Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Second Book Blues

It's said that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. Similarly, a series is only as strong as its weakest book. And unfortunately a number of series have started out with a strong first book, only to be followed by a second volume which is at best uninspiring.

This problem seems to be particularly bad with "trilogies" that are in fact not a series of three interconnected books, but in fact three volumes of a single large novel. As a result, the middle volume is all middle, with no beginning or end of its own.

I think this is the problem with C. S. Friedman's latest, Wings of Wrath. I originally read the first volume, A Feast of Souls, in a single afternoon, stopping only for bodily necessities. As a result, I was really looking forward to the second volume, but now that I finally have it in my hands, I'm finding it a lot slower and less interesting a read than the first. I've been able to casually put it aside and do other things, and pick it up only haphazardly from time to time.

A lot of what I'm reading right now feels like "housekeeping," necessary information to get us moved toward the final climax in the third volume, but not really of that much interest of itself. So I'm impatient to get through it and to some more real action, or even just some interesting hints of fascinating secrets of the past -- but not so impatient to keep me reading obsessively.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Sequel to Crown of Slaves has just posted the pre-order link for Torch of Freedom, the sequel to David Weber and Eric Flint's Crown of Slaves.

Of course Mesa wasn't going to take such a blow lying down. Particularly not when it was a publicity embarrassment as well as a major economic loss.

Still, I'm wondering if this is going to go a lot deeper than just Mesa's attitude that it's above the law, and draw in some politicians at very high levels in several other star nations. Especially if it were to expose some hypocrites in the process.