Companion novels can be a tricky thing. They can either enhance the original novel and make the story feel complete, or they can take away from the original novel and make the series feel dry and overdone.
I’m the person that doesn’t need to know everything about what happens in a novel. I don’t need every question answered or every perspective given in order to enjoy a story. I like being able to guess and fill in the pieces with my own thoughts. This is why I’m usually a little cautious when it comes to reading companion novels.
Sometimes, companion novels just aren’t needed. The original story does such a great job of saying what needs to be said, that there isn’t anything else that needs to be voiced. When these novels get a companion, I usually avoid it. I don’t want to know anything else because I don’t need to know anything else. Others might need to know the other side of the story, and that’s fine. It’s just not for me.
Companion novels also run the risk of being repetitive. If all a companion novel does is rehash what happened in the original, it can be boring and dull. A companion novel needs to be its own story. It needs to be able to stand on its own without the aid of the original novel. That’s not to say the two novels can’t work together, but they need to be unique. If a companion novel can stand by itself and yet enhance the overall story, it’s a success. Those are the companion novels you want to read.
So how do you feel about companion novels? Good or bad? What are some that you think have worked?
I’m in total agreement, sometimes they’re not necessary at all. If anything, make it a novella if you’re determined to give more back story. However, sometimes I read a book and do wonder what happened before it, or why a character is the way they are. I’m trying to think of some good examples, but I’m drawing a blank. It’s been so long since I’ve read a necessary companion novel.