There are at least two ways to write a series and variations on each. The author must decide whether to write each book as a stand-alone or write the entire series in draft and then work on finishing each book one at a time. Then he or she must deal with the necessary backstory elements in some relevant way before continuing with telling the overall tale.
I’m not sure what is the best overall approach. It may depend on the story. It might differ by the author as well but ultimately the expectations of the reader prevail in determining the success of the author;s effort.
It may seem silly to write a series and pretend that each book is a stand alone to the extent of recapping every major point of the series in each of the books. Then again, it depends on how much of a lag there are between releases of the parts of the series. Publishers require the author of a series to write at least a summary of the major points of each preceding book and present it as a Forward to any sequel.
The problem with recapping the facts from the former books into each new installment is that when the series is completely published and a reader can start at the beginning and read straight through the recapping is sometimes glaringly redundant. A good case can be made for a synopsis added into a Forward in that when a reader is plowing through an entire series sequentially he or she would have the option to skip that material or use it as more of a reference.
The real problem I have with providing the backstory is that it distracts from advancing the story.
I mention all this because until reading Teyla Branton’s Unbounded Series I hadn’t really felt that any author did a particularly good job with recapping the previous story while telling of a sequel. Anyone wanting to see how to do it well should read Branton’s four books: The Change, The Cure, The Escape and The Reckoning. She treats background as almost an unobtrusive reminder of what went on as it relates to the present dilemmas. This is an excellent approach.
It is in the nature of a serial that the larger story spans several books with interim climaxes and cliff hangers. Branton constructs her series well, establishing the main characters in the first book, then adding in other important characters as the plot progresses. The resulting flow feels natural enough despite the paranormal story stretching possibilities. At the conclusion the major questions have been answered and the conflicts addressed sufficiently to end the story. But there is enough left in the background to ruminate and fester in the readers’ minds in case Branton decides to continue the storyline in another series. Personally I hope there is another series – Unbounded II?.
By the time The Reckoning begins Erin has become as seriously badass as her principal love interest, Ritter, but in a complementary way both physically and emotionally. As their bond has grown so has their connection through their skill set as evidences in thwarting the efforts of both The Hunters and the Emporium.
The Reckoning delivers us into the aftermath of The Escape. Erin has a little present her nemesis Delia left inside her. The mystery is not only what is the black coiled snakelike thing but also how to get rid of it – or at least keep it contained and controlled. We also discover the identity of the near corpse that was rescued at the end of The Escape. As has been the case all along the reader is in for a wild ride as the Renegades battle the Emporium.
Despite how well Branton does her thing with bringing the reader back up to speed while continuing the story, I highly recommend reading this story from the beginning. No worries, though. The Change is Free to download. So consider it a way of giving the series a test drive before you buying into it. Be warned, you will end up reading all four books, though – just because it is that kind of story.
#TeylaBranton #Unbounded #TheReckoning #Paranormal #Renegades #Emporium