Antagonist... who is not really an antagonist
Question: Ok, after this rather confusing title, let me explain to you: My main character's objective is to defeat a terrible man, a dictator that rules her country, since all he did was evil and cruel to the people of her country. She is actually his daughter, but she never had a conversation with him except for one in the beginning when he tried to control her mind (yeah, some of my characters have powers). However, since he is her father and she ends up knowing a lot about his past through her uncles, the pictures of him and his old diaries, she kind of knows who he used to be.
He acts like a psychopath, and the characters often hear stories about innocent people who were killed by people under his orders, or even by him. So, the main character and her friends have no doubt he is a terrible man who needs to be stopped.
Now, finally the real question, that is related to the title.
His mind is actually being controlled. He is actually a pawn that, due to his extremely advanced powers, got controlled by an even bigger group of enemies. So I want the first book to end when he dies and the main character actually finds out there is a bigger obstacle, a bigger threat behind the guy she always thought was the enemy, but was actually a good person. But... it sounds just... bad. It sounds sudden, like an idea that fell out of nowhere to make the main character's life terrible. It feels... like there needs to be more to it. Finally, my question: how should I reveal this plot twist in a more normal way? Like, when the reader sees this
moment, he/she thinks "aha! It all makes sense now!", instead of thinking "ugh, what a lame plot twist, not gonna read the next book."Answer:
I think the solution is to not make the idea fall out of nowhere, but to foreshadow it. This is tricky to do, but you need to insert tiny clues throughout the story -- clues that do not draw attention to themselves when introduced, but which the reader can look back at the end of the story and see how they all add up to the truth.
Something else to consider is whether the main character's goal is really to depose her father or to understand why he is doing the things he is doing, to resolve the contradictions between his current behaviour and the man he used to be. (In other words, is deposing him simply a way to get to the truth?) But that might be too obvious.
You may need to surround the main character with others who have different opinions regarding her father, so that it becomes a dilemma of whose opinion to trust. Someone who looks like they don't know what they're talking about could turn out to be partially correct.
Another approach is to ask yourself what the real antagonist is doing at each point in the story. You create mystery when characters react to things, but the reader doesn't get to see what they're reacting to. In other words, you hide the villain's activities, but not their effects. The reader will expect/hope to have everything explained in the end. Then, when you present your solution that explains everything, it doesn't seem like it comes out of nowhere but has been there all along, just behind the curtain.
Best of luck.