A few days ago, we were discussing novellas with The Selective Collective (inspired by the release and Sandie’s recent read of the Four/Divergent novellas) and we ended up having a whole giant discussion about several different aspects about marketing, reading, and purchasing novellas. Sandie told me, “Hey B! This could be a really good idea for a post!” so I told her I just may take her up on that offer… Taking it a bit further, I realized that this could easily be a repeating discussion so hopefully this will just be one of many!
I’m actually a big reader of novellas. Sometimes I feel like I’m not getting any reading done and I’m in the mood for something quick and interesting and novellas are the perfect way to satisfy that itch. There seem to be a lot of different opinions on the existence of novellas and their purpose and as we were discussing, it seemed like the more we talked about them, the more issues popped up… Here are a few of the gripes we noticed:
- There are SO many novellas nowadays. Are they really all necessary? Are authors pushed to write and publish novellas or is it just that more publishers are putting out additional content because it is doing so well?
- Novellas should not be “necessary”. I think — at least amongst our little group — that this was something everyone agreed with. Not everyone likes novellas. Not everyone reads novellas. And not everyone wants to pay for novellas. Usually they’re just extra information about characters or scenes but we noted a few series where plot actually progressed and people who hadn’t read the novellas were confused.
- Pricing can be an issue. Sometimes I don’t want to pay $4 or $5 for a novella. I can get a paperback for that price, depending on the book. If it’s something that I REALLY want to read, I will buy it, but that is a deterrent sometimes. I’m not saying all novellas should be free because there’s still a lot of hard work that goes into to writing and putting out this extra content… But I think pricing needs to be taken into consideration. I really like the collection of Sarah J. Maas novellas as THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE and I think the novellas are both worth the money and the series have a big enough fan base to warrant and actual hardcover copy. There were debates on the DIVERGENT novellas because of the content (some weren’t as impressed) but I think DIVERGENT still has quite a large fan base full of people who are dying to own them as a physical copy. Others have been printed in paperback, I know, and others only available as digital copies. It seems like people are very picky about spending money on novellas and since they’re short stories, it seems to be more of a debate as to exactly how much they should cost.
I’ve read a lot of novellas these past couple years and a lot of people seem to be really hesitant about picking them up, so I’m going to do the natural thing. Compare them and pit them against each other. Ready for a Showcase Showdown?
THE HARDCOVER COLLECTION
>> THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE vs. FOUR: A DIVERGENT STORY COLLECTION <<
These seemed to be the main two when hardcover collections come to mind since they’re some of the most recent ones. Having just read the THRONE OF GLASS novellas and hearing some not-as-positive things about the DIVERGENT ones, I’d say THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE is the clear winner. There are quite a few stories from Four’s POV but they don’t really seem to offer much in the way of extra character development or extra scenes. THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE features five different novellas that really add almost a whole extra book to the THRONE OF GLASS series. If you’re looking to purchase a shiny hardcover copy of your favorite novellas, make it THE ASSASSIN’S BLADE!
THE EXTRA IN THE HARDCOVER SPECIAL EDITION
>> CARSWELL’S GUIDE TO BEING LUCKY vs. THE DEMON IN THE WOOD <<
You know my love for Carswell Thorne as well as BOTH The Lunar Chronicles and The Grisha Trilogy… So this should be a hard decision. Actually, it’s a fairly easy one for me. Both of these stories are available ONLY in the special edition of the hardcovers of these books (the Target version of CRESS and B&N version of RUIN AND RISING) and before I tell you which one to choose, let me tell you that I actually did purchase both copies of these IN ADDITION TO the copies I already had because I had preordered from Amazon. I was going to get rid of my extra copy of CRESS but I can’t give it away. Anyway… Is it worth buying the extra copy or the special edition? It is for THE DEMON IN THE WOOD! I thought the Darkling short story was really, really good and so interesting. How does Thorne NOT win out, you ask? Well, I enjoyed the short but it wasn’t as impressive as I had hoped. It was cute and short and sweet, giving you a glimpse of teenager Thorne, but I didn’t feel like it added that much to his character to buy a whole second book. Borrow that one from your friends. Buy the one with the Darkling extra!
THE ONES ABOUT SECONDARY CHARACTERS
>> NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPETS vs. ROAR AND LIV vs. HANA <<
Pitting three against each other this time! HANA was actually one of the first novellas I read and it was pretty interesting! I liked that it introduced us to her POV since she was a voice in the last DELIRIUM novel… But I’m picking two winners with NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPERS and ROAR AND LIV. Starting with ROAR AND LIV — Veronica Rossi’s novellas are some of my favorites and I’ve really enjoyed them. I love her writing and I think each novella just brings so much more character development and really allowed me to fall back into that world. I really, really adored NIGHT OF CAKE AND PUPPETS by Laini Taylor. Mik and Zuzanna are some of my favorite secondary characters EVER and the novella featuring these two was just plan adorable. Amy actually gifted it to me but I would happily pay for it. It was that good!
HANA was enjoyable but I didn’t really feel like it was all together necessary or that gripping. If you’re on the fence, I don’t think you’re missing too much by skipping it.
Well those are my choices! For those of you who have read them, would you agree? What novellas do you think are worth the read? Or are any of them worth it? Which ones turned you into a novella-supporter?