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Some Thoughts On The Unbounded Series by Teyla Branton

The Reckoning

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.

Teyla Branton

#TeylaBranton #Unbounded #TheReckoning #Paranormal #Renegades #Emporium

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Teyla Branton’s The Cure Continues The Adventure

The Cure Cover

Teyla Branton’s The Cure, Unbounded Book 2, is an ambitious sequel to The Change. There are some new characters we meet while strange universe created in the introduction to the series is expanded along with the godlike abilities of the quasi-immortals. Again we see things through Erin’s point of view as she continues the wrestle with the reality of who and what she has become along with her origins and those who were important to her before her Change.

There is a trick to writing a series. The author must keep the readers from earlier books happy with the advance of the storyline while writing in a way that can stand alone should someone read only the one book or read the series out of sequence. Of course the objective is to entice every reader into becoming a fan of the entire series. Some would give a prologue with all a summary of the previous story. But Branton has chosen the better alternative to battle the fabled sophomore jinx, continuing the story while filling in the background where necessary and in such a way that it is not obtrusive to anyone who read the previous work. After all, there may have been some gap between reading the books and a little refreshing of the storyline doesn’t hurt. Readers of a serial will naturally compare the books and some will find each successive sequel lacking in some way while others will enjoy how the story is continued with the characters they already know. The critical way to judge a series is whether the story is consistent between books and is the plot carried forward. The Cure meets both criteria.

While Branton covers the necessary elements she deals with the unresolved tensions between characters and advances their relationships. The addition of new blood in the story, Mari, Oliver and Benito lends a feeling of authenticity to the fictional world as it grows to accommodate more complexities. Each new character has a key role in the story validated in action lending sufficient depth and backstory.

There is a lot more action in this fast paced installment as the Renegades continue their war against the Emporium. Although The Hunters are involved early on in this story and are mentioned throughout they are not as large a factor in this part of the story as the rivalry between the two factions of the Unbounded. Romantic elements established in the first book are also brought into the mix as we get to know more about Ritter and Keene as well as Erin.

The objective of the Renegades is to rescue scientists who have been working on a cure for autoimmune disease. In doing so they must go into the jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico to thwart the Emporium’s murderous attempts to suppress the technology. The Emporium, being heavily invested in the pharmaceutical industry in the production of medications for treatment of the disease, has no desire in allowing a cure to be made available.

It’s a tough challenge writing the follow up for a popular book. Sometimes the story dictates where the author must take it and, as most writers know, trying to guide where a story will go doesn’t always work out for the best. With The Cure, Branton has taken her readers exactly where we should go in preparation for the third and fourth books of the series. I’m glad they are already available because I plan to work them into my schedule. Expect reviews of the next two books of this innovative paranormal series in the near future.

Teyla Branton

#TeylaBranton #Unbounded #TheCure #TheChange #Paranormal #Romance #Emporium #Renegades