Ok, friends. My statistics clearly reveal that we are all dying for Justin Cronin to just hurry up and finish the sequel to the Passage already. The post I wrote about this as-yet-unreleased book has been the MOST visited post on this blog for the last six months. Go figure. Clearly I should stop reviewing books and just start rambling about The Passage, then, right?
No. Steph's* recent post about embracing herself as a Black Sheep Blog(ger), has got me thinking about marching to the beat of my own drum in this little corner of book blogger land, followers and clicks be damned. So I'm not here to ramble about the sequel to The Passage (although I bet just saying "sequel to The Passage" this many times in one post will lead many unsuspecting searchers here only to disappoint them). Instead, this relatively mundane fact on my Google Analytics got me thinking about sequels and the urgent waiting game us readers play.
Even if you haven't read Justin Cronin's incredible hunk o' book (and you should, really, you should), there must be some book you've waiting eagerly for.** The next Harry Potter book to release, maybe? The third book in Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy? The new volume in Robert Jordan's legendary Wheel of Time series? I'm currently re-reading all 12 existing books in preparation for the release of number 13 here. Or how about the fifth book in George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series? Fans have been waiting for over five years for a new installation there, and are now being teased with an HBO series... but no fifth book.
I'm not just talking about eagerly anticipating an author's newest work. I'm talking about the kinds of books that end unresolved and leave us dangling, waiting for more story.
I know some readers won't start a series (or trilogy, or prequel) until the entire set is completed to avoid just this agony. After all, finishing a book whose successor is not yet publishing is like running to where the sidewalk ends and not really focusing on the fact that the sidewalk does, in fact, end.
Based on just my list of books above, I do not wait until the set is complete. Which means I waited for all six of the additional Harry Potter books after reading the first one the year it was published. And I waited for all of Robert Jordan's additional volumes in the Wheel of Time series; I'm still waiting even now that he has passed away and Brandon Sanderson has picked up the series. I'm dying for Martin to just hurry up and write the damn fifth book already, and if Cronin could just churn out his sequel, that would be great too.
Clearly, though, I'm not alone in breaking this rule. Just take a look at the number of hits on my post about The Passage's sequel. (Note also that my actual review of The Passage has received not 10% of the hits as the post on the sequel.) Readers here are not looking for information about the book that has been published, but news about the books yet to be published.
So what about you? Do you wait for the whole set to be published before diving in, guaranteeing yourself the satisfaction of a polished ending? Or do you start piecemeal, anticipating sequels and new series volumes as they are lined up for publication? Do you then (like me) curse yourself for the haste in starting, knowing the inevitable agony waiting for you at the end?
Updated 1/18/11: The Bookpage interviewed Justin Cronin in June, and talked about the release of the sequel, which is currently slated for 2012. You can also read the full interview with Cronin here, if you like.
* At Bella's Bookshelves, a blog I highly encourage you to visit. Right now. Because you've finished reading my new content, right?
** Ooph, ended a sentence with a preposition here. Must be in a fluster this morning, no?