After my post yesterday, I decided to do talk more positively about the books that managed to beat middle book syndrome. Actually, these books didn’t just defeat middle book syndrome, cos I’m not gonna include books that were as good as their predecessors (we’d be here all day!). Instead I’m gonna talk about the books that brought something new to the series they belonged to, raised the stakes and just knocked it out of the park! So buckle up and enjoy the ride.
Crown of Midnight
I could easily use this post just to rant and rave about how much I *loved* this series. And, surprisingly, that love did not begin with book 1. Unusually, I started loving this series only after book 2 and then was completely blown away by book 3. Every book since the first one Maas has upped the stakes, made me love the characters more and developed the world in incredible ways! So yeah it’s safe to say this beat middle book syndrome!
With the Novice, Trudi Canavan didn’t just build on the first one, she made *everything* so much better. In all honestly, I hadn’t actually enjoyed two thirds of Magician’s Guild- but the last section of the book got me wanting to read more. And I’m so glad it did! Because the second book (and the third) took everything to a whole other level- the characters came to life, the world went from generic to intriguing and the plot was phenomenally gripping. After the slow world-building of the first one, I had not expected to like, let alone love the rest of the series- but somehow Canavan pulled it off, and this is now one of my favourite fantasy series of all time.
This is a bit more of an unusual one for me to pick. Honestly, I did not think much of Slated– I wasn’t crazy about the idea, the characters and the pacing was all off- so I really don’t get how the sequel managed to impress me. But Fractured was a massive improvement on the series and because of this book I actually became invested in the story. The stakes were higher and the characters were more complex. And unusually for a YA dystopia- I actually liked how it turned out!!
The Rose Society
The Young Elites was definitely up there as one of my favourite books of last year- I just loved how dark and unexpected it was. So naturally, I picked up this book with high expectations- and not only did it not disappoint, but it actually built on the success of the first one and made me even more excited about the potential directions this series might take. I loved the twists and turns of the second book even more than the first one! You can read more in my review here.
Having read the whole series now, I can safely say this one was my favourite! I rated it higher than all the others- and for that reason it had to be on this list! I’m a sucker for cute romances- so I just loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship. Those characters were just gorgeous! Throw in the awesome direction the plot took and the general character development and I was all for it!
Bonus: Catching Fire
Some people believe this book is firmly in the Middle Syndrome category- but I disagree- which is one of the main reasons why it had to be in this post. Admittedly, it is really similar to the first one, yet as I said in my last post, it had wonderful character development and really advanced the plot to set up the finale- so it definitely deserves an honorary mention.