Lately, I've read a couple of books where the sequels have been as good, if not better, than their predecessors. I don't know why that small fact surprised me, but it did. I guess the whole "trust nothing but the original" and "ain't nothing like the real thing" sunk into my subconscious a little deeper than I had thought. Why do we, as readers (and watchers) all too often automatically judge a sequel more harshly than a first book simply because it DID NOT COME FIRST?
The assumption that a second (or third, or fourth) book in a series can never live up to the book innocently enough called Number One has to be more than just chance. I see it sort of as an insidious subliminal message: Why choose #2 or #3 when you can have #1? Silly, right? Of course I'll be the first to admit that there are massive truckloads of sequels in book and movie form that should have never, ever been written or published, but I'd like to name a few of my favorite sequels here - books that not only lived up to the awesomeness of their predecessor, but screamed by them in a flash of fantastical reading goodness.
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater (The Gathering of Faerie #2)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (actually a prequel, but published second)
Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #3)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (Narnia #2)
Long May She Reign by Ellen Emerson White (The President's Daughter #4)
Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (Anne series #3)
And you? Do you have a favorite sequel?