I am a big fan of trilogies. Books, movies. There’s just something wonderful about having THREE of something. You get more of the same characters, more story, but the guarantee that everything will be wrapped up in 3 books and you don’t have to worry about being left hanging if something happens to the author before the end of the series (a la Robert Jordan).
My favorite trilogies are of the Nora Roberts variety. Great cast of characters, but each book focuses on a different couple, so there is a romantic resolution for them in each book. This satisfies my sap quotient, but I still get to see more of the story as the trilogy progresses.
I also really enjoy trilogies that follow the SAME couple (or same people, but who are we kidding? This is me. If there’s not a romance of SOME kind I’m probably not reading it). But there is ONE PROBLEM inherent in this kind of trilogy that drives me epically NUTS. The middle book.
Now middle books of trilogies usually suck more than the first and third simply because there is ALWAYS a worsening of whatever situation is going on in the plot arc, a bigger bad, more stuff that doesn’t resolve on a big scale. There’s that DISSONANCE of stuff NOT BEING FINISHED that sort of always leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth for middle books.
My issue with middle books of trilogies that follow the same people/couple is that in the middle book the hero and heroine are ALWAYS acting like TOTAL MORONS and fighting or are otherwise apart. Because, you know, you can’t actually have them happily together once they’ve found each other in book one. I GET that intellectually as an author. I really freaking HATE IT as a reader. Sometimes it’s well done and I can get behind how the author keeps them split up or at odds or something. Julie Kagawa did a great job with this in her Iron Fey series.
Ash had a fundamentally GOOD REASON for acting like a total jerkwad. If Mab knew he loved Meghan, she’d kill her. Okay fine. I can accept that as a reader. I can also accept that in her pain, she turns to best friend Puck and sort of has a thing with him, even though we KNOW he’s not her true love. I didn’t throw any of these books because she gave me really GOOD LOGIC for why they were apart.
But then you have books where authors seem to just make up stupid crap to keep them fighting or in a snit or whatever. The kind of stuff that could be resolved if they’d just freaking HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION. But no, they can’t do that, and instead they’re making stupid mistakes like hooking up with other people while they’re split or otherwise flying in the face of the REAL relationship they’re supposed to be having (because again, this is me, and I am a big fan of the One True Pairing).
I guess that’s what it boils down to. I have a low tolerance for conflict that’s really just misunderstanding. Give me a REAL problem, REAL stakes–like the world will end if they stay together or he’s afraid he’ll kill her or somebody ELSE is gonna kill one of them if they’re together. Or hell, have them PHYSICALLY apart and have to go on different missions for a while. Don’t just rely on having one of them saying something stupid and hurtful that then just escalates because they’re both immature morons and can’t communicate. Because that just really sucks.
So says Kait.