So recently there has been a lot of buzz over whether there will be a 4th book in Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy. I recently read on New Dork Review of Books of rumors being confirmed that Larsson's partner, Eva Gabrielsson, plans to finish the fourth novel he was working on when he died. It got me thinking-are series better when they are taken over by other authors? It makes me wonder if someone else who didn't originally conceive of the idea could bring the same kind of magic to a series as the original author.
I confess I have my doubts. I think back to my high school days and the discovery in my junior year of the wonder that was Gone with the Wind. Imagine my delight when I discovered that there was a sequel floating around out there authorized by Margaret Mitchell's estate. Then I read it. The whole thing was just off. I kept thinking throughout the entire book that Scarlett would NOT act/think/feel that way and the loss of character integrity ruined the whole book for me.
In high school I also read The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley which I LOVED. I immediately picked up Lady of Avalon which was written with Diana L. Paxson and really enjoyed this one too. A couple of years ago, remembering how much I enjoyed the previous books I had read in this series I picked up Priestess of Avalon. It was not even close to being on the same level as the previously mentioned books. Again, it got me thinking if this was because Lady was written before Bradley's death and Priestess was after.
Now being the neurotic reader that I am, I try to collect as many in a series as I can before I start reading the series. Among the other series on my shelves waiting to be read:
The Dragonriders of Pern series which started with Anne McCaffrey and are now mostly being written by her son Todd.....
and the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan which is now being written by Brandon Sanderson.
When I finally do get around to reading these, will the later novels written by new authors be on the same level as the works by the original author? I hate to judge all series by my experiences with the few I've come upon in this scenario, but I'm curious-what other series have you run across that have switched authors mid-series and do you find that those novels are of the same quality as the older ones in the series?
I can't imagine how difficult it must be for an author to jump on board and write a novel in a series that was not their brainchild, their baby, their ah ha moment that kept them awake at night building the world in which their characters would live. If I were in that situation I think I would go mad with worry that I would somehow not please the fans of the earlier books. I cannot help but feel that in some instances the series should have been done when the original author passed on or decided not to write it anymore. Thoughts?