Lowlight: I cannot remember anything that happened. Who are you people? What is going on? When did they start dating? So and so died?! This is definitely a biased issue, but I hate it when I can't remember those small (or big) details from book one. It'd be nice if every sequel came with a quick one-page recap. This is one of the reasons why I was glad that Veronica Roth created the "But I Read DIVERGENT a Year Ago" guide - very helpful.
Highlight: More time with old and new characters! More of the awesome characters that I love? This is, undeniably, one of my favorite parts about series. There's nothing quite like curling up with a sequel and getting the chance to see all of your favorite characters again. Plus, then there are the newbies! Scarlet. Thorne. Sturmhond. And so, so many more. I love new awesome characters.
Lowlight: New love interest or love triangle. Very few writers can actually pull off a well-written love triangle/square/whatever, so I rarely find a love triangle to be fun or interesting. They can be especially annoying when, after all of that struggle to get together in book one, the MC finds a new love interest to swoon over. No thanks.
Highlight: New and intriguing revelations. I love it when a sequel reveals new secrets, especially when it ties into the first novel. Because then I can be all "WHY DIDN'T I NOTICE THAT IN THE FIRST BOOK? OMG!"
Lowlight: The novel ends on a cliffhanger. And I want to cry, because that is just cruel. This is one of the many reasons why I'm a fan of JK Rowling's HP series - she wrapped up each novel's story arc, perhaps with one or two lingering questions, but never left her reader's with a big cliffhanger.
Highlight: Character development. Elisa and Alina, I'm looking at both of you. There's nothing better than watching a character grow, change, and evolve over multiple novels.
Lowlight: Nothing happens. And I mean nothing. Just random and meaningless wanderings. Throughout the entire story, nothing significant occurs because it's a filler book. Who wants to read a book where the only obvious goal is to get to the third novel? What a waste of time.
Highlight: More amazing settings. Like Hogwarts. I want to live at Hogwarts. Plus, sequels give readers a chance to view different settings. SIEGE AND STORM begins in a completely different area than the first story left off, and INSURGENT introduces readers to different factions and their homes. It's interesting to read about different settings, especially for fantasy or futuristic novels.
Lowlight: The MC or Love Interest change from awesome to annoying. Which is always a shame. Character development works both ways, and sometimes, they develop in all of the wrong ways. I loved Four in DIVERGENT, but I really wanted to slap him (and Tris) by the time I was done reading INSURGENT. It drives me crazy whenever characters I loved in the first novel start acting like idiots in the sequel.
Highlight: New perspectives. I loved BITTERBLUE, a sequel / companion novel to GRACELING, so much because it gave me insight into a different character and part of that world. The title character in SCARLET was a fantastic addition the cast of main characters, even though I was wary at first.
What do you love and hate about sequels?