Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trilogies that Fail to Deliver

I love a good trilogy. There's nothing like finding a book that resonates with me. And then to discover that there at two more? It's totally awesome.

We typically get hooked with the first book. That's a given.
Unfortunately, the second book often seems like a bridge to the third.
And then the third either satisfies or makes us totally mad.

The first trilogy that failed to deliver for me was the Hunger Games trilogy. Loved the first book and found the second okay only to be totally put-off by the third, Mocking Jay. It ruined the series for me.

Then came Divergent. I loved this book so much that I sought out the author when she came to Salt Lake last year and waited in line to meet her. It was fun to hear her talk and to get my pic with her. She signed my books, too. I couldn't wait for the third to come out. And, since I listen to most of my books, (I also buy print books of those I love) I waited up until midnight to start the book then. However, it wasn't available at midnight, so I went to bed and got up at six to download it and start it.

About eight a.m. I got an email from a friend saying that she couldn't believe what was happening to Veronica Roth. I checked the Amazon's Allegiant page and saw that 90% of the reviews were ones and twos. What? I had a decision to make. would I continue to read the book and possibly come to dislike the series and author or would I go ahead and stop listening? You can guess what I did. Seriously, how could I not finish it.

What did she do wrong? She didn't satisfy her readers. Even though I'm not a fan of the negative character arc, I can handle that type of book if I believe there was no other way for the series to end. With Allegiant-it didn't have to end the way it did.

Typically, an editor will guide an author who is going way off track. The question is, did Roth dig in her heels or did the editor love how the series ended? Roth must have really been having a heart attack going from the most loved author and having the most loved books for two years straight, to one that was being bashed all over the internet. Roth even felt the need to write a post defending how she ended it. That, and having heard her speak about how dark the book was when she originally wrote it, lead me to believe that she was the one that fought for the ending.

At least for Allegiant, as it was for Mocking Jay, the reviews have about evened out---half are 3+ and half are 2 and under.

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As an author, my love of reading has helped me see what to do and what not to do with trilogies. I want my readers to trust that I know what to do with my characters to create a satisfying ending.

I know what makes readers mad. 

As writers, we want readers to come back and want to read what we produce next. I'm not sure I can return to whatever Veronica Roth produces next. I don't want to be let down.

The time I have to read is precious and I can't waste it on that which doesn't satisfy.

 So, as I wrote the Watched trilogy, I tried to make sure that my middle, with Protected, was not just a bridge to Created, the end. And that the end, with Created was satisfying.

What other trilogies have you read that failed to satisfy? 
Which ones have you read that did satisfy?

By Cindy M. Hogan

5 comments:

Lindzee said...

I am right with you on Mockingjay, and I've heard so much negative about Allegiant I haven't been able to bring myself to read it yet. I absolutely loved the first two.

I just finished the last book in the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi and that one totally delivered for me. I also was satisfied by the ending of the Everneath series. Those are the two I've read recently that come to mind as "wins."

Donna K. Weaver said...

Great post, Cindy. I'm totally with you on HG and the Divergent series.

Another series that I didn't like how it ended was Ender's Game. It's not a trilogy (four books) but only because the third book was so huge it had to be made into two books. It was like he tried to fix what he did when he did the Bean series, but I seriously wish I'd never read Xenocide and Children of the Mind. Ender deserved better.

As for some series that I liked: Evernearth, The Maze Runner, I Am Not a Serial Killer. I'm finishing the third book in Dan Wells' Partials trilogy. I'll have to decide if this one works. :D

Canda said...

I'm not a fan of the Gemma Doyle trilogy. I loved the first and second book, but the ending that was the resolution to the entire series disappointed me. I haven't read another book by that author. I don't feel like I can trust her with that much of my time invested.

I love several series though: The Iron Fae, Twelve Houses, Gallagher Girls, Mortal Instruments, Vampire Academy, The Wolves of Mercy Falls, The Dhronicles of Vladimir Tod, Paranormalcy, Wondrous Strange, Taken by Storm..so many more…I'll stop here though.

Canda said...

Oops…Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
:)

Canda said...

Oops…Chronicles of Vladimir Tod
:)