Discontinuing the Theonite Series

The following letter was copied from my most recent email to my mailing list, since I couldn’t bring myself to rephrase it all in a blog post.

Scroll to the bottom of this page for an update as of May, 2023.

My Dearest Readers,

This is not a normal newsletter. This is an announcement and a letter of apology. And god, this was hard. Honestly, this felt like writing an email about how someone had died (don’t worry, no one has. I’m just being a drama queen). Anyway…

If you’ve been following this newsletter over the past year, you know that since The Sword of Kaigen came out, I’ve struggled to write the third Theonite book, kicked around half a dozen spin-off ideas, and struggled more. During my most recent boom of productivity (ironically, on Theonite 3), I came to an important realization about the Theonite universe. Namely, that it isn’t working.

I may have had fun (so much fun!) working on my various spin-offs this year, even nearly finishing some, but fun doesn’t constitute a cohesive universe. Between the size of Theonite’s cast, the breadth of its world, and the complexity of some of its content, I’m just not ready to pull it all together. Not at my current skill level. And continuously trying to spin-off from a story that itself isn’t working is not a good strategy. So, even though this breaks my heart…

I’m putting a freeze on the Theonite series and all its spin-offs, including Flameless, Jamuttaana, and Rage and Whisper.

To everyone who’s followed the Theonite books up to this point, I’m so sorry I’m not able to deliver more at this point, and I’m especially sorry for insisting for so long that more books were coming.

I was telling you what I thought was the truth.

When I published Theonite: Planet Adyn in 2016, I didn’t think for a moment that I was starting a series that I couldn’t finish. This was due partly to a lack of experience and partly to the fact that I had finished versions of the series back when I was a teenager. But my writing has changed so much since then that those drafts are no longer usable and I’ve realized that, as an adult writer, I lack the skills to make the series what it should be.

If I had more books to give you that were up to the standard you deserve, I would release them. Unfortunately, I just haven’t been able to wrangle the series into something worth publishing at this moment in time. I say at this moment in time because I’m still in my twenties, which makes me a baby in author years. Theonite is something I’ve been working on since I was twelve and will, I think, continue to work on for the rest of my life simply out of habit.

Just because it isn’t ready now doesn’t mean it never will be.

This isn’t the end of Theonite.

It just isn’t the right time for it.

I’m going keep working on this world in the background of my other projects until such time—maybe three years from now, maybe thirty—that the books are in shape for publication.

Thank you all so much for your support of the series. The fact that my first outing as an author received support at all means more than I can tell you.

I wish I could have delivered in kind.

So, what’s happening to the books I’ve already published?

Honestly, not much.

The Sword of Kaigen, being a standalone (and, incidentally, my main source of income), will remain for sale on Amazon in both ebook and paperback form as normal. Not going anywhere. Not touching it. Don’t worry.

I’m unsure if I want to take Theonite: Planet Adyn and Theonite: Orbit off Amazon or leave them with a note saying that the series has been discontinued for now. I’m open to suggestions. EDIT (5/21/23): At this time I have taken these two books off of Amazon. Regardless, if anyone wants a PDF of one or both books for their personal files, let me know and I’ll email them to you. EDIT (5/21/23): to manage the number of emails I get about this, these PDFs are now available if you subscribe to my newsletter.

2023 Update

As of this update (May 21st, 2023) I am no longer writing in the Theonite universe. Every time I consider returning to it, I hit a wall of deep fundamental issues with the world-building—an understandable consequence of writing in a world I conceived when I was twelve but not a problem with an easy fix. This doesn’t mean I’ll never return to that universe. It just means that, if I do, it will require a major overhaul of the world-building and collaboration with authors who have expertise I don’t (specifically authors from cultural backgrounds I don’t share and can’t write competently). Since I’m not a massive author like Rick Riordan, with the brand name recognition to pull other talent into their orbit and make it lucrative, this project will not be viable for a long time if ever.

In the meantime, I’ve been plugging away at several other projects that resonate better with my current muse.

  • If you want to read my next complete fantasy book for adults, you can pre-order my upcoming dark academia, Blood Over Bright Haven (coming out July 25th, 2023).
  • If you’re only interested in adult fantasy featuring martial arts and action in the vein of Kaigen, you can find hundreds of thousands of words of that in the Altima-universe serials, Gunpowder Magnolia, Seven Forsaken, and Sazuma on my Patreon.
  • If you’re dead set on reading the Theonite books now that I’ve discontinued the series and taken the books off Amazon, you can now get both as part of a fiction bundle by signing up to my newsletter.
  • If you want a fresher example of my YA writing (also with lots of martial arts), you can check out my new portal fantasy series, The Volta Academy Chronicles, publishing under my YA pen name, Maya Lin Wang.
Blood Over Bright Haven by ML Wang cover
Girl Squad Volta by Maya Lin Wang cover for sapphic ya book list

Thank you to all those who have left words of support on this post. I hope this update has been helpful!


  1. It will be sad! Your standalone adult fantasy books is one of my most anticipated books, it’s up there with Stormlight #4. No kidding.

    BUT, if you don’t feel that it’s working, then definitely follow your instincts! Whatever you decide to create next, I’ll read it! Best of luck! You know you always have my support! 🙂

    1. Petrik, it means so much to hear you say that. Honestly, I think my non-Theonite projects will be more up your alley than any of the spin-offs I had planned. I just wish I could get them written as fast as Sanderson!

  2. It’s interesting that you made this announcement. I was watching an author’s livestream on Instagram and she mentioned that “if a story isn’t ready to be written, then wait until it is ready.” I planned out a fantasy series years ago, but I couldn’t manage to write a story. Now, it’s ready to be written.

    And, it’s okay to take a break, especially if you need one. Both Philip DeFranco and PewDePie are taking breaks so they don’t suffer burnout. You’ve had a busy year. Don’t worry, we’ll keep ourselves occupied with other reads (I still have to start reading your current “Theonite” books)!

    We’ll be waiting, patiently, for as long as it takes.

    1. Thanks for sharing that. I think every creative person starts projects they can’t finish. In my case, it’s not so much burnout as my goals and writing style changing so much that I’m struggling to find direction with what is now a very old project. Much as I hate to cancel a project partway through, I think it would be worse to drag readers through a malformed story with confused plotting and themes.

  3. Do what you need to do. While I completely understand not wanting to disappoint fans, always remember that you’re a person FIRST and an author second. If something isn’t working for you, it is 100% your prerogative to set it aside and work on something else that inspires and motivates you!

    1. Thank you for saying that, Deck! I still feel professionally and emotionally terrible about canceling a series midway through. But the upside is that I now have a much better idea of what a manageable project looks like for me, so I won’t have to do this to readers (or myself) again.

      I may try out what you’ve done with your Varkas Chronicles and Riven Realm books and go in threes 🙂

  4. I really really liked Sword of Kaigen and so read the other two Theonite books because of it but didn’t connect with them, they felt immature and scattered in comparison. Good luck with your new projects.

  5. Well, I loved the first two books, so this is a heartbreaking news for me. But I know that however bad I feel about this, you must be feeling worse. So if you feel that you won’t be able to complete this series right now, you should take a break. I hope that at some point in the future, you would be able to come back and complete this series. Good luck.
    P.s.- How books were you planning to write in theonite series?

  6. Oh no, this makes me sad. I just finished Theonite book 2 and immediately looked online for details about book 3. I hope you manage to work everything out. Take the time that you need. Remember that you are a truly talented author and that I will be glad to check out whatever you create, whether it’s a continuation of the Theonite series or something completely unrelated.

  7. Art is appreciated for being great, not for meeting a deadline. You’re not letting anyone down by refusing to release mediocrity. Take as much time as you need to create the works deserving of your name.

  8. I really enjoyed the Sword of Kaigen. And I also enjoyed how it connected to the little detailes from the other two books. But what I liked most was the world itself! I would be really sad to not be able to read more stories that play on Theonite. So if you feel like rewriting the first two books, so that you can put it all together in the end or just continue from the Sword if Kaigen, I would read them again! 😀
    Sorry for the gramma and spelllig (I´m not a native speaker)

  9. I just want to say that Sword of Kaigen is truly a wonderful book. I had read the Theonite books first and liked them, but Sword of Kaigen just hit it out of the park into the 5 star range.

  10. I’m late to your universe (and have only read Sword of Kaigen) and wow it gripped me. I came here to find out about your plans for it, and I won’t lie, am sad to see it’s on pause.

    BUT, as several others have said here before me, and many others have said elsewhere; if it’s not the time to write it, then don’t force it.

    I really appreciate your honesty in bring up front about it; at least us fans know where we stand! Other authors try their best but constantly to be left hanging is painful (I’m not going to name names but it’s been 9 years now; the solace being that the reward will ever be the greater for the suspense). I digress.

    Don’t doubt yourself though. I’ve read A LOT of fantasy / sci-fi, by brilliant authors. Sword of Kaigen stands shoulder to shoulder with giants in terms of its character, universe and plot – Hobb, Rothfuss, Lawrence, Lynch; they’d better look out. I look forward to reading your other texts in the Theonite universe and beyond.

  11. Hey, I just wanted to let you know that sword of kaigen was phenomenal. I honestly believe that the series has extraordinary potential if it continues as a high fantasy adult series. Your work with character was outstanding and my only concern was that the ending with Robin and the godlike figure looming in the background felt force fitted in order to integrate with your YA series ( which I haven’t read). Please know that theonite is working, at least the depiction of it that you present in Sword of Kaigen and there are thousands of people who want to know where that story goes. I wish you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do. Thank you for telling such a wonderful story.

  12. Came here to pile on. I just read Sword of Kaigen and was blown away. Hope when you’re ready there are other great stories to tell as I feel like that world wasn’t done.

    In the meantime, excited to read your other new works as they come.

  13. Same as the others, I just finished Sword of Kaigen and was thrilled to have found another author to follow.

    I came here hungry for more books to devour and after reading this article . . . I remain thrilled I found an author to follow and whose works, wherever they take you, I look forward to reading. Thank you for creating worlds that the rest of us can become lost in.

  14. Like the last few comments, I just discovered Sword of Kaigen for the first time, and loved it. I love the changing understanding of the main characters, the points of view, revealing Takeru’s actual thoughts late in the story, it was all a very enjoyable read. Of course I would love to see more stories in that world – but I so enjoyed your writing style and insights into the human experience, that I am looking forward to whatever you write next.

  15. Like the other 10 people here I just finished sword of kaigen audiobook and I’m devastated that there won’t a sequel… The whole last chapter is basically perfect set up for a sequel!!!

    Anyways as someone that wants to eventually write books I am in no means pushing you. I just wanted you to know that there are many many many people that look forward to a sequel, whenever you are ready 😉

    I’m also in Wisconsin lol, so maybe I’ll see you in the supermarket or something haha

  16. I understand. I think it’s okay to take a break if there aren’t any stories that you want to tell in this universe. It will always be there when you’re ready.

  17. You don’t see often people putting pause to their projects in order that keep the quality high or better than the last delivery, you really care the quality over the money and that deserves respectful. That’s what HBO never understood with GoT.

    Also, I would like to know which are those skills that you say you lack and why are you so confident about that they’re lacking. You said it twice in this script but don’t specify.


  18. Hello! I just finished the Sword of Kaigen and would love to read the other books as mentioned in your newsletter clip. Is there a way to get the other two books?!

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