You probably know such readers who do not undertake unfinished cycles or wait for the author to at least announce the last volume. Or maybe such a reader is you! This decision is understandable – sometimes it is scary to start a story without having an idea when it will be possible to get acquainted with it in its entirety. It is one thing when an author writes one book for 3-4 years – you can stand it. But it is a completely different matter when the new part is not ready and ten years after the previous one. Or, worse, new books are published regularly, but there are still no solutions.
We present five unfinished cycles, which, despite not even the absence of the finale, deserve attention. The authors skillfully tease the imagination of readers, forcing them to speculate about the fate of their favorite heroes.
“Song of Ice and Flame” by George Martin
“Song of Ice and Flame” is, without a doubt, the most famous unfinished cycle of fantasy today. Martin began writing it in 1991 as a trilogy, but gradually “Song« “grew to seven books, of which only five were written. It was she who made Martin the cult author of fantasy and changed the trajectory of the genre as a whole. Stories of the struggle of Good and Evil with well-defined heroes and unambiguous morals have been replaced by a rigid pseudo-historical fantasy, in which political intrigue plays a big role, there are no right or wrong, and the characters act solely in their own interests. Martin’s findings such as the “murder” of even the main protagonists, the creation of extremely charismatic antiheroes and their serious evolution in the course of the plot are now used everywhere.
The events of “Dance of the Dragons” – the last in the history of the cycle, published in 2011, end in serious problems for many heroes – John Snow is killed in a riot, Daenerys falls into the hands of the pre-Thracian tribe, Cersei loses power and is punished by a shameful march and Stannis prepares to attack Winterfell. We all know how the story ended in the series, but Martin said that in the books at least some lines will end differently. Reports of the imminent writing of “Winter Winds” have appeared regularly since 2014, but Martin is constantly distracted by other projects – from TV series to computer games. In his latest report on work in 2021, which he released in early March, the 73-year-old writer said that work on the sixth novel was slower than in 2020, but there is progress, and the world of Westeros is still his priority. He does not name the date of publication, much less say “Dreams of Spring”, the supposed last novel of the series.
“The Chronicle of the King’s Assassin” by Patrick Rotfuss
Only three novels are planned in the Chronicle of the King’s Assassin series, but sometimes it seems that Rotfuss is even further from the end of the final volume than Martin is from the publication of The Winds of Winter. The action of the cycle takes place in two timelines – an inhuman innkeeper in a provincial town tells the famous chronicler the story of his life, in which he managed to visit a musician, magician, beloved hero and, finally, traitor and “killer of the king.” Each volume is one day of this story.
Rotfuss conceived its history in 1994, 13 years before the first volume was published. And the time spent developing the universe, mythology and magic has paid off. The novels are deeply thought out, poetic and have an immersive effect, the world and its inhabitants are easy to believe, and Quota wants to empathize – both in his guise as a tired innkeeper and in the image of a purposeful boy driven by a thirst for knowledge and revenge.
The second novel, The Fear of the Sage, was published in 2011, and in the mid-2010s the writer published several short stories. Since then, Rotfuss has organized charity events, hosted podcasts, participated in role-playing games, and opened an imprint of the publishing house – in general, from the outside it seems that he does everything except write “Doors of Stone”. In 2020, his publisher even publicly stated on social media that he did not think that Rotfuss had written anything since 2014 and that she had not seen a word from the new novel. This post was soon removed. The author himself explained such a long gap between the books by his health problems and other life difficulties. In December 2021, Rotfuss unexpectedly held a stream in which he read the prologue of the third volume and said that he had already written 400,000 words. But the novel is still not over.
Scott Lynch’s Noble Channels
Lynch’s cycle is a cruel, but still deceitful fantasy about a gang of thieves robbing rich aristocrats, arranging whole costumed performances for this purpose. Due to the alternation of current events and flashbacks, the reader gradually learns about the past of the main characters and understands their motivation, although sometimes it slows down the narrative. It is interesting to follow well-thought-out schemes of deception, especially considering that swindlers often do not go according to plan, and they are forced to improvise. In the novel “Republic of Thieves” the plot is intertwined with politics – the heroes are at the center of the election campaign, and this task is clearly suitable for them. And in the third volume, the writer finally told what the hero had a relationship with the mysterious Sabeta – their strange connection was hinted at in the first two books, but without details. But perhaps the greatest merit of the cycle is the description of the bonds of brotherhood, unbreakable friendship and devotion formed between Locke and his comrades.
So far, there are only three books in Noble Channels, the last of which was published in 2013. Lynch plans to write four more novels in the series, but the author is in no hurry to please his fans with the sequel. The release date of the fourth novel – “Amberlein’s Thorn” – was postponed several times, even after the publication of its cover, and according to official statements, the first draft of Lynch was published in 2019. Among the reasons hindering work on books are health problems in personal life.
“Reflections of Eterna” by Vera Kamsha
The release of the first series of the Russian TV series “Eterna” on “Kinopoisk” caused a new surge of attention to the book’s original source – a series published in 2004. This is a historical fantasy “cloak and sword” about the confrontation between the great houses and the struggle for power. But in addition, it has developed mythology, history and religious structure, many references to real earthly events, while maintaining relationships – things that were briefly mentioned at the beginning, can “shoot” in several volumes. In addition, Vera Kamsha’s books are full of charismatic heroes, among whom stands out the great general Roque Alva, who terrifies the hearts of some and causes true devotion and love in others. The writer is very careful in creating the images and characters of her characters, everyone has a convincing motivation and background that made them what they are.
There are currently 16 books in Reflections of Eterna! This number is due to the fact that some parts of the publication were divided into several volumes due to the impressive volume. The release of the finale of the story has been postponed many times, so the writer has vowed to make promises about the timing of its release, but we hope to see a solution this year.
“I, the Inquisitor” by Jacek Pekara
The cycle “I, the Inquisitor” consists of independent but interconnected stories about Mordimer Madderdin, an inquisitor and hunter of witches and heretics. Gradually, endless plots and conflicts appear in these stories, affecting the foundations of faith and power. Pekar builds his world on the alternative-historical assumption that Christ did not die on the cross, but cruelly punished his enemies and took power into his own hands. The author builds a dark world, similar to our Middle Ages, but full of real evil. There are no positive characters in it, the protagonist also has a lot of bad traits, especially by modern standards, although he himself feels firm faith and a call to “do good.” At the same time, thanks to the end-to-end structure, the reader gradually observes the evolution of Mordimer, his doubts and rethinking of dogmas, and this gives the cycle depth and drama.
The finale of the last chronological collection of “Soul Catchers” has a long way to go, and Pekara himself promised to continue the story of Mordimer Madderdin. Since then (since 2006) the author has written many books, but all these are prequels about Mordimer himself, as well as his mentor. When Pekara is going to return to the main plot, we can only guess.