My initial reaction: Does this really happen that often?
After being reminded about ALL THE BOOKS where dragons, once common, have been reduced in number until just a few or no dragons remain, I’m like, Oh, right, I guess it does. From Tolkien on (the poor Ents!), extinction and imminent extinction is everywhere in fantasy.
This post goes beyond extinction to talk about natural or genocidal loss of human cultures, too. Which, come to think of it, is also EVERYWHERE in fantasy. You trip over the giant, impressive ruins of lost civilizations every time you turn around. As I suppose it is in the real world, too, sometimes with giant, impressive ruins included. Indus River civilization, anyone?
And then the post also points out how often Earth (and other worlds) get destroyed in SF. You know, in my space opera, I destroyed Earth in the backstory too. I didn’t realize this was kind of typical until a reader said basically, “Oh, Earth gets destroyed AGAIN, yawn.”
Anyway. Watching a species slowly die out is not my favorite thing in fantasy, far less a genocidal campaign like we see in The Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but I have to admit that the giant ruins of long-lost civilizations are wonderful for adding a sense of deeper history to a fantasy world.
And sometimes you just have to destroy Earth in the backstory to have your plot work out in the present day…