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Initial revision by user avatar cmm · 2019-12-08T13:12:52Z (4 months ago)
It seems to be a problem of packaging, and setting up expectations for readers. If I read the "high level" of your comments correctly, you have two sets of characters who come together in book 3. Book 1 is mainly about set 1, book 2 is mainly about set 2, and book is about set 1 plus set 2.

If this is more-or-less true, could books 1 and 2 be presented as independent books taking place in the same world? They tease some shared names, events, and unresolved plot lines, but each stands on its own. Book 3 comes along as the grand unifier, pulling the two groups of characters together, developing the unresolved story lines to a satisfying resolution.

I find trilogies to be profoundly disappointing. I read the first book, and it doesn't really finish -- so much goes unresolved. It is all tease. I enjoy synergies between books, where it is almost like I am a detective finding resonance and alignment between books, where that alignment piques my interest in whatever might come next. It creates the sense of a full world where more than one thing happens, and more than one story exists, until the payoff when they come together into a grander story.

So, just for me as a reader, I would like:

Book 1, major plot well resolved with some secondary plot questions left open. Book 2, new characters, same world, another major plot well resolved with echos of book 1 secondary plots. Book 3, unification, all characters coming together, discovery that sub-plots are actually big problems, resolution, and ...

By the time book 3 carries that load, it will probably be bigger.

Attribution notice added by user avatar System · 2019-12-08T13:12:52Z (4 months ago)
License name: CC BY-SA 4.0
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Imported from external source by user avatar System · 2019-11-11T14:39:17Z (5 months ago)
Original score: 2