And we’re back on Locque. One regret I have in ADoF is that the story whisked us away from Locque, thereby reducing the time we had to explore its culture, society and people. Arc 4 brought us back to the world, very deliberately, but it was in some ways too late – with Kay already deep in her mission, there’s no space in which to experience ‘normal Locque’.

This is something I think is really important in adventure fiction, and which often gets forgotten in on-going series. It’s critical to retain the links to the ‘real world’ (whatever that may be, in the context of the story), as it’s that which gives context to everything else going on.

If James Bond movies only exist in the spy world, it’s just a bunch of homicidal, paranoid men attacking each other. It’s his tourist brochure sojourns into interesting cities and countries that make everything else worthwhile (well, sometimes). The first Matrix film goes to great lengths to establish the ‘real world’, which is largely like a dour version of ours, and it’s the juxtaposition between the real world and the real world that makes the story interesting. The sequels use the Matrix itself only as window dressing for big fight sequences, losing that frame of reference and, consequently, a lot of the audience’s empathy. The Blade films follow a similar path, becoming increasingly obsessed with the night world of vampires. The Marvel movies started off firmly entrenched in the real world, but have become increasingly obsessed with the superhero, rather than the people they’re meant to be saving.

A lot of those were movie references. Apologies. I think this is something which adversely affects cinema and TV more than literature, where plots are perhaps given a bit more time to breathe.

What this really means, I think, is that I wish Arc 1 had been a bit longer and a bit slower, giving us more time to get to know Kay before everything hit the fan.


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