Sequels are hard. Sometimes the story or characters you adored just can’t carry over for another romp. That ship sailed and you’re left treading vaguely familiar water, feeling kind of icky and down and also waterlogged. “There’s something a little terrifying about picking up a sequel to a book that broke your heart in the way only the best books can,” Seanan McGuire recently tweeted. “No matter how good it is, it will lack that brilliant newness: it will be following a familiar channel.”
So, can a follow-up novel ever feel… novel? Luckily, McGuire found just that in Deep Roots, the upcoming sequel to Ruthanna Emrys’ Winter Tide—and it got us thinking about other sequels that rise to the occasion. The ones that defy the sophomore slump, and maybe even surpass their progenitors. Check out our favorites below—maybe you’ve got a few to share, too!