SUNDAYS SEVEN | 7 BOOKS THAT DIDN’T FALL VICTIM TO MIDDLE BOOK SYNDROME…

Happy Sunday Bookish Folk!

Good evening all! How are we all doing? Great I hope. It may be the end of the weekend but worry not I have a treat for you.

I have been meaning to do this post for a little while now, so why not restart my Sundays Seven with this little gem!

Here I am going to give you seven books that I feel have been a solid second instalment in their series. As much as we love series’ sometimes the middle book is a weaker book. Don’t get me wrong they are still good books but they sometimes fall victim to middle book syndrome!

What is middle book syndrome do you ask? Well, you may know it as ‘Second Book Slump’. Either way it refers to those second books that don’t quite live up to the first book. There are tons of reasons for this and some are even worth it! Some authors opt for more character development. They have already won you over so now they take the time to build their characters. Which again is not a bad thing at all but it can mean a lag in pace and we always notice it!

I see a good amount of people calling out series’ that slump but I am not about that, because the books are still solid books, they just miss some of the marks we readers demand. We are needy folk!

Any who, away from my ramblings. Let’s get to it…

ON TO THE BOOKS…

THE CRIMSON CAMPAIGN BY BRIAN MCCLELLAN

As the fantastic reviewer Petrik said in his review of this book “It’s not an exaggeration to say that The Crimson Campaign is a marvellous sequel that’s better than the first book in every aspect“.

Petrik speaks the truth!

McClellan showed huge improvements in this instalment, not to say book one wasn’t great, it truly was but McClellan gave us so much more in book two. Characters grew, the action increased, the magic became more prevalent and so much more!

Tamas’s invasion of Kez ends in disaster when a Kez counter-offensive leaves him cut off behind enemy lines with only a fraction of his army, no supplies, and no hope of reinforcements. Drastically outnumbered and pursued by the enemy’s best, he must lead his men on a reckless march through northern Kez to safety, and back over the mountains so that he can defend his country from an angry god. In Adro, Inspector Adamat only wants to rescue his wife. To do so he must track down and confront the evil Lord Vetas. He has questions for Vetas concerning his enigmatic master, but the answers might come too quickly. With Tamas and his powder cabal presumed dead, Taniel Two-shot finds himself alongside the god-chef Mihali as the last line of defence against Kresimir’s advancing army. Tamas’s generals bicker among themselves, the brigades lose ground every day beneath the Kez onslaught, and Kresimir wants the head of the man who shot him in the eye.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


STONES OF LIGHT BY ZACK ARGYLE

I recently read this book and thoroughly enjoyed it! This is another fantastic series, and while I loved book one, book two showed so much improvement! There are so many ways for an author to avoid the slump and Zack definitely did these in this instalment. We see more character growth, the stakes are raised and Stones of Light not only moves the overall plot forward it has its own story arc too!

The coreseal is shattered and a new darkness is coming.

Chrys swore to never again let the Apogee take control but, in a moment of desperation, he gave in. Now, he will learn what the Apogee truly wants.

In Alchea, Laurel will do anything to get her threadlight back, even if it means working for the leader of the Bloodthieves. But she has no choice…a life without threadlight is no life at all.

To the west, Alverax travels with the Zeda people to the large port city of Felia, where they seek refuge after the fires in the Fairenwild. But he shattered the coreseal, and no one quite knows what the consequences will be. They only know it won’t be good.

Together, they doomed the world…now, they must save it.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


PRIEST OF LIES BY PETER MCLEAN

I am a HUGE fan of this series. This is a series in which every book gets better and better as it goes on. Priest of Lies continues with Tomas’ utterly distinct and incredible narration.

This is another series in which the stakes get higher and the risk greater! We also see huge development to several characters who are all pivotal to the story. This book is incredibly written and evokes so much emotion.

Tomas Piety has been many things: soldier, priest, gangster…and spy. As Tomas’s power grows, the nobility better watch their backs, in this dark and gritty epic fantasy series.

People are weak, and the poorer and more oppressed they are, the weaker they become–until they can’t take it anymore. And when they rise up…may the gods help their oppressors.

When Tomas Piety returned from the war, he just wanted to rebuild his empire of crime with his gang of Pious Men. But his past as a spy for the Queen’s Men drew him back in and brought him more power than he ever imagined.

Now, with half of his city in ashes and the Queen’s Men at his back, the webs of political intrigue stretch out from the capital to pull Tomas in. Dannsburg is calling.

In Dannsburg the nobility fight with words, not blades, but the results are every bit as bloody. In this pit of beasts, Tomas must decide once and for all whether he is truly the people’s champion…or just a priest of lies.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


AN ECHO OF THINGS TO COME BY JAMES ISLINGTON

To some this might seem a slightly odd book to have on this list because it can definitely feel like a second book. Some very good friends and I decided it was a bridge book. It has some of the characteristic’s of middle book syndrome but Islington still manages to make this book shine, and I personally think that is a feat in itself. An Echo of Things to Come remains engaging throughout and despite its page count keeps you wanting to learn more about the characters and the world.

I think that is easily one of this series’ main strengths you are constantly asking ‘what is next?’.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


A FOOL’S HOPE BY MIKE SHACKLE

Oh my, is this a book that knows what it is doing! Mike raises the stakes, he ups the action and anything you thought you knew he obliterates.

I think this is easily one of the best second books I have read, hence why it makes the cut!

A Fool’s Hope is intense, filled with action, packed with emotion and does not hold its punches.

If you haven’t read this series then you need to start it! NOW!

War takes everything.

From Tinnstra, it took her family and thrust her into a conflict she wanted only to avoid. Now her queen’s sole protector, she must give everything she has left to keep Zorique safe.


It has taken just as much from Jia’s revolutionaries. Dren and Jax – battered, tortured, once enemies themselves – now must hold strong against their bruised invaders, the Egril.


For the enemy intends to wipe Jia from the map. They may have lost a battle, but they are coming back. And if Tinnstra and her allies hope to survive, Jia’s heroes will need to be ready when they do.


The sequel to the darkly fantastic WE ARE THE DEAD: with more unflinching action, A FOOL’S HOPE sees Jia’s revolutionaries dig in their heels as they learn that wars aren’t won in a day.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


THE FIRES OF VENGEANCE BY EVAN WINTER

The Fires of Vengeance is a top quality sequel, one of which I hugely enjoyed. This is a series that I feel is going to keep getting better too. Which considering what an incredible book The Rage of Dragons was is very impressive!

This is a second book you just don’t want to end, it is another author who has you constantly wondering what is going to come next. There are cliff hanger’s throughout and the risks are immense.

It is another very intense book, which is fast paced but also has time to build on all you have already been introduced to and with exquisite detail. It builds on the already incredible The Rage of Dragons and takes you to new heights.

Desperate to delay an impending attack by the indigenous people of Xidda, Tau and his queen craft a dangerous plan. If Tau succeeds, the queen will have the time she needs to assemble her forces and launch an all-out assault on her own capital city, where her sister is being propped up as the ‘true’ Queen of the Omehi.If the city can be taken, if Tsiora can reclaim her throne and reunite her people, then the Omehi might have a chance to survive the coming onslaught.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!


VALOUR BY JOHN GWYNNE

Is it really a list from me if John Gwynne doesn’t feature in it? No. No it is, and so here be Valour by John Gwynne.

If you haven’t read this series then be prepared to be wowed with every book. John Gwynne doesn’t just do book two right, he does books three and four perfect also. As one of my all time favourite series I am so chuffed to tell you that this book is phenomenal and while Malice was near perfection, Valour brings you even more!

Gwynne reveals so much more in this book. You can expect intrigue, scheming, deception, villainous POV’s, heroics, humour and SO MUCH MORE!

The Banished Lands are torn by war as the army of High King Nathair sweeps the realm challenging all who oppose his holy crusade. Allied with the manipulative Queen Rhin of Cambren, there are few who can stand against him. But Rhin is playing her own games and has her eyes on a far greater prize . . .

Left for dead – her kin have fled and her country is overrun with enemies – Cywen fights to survive. But any chance of escape is futile once Nathair and his disquieting advisor Calidus realize who she is. They have no intention of letting such a prize slip from their grasp. For she may be their one chance at killing the biggest threat to their power.

Meanwhile, the young warrior Corban flees from his conquered homeland with his exiled companions, heading for the only place that may offer them sanctuary. But to get there they must travel through Cambren, avoiding warbands, giants and the vicious wolven of the mountains. And all the while Corban struggles to become the man that everyone believes him to be – the Bright Star and saviour of the Banished Lands.

Embroiled in struggles for power and survival, the mortal world is unaware of the greatest threat of all. In the Otherworld, dark forces scheme to bring a host of the Fallen into the world of flesh to end the war with the Faithful, once and for all.

ADD IT TO YOUR GOODREADS!

Some common threads I notice in these delightful books are:

  • Increase in the stakes;
  • Even though these are second books they still have their own plot arcs;
  • Increase in pace and intensity; and
  • Further development to not one but all of their book elements (characters, world, plot, reveals, etc).

Or at least that is what I think 🙂


There you have it, seven books from seven authors that know their craft and have produced an EXCELLENT sequel!

Thanks for reading.

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