Tor.com content by

Katy Rose Pool

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Five Sequels That Are Even Better Than the First Book

The second book in a series is notoriously difficult to write. As readers, I’m sure we’ve all experienced the unique disappointment of a sequel that just doesn’t live up to the potential of the first book. Having now written the second book in my Age of Darkness series, I definitely have a new appreciation for the challenges and pressure of writing a sequel.

A good sequel doesn’t just continue the story of the first book—it evolves it. It challenges the characters in new ways, deepens the world, and leads the reader into the next book like a tightly held breath. It should, in fact, be the strongest part of a trilogy. The crux of the story and the glue that holds it together. A good second book should feel like pressing down on the accelerator and taking each curve at a hard swerve. Here are 5 sequels that manage to blow their (already amazing) first books out of the water.

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Series: Five Books About…

Are You The One? Exploring The Chosen One Trope in SFF

The Chosen One is a trope that predates the genre of fantasy and even literature itself. It certainly pops up in just about every religious scripture, Arthurian legend, most mythologies, and seems to permeate our modern day media, from fantasy books to anime, video games, and popular TV shows. You could even say that this trope occurs in the real world, when we hold up some politician or leader as the one that’s going to solve all our problems and save the world. Chosen Ones can be chosen by another person or entity, their lineage, a prophecy, some particular trait they possess (i.e. being “pure of heart”), or some action that they themselves take.

It’s become such a staple of the fantasy genre in particular that nearly all fantasy stories incorporate or invoke the trope in some manner. It can also be pretty lazy storytelling. It can override the hero’s agency. The plot of a Chosen One story tends to bend to this trope, along with just about every other character in the story. So what if this random person doesn’t seem like the best choice to defeat the forces of darkness? He’s the chosen one! The hero’s connection to the main conflict in the story is manufactured. It’s not personal, it’s just dictated by the nature of the trope. It’s an excuse to involve an everyman type of character in a huge, world-spanning conflict that they otherwise would have no connection to. But that is also part of the trope’s strength—that it makes a hero out of a character the audience can fully relate to, be it a high school cheerleader in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or a young son of a slave in The Phantom Menace.

[Honestly, I love a good Chosen One trope.]

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