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Guys, last week something monumental happened… I skipped my first Top 5 Wednesday since becoming a blogger. I just didn’t have any good answers for last week’s topic. But this week seems plenty doable. Today’s topic is series in which the second book is the best. This kind of constrains a person to trilogies, but I’ve actually got enough to discuss without cheating. And so, let’s talk about the series that are not little in the middle because the middle’s got much back… or something. I don’t know. You try to be clever every week.
- The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: I have always maintained that Siege & Storm was the best book in this series. It gets right to the good stuff and has a great ending. Plus, there’s lots of Nikolai Lantsov, my actual child. It has the best plot and Alina has the most character development in this book. Improbable (though not impossible!) as it may be, this second book of the trilogy is the highlight of this series.
- The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski: The second book in this series is, by far, the best. The political intrigue is at its peak and Kestrel and Arin are at their most angst-ridden. It’s the book that cemented the Kovu and Kiara from The Lion King 2 parallels (think about it, they’re the same couple). It’s more well-written than the first book and the Harrani have been freed from slavery (thus taking care of that master/slave dynamic discourse… even though Arin got sent there on purpose to take down the Valorian general and thus was in control the entire time but whatever). And it’s before the third book swoops in with the much-despised memory loss trope. Plus, I mean, it has the iconic line, “Marry him, but be mine in secret,” which could only be romantic in the context of this novel. The Winner’s Crime is hands down the best book in this criminally underrated series.
- The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkin: The middle book in this series, The Evolution of Mara Dyer, is the height of Mara and Noah’s swooniness. It also has the best action, not going too far, but still progressing in a dark direction. While I don’t hate the final book, I’ll admit it does interfere with my suspension of disbelief. This book does not. Everything about it makes sense for this world. Plus, there’s none of that high school BS from the first book. It’s a happy medium that sent me to ruins.
- The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare: For some reason, Clockwork Prince has always been my favorite each time I’ve read the series. Perhaps it’s because it’s not as introductory as Clockwork Angel and not as painful as Clockwork Princess. Maybe it’s the fact that there’s just the right amount of humor and silliness to counteract the more serious aspects. Possibly it’s the demon pox jokes. Or the Herongraystairs action and romantic tension. Or the Jessa proposal scene. Or Will finally finding out he’s not cursed. Or that scene where Magnus kisses Will while he’s asleep to make Camille jealous and then tells Will he didn’t kiss him and Will just shrugs and assumes he dreamed it. Maybe it’s any number of things. All I know for sure is that this one is my favorite and each reread I eagerly anticipate it like clockwork.
- The A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas: Series? Isn’t A Court of Mist and Fury a standalone? Okay, I can’t help it. This series is my guilty pleasure and the second book really just takes the cake. The character development is great, as is the slow build-up of Feyre and Rhys’ relationship. I love how Feyre really comes into her own this book and how well this book deals with PTSD. It’s got fun adventures with the Inner Circle and iconic scenes, like the infamous Court of Nightmares scene. Even though Maas fills me with a fury like no other with her lack of diversity and wasted potential, this book is one I’ve never been able to stop thinking about.
What are some series you think reach their peak in the middle? Let me know in the comments!