Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The First Book Test

If dodecahedron were the first shape I attempted to learn, I would have learned no further shapes.

The First Book Test is a term I've created to describe a sequel's worthiness to stand on it's own as a quality book. Quite simply, the First Book Test raises the question, if this were the first book in a series would you read any subsequent books in that series? Here's an example: The Burning Bridge, Ranger's Apprentice Book 2, passes the the First Book Test, it was just as good as the first book (maybe even better) and made me want to read more Ranger's Aprentice Books. In contrast, Eldest, Inheritance Cycle Book 2, does not pass the test. Eldest made me want to read Eragon again and made me hope the series returned to form or failing that end quickly. If Eldest had been the first book in the series, for me, the series would have ended right there.

Having a book fail the first book test doesn't necessarily doom the series, just the book. The Order of the Phoenix is a prime example, if this had been the first Harry Potter book I certainly wouldn't have read the other six books, however, all the other books do pass the test and as a result I absolutely love the series.

So remember, never let an author get away with slipping a mediocre book in the middle of the series. Because even if you like the other books, a bad book is still a bad book.

by Patrick