The first book can't have been that bad, because when I was at the library the next weekend, I picked up the next book in the series.
The problem is, I don't feel like there was a grand plan. Nothing is set up in the first book in order to make the second book work. What I"m looking for here is a JKRowling-esque preplanning where there are characters mentioned in passing in book three that become features of book six, (like the thief I forget his name who is always ripping off the order of the phoenix). We never hear about Tris's cousin in book 1 (that I remember anyway). Right before she needs to be able to see magic, the concept is invented. JKR would have put that in book 1.
I think this may be the nature of being a professional writer who is making a living off your books. I think she writes one and then has to get it published, and then has to write the next one, in some kind of a madcap schedule.
Did I mention before the "about the author" bit at the back? Robin Hobb's has got to be my favourite. "Robin Hobb lives in Washington State." How's that for "It's none of your business!" Well, Tamora Pierce totally goes the other way. It may be the only one of these things I've ever seen that was longer than a page. And the acknowledgements are hidden in the front with the ISBN number. It's totally shocking.
Why I read this: well, right now, my 1st draft project is a story about four young adults at a boarding school. It's definitely different than Winding Circle, this school they're at, and different from Hogwarts, too. But I'm curious about how other people handle the situation. Maybe I should talk to other people who have gone to boarding school, such as Ed, his sister, and my mother, about conventions. Does every school have students organized into houses? Are friendships the same as at Hogwarts, where three or four kids basically do everything together and seem to have no interactions other than classroom ones? I mean, Ron has no hobbies, he's in no clubs. He has no life except when Harry is around. I don't want my characters to be like that.
Second library book I've lost since August, though. This is getting expensive. I have to start carrying around my own books, I guess, and reading library books at home.