To stand alone
A question I’ve been asked a lot lately, particularly at my signing events for The Heart of Fire, is whether you can read the DestinyQuest books in any order or whether you should really start with Book One and play through sequentially. It’s a question that, I'm sure, should have a quick ‘yes/no’ answer but I always end up pulling my ‘constipated’ frown, chewing my lips and making ‘umming’ noises. It’s not an easy one to answer.
I try my best to write the books so that someone coming to that story ‘fresh’ without any previous knowledge of the DestinyQuest world is not going to be out of their depth or at a disadvantage. I would never, for example, force the player to make game choices that would rely on them having read a previous instalment. So, from that point-of-view, the books are standalone. You could pick up Heart of Fire (or Winter’s Fury when it’s available) and get playing with the minimum of fuss – and enjoy the stories.
But, inevitably, the DestinyQuest books are all part of the same world, telling a single over-arching story– so characters will be flitting in and out of books, and some major events will be referenced and even have a knock-on effect on later stories, in terms of the heroes you play and the characters you interact with. It therefore makes more logical sense, from a narrative perspective, to start with Book One.
I guess where the problem lies is that, at my signing events, I had a few people who really wanted to get stuck into the second book and enjoy the improved gameplay and story elements, then maybe go back and play Book One. Obviously, each to their own – I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t. I almost liken it to watching episodes of a television season; you might miss one or two but still pick up what is happening, then go back to fill in the spaces.
I guess, as the series evolves (all being well), later books are more likely to heavily reference what has occurred previously, but – going back to my original statement – I will always try and approach each book as a standalone title, as much as I can.
Like I said, not an easy one to answer. Read - enjoy, that's my motto!
Finally - just want to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all those who have purchased copies of LoS and HoF over the Christmas period – or might have given/received them as gifts. I’ve had some really great feedback, which is certainly the best present I could have ever wished for!
Don’t forget, if you’ve read and enjoyed the books, please help spread the word by popping a review on Amazon. Those reviews really help sales – the more the merrier.
Wishing you all a great 2013. May all your dice come up sixes ;-)