Review: 'Destined'

First book in a series travels slowly

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By Rob Cline, correspondent

Readers love series. The chance to return to a familiar story and a set of beloved characters over the course of several books is appealing, and it drives the success of authors writing in a number of genres. So, it’s entirely understandable that authors just starting out would set their sights on creating a series.

But when you decide you’re writing a trilogy before you’ve written the first book, there’s a potential danger. Your first book might take too long to get to the heart of its story because you’re holding back plot development for the second and third entries.

Local authors Jordan Pinckney and Will Lenzen Jr. face this problem in “Destined,” which is, according to its cover, the first book in the Blood Games Trilogy. The YA novel, which is set in a future Cedar Rapids and the surrounding area, is the story of Leana, a teenager whose mother is forcing her to spend a weekend with her father — a man who deserted the family when Leana was young, but who nevertheless lives nearby.

Pinckney and Lenzen have done a good job bringing Leana to life. She experiences all the angst and shifting emotions common to teenagers, with some extra troubles thrown in due to the secrets that are revealed late in “Destined.”

Those secrets, truth to tell, are easily guessed at early in the book, and that contributes to the sense that the novel develops too slowly. The storyline is revealed over a series of conversations in which no one ever quite says what needs to be said, preventing the story from moving forward.

By the time the secrets are out in the open and the action ramps up, the book is nearly over. One senses that the second entry in the series might very well have more action and adventure and less hand-wringing over secrets long kept. If so, readers are more likely to follow Leana as she pursues her destiny.

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