But some books don't. Some books defy Second Book Syndrome. And those are the books I'm talking about today.
2. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Scarlet introduces Wolf and Thorne, two of my favorite Lunar Chronicles characters, so let’s face it: SBS never had a chance in this book. But besides that, there’s no character regress, no characters being idiots in order to move the plot along, and the scope and impact of the story grows in leaps and bounds.
3. North! Or Be Eaten! by Andrew Peterson. I almost didn’t include this one, since it is actually my least favorite in the series (even though it contains one of my all-time favorite scenes), but upon further thought, I realized that the reasons I don’t like it have nothing to do with SBS and everything to do with defying SBS. Characters make mistakes, heartbreaking ones, but it’s not because they’ve regressed from the first book. It’s because that growth is continuing and sometimes character growth hurts- just as it does in real life.
4. The King’s Scrolls by Jaye L. Knight. We’ve already established that it’s rare for a second book to be better than a first book. What’s even is for a second book to make me fall in love with a series that I previously hadn’t been crazy for- but The King’s Scrolls did exactly that. (The introduction of dragons helped- but what I enjoyed even more was the increased focus on Kyrin’s family, particularly Marcus and Liam.)
5. Words of Radiance (Brandon Sanderson). I’m not sure if this one quite counts since it's technically in a ten-book series rather than a trilogy or other shorter series . . . but I’m counting it anyway because Words of Radiance doesn’t just defy Second Book Syndrome; it assassinates SBS with a single swipe of its Shardblade and dances on the grave of its vanquished foe. Nothing here is just filler; there’s no pointless angst (angst, yes; pointless, no) or awkward maneuvering-characters-into-position. The book takes what was established in Way of Kings, builds on it, and brings it up to eleven. (And if the second book’s that good . . . what can the third hold?)
What are some of your favorite SBS-defying books? Please tell me in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)