The Lessons of Harry Potter
Any authors trying to break into this industry enviously noticed the success of the Harry Potter series and dreams of duplicating it. I doubt any author will have the success of J.K. Rowling, but we would be fools not to analyze her writings.
What makes Harry Potter so successful in my mind is the broad appeal beyond its target audience. Her readers gain an emotional attachment to the characters and her world is vivid and well developed. She does a good job of seeding solutions to later problems early in the book. And of course she loves to end chapters with a cliff hanger.
Duck Blood Soup is geared toward teen readers but the political, military, and emotional story lines appeal to a wider audience. Duck Blood Soup humanizes the antagonists, has characters that are neither invincible nor untiring, and introduces new races of creatures. Incorporating firearms, airships, and railroads rounds out the world and further differentiates Duck Blood Soup from other fantasy novels.