5 Books That Beat Middle Book Syndrome

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.

  1. Crown of Midnight

crown of midnightI 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!

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  1. The Novice

the noviceWith 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.

  1. Fractured

fracturedThis 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!!

  1. The Rose Society

rose societyThe 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.

  1. Cress

cressHaving 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!

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Bonus: Catching Fire

catching fireSome 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.

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Hope you enjoyed that! Have you read these books? Anyone have any other books that beat middle book syndrome? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Books Suffering From Middle Book Syndrome

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.

  1. Wise Man’s Fear

The_Wise_Man's_Fear_UK_coverI 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.

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  1. Magic Study

magic studyI’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.

  1. PS I Love You

p-s-i-still-love-you-9781442426733_hrOk, 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.

  1. Crossed

crossedGosh 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.

  1. Eclipse

EclipsecoverNo 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?