Thursday, June 30, 2011

In which the middle books of the Curse Workers and Shade trilogies are epically awesome.

Raise your hand if you've ever read the first book in a trilogy and FREAKED OUT OVER ITS AWESOMESAUCE and then read the second book, and it was all kinds of ... MEH.

Ok, I can't exactly see your hand raised, but I know it is!

Here's the most excellent news: I've read two sequels in the past couple weeks that have just blown me away with their greatness and have left me drooling for book three. And I really hope you read them!

Also, for writers, these are two examples of how to make a second book much, much more than a bridge to book three! Yay!

Without further ado...

1. The Curse Workers trilogy by Holly Black
WHITE CAT introduced a world of illegal curse working, mobsters, and cons -- and Cassel Sharpe was in the middle of it all, the only non-worker in a con-happy worker family. Without being spoilery of the first book, RED GLOVE gives Cassel a whole new bout of problems to handle while expanding on the elements laid out in WHITE CAT. Cassel is a complex and flawed main character, but he's good at heart, and I'm totally rooting for him!

Further reinforcement: Kiersten White thinks RED GLOVE is the "perfect middle book."

2. The Shade trilogy by Jeri Smith-Ready
I already wrote a post gushing about the first book, SHADE. And then I read the sequel, SHIFT. Holy cannoli, Batman. We delve even deeper into the mystery of the Shift -- the mysterious event that enabled all people born after it to see ghosts -- and into the significance of Aura, who was the first post-Shifter. And let's not forget the sexy. Jeri Smith-Ready excels at including the perfect amount of sexy! (Pause for a moment of swoon over Zachary, the Scottish love interest, and Logan, the hottest ghost around.)

Further reinforcement: Booklist says, "This sequel to SHADE will not disappoint fans of paranormal romance with its blend of action, starcrossed lovers, and entanglements, both dangerous and sexy."

SIDE NOTE: On what the series have in common that makes them so refreshing to delve into.

Both series are driven by a paranormal/urban fantasy element, but they have a strong contemporary novel feel. Why?

Instead of being about a small handful of people discovering a secret about something strange/otherworldly, they're both alternate versions of the real world, in which the entire population knows what's going on.

In Shade, everyone born after the Shift can see ghosts, and in Curse Workers, some people possess the ability to change your memories, your emotions, your luck, your dreams, etc. with the touch of their hands.

In both books, these things affect everyday life for all people -- from controversial government regulations to clothing choices (red to deter ghosts, gloves to prevent people from being worked).

And the authors are both so skilled at worldbuilding, you totally believe it. Brilliant!

Your turn! What are some of your favorite trilogy book twos? I've previously given props to Janice Hardy's The Healing Wars trilogy and James Dashner's The Maze Runner trilogy, which had excellent second books!


  1. You know I will agree 100 gazillion percent on Shade. I heart that trilogy big time. I can't say enough yummy things about it. I'm dying for Shine to come out. I will meet Jeri Smith Ready one day. (I'm being a total fangirl.)
    I still love the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I couldn't stop turning the pages and thought each book brought more and more to the overall story.
    I will check out the other trilogy you mentioned. Sounds awesome.

  2. Haven't read Shade yet but TOTALLY WITH YOU on Red Glove!


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