Perseverance: A Review of Destiny of the Dead, by Kel Kade

            Apocalyptic fiction can be a tricky story format to get right, and it usually falls into two broad categories.  Post-apocalypse stories are actually very common, for a variety of reasons, where the apocalypse has already happened and we spend our time following characters surviving or rebuilding after the fact.  The tone of these can range wildly, from hopeless in the face of a terrible world, or hopeful as rebuilding is underway.  Conversely, there are also stop-the-apocalypse stories, where the heroes of the story work to avoid the end of the world, either preventing or reversing the oncoming apocalypse.  Much rarer are stories where the apocalypse seems inevitable, but has not happened yet.  Where readers, and sometimes even the characters, know that the end of the world is going to happen, but the characters struggle anyways.  Conventional wisdom tells us that if a character wants something enough, then the audience will want them to achieve it.  But how does a story avoid disappointing readers when it seems like the protagonists will not get what they want?

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Perpetuation of Trauma: A Review of The Mirror Man, by Lars Kepler

            Every reader wants to get hooked on a good series, where the author continuously writes new entries featuring favorite characters and new stories within the same framework.  While the trilogy is very common in that regard, it is also common for authors to keep a series progresses for many more than three books.  Something like The Wheel of Time has more than fourteen entries, while The Dresden Files received its seventeenth entry in 2020.  However, with each new book in a long series, there is an ever-growing risk that the author takes.  How do they keep their readers interested, while also providing the same types of stories that drew them in the first place?  Things need to change from book to book to keep the story and characters moving and developing, but change things too much and you may lose readers.  But if an author does not take any risks at all, they also run the risk of losing readers as they will not see a reason to read new entries.  There is a careful balancing act that authors have to consider, balancing the storytelling with the business of selling books, but readers will love the ones who manage it, even if they are unaware of the work going into each new book.

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