5 Noteworthy Novella Collections

Apparently novellas are the new black. If you’re unfamiliar with a novella, it is a longer short story that accompanies a larger novel in some way. Sometimes you’ll see them listed as a “0.5” of a series, like a prequel, or a “1.5”, meaning that it comes after the first book, but before the second. I find that they tend to be hit or miss. I’ve compiled a list of 5 novella collections that I enjoyed reading.

four

Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth

This is probably my favorite novella collection. I enjoyed the Divergent series, but I strongly disliked the main character  – Tris. To my complete joy, Allegiant switched back and forth between Tris and Tobias’ POV, giving my favorite character – Four – some spotlight time. I was excited to read Four because I knew it would give me more insight into Tobias’ life before he met Tris. The Initiate was my favorite.

assassins blade

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

When this book was first released, it was just there for some bonus background information. Now that Queen of Shadows has released, I have to say that these novellas are just as important as the other books. I recommend to people when they start the Throne of Glass series, that they read The Assassin’s Blade after the third book, Heir of Fire. There are some things in QoS that you won’t be able to follow without having read these novellas. Overall, I really felt like I understood Celaena better because of these novellas. The Assassin and the Desert was my favorite.

bane chronicles

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

This book has ELEVEN novellas. I have mixed emotions about these stories. I love Magnus’ character, I really do, but I didn’t feel like these novellas told me anything about him that I didn’t already sort of know. It just didn’t thrill me. Plus, I had just finished The Assassin’s Blade and was all in love with it, so I couldn’t help but compare these stories to those. But in the end, I just liked getting to read some more of Clare’s writing and spend some more page time with Magnus. The Midnight Heir was my favorite because I love Will, Tessa, and Jem.

auggie and me

Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by R.J. Palacio

I flew through the first of these novellas (titled The Julian Chapter), but then it took me forever to want to read the other two. While the others had interesting information and offered different points of view to the happenings of Wonder, I wasn’t thrilled by them. The Julian Chapter was fascinating to me for a few different reasons. It’s enlightening to get into the mind of a bully, but also his grandmother’s WWII story was SO interesting! This novella was clearly my favorite.

happily ever after

Happily Ever After: The Selection Novellas by Kiera Cass

I haven’t read this hardback edition (because it releases later this month), but I read the novellas individually as they were released as eBooks. I will probably read this at some point, in case there are new stories in it. The Guard was my favorite because I love Aspen.

How do you feel about novellas? Some people hate them, some like them…what about you?

Happy Reading! – Caitlyn

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The Heir by Kiera Cass

*If you haven’t read The Selection trilogy and you intend to…then this review will contain some spoilers.*

“I kept thinking that I couldn’t live my life for other people, that love was nothing but chains. And maybe it was, but so help me, I needed these chains.”

heir

First of all, THAT COVER. How beautiful is that? If you haven’t already, you should see it in person. So beautiful.

Synopsis: The Heir by Kiera Cass picks up almost 20 years after The Selection trilogy ends. Princess Eadlyn is the heir to her father’s throne and will one day become queen. Tensions are rising due to revolts following the dissolution of the caste system and the people are in need of a distraction. King Maxon and Queen America decide that their daughter should hold a Selection, following in their footsteps, to both entertain the public and perhaps find a companion for Eadlyn. The problem is, Eadlyn has no interest in love and doesn’t want to put on a show just to pacify others. However, during just the first month of the Selection, Eadlyn learns what it means to have love and true companionship. She starts to realize that happily ever after may look different than she thought possible.

Feelings: I enjoyed this book and read it in less than a day. Was it flawless? Certainly not. Is it the next great American classic? That’s a no. But, it was entertaining and interesting, full of new characters and old, beloved ones from The Selection trilogy. I will certainly pick up the sequel when it drops next year, but I won’t be waiting in line outside the bookstore at midnight for it.

Issues: Maxon and America…people are angry with the monarchy and now they have to watch you try to marry off your daughter for sport? Why did that seem like the best idea to you? Also, why didn’t you have some kind of Office of Whatever to help transition people into post-caste system life? No wonder their daughter is so detached from her own people.

Predictability, thy name is Kiera Cass. While The Selection trilogy’s air of mystery was in whether America would ever make a freaking decision, this book has zero mystery whatsoever. Meet-cutes abound, but I have to say…there are a couple of suitors that I’m rooting for. If anything, Cass knows how to write a hunky hunk or five into literary existence.

Characters: For the majority of the book, Eadlyn is completely oblivious to her own impact. She’s unkind, heartless, and indeed a “black widow”. In a lot of reviews of this book, people talk about how annoying she is and how much they hated her POV. Yes, she’s whiny and selfish, constantly reminding herself and everyone else that she’s powerful and will be queen one day. She’s disrespectful, then criticizes everyone around her for their behaviors…she’s just immature. Grow the heck up.

Her twin brother was her saving grace. He showed us a different side of her through their interactions and he really balanced her out. I can see how her character is developing and fingers crossed, she’ll grow up a lot in the sequel.

Comparisons: Surprisingly, I prefer Eadlyn’s POV to her mother’s in The Selection books. Through all of those three novels, I wanted to shake America and force her to DECIDE ALREADY. Eadlyn, however, went through some self-discovery, a few reality checks, and learned lessons along the way. I’d take that over wishy-washy America any day. (#TeamAspen…I was also #TeamGale…I’m a sucker for the home team, apparently.)

Final thoughts: An entertaining read that should be approached with zero seriousness. I read a review yesterday where someone figuratively tore the first page of the book apart and went all feminist power on it. That’s not…just no. Go read some Sylvia Plath if that’s what you want to do, but stay away from a story that’s not meant to be taken so seriously. Also, stick it to the end. Give Eadlyn a chance. You may even like her by the last page. I’m really rooting for Eadlyn…I got hope in you, girl.

Pick this up if you liked:

The Selection trilogy (I enjoyed this book more than the first three)

The Jewel by Amy Ewing (It’s on my TBR shelf, but I’ve seen it compared to this series before)

Matched by Ally Condie (I only read the first in the series, but it had similar themes)

 

Goodreads rating: 3.92/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.1/5

My rating: 4/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn