By: Melanie | October 4, 2013 | (27) Comments

discussing through midnight

This meme was created for YA Midnight Reads as a discussion post of all things bookish.

Hello everyone and happy Friday! It’s Stephanie from Chasm of Books here. I have been thinking about what to talk about all week and finally, (the day before) I thought of something! Yes, I woke up Thursday morning and thought, oh crap, I still haven’t written a Friday Couple *cough* Discussing Through Midnight. No, I can’t possibly be two posts behind…. But it finally came to me, short story instalments in larger series.

Or whatever they’re called….

You know books like The Demigod Diaries, The Demigod Files, uhhhhh, hold on while I check the names for some that aren’t, you know, written by Rick Riordan. Oh, there The Prince by Keira Cass, no not The Bane Chronicles. But isn’t that the same thing, Stephanie? No. See, I’m talking about the ones that slip into the space between the books in a series, or at least some time you didn’t read about within the series timeline. The Bane Chronicles are kind of their own stand alone short story series, trust me. Any who…. I suppose we couldย call them novellas but The Prince isn’t really a novella…. Oh well, you guys get the point.

So short story instalments within a series, good or bad? Are they worth the time and effort the authors and publishers put into them? As a reviewer, I find it harder to review shorter works like this. I’m so used to having more that I have to remind myself they’re just short stories. Let’s look at a very tiny pros and cons list for a moment.

 

Pro

1. They give you a taste of the characters while you’re waiting for the next book.

2. You wouldn’t see the characters oh, let’s see, battle Dionysus’s followers otherwise.

3. You wouldn’t feel the greatness that is the world you’ve fallen in love with enough to spend up to $8 on a book of short stories you wouldn’t otherwise buy.

Con

1. They’re really short, which I suppose could be a good thing, but I’m putting it here because a shorter story allows less development and often leaves you (or me at least) wanting.

2. They’re not as good as the real thing.

Every time I read a short story installment within a series, I’m disappointed. I’m expecting the epicness that was the full length novel but then I don’t get that. My expectations might be too high. But I keep reading them. Why? Well, did you see my pro part of the list? I need the characters except for Annabeth.I need the feels the world of (insert series here) brings. Sure, I may not find them as epic but, like The Demigod Diaries, it gets me thinking about that particular series. It reminds me how much I like it. And it reminds me why I like or hate certain characters…. *cough*

So are they worth the effort? I would say yes. Are they good or bad? I would say they’re on the side of good, but not epic. But then again, I sometimes find I’m the only one who thinks like this when it comes to these type of things.

So what about you guys? What do you think of short story instalments/novellas?

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Melanie

Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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27 Responses to (Guest Post) Discussing Through Midnight (10): Short Story Instalments

  1. Emily says:

    Hmmm, personally I feel rather indifferent when reading short stories. Yeah, sometimes they can be interesting, digging deeper into the character’s personality, their past, but I only read them for fun and in my free time (which I have so little of now!).
    But sometimes, when you’ll be missing out on the plot for a series you’re following, I feel an obligation to read the novella.
    So, honestly speaking, I don’t think I have the need to read short stories. Like you pointed out, I feel it misses the target of the epicness of the original series, and I ended up feeling disappointed as well!
    Great post though Stephanie! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us! ๐Ÿ˜€
    Emily recently posted…Dear Author: What Will The Future Hold?My Profile

  2. Celine says:

    When I see that a novella of a series I love is coming out, I go all ‘Yay! More (instert series here)”. But in the end, they always diappoint me. I NEED more than just a couple of pages. I find that I simply can’t connect with the characters in novella’s, or the story, and like you said, they’re hard to review. I don’t read as much short stories as I used to because I KNOW I’m going to be diappointed.
    Celine recently posted…Review: Divergent by Veronica RothMy Profile

  3. Honestly, I don’t read enough series these days to find the books I’m reading to have novellas or little short stories. I think I would have loved them if it was part of the HP series, because waiting for those suckers was always killer and I was so obsessed with anything Harry Potter. Nowadays, I think I’d just forget they exist to be honest. It’s a nice touch for some fans, but I’d rather just have the main books most of the time.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Swapoween- Take Part in a Blogger SwapMy Profile

  4. Johanna Richards says:

    AGREED! Never as amazing as the real thing. Woah, you’re a Rick Riordan fan too? No wonder…. haha. Brilliant guest post Stephanie! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Amelia says:

    I love novellas, like you mentioned in the pros, you get to know more about the characters and they’re really good to get readers excited!

  6. Giselle says:

    I’m not a big fan of novellas for both cons you mentioned. They’re simply too short for me to really get into them before it ends, and they do feel like cheap knockoffs of the real deal. Only a few times did I really enjoy them and they were prequels and also much longer – 100 pages or so like the Sins and Needles prequel. One thing that I HATE is when they put important information in a novella that if you don’t read it you’re missing out a bit on the series. I know I read the novella once that introduced a character that was in the 3rd book and Jenni who hadn’t read the novella was like Who the eff is this dude and why does it feel like I’m supposed to know him?? And I’m sorry but 4-9$ for a 30-50 page book? No!!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Wild Cards by Simone ElkelesMy Profile

  7. Candace says:

    You know, I’m horrible about reading the short stories within a series, even when it’s a series I love. I’m not sure why though. I guess like you said, it’s lacking the epicness. But it seems like I’d just be happy to visit the characters, even for a short while. Great discussion!
    Candace recently posted…Adult Review & Giveaway: Getting Rowdy by Lori FosterMy Profile

  8. Liviania says:

    I like them best when they’re included as bonuses at the back of the full novel.
    Liviania recently posted…Hannah Jayne: I Was a Teenage Statistic (plus a deal alert!)My Profile

  9. I agree that short stories are usually disappointing, but at the same time, I can’t resist revisiting my favorite characters and worlds. HarperImpulse did such a great series of e-novellas from all their most popular authors, and each was a true delight.
    Just remember Roar & Liv… how would we ever understand their intense relationship if not for that short gem?
    Great post!
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Something Wiched Returns: Night Witches by L.J. Adlington + GiveawayMy Profile

  10. It really depends on how much I loved the series. I absolutely adore the novella’s from Sarah Maas and they give a perfect insight in Celaena’s character and past. They were long enough to be worth their money and I like that they aren’t necessarily to understand the story (although I highly recommend reading them <3) I don't want to feel forced to read a book to understand something. I wish the novella's were available for free like some authors do, like Glitches from Marissa Meyer on Tor.com
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 202. Lauren Oliver โ€“ Requiem.My Profile

  11. Ooh, novellas. They seem to be quite a hot topic lately, especially since the number of them have started to increase, and publishers are even beginning to create imprints JUST for them. (*cough* Harper Impulse *cough*) Though I don’t read many of them — heck, I don’t read them at all, save for a few from a beloved series — I can’t say that I’m a big fan of them, because most of the time they turn out more to be marketing ploys than ACTUALLY adding to the story. I agree with pro #1, though: it’s always nice to see some well-loved characters go through some action-packed adventure while waiting for the actual book to come out, and if you’re suffering from a severe book hangover, then these novellas will probably help loads, too!

    But for me, I think the cons kind of outweigh the pros, especially in this aspect: “Theyโ€™re really short, which I suppose could be a good thing, but Iโ€™m putting it here because a shorter story allows less development and often leaves you (or me at least) wanting.” — I mean, I guess it is pretty unfair for me to expect a lot from novellas, but hey, talented authors can do ANYTHING with a minimum amount of pages. Also, they need to make the novella sound genuine, otherwise it’d just feel like a marketing ploy, a way for publishers and authors to generate more publicity/money for the upcoming book. Not very nice, haha.

    So overall, I’d just rather wait than read a novella, but I know plenty of people who enjoy them, so I’m in the minority here! Great post, Stephanie. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted…Magic In Every Page: The Dream Thieves, Maggie StiefvaterMy Profile

  12. Tanja says:

    It really depends here on the book, the series, the author. A lot of things. Let’s take Julie Kagawa for example, here short stories, novellas or whatever they’re called are really great. Mostly they give you some little hints about the whole story and sometimes they’re told from secondary characters POV so you can be in their heard too. But yeah it happens that sometimes this story is too short. I’m still weeping after Melina Marchetta’s Ferragost. Ah sigh we cannot have all I guess. Great post ๐Ÿ™‚
    Tanja recently posted…Bully by Penelope DouglasMy Profile

  13. Melanie says:

    Personally, Steph. I actually don’t like reading novellas. They make me go insane- especially if they are from one of my fav. authors. But The Demigod Diaries wasn’t too maddening. Keyword=too. >.< Thanks for sharing on my blog! <33

  14. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of reading novellas and short stories. I haven’t read too many, but the few that I have read (just off the top of my head: Jennifer Estep’s one… Spartan Frost?) have all been disappointments, aside from Julie Kagawa’s novellas. Especially the one from Puck’s (<3) point of view ๐Ÿ˜€ I think the main thing, though, is that since they're so short there isn't as much… stuff in it. And most of the time they just end up seeming kind of like filler-y chapters and meaningless bits of fluff. I do agree with all your pros, and sometimes novellas do capture those kind of important moments that the books don't. But overall, for me I think the cons (and my experiences) outweigh the pros :/
    Chri @ Fathomless recently posted…The Reading SpotMy Profile

  15. Short stories and novellas are hit or miss for me. I love when they add to the story (like telling the story of something that was mentioned in the book, but we never experienced) when you are waiting for the next book, but I hate it when they don’t really seem to do anything for the story. I am reading one serial that is a bunch of novellas and it’s really awesome. Though the novellas are pretty long at over 100 pages generally. It’s more like a tv series in book form which is pretty cool.
    Amy @ Book Loving Mom recently posted…Book Girls Don’t Cry – What Makes Me DNFMy Profile

  16. I like novellas or short stories, but hate that they’re so expensive. I mean there was this one novella I was gonna buy that was priced at $5.99. That seems really steep to me for a book that has less than 100 pages. :/ And I also agree that they’re sometimes not as developed as they could be, which sometimea seems like just an easy way out for the authors… great post!
    -Marianne @ Boricuan Bookworms
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