I've been excited about a number of sequels this past half a year, Midnight in Austenland included (which I'm currently halfway through and loving). The three I've just gotten my hands on recently (been kinda busy moving halfway across the country to good ol' CA this winter):
Crossed, by Ally Condie
The Secret Prince, by Violet Haberdasher
Liar's Moon, by Elizabeth C. Bunce
All three of these books had really, really promising first installments. None of them quite lived up to their predecessors. BUT, they were all still good, fun reads.
First, Crossed: Picking up where Matched ended, Cassia chooses to search for Ky, beyond the city into the dangerous Outer Provinces where he's been sent to certain death. This one for me was a bit overly introspective, a little shy on more forward-moving plot elements, but still a lovely read. I'll be interested to see how she manages to wrap up all of the loose ends in book #3. I think too often I tend to love a second book based solely on the fact that I loved the first book and was therefore excited for and entirely convinced that I would love the second. So I've had mixed feelings about this one. Still, I enjoyed reading it. And that's important.
The Secret Prince: The sequel to the promising, though admittedly very Harry Potter-like Knightley Academy, the title is a little less-than subtle on this one. Following his roommate's lead, Henry Grim begins to befriend the other boys at school, no longer the outcast he was convinced he would always be. Together, the boys form a secret club to train for battle, though such training is against the Brittonian laws. When they're discovered, Henry disguises himself as a servant on a train headed for the brink-of-war Nordlands, searching for evidence of their treachery to use as his own redemption back at Knightley Academy. The secrets that he finds there, however, will lead us nicely on to book #3 ... Highly recommended for middle grade readers, male and female alike, who adored Harry Potter.
Finally, Liar's Moon: Digger is back in the city, mostly trying to survive, half-heartedly searching for other wielders of magic like herself, not sure where she fits in with the brewing rebellion. When she learns that an old friend has been imprisoned for murdering his wife, she throws herself into the task of clearing his name. The secrets and plot twists she unearths along the way force her to question what she thinks she knows about her friends, herself, and even her evil brother---the man responsible for the imprisonment, torture, and deaths of so many born to magic ... just like herself. The first book in this series (Star Crossed) had me gasping for breath, again and again, literally biting my fingernails, wondering how on earth a plot so twisted, knotted, and switch-backed could ever manage to right itself in the end. This one was less gasp-worthy, but I'm still impressed by the gritty new talent that is Elizabeth C. Bunce.