• Torstein Beck

The Veil: Hopeless or just different?

Dystopias are strange. They're varied and broad, and the definitions of them change continually. Still, they follow a formula, of sorts. Academics and scholars working in utopian studies have come to a consensus that a dystopia is pretty much any body of work which presents a storyworld much worse than the one that the reader lives in (If you want to know more about that, you can check out Lyman Tower Sargent's essay, The Three Faces of Utopianism Revisited).

And I think it's fair to say that The Veil is set in a world worse than ours.

That's what I wanted to talk about today, because I'm seeing some reviews come in, and I'd like to use them as a discussion point -- not rant about them, because I would never do that. The book is challenging, for sure. I know that. Heck, the first chapter sets us up for a story that's going to be difficult.

But, I'm asking whether it's hopeless or not. Is the book truly dark and awful and without any light or hope?

In a word, no. You may feel that way, but I don't think it is.

It shows a lot of things -- but above all else, humanity's uncanny refusal to take anything lying down.

How many times does Aaro come through things, only to escape the jaws of death right as they're about to snap shut? There's hope in Aaro, whether it's as himself, or as a symbol what people can be like in this world. But there is hope.

Book 2 and 3 are on the way, and they're going to show you different versions of this world, spanning centuries. They'll show you how humanity comes back, how it fights back to reclaim the world, and ultimately -- sadly -- how the world is better off.

There are messages in these books, but I'm not going to tell you what they are. I hope that you can see them for yourselves.

However, for those who believe The Veil to be a hopeless gore-fest, it's not. It's the opposite. It's a story of love and resilience in the face of certain doom. It's a story of the fragility of our way of life. It's a story of the duality of us, of how we can't have and be both things. But hopeless? It's not. And if you've read it, hated it, thought it was sad and tragic and you can't go on, then you're leaving the series at the saddest part! Things go up from here. The Veil is a showing you the fall. Now, you get to experience the rise.

I'm not saying it's going to be happy and people won't get hurt. But if it was, and they didn't, then this series would be pretty boring.

Whether anyone will see this, or read it, I don't know. But I just wanted to write something to give my thoughts on the reactions I'm seeing.

The reviews are divided, but I'm just glad that people like it. And I'm sorry to those who see the worst in it.

See you next time,