I’ve been binging my way through the series (up to book 9 now) and while I wouldn’t say it’s jumped the shark yet, it is definitely getting increasingly trippy. Also, does Jane have to be injured to the pint where a normal person would die in *every* book?

I get that this is an inherent problem with open-ended fantasy series, because to keep the readers’ interest, the author has to up the stakes in every book. It got me thinking about how other authors handle the same problem.

Discworld is an obvious example, with 41 books. There, Terry Pratchett had the advantage that his characters mostly weren’t in world-saving kinds of situations. There were just a few exceptions – Equal Rites where they may have been but the rest of us don’t really understand what those two were doing anyway; some of the Sam Vimes books where Vimes mostly was trying to preserve the status quo when the subtle balance of diplomacy was teetering more than normal. The biggest tactic he used, though, to avoid plot inflation was just the switching between viewpoints in each book. For instance, if there had been too many Moist von Lipwig books, Pratchett would have had trouble keeping Discworld out of the modern era. And in the Tiffany Aching books, she really was trying to save the world, but there were only 5 books in that subseries.

I don’t think the Ilona Andrews team expected that series to take off as it did. So the world was well detailed from the beginning, but I suspect Kate’s own backstory – and Roland’s – only really got figured out as more than an inchoate mystery from around the third book or so. There’s clearly some of it there before that, but I suspect somewhere along the way the authors started realizing they had a juggernaut on their hands, so that a few books in they started to plan an ending, bending everything toward the final arc of the big conflict between Kate and her father. I don’t know if they planned ten books or if it that’s just how long it took to tell out that story arc, as they fleshed it out. (It’s always possible I’m totally wrong and they knew a lot more about Kate’s background from the beginning!)

Then finally there’s October Daye. I think McGuire is controlling plot escalation in still a third way; there are smaller continuous story arcs within the series. Sort of like real life, as one chapter ends another begins, though there are some continued threads (like learning more about Sylvester and Amandine) that persist through the smaller arcs.

Anyway, yeah, the Yellowrock thing. Hopefully I won’t succumb to the coronavirus, but if I do, this is surly the right thing for reading when you’re having fever dreams. Or maybe exactly the wrong thing?