We’re all familiar with the concept of sequels in the movie world. As soon as a movie enjoys reasonable success you can almost guarantee that #2 and quite possibly #3 are already on the drawing board whether there is a plausible way of continuing the story or not. (Did I hear someone mention Police Academy?)
Of course, this happens with books as well and many authors regularly revisit characters and scenarios that have sold well for them previously, often with reasonable success.
Sometimes, however, the sequels are written by someone other than the original author. Take a popular classic, revamp it and voila! an instantly marketable “new” book is born. (I do believe I heard someone mutter the name Pride and Prejudice and Zombies).
Pride & Prejudice seems to have inspired more than its fair share of sequels and companion novels. Many years ago I suffered through Pemberley by Emma Tennant and swore that I would never subject myself to another ill-conceived sequel to one of my favourite books ever again. As a result, when we received The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough last year, I happily handed it over to Meredith and sat back to enjoy the fireworks without risking my own blood pressure.
I have weakened though and have just finished reading Darcy’s Passions by Regina Jeffers, a companion to P&P written from Darcy’s perspective. Aside from a few minor annoyances (was it really necessary to have Darcy dwell on Elizabeth Bennet’s “fine eyes” every 3 pages?) I enjoyed this book. I’m not so sure about Jeffers’ next book, Darcy’s Temptation. Reading the sequel of a sequel is tempting fate, I think.
Do you ever read sequels to classics or do you avoid them? Which sequels have worked for you? Which were terrible? Which ones made you wonder if the author had read the original book at all?by