More Sequels Are Hard:
Partial feedback from another reader indicates that the beginning may be on the slow side. Readers who were already invested in these characters were willing to go along for the ride, but this was a new reader, unfamiliar with the first book.
I think it’s to do with the conflicts.
THE SHAMAN’S CURSE has two main, interweaving conflicts. There’s the external conflict with the shaman, which starts first and ends the story, and then there’s Vatar’s internal conflict over his magic. The external conflict is the one in the title and it’s more the sort of conflict that may be expected in this kind of book.
THE IGNORED PROPHECY has three main conflicts, but the one that starts first (and has to carry the first part of the book) is the internal one. Some very strange things happen with Vatar’s magic and the characters have to figure out why and whether or not it’s dangerous. The two more external conflicts (very closely related to each other) start a bit later in the story. I think, probably, that that internal conflict was not what that reader was expecting.
That may mean two things. One is to try to get to the external conflicts sooner. (Balancing that with also adding content to better introduce the world!) The other is to wonder whether I have the right title for this book. This one has always been THE IGNORED PROPHECY. It never even had a different working title. But maybe I need to think of a title that better describes that internal conflict so that readers get the kind of story they’re expecting. Right now it looks like possibly THE VOICE OF PROPHECY. I like THE SPIRIT’S VOICE, too, but that one might be open to the wrong interpretation. ThE PHANTOM VOICE has an outside chance.
Sigh. That’ll also mean a change to the cover art. Good thing I hadn’t finalized anything yet.