The Redeemer Series was a nearly 5-book long, epic tome of a Death Note fanfic series written by Maru-Light and Andariel (under the combined avatar cocoacoveredgods).
It focused on the premise that the Yellowbox Warehouse was essentially the pinnacle of L's 6-year long offensive against Kira, who believed L to be dead, when he really wasn’t.
Over the course of thousands of pages, the drama of Death Note’s protagonists (including Mello and Matt, Misa, Near, etc.) post-canon rolled out in a sordid tale replete with angst, erotica, violence, and horror.
It spanned at least five years of solid writing and regular posting, from the first book Redeemer, through its sequels: To Be or Not to Be, Our Time is Running Out, Sins of the Father and I’m Not Okay.
It gained a loyal audience on Adult Fanfiction.net, and an equally loyal audience on DeviantArt where its authors also cosplayed and promoted it. It seemed to be endeavoring to continue through two more solidly planned novels: End of Days and Chasing the Dragon.
But then suddenly, there was a twist.
And now all the books of the series, save the first (Redeemer)—are gone.
So what happened?
As one of its two authors, please allow me to tell you the story of Redeemer’s creation and subsequent disappearance.
Image: Redeemer cover art by Arrowchild
Success of the Redeemer Series - Death Note Fan-Fic by Maru-Light & Andariel
We were cosplaying often as Light and Mello back then (and later L, B and Matt) and writing together became part of our raison d'etre. It was a full package deal, the writing feeding the cosplay and vise versa. We had a habit of telling our fellow DN friends about this huge fic we were working on, and they began asking us to read it, so after some thought we eventually relented and put Redeemer up on AFF.
From there the series seemed to generate an audience on its own. We rarely promoted The Redeemer Series much outside of our own DeviantArt accounts, and later, our own forum; but on the rare occasion I sought it out online to see if it had some presence, I often came across it on various Death Note fic rec lists, and even a listing on TV Tropes.com. (LOL)
It was fantastic to suddenly have an audience that didn’t just invest in reading our story, but reviewed and even joined our forum to chat all things Redeemer Series. We had fabulous artists doing fan art, we had an active Character Ask section, we were embroiled in discussion every day about the Death Note of our fic world, and we made some truly great and supportive friends (several of whom are still with us.)
So really, what happened?
Writing on The Redeemer Series Begins to Break Down
We’d been writing about Death Note for five years. However, we were two writers (in my case a life-long writer) who sought to have real-world careers in writing, but were beginning to realize that we were spending all of our time writing about someone else’s work. It was fun, it was engaging, we loved it while it lasted, but we were beginning to long for something more and we weren’t getting any younger.
It wasn’t an immediate revelation. It came slowly as we pounded the keyboard to push through Sins of the Father. After all, we had two more huge books planned. We had enormous story arcs to cover! The nature of Kira’s God-ness was going to be explored in epic proportions! We were heading toward the End of Days!
Instead, what we were actually heading toward was the end of the Redeemer Series.
The Restrictions of Redeemer
As co-authors, our method of writing was to often volley paragraphs back and forth at each other to propel the story along, and then before upload, I would comb through chapters, as the principle editor, to make sure everything was fluid and had a cohesive voice.
I started noticing, that in scenes involving more canon contexts, the writing began to get painfully repetitive, plots were stalling, we were echoing literal sentences back and forth at each other. I remember distinctly, one sex scene we were working on sounded so painfully done before, that we literally tore it out and fought to write it with entirely new dynamics so it wasn’t boring.
And that was it. We’d grown bored.
The only things that seemed to pique our interests were no longer the sex scenes, or the drama between the Death Note characters, but the original concepts we’d steadily been bringing in over time. Stories of madness and asylums and insane serial killers.
We whisked L off at one point and set him on a modern Sherlock Holmesian plotline by himself in Edinburgh, and it was the most enjoyable part of the book for me to write (and has since been reworked as the opening chapters of the original series.) I had inspiration again, I had drive, I didn’t want to return to the previous Death Note arcs.
I wanted to be free.
I wasn’t the only one. Anda had tired of everything. Getting her to pitch in on the books was like pulling teeth, when previously it had been so exciting and so fun.
It was time for a change.
But neither of us wanted to accept that the series had come to its natural end. Too much work had gone into it. Too much love and sweat and tears. Too many years and hours. Hours and hours and hours. So we came to a compromise.
But what happened was not according to plan.
Backlash of Death Note Redeemer Series Readers
Let me say, it wasn’t that simple. If it was, we could have saved ourselves a lot of angst. After all, we weren’t lying to our readers; we were lying to ourselves.
Frankly, we weren’t ready to let go. It was a lesson we learned the hard way, writing I’m Not Okay. The more we wrote, the more that book began to do what it wanted apart from Death Note, but we kept trying to force the enduring intent that we were going to bring it all back around to the Redeemer Series. Slowly, our audience started to drop off, frustration began to show in reviews. The longer names like Kira and L and Mello were absent from the text, the less people stayed with us, and the more that happened, the more we began to wonder at what point did we have to accept the truth: that we’d moved on.
The readers that remained and invested honestly in our burgeoning original tale, weathered our indecisiveness, but started to agree that we needed to break it off. Not Okay was becoming its own thing, and to proceed without letting the book organically grow as itself, was proving a hindrance to the work and to our efforts. And clearly it was pissing off the people still holding out for L and Light to make an appearance.
So we decided to call it, and we removed I’m Not Okay from AFF and put the Redeemer Series on indefinite hiatus.
The Redeemer Series Transforms into The Breaking Across Devotion Series
Because all of this siphoned down from The Redeemer Series, there were initially some similarities between concepts we'd been exploring beyond canon when it came to characters like Beyond and L particularly. Those similarities eventually diluted until we can really just shout out to their original incarnates like a sentimental homage.
However, as we planned the world of our new original universe, we realized there were still elements we'd incorporated in To Be and its compatriots that we wanted to explore and adapt. We began to pull some of these concepts back in, revisiting ideas we had for the Redeemer Series with new eyes as we constructed a world, while removed from Death Note, was not necessarily removed from our signature subjects.
Our explorations of madness and the asylum culture, our crazed characters who often speak in sing-song~ Our off-beat, anarchist, angst-ridden, pretty boys. That’s who we are as writers, and that’s what we have been building into our new work--The Breaking Across Devotion Series. Literally a tale about rock stars and serial killers. I’m not even kidding.
We made every attempt to spread the word about why the Redeemer books were coming down, but our reach is none too wide these days, and I know there are a great many readers out there who are angry and disappointed. Trust me, I get it and I’m sorry.
The Redeemer Series had a great long run. We had a lot of fun writing it, we had an amazing experience with the audience it garnered. We’re grateful and we thank you guys who latched on to it and enjoyed it so much. Redeemer itself is still public on AFF and won’t be going anywhere. It is undeniably, a Death Note fanfic.
However, I am going to echo what I’ve said repeatedly in statements about the series’ removal: that if you so happen to have downloaded copies of the novels, you are free to keep them for you own reading pleasure. Just please do not share them online, or post them for download, and please do not plagiarize them (have some humanity, I beg you).
Anda and I are hard at work on The Breaking Across Devotion Series (BAD for short) and are very active on our new forum, CocoaCoveredGods.
Anyone is free to join if they want to get in touch with us, want to ask us anything about Redeemer, or want to check out what still exists of the Redeemer Series content regarding the removed books, Character Asks, fan art, etc. And yes, there’s even a thread where we speak to the unsolved mysteries of the series and where future plans were heading, so what was left unfinished can at least have some closure. (Was Matt ever going to die as predicted? Short answer: no.)
We’re also open to betas of the new series. Since we’re planning to publish, it’s not open membership, but if you're interested, come over and let us get to know you, get to know us, and we’ll be more than happy to consider you as a beta. Chances are, if you enjoyed the Redeemer Series, what we’re doing now will be right up your alley. It’s just as dark, and twisted and saturated in atmosphere as books like To Be, Our Time and Sins were.