Saturday, July 28, 2012

Trilogy Blues

I know so many people who just won't read a book when it comes out if it claims to be a first book in a series.  Intellectually, I understand that, but it hasn't bothered for me in a while. Books come out so quickly these days!  I mean, if you waited 10 years for the next Clan of the Cave Bear book, you're not afraid of the eight months it takes to get the next popular YA title of the moment.  Amateurs.

But I've just finished No Safety In Numbers, by Dayna Lorentz.  There's no warning on the cover, no "Book One of the Hydrogen Prophecies" or "First Book in the Magnesium Cycle."  No, you start reading, and you think it's just your average YA about a bioweapon bomb planted in a suburban shopping center, a quarantine, and four kids facing the dangers and pressures that come with the situation.

And then you start to get it into it.  I mean, it's really a trapped-in-a-mall story--no one knows what's going on, or for how long they'll be there.  The teenagers are making trouble, the pharmacy is running out of toothbrushes, and Ryan has a crush on Shay, while Lexi's mother is being a pain.  Maybe you're a little skeptical that people are still selling food instead of giving it away before it goes bad, or wondering how much contact lens solution a group of this size is likely to need.

But in general, you're rolling along, feeling the mall-claustrophobia (which seriously, I have.  Malls used to make me hyperventilate when I was in high school), getting a little bored with everyone, and a little paranoid as you realize that we're worried about contagion but not taking the proper precautions, and that there's really no one from stopping the jock-bullies from being buttheads.  Things are building to a head--Marco also likes Shay; Lexi needs to step up and take care of people; Mike might be a jerk but he takes care of his own.

And then BANG!  The absolute climax of the book, seven days into this nightmare with five pages left and you're like what?  How can this end?  And it DOESN'T!  We're still in the mall.  Tune in next--what, year?--to find out what happens.  The presumed sequel doesn't even have an Amazon listing yet.  "End of Book One" my Aunt Fanny.  That's not book one, it's PART one of ONE BOOK.  This is not an ending to a book, it's an ending to an episode of a TV show.  Blargh!

At least be gracious enough to get an Amazon listing.  I want to know the title.  Because I really, really want to read it.



Aarti said...

Ah, and THAT is why people are scared to start unfinished trilogies! Have you ever read Megan Whalen Turner's books? They are SO GOOD and she writes SO SLOWLY. Same with George R. R. Martin and almost every fantasy writer ever... sigh. Also, WHY DO ALL STORIES TAKE THREE BOOKS TO TELL? It makes no sense.

LibraryHungry said...

This makes me think of another point I wanted to make, which is that there's a major difference between breaking one story into three parts and telling three stories that fit together in an overarching narrative/theme/character's life. If there's no resolution of ANY part of the storyline, it's not fair to call it a single story.

And Megan Whalen Turner's books are some of my favorites! I haven't read Game of Thrones yet--it's so long it looks intimidating. But everyone recommends them so highly; I know I'll dive in eventually!

larkhome said...

I feel that Megan Whalen Turner's books, while not stand-alones, each have their own complete story, so I only get antsy for the next one because I'm a greedy reader. :^) But breaking stories is Not Okay. That's why I was glad I never got around to reading Garth Nix's Lirael until Abhorsen was almost out, because that's definitely one book that was broken into two parts because someone made a dumb choice. (Probably a publisher, being all "you can't have a YA book that's that long!")