I have been having an interesting email discussion with a Sydney specialist bookseller about the expectations readers have when they pick up a trilogy – in other words, what they expect a trilogy to have extra, over and above a stand-alone novel.
Now obviously it will have better world building, because there is simply more words to do it in.
But what else do you expect to be different?
A trilogy has more room for an author to shift focus between characters, to have more characters, more complexity of plot.
Are you disappointed (or delighted) by a trilogy that …
Has huge complexity in, say, the politics?
Concentrates on more depth in fewer characters? Prefers to expand into more characters? Kills off too many of the characters – after all there are lots more!? (A complaint I have heard about G.R.R. Martin’s present epic.)
What makes you stop reading a trilogy (i.e. fail to buy the second or third book)?
What do you expect of the story arc in a trilogy? e.g. do you prefer a story that follows one or two characters from childhood through to hero/ine status? Or are you happy if it deals with a shorter time frame? What about one that switches from one generation to the next?
Do you prefer trilogies to series? How would you define the difference?
And for those who have done tons of reading: What’s the best trilogy you’ve ever read?
If you have any opinions on any of the above, I’d love to hear them!