Aug 3, 2008: Aren’t sequels supposed to be lesser than the originals? Aren’t we supposed to expect less from a sequel purely by default because, when you love the first one so much, the second doesn’t have much of a chance to compare? Well thanks for screwing up the dynamic of sequels, Sarah!
This was one story that I wanted to break my five chapter limit rule for but I held off and I’m still twitching to keep reading and find out what happens. If those beginning chapters are any indicators of what’s to come (and I have no doubt they are), then I’m missing some good stuff right now.
Right from the opening we are reintroduced to Russ and Liseli as we knew them from Alisiyad. Nothing’s changed. There are moments where I still want to smack both of them (which, really, is a good thing. I really, truly, feel for and with this characters.) but their dynamic is unwavering. In fact, I think it’s been made stronger since the first story. I think it can be a challenge for authors to maintain the integrity of their own characters from sequel to sequel, especially in an online setting where reader input has the potential to influence the writing so I commend Sarah for keeping these two grounded and steadfast in their personas. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
What’s even better about this sequel is that we’re not bombarded with the bane that is infodumping at the start. So tempting is it for a writer to fill in all the blanks to bridge the first story to the second but Sarah doesn’t do that. In fact we know relatively little about what happened during that time except for an occasional snippet when the timing is right in the current arc. She fought the temptation to divulge all and won.
I haven’t read up to any of the fantasy elements yet but judging from Alisiyad and where this piece is going, I’m going to say that the fantastical elements in the story aren’t the central focus. It’s the characters and what’s happening to them that drive the plot forward, not fireballs and magic wands. The characters travel to a magical world, sure, but it’s a magic in passing. The fantasy comes into play when it’s important to the story instead of being thrown about just to show that there is, indeed, fantastical elements present. Yet another reason why I love Sarah’s writing. I’m not being smothered with fireballs and fairies.
If you were a fan of Alisiyad, no doubt you’ll be a fan of Queen of Seven. If you haven’t read Alisiyad yet, then why are you still reading this? Go read that story and then come read this one. I know I’m jonsing to know what happens and not too many writers can make me do that.
Yup, this one’s definitely a "don’t miss" work. You’d be forfeiting some good writing here and you don’t want to do that. This story’s too good to just pass up, and I’ve only read the first five chapters. Now that’s saying something!