This is most definitely not the result of me realizing I used to do tags all the time until I didn’t. It’s not me cleaning out my drafts folder and finding a bunch of unfinished tag posts. Also this particular post did not sit around in my drafts for a year and a half before I remembered it was there and dredged it out of development hell. You must be thinking of another post.

Original tag by emmmabooks.

1. Totally should’ve gotten a sequel

Possibly unpopular opinion, but I can’t think of a single standalone novel for which I would want a sequel. Like literally I’ve just gone back through 5.5 years of reading challenges and I don’t see any books that would be improved by a book 2, though I can point to several that should’ve stopped at book 1. Can you imagine a follow-up to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine (Gail Honeyman)? I can’t. Eleanor is completely fine on her own, and a sequel would ruin her.

The thing is, every standalone book I’ve loved has been just that: standalone. Unless it was planned from the beginning as a series, and/or unless it has a LOT of loose ends to tie up, I don’t see any point in continuing the story. I don’t need to know where the characters are. I might feel differently if the average author didn’t go crazy and start “revealing” (read: changing) things in book 2, but this is what we have to work with. That being said, I am looking forward to The Seven Sisters (Neil Gaiman), which is the planned sequel to Neverwhere, but I have no idea when it’s going to be published. Considering it was supposed to be published September 2021 and it has now been a year, I’m guessing it’s going to be a while.

2. Totally should’ve had a spin off series

Okay I know I just said I don’t like sequels but would it be really terrible to wish for a spin-off Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) series where it’s just Crowley and Aziraphale bopping around Earth in their previous lives and interfering with human history so literally like an extended version of the episode 3 cold opening okay I’ll stop. There’s going to be a season 2 of the TV show which sounds like it’s going to be exactly that, so we’ll see how this goes.

3. An author who totally should write more books

I’d love to see more from Abi Daré. The Girl with the Louding Voice is beautiful, heartbreaking, and uplifting, and it always gives me a massive book hangover, and I need more. I’m also a permanent Zeyn Joukhadar stan (see also: The Map of Salt and Stars), and I recently stumbled across Violet Kupersmith (Build Your House Around My Body) as well, and long story short I won’t say no to new books by any of these authors.

4. A character who totally should’ve ended up with someone else

I can think of several, but the one who’s knocking most insistently on my head right now is Lucy Gray Baird (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes [Suzanne Collins]). I’m sorry, bestie, but you really could’ve done better but you didn’t and now you’re probably dead though we’ll never really know for sure. I think Lucy Gray should’ve conked both Billy Taupe and Coriolanus on the head, dropped them into the lake, and gone north with the rest of the Covey. (Or, since she’s not really the conking type, she should’ve had Spruce or somebody take care of it.) Sejanus might’ve been a problem as far as conking Coriolanus went, but we wouldn’t have to tell him.

5. Totally should’ve ended differently

Ariadne (Jennifer Saint). This book was so disappointing. It claimed to blaze a new trail for the forgotten women of Greek mythology, but in the end it was too faithful to its source to do anything innovative with the material. I would have liked, at a minimum, to have seen Ariadne and Phaedra gang up against Theseus and Dionysus and create their own little community on Naxos. I would have liked to have seen them actually forge the better world for which the synopsis claims they are striving. If Circe did it, so can Ariadne.

6. Totally should’ve had a movie franchise

I don’t know if I want a full franchise, given that the second book is currently on hold and I’m kinda on the fence about that synopsis, but I’d love to see a movie version of The Year of the Witching (Alexis Henderson). This book is such a fall mood, and it’s exactly what I want right now as we begin to leave summer behind.

7. Totally should’ve had a TV show

Look, I know this one is still ongoing, but I will never stop yapping about how the Locked Tomb series needs to be a TV show. I need my real-life Gideon. I needed her yesterday. I cannot stop casting this thing in my head and right now I’m kinda picturing Rose Leslie as Gideon (though admittedly she’s quite a bit outside of the age range, seeing as Gideon is eighteen) and Timothée Chalamet as Palamedes Sextus oh god send help. I don’t know who I’d cast as Harrow, but I am open to suggestion.

8. Totally should’ve had only one point of view

His Dark Materials (Philip Pullman) holy shit this series made me so mad. The Golden Compass is the story of Lyra Belacqua, but in The Subtle Knife her story is abruptly hijacked by Will Parry, who is a demanding asshole. In case I haven’t made it clear enough, I fucking hate Will. It’s been three years since I read the series and I’m still mad that he gets, like, any screen time in a story that should’ve been Lyra’s. Yes, yes, Adam and Eve, end of the world, blah blah blah. I still hate their relationship. I didn’t need to be in Will’s head, I don’t care where he came from, and I don’t care where he’s going.

9. Totally should have a cover change

Anything that has the movie stars on the cover. Kill ’em with fire. (The covers, not the actors.)

10. Totally should’ve kept the original covers

Again, anything that has the movie stars on the cover. I want the original cover art. I don’t need to see the actor(s) who may or may not match my vision of the characters.

11. Totally should’ve stopped at book one

Life After Life (Kate Atkinson) was so wonderful, and then A God in Ruins was so bad. This is a perfect example of what I’m talking about in question 1. Life After Life left me with questions, but it was perfect by itself, and, if A God in Ruins is a sample, I do not need further Todd family adventures. The first book succeeded because, even though it had a massive problem with rambling, the premise was so gripping that the rambling didn’t bother me. The second book, on the other hand, was long, boring, and annoying. I hated all the new characters and didn’t get into the story at all. If you loved Teddy and Nancy, don’t read A God in Ruins, because it’s going to destroy them for you. Just reread Life After Life and forget that A God in Ruins ever happened.