheel and that Bella is not interested (despite the fact she constantly tells him and even punches him in the face! Jeez- can that guy not take a hint?) This has to be one of the best examples of a book that was just a dumb filler and never needed to happen.
Footnote: if you fancy reading more about Middle Book Syndrome and how to avoid it- this is a great article: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2015/07/avoiding-middle-book-syndrome-by-django-wexler-author-of-the-price-of-valor/
Alrighty then- hope you enjoyed that! Agree or disagree with my list? What books do you think suffer from Middle Book Syndrome?