what is a sequel?

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…

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
This entry was posted in book series, christopher paolini, pet peeve/fave rant, WTF. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to what is a sequel?

  1. Jenre says:

    Do you know, I’ve never thought about this before!I’ve always thought that sequel just meant following on from the previous book. So I suppose if you have a set of books each following on from each other you can, in theory, have several sequels one after the other.However, it could start getting a bit ridiculous when you have a series a bit like JR Ward’s BDB books where ‘Lover Eternal’ is a sequel to ‘Dark Lover’ and then ‘Lover Awakened’ is a sequel to both the previous books and so on. I can see how this all might get a bit confusing…

  2. Kris says:

    I tell you, J, it srsly does my head in!Can you imagine trying to describe the gazillion sequels to sequels in Sherrilyn K’s Dark-Hunter series?And what happens when a new series starts which is set in the same world as the first and where some of the earlier characters may make an appearance? Is it a sequel to the earlier series? Maybe it’s a sequeries?

  3. Jenre says:

    sequeries!Heh heh, good one. You’re right though, it’s really confusing. I reckon it’s all just a marketing ploy to get people to buy books. If people think there has already been a best selling book written by a particular author, they then might be more likely to buy the recent book on the shelf.

  4. Kris says:

    Yep, that’s what I reckon too.

Leave a Reply. I dare you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s