Ok, I’m confused.
Yes, a sequel is a piece of work; generally a story in its own right, which follows on from an earlier narrative, but I’ve always understood it to mean there will only be two works in that particular series. For eg, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland is Through the Looking Glass.
My confusion comes from hearing about trilogies or larger series where the second book is referred to as the sequel.
Yes, the second story is a continuation of the first, however wouldn’t that mean the third or fourth or fifth books are also sequels? And are they sequels to the book immediately prior to them (if that’s the case for some series you would have never ending sequels of sequels) or to the original work?
It makes my head hurt, still it’s been bugging me for a while now.
The first time it really struck me was in relation to Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series. Reading the blurb, it was obvious Eragon was the first book of a trilogy yet when the second, Eldest, was released in Australia it was marketed as ‘THE SEQUEL’.
Maybe I was the only one who had little ?s popping out around their head?? It didn’t stop me from purchasing Eldest, but I had to go back and read the blurbs thinking CP had decided to only write two books in the series rather than the proposed trilogy.
When I discovered my initial understanding was correct, I started to get really annoyed. Why market Eldest as a sequel, which, for me, implied that it was only one of two, when another book was going to be released? Was it a marketing tool used to sell more books? Or did someone at the publishers stuff up? Needless to say this was the subject of a number of rants by Kris from atop her lofty soapbox.
Since this time, I’ve noticed more and more references to a work being a sequel when it is part of a larger series. I’m beginning to wonder whether my initial understanding of what a sequel meant was wrong (hey, it’s happened… occasionally) or whether the notion of a sequel comprising two books has somehow been ‘lost’.
It’s probably no surprise then that, because of my tendency to go Ranty McRant on the matter, I’ve become a big fan of series which are referred to as duologies as well as those which avoid the word sequel and use the much simpler description of book two in the trilogy/series.
I know, I know, it’s most likely just me again…