Jay Kristoff tells us Why Third Books are the Greatest!

November 17, 2014 Author Feature, Giveaway, Guest Post 13

by Jay Kristoff

We all know about second book syndrome (or if you don’t hell you are lucky) but hear it today from Jay Kristoff the author of the awesome Lotus War trilogy, just Why Third Books are the Greatest!!


Tabitha’s review of Bk #1: STORMDANCER

Tabitha’s review of Bk #2: KINSLAYER

ENDSINGER releases November 24, 2014!

Tabitha interviews Jay Kristoff

Now lets hear it from the author himself on why third books are the greatest!


Anyone who knows an author, has spent any time talking to an author, or happened to be in the room while an author got outrageously drunk, has probably heard the infamous words “second books are HARD” (you may have noticed writers tend to get drunk a lot during the writing of book #2).

Having written a second book in a series, I can personally attest to the need for liquefaction while writing them—second books are rough. You can’t quite finish anything. You need to have pace and conflict and gravity and all the bits going BOOM, but you can’t bring any of it to a real conclusion. That’s the job of the series finale, and this is what leads to all that drunken wailing and secondbook-itis you’ve heard about (which I seemed to avoid, and yayyyy bourbon for that).

What nobody really talks about is how awesome third books are to write.

I think the closest comparison I can draw is to building sandcastles on the beach when you were a kid (if you lived near a beach that is, maybe you build mud palaces instead). Book 1 and 2 are all about the construction phase. Building intricate towers and walls and buildings, crafting them all lovingly until they’re all impressive and shiny. But the BEST part of the day at the beach for me was always the part where I got to stomp my sandcastle to rubble before I left. There’s something therapeutic about destroying this thing you’ve so lovingly built, jumping up and down on those walls and towers until there’s nothing left but your footprints in the sand—at least there was for me. My doctor says I’m doing better, thanks for asking. I haven’t set anything on fire in four whole days.

Anyway, writing a book 3 is kinda like the deconstruction phase of the sand castle game. Everything you’ve spent so much time building comes crashing in down in one big crescendo of stompyness. This isn’t to say you can solve plot issues and storylines with random destruction—everything should still be earned, and readers shouldn’t be short-changed by death being a solution to lazy plotting. But final solutions actually become solutions. You get to kill the big bad guy. You get to finally have those characters who’ve circled each other for three books finally get together. You get to have heroic sacrifices and tearful goodbyes and tragic deaths. You get to fill your reader with the knowledge that NO ONE is safe, that maybe nobody gets out of this thing alive.

And best of all, you get to type the words THE END and actually mean it, and if you’ve done your job right, walk away with the knowledge you gave your characters the send-off they deserved.

I’ve spent 5 years writing the LOTUS WAR. This was my first ever series, and I’ll never love another series I write quite like it. Yukiko and Buruu will stay with me forever. But I can honestly say I had more fun writing ENDSINGER than STORMDANCER and KINSLAYER combined. I can honestly say this is my best LOTUS WAR book ever, and I gave these characters that’ve been my constant companions for half a decade the finale they deserved.

I hope you guys think so too.

Can’t wait for you to read it!

Win a copy of the book – open to US residents only.
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jay kristoff

Jay Kristoff is a tragic nerd, but has spent the last ten years dumping expeez into his Intimidation stat, and now nobody is brave enough to say it to his face. He grew up in the second most isolated capital city on earth and fled at his earliest convenience, although he’s been known to trek back for weddings of the particularly nice and funerals of the particularly wealthy. Being the holder of an Arts degree, he has no education to speak of.

Jay’s first trilogy, THE LOTUS WAR,  is set to be published in over a dozen countries. The first installment  STORMDANCER, was critically acclaimed and shortlisted for several SF/F awards, and the Lotus War novella THE LAST STORMDANCER won the 2014 Aurelais Award for Best Fantasy Short Fiction. The third book, ENDSINGER, is out in November 2014.  Jay’s new series, the SciFi thriller ILLUMINAE, which he co-authored with Amie Kaufman, is due for publication by Random House in 2015. He is as surprised about it as you are. He is represented by Matt Bialer at Sanford J Greenburger Associates.

Jay is 6’7″ and has approximately 13264 days to live. He abides in Melbourne with his secret agent kung-fu assassin wife, and the world’s laziest Jack Russell.

He has a sweet beard.

He does not believe in happy endings.



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Tabitha (Pabkins)

When I'm in the zone I can flip book pages faster than the eye can see - screaming "More Input!" I'm a book, yarn, & art supply hoarding goblin who loves to draw, make toys and craft all sorts of creepy cute things. My current habit is to listen to audio books while I'm arting it up!
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13 Responses to “Jay Kristoff tells us Why Third Books are the Greatest!”

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I agree – I always love reading the third and final book in a trilogy because then its finally time for some closure. Reading the last one in a longer series always makes me feel like I need to go back and reread the entire thing.

      I don’t know how he’s going to wrap everything up …but I know our hearts will bleed – especially based on those gifs he put in his personal review on goodreads. Did you see Jay’s personal review of the last book – it was all just gifs of people crying – pretty hilarious you have to take a look at it!
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Under My Skin by Shawntelle MadisonMy Profile

  1. Molly Mortensen

    I don’t know what it is about second books, but so many of them are the worst of the series. Maybe it’s because book one establishes everything and book three finishes everything, but book two is just sort of there. I enjoyed his sandcastle analogy. 🙂 This series looks good, but now I’m afraid of that finale.
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Top Ten Sequels I Can’t Wait To GetMy Profile

    • Tabitha (Pabkins)

      I completely agree with you – second books typically can be pretty awful especially in YA trilogies that it makes me so hesitant to even continue. These days I frequently only read the first in a YA trilogy and never both continuing especially if the first book is a 3star.

      This series though has been really heart ripping and great both the first and second!
      Tabitha (Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Under My Skin by Shawntelle MadisonMy Profile