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Books for Thought is where I post a discussion topic related to books, reading, writing, or something pertaining to one of the three. I hope you’ll join in, and discuss today’s topic of

novellas (in series)

I read a lot of series. The number currently sits at 77 – go me (but I’ve also finished 53, so gimme some credit here). And there are a number of series that have these things called novellas (although some of them can be short stories, as well, but we’ll just go with novellas for lazy typing’s sake here).

When it comes to novellas in series there are three scenarios for me:

1) The series is one I LOVE so I DEVOUR anything and EVERYTHING related to it. Example: the Ignite series by Erica Crouch. Gimme ALL the things.

2) The series is one that I like enough to finish (or intend to finish if I ever get around to it one day), but my desire to read the novellas is close to none. Example: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. I like it enough, but not to read all those novellas.

3) I don’t even know that there are novellas to read in the series. Example: Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong. When I started that series I had NO IDEA there were, like, seven novellas.

But when it comes to reading these novellas, there are generally two scenarios for me:

1) What the hell did I just spend money on? What the hell did I just spend time on? What was this even for? Example: The Recovery novella in The Program series by Suzanne Young. Totally useless.

hannah

(source)

2) Aw yisss. I loved this. 100% worth the time and money because reasons (like FAVE characters or MORE in a fave series etc.). Example: Destroy Me in the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi. That novella completely changed the way I saw Warner, and that series in general.

Sadly, most of the novellas I’ve read fall into the first category. I never really feel like I get a lot from them. (And yet I still keep buying them – I obviously do not learn.) There are, of course, the standouts. The novellas that I thoroughly enjoy, that I feel really do add to the series. (But I also don’t think that novellas should be necessary to understand a series. That’s super dodge. Totally not looking at The Assassin’s Blade. At all.)

To be honest, my general feeling on novellas is that they aren’t really that necessary. I think they are exciting when you love a series and get to see more of the characters before/during/after the series. But when they fall into the ‘useless’ category, I feel somewhat annoyed at the fact that I spend time and money on it. Which is why the free ones are super.

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What about you? How do you feel about series novellas? Good/bad? Have you read any awesome ones?

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Posted on: April 19, 2016 • By: Chiara

35 Responses to Did I Just Waste Time & Money On That Thing?

  1. I’m one of those people that usually don’t even realize that a series has a novella or short stories attached. haha I think they can be fun if you really love a book but I do think they need to bring something to the series to make it worthwhile, especially if you are buying the novella. However, while they should bring something, they shouldn’t be NECESSARY to read. I don’t agree with that, especially because some readers won’t know they exist and some don’t have the ability to download e-books, which is usually how you get a novella.

    -Lauren

    • Chiara says:

      Yes! I definitely agree with you on that, Lauren. I feel like novellas should balance that line. Like you said, not everyone has access to novellas, so they should never have to be read to understand what’s going on in the story!

  2. Tasya says:

    I generally feel meh about novellas… Unless I’m really interested in the series, I won’t read the novellas. I do agree with your views, they don’t really add much to the stories, but sometimes they do fill the gaps. Like if I don’t read Destroy Me, I wouldn’t believe Warner isn’t really evil. I usually wait until the bind up novellas is released though before buying them! It saves more money and you could read those back-to-back :D

    • Chiara says:

      I would be interested to see what someone who read the three main Shatter Me books but NOT Destroy Me thought of Warner because I didn’t think Juliette should ever like him, but because of Destroy Me I felt for him! Bind up novellas are great! There are some ebook-only novellas that I would love to have in print form *.*

  3. I 99% skip novellas and short stories that authors tack on and in between their series. They’re there for die hards, I suppose, but I don’t consider them necessary to enjoy the main story and books in the series. The only novellas I can think of that I’ve read have been Fairest by Marissa Meyer — which I thought was an excellent if pretty disturbing villain origin story, and Elixir by Jennifer L. Armentrout (in her Half-Blood/Covenant series) — which was also a terrific story that showed a scene in between books that gave lots of character development. I’ve been lucky and picked two excellent novellas to spend time reading, but unless I’m absolutely in love with an author’s work and/or super invested in a series, I pretty much pass on all that extra stuff.

    • Chiara says:

      I think I’m getting a little more calculating when it comes to novellas! I used to read them quite a lot, but now I am only really interested in the ones from series I LOVE. I mean, we should only spend time on the books we really wan to read and even if a novella is short we’re still spending time on it! One of my favourite novellas is The Summer Palace by C.S. Pacat because it was kind of an epilogue to the Captive Prince series, and so very lovely :D

  4. Ahhh I love stats and it sounds like you’ve blasted so many series! I remember buying a Lunar Chronicles and a Divergent novella and most of the time I’m like what was the point of that? I’m just not a fan of them, unless they really add a lot to the story or are a compilation like the Assassin’s Blade. I feel the same as you when it comes to novellas.

    • Chiara says:

      I want novellas that walk the line between filler and needed. I don’t think novellas should ever be required reading, but I also don’t want to read fluff that doesn’t add ANYTHING to what I read in the series!

  5. Shannelle says:

    Well, this is why I love it when novellas are free! I’m totally down for free novellas. But yeah, it does suck when you get a novella and it just sucked. Destroy Me was a good novella, though, and the Grisha ones were also so good

    • Chiara says:

      Free novellas are 100% better than paid novellas for sure. I paid for a novella in The Program series and I felt so duped D: Destroy Me is probably the best novella I’ve read because it made me feel so much more for Warner!

  6. Mitchii G. says:

    I never knew about you loving Destroy Me!!! Asfsjdfskf;; *hyperventilates*
    *coughs* seriously though, I’m also the latter. I find novellas to be completely useless most of the time. The idea of “novellas” so to speak isn’t the fault here but rather the publishers & authors in how they treat it. See, they treat novellas as fillers. You know, readers crave for it & they oblige because yay! more money in their pockets but it’s kinda unfair to give readers poor quality bonus material (bonus material that you have to pay). They’re not maximizing the potential of novellas which is the sad part of this scenario. ^^;

    • Chiara says:

      I LOVE it, Mitchii!!

      I totally feel you! Sometimes you can sense that the novella was really JUST a marketing tool, rather than adding backstory or information that – maybe not necessary to the plot – gives readers something EXTRA than the series did. The marketing tool novellas make me sad.

  7. Alex says:

    It might be a shocker but, I’ve not read any novellas till now mostly because I never was interested in them? Are novellas necessary to enjoy the book more?

    • Chiara says:

      I don’t think novellas are necessary to enjoy a book more than you did when you read it by itself! I think they’re mostly a bridge between waiting for books in a series, more content for avid fans, and also a marketing tool to promote the series (plus get money).

  8. I don’t read e-books, so unless the novellas are bound and sold in book form, I’ll never actually read them. Which is a shame because a lot can be FANTASTIC (like the Assassin’s Blade stories). But like you say, a lot of them can be a waste of time :( I’ll stick to the main novels, I think.

    • Chiara says:

      You don’t read ebooks? How did I not know this? :O THIS IS WHY YOU HAVE ALL THOSE BEAUTIFUL HARDBACKS, EMILY. Ah, You must be excited when they release bound novellas, then :D But yes. When I feel like I’ve wasted time and money I am not a happy chappy.

  9. Cassie says:

    Haha, I find it funny that the Shatter Me novellas changed the way you saw Warner…those novellas just made me hate everyone.

    I agree that novellas are good when you love a series…but I also think that some are rather useless.
    I also think that there are some cases where the novellas go a bit to far (eg/ I Am Number Four series has, like, 12 novellas, and I’ve given up on keeping up with the Shadowhunters ones).
    And I also agree that the novellas should NOT be required to understanding the story. In The Iron Fey series, The Iron Daughter referenced an event that I couldn’t remember…it confused me, until I realised that it was referencing the novella.

    • Chiara says:

      Oh no! BUT HE SAVED A DOG, CASSIE.

      I am so hesitant to even bother with novellas in a series if I know there are so many of them. I think I tried to keep up with the Shadowhunters ones for a while and then just ave up, haha. When you need to read a novella in a series to understand things it’s like they want you to spend extra money on a book you’ve already bought just so you can read the book! *eye twitch*

  10. I kind of hate that they are so much of a THING now. Most of the time I couldn’t care less about novellas, except for very favorite series/characters like you said. Like, I would Kill for Raven Cycle novellas. It also depends on the content. I really enjoyed Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha fairytales because I liked what they added to the feel of the world and they were well written. And Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodges is incredible, I almost wish it was a whole book. But for the most apart, I will only read them if they are free or meaty enough (ie over 50 pages) to warrant buying them. I totally agree about Assassin’s Blade btw, it almost feels like it should have just been Book 1 in the series!

    • Chiara says:

      Right? I swear they never used to be so popular but now it’s like every series has them! OMG I would 100% buy any and all Raven Cycle novellas. I guess we’ll just have to be happy with our RONAN TRILOGY *screaming* I did like the Grisha fairytales, too, because they were so new and unique! I don’t mind it when they’re free, but when I pay money for them I expect them to be pretty great. SO when it’s a handful of pages of new content and then a preview for the next book or something I am 100% not happy.

      RIGHT about Assassin’s Blade! If that had been book one I would have liked ACTUAL book one so much more, haha.

  11. I do not buy novellas at all. Though I have a lot of respect for authors and believe they put their hearts into their novellas, it’s just very clear that these things are marketing devices. (I mean, I interned with a publisher where they had a meeting to brainstorm which authors they should ask to write e-novellas to sell.) I”ll pass and just read the main story.

    • Chiara says:

      I am very hesitant to buy a novella unless I REALLY love the series, or the character that the novella is about. But yeah, I do agree that most of the time they just seem like a marketing tool with not much to them!

  12. Valerie says:

    I have read maybe one novella in my life. And a half of a novella. They usually appear in the ends of the actual novel. Like in Cinder. But the novellas I get for free on Amazon? I haven’t read them yet. OH does Fairest count as a novella? Because I read that. And paid $15 for it. And it…..wasn’t worth $15. SORRY WALLET.

    • Chiara says:

      Valerie: standing against novellas! XD I think Fairest is just a short novel? I don’t think it quite counts as a novella. I have downloaded several free Amazon novellas and I haven’t read them yet, either :’) But the ones I’ve bought have been pretty crappy overall so at least these ones were free!

  13. I totally think The Assassin’s Blade is rather silly at being pitched as novellas. IT’S A PREQUEL NOVEL. You can’t even read the novellas without reading them all together and in order anyway??!?! So why isn’t it just a prequel novel?!? Gah. Ahem. ;D Pet peeve there.
    Oohhhh, but novellas in general? Me no likee. Like I KIND of want to read them sometimes? I really want to read the one for the Half Bad series. But I do not want to pay like $3 for 50-pages or whatever. I’m sorry. I just don’t.
    And the prequel novella for These Broken Stars was totally boring. D: I do have Stars Above but for some reason I’m procrastinating it. :P
    OH. But while I haven’t read Derek Landy’s novellas yet…his “novellas” are like 300-pages. ? So I feel like that’s definitely worth reading!

    • Chiara says:

      Don’t even get me started on The Assassin’s Blade *fuming* HAHA.

      I feel okay when novellas are $1 or less, but I always feel weird paying more than that for a handful of pages! And even more so if I read it and it turns out I don’t like it *wails* The prequel novella for These Broken Stars was one I liked simply because Tarver <3 But overall? It did not add ANYTHING to the series. 300 page novellas? OMG.

  14. I often don’t bother with novellas. Unless they publish an edition where all the novellas are compiled together, I never buy them. I think the only novellas I invested on were Assassin’s Blade and Destroy Me – and thankfully, both were glorious! I just don’t get the point of having a dozen novellas in a series, when they could be easily included in the books. And some novellas are too short to be sold. I mean, who wants to give money and buy a 70 page book?

    • Chiara says:

      I don’t really get why a series would have so many novellas unless the author is just seriously unwilling to let the story go, haha! I have bought several novellas and whilst some of them were worth it, I have finished some and wondered why I even bothered paying for it + wasting my time on it :(

  15. Kelly says:

    WHAT? The Darkest Powers HAS novellas?

    I feel the same way actually, I find that novellas don’t really do much for my reading experience and unless I absolutely love a series, I don’t actively seek them out to read. I always thought they were written to extend interest in a series or to sooth rabid fans waiting for the next book actually, but that’s an interesting point about them being used to bridge between books so they make sense. I’ve never thought about it that way actually. Fabulous discussion poppet, really enjoyed it <3

    • Chiara says:

      Yes! I was looking at the series page on Goodreads and it has SO MANY.

      My interest in novellas often wanes over time, as well. For example I was keen on reading the novellas in the Chemical Garden series, and The Winner’s Curse series but now that it’s been a while since I read those series my interest in their novellas has pretty much disappeared. I’m glad you enjoyed it, Kelly!

  16. I’ve read a lot of novellas, but I don’t go out of my way to buy them. I borrow them from the library! P.S. I totally loved Entice by Erica Crouch :D

  17. My favorite part of series-reading is the macro-plot and how each book builds on the prior one. So novellas … well, they’ve never really done much for me. They don’t really add anything to the big picture of where the series is going, and while I sometimes enjoy them, I so often decide to just pass instead of bothering. Esp since funds aren’t unlimited.

    • Chiara says:

      I usually feel inclined to read novellas if they are about a favourite character or side character who I would really love to read about. But even then sometimes they really disappoint me. I think it is just so hit and miss, and I find that mind more when there’s money involved!

  18. Romi says:

    Novellas can be so very precarious. I tend to have a lot of trouble with their shortness, and sinking into the world and the characters (especially if I’m unfamiliar with them/where the plot’s going and don’t have a *lot* of time to figure things out and settle in) tends to take more time than I’m given. They definitely can be ace, but unfortunately… they’re more often something I regret investing in, which means I invest in them less and less and presently do hardly at all.

    I can understand the draw to writing novellas and stories, though, even if my experience with them isn’t always fabulous, because you get to expand the world you created. You get to be back with your little character darlings and show who they used to be or who they become and that is so tempting, it’s such a fun, glorious idea, but they just… tend to let me down. AND I WISH THEY DIDN’T. *cries forever* They are a pretty good way to give a character backstory, though, that you don’t include in the novel. A kinda amazing way to showcase a childhood or whatnot. I’m definitely with you that when you love a series enough, they’re completely wonderful. But when they fall flat… it’s unfortunate.

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