Overview of The Citadel of the Last Gathering
With the third novel about to come out, I thought I should throw together some sort of explanation for what this series is and why you might want to read it. I figured an FAQ would be more fun to read and write than a rant, so I went with that.
What are these books?
The Citadel of the Last Gathering is a series of novels I've been working on for several years and plan to stay with for quite a few more. I've written the first six, though the last two are only first drafts so far. I'm not 100% sure how many there are going to be in total, but my best estimate is between nine and twelve. I know how the series ends, but I'm not certain how many twists in the proverbial road it'll take to get there.
What's the genre?
Well, that gets complicated. First and foremost, these are fantasy, but that could mean a lot of things. In this case, it actually does mean a lot of different things: because the books incorporate time travel, the sub-genres change from novel to novel. The first book is essentially ancient world, the second is sword and sorcery, the third is an amalgamation of Victorian fantasy, steampunk, and some related genres... you get the idea.
If you're inferring elements of SF from the presence of time travel, you're on the right track. While the mechanism is magical in nature, I'm not treating it as a throwaway concept. I've put some effort into crafting the rules of time travel and taking it seriously. In quite a few ways, I'm treating this as a science fiction story occurring in a fantasy setting, rather than a fantasy story with a couple SF tropes.
Oh, you mean this is really happening on Earth
No! I promise, the last book won't end with them going back in time and destroying magic or something. This isn't occurring on Earth - it's a fantasy world.
What's the world called?
Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed I haven't named the planet... and there's a reason for that. With very few exceptions, I hate it when SF and fantasy authors create cutesy names for their worlds. While I appreciate it from a branding perspective, it just doesn't make sense.
Historically, people on Earth have typically assumed their world is the only one and just named it accordingly. That's why our planet is still called a synonym for dirt. I'd expect cultures of a fictitious world to act similarly.
I considered having a few cultures do something like this early on in the series, but I decided too many people would assume that just meant it took place on our Earth, which... see the last question.
Is it YA?
Kind of. The main character is sixteen in the first novel, which - by many definitions - makes it a YA series. On top of that, the content tends to lean towards a PG-13 level.
That said, she's going to grow older. The content may get a little darker at times, but not exceedingly so. Also, a lot of YA books follow a pretty standard formula. It should be pretty obvious from the first book this does not.
Who's the main character?
Alaji, a young woman from the distant past, who finds herself on an adventure spanning countless eons. Along with the spells known to her people, she has developed the ability to skip back in time a few seconds, a simple-sounding effect which makes her a lethal foe.
She is an outsider everywhere she goes, both in appearance and customs. As she travels, she will need to determine her place in a vastly complex world.
Other major characters will come and go - some may even overshadow Alaji as the primary lead for a book or two - but the series will tell her story. She'll also be the only character to appear in every novel.
How about romance? Is there a love interest?
There will be some romance eventually, but not for quite a while. It'll be a factor in the later books, but it's never going to be the primary point of this series.
I like a good love story as much as the next person, but I'm a little tired of a couple meeting and discovering they're soulmates. That can be a fine premise, but it's been done to death.
Will I like these books?
I hope so! Most reviews I've gotten have been very positive. The few tepid exceptions generally cite time travel as the element the reader disliked.
I don't think genre fans familiar with the trope will have an issue, but if you've never encountered a time travel story you enjoyed, this probably won't break the pattern. I don't think I've made the books too complicated, but I do assume readers will be familiar with the concept of time travel and will be willing to explore some unusual spins on the idea.
Why should I read them?
The settings are dynamic, shifting from book to book, as the world is transformed by geological changes, a shifting climate, evolution, and catastrophic magical events... not to mention Alaji's actions, which will leave a lasting mark on humanity, the world, and history.
It's fantasy at a very large scale, filtered through Alaji's changing perspective of the world she's altering. All of that on top of the action, comedy, and suspense you'd want from a genre series - these books are both philosophical and fun to read.
It's by far the most ambitious project I've ever undertaken, and I'm extremely proud of how the books are coming together. I hope you'll give them a shot.
Where can I get them?
Amazon. I publish the paperbacks through Createspace, Amazon's print-on-demand service. The digital versions are only offered through Amazon, as well, formatted for Kindle:
Book 1: A Count of Five
Book 2: A Tide of Ice
Book 3: A Unique Sickness of Spirit
If you're a fan of a different e-reader format, I apologize. I used to offer other books on other platforms, but the sales never justified the effort. When Amazon started offering promotional options in exchange for exclusive access, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to reach a larger audience.