Chatterbox: Thoughts on Novellas

December 12, 2014 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Books, Chatterbox, Features

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When you hear a novella being announced for your favourite series, are you excited to pick it up? Or is it something that you generally give a miss?

I’m usually in the latter crowd, because I feel that novellas don’t offer us enough content or development to really make a difference to the storyline. Look at This Night So Dark for example, a novella that came out for a series that I absolutely adore. On one hand, it was free and it gave us more to the story. But on the other hand, it was such a quick read I didn’t feel anything about it because of its short length. Upon finishing it, I was like…so what? Same with The Queen’s Army by Marissa Meyer, Wolf’s novella in the Lunar Chronicles series, which I also love. While it fleshed out the character in his past, I still felt apathetic towards it, feeling like I could actually do without these.

While I’m not normally one to enjoy a novella, there are some rare circumstances if its meaty and substantial in terms of content. Stand outs in this case include Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover which actually gave us a whole new love story, and Ricochet by Krista and Becca Ritchie, which was a full length novella bridging the gap between two books.

What about purchasing novellas? I’m not normally one to fork out for them, because sometimes I think they’re just a quick and easy sales tool, without offering much in terms of content. Like that time I bought The Transfer by Veronica Roth because I wanted to know more from Four’s point of view, and still found it to be lack luster and ill developed. That being said, I was satisfied with Four: A Divergent Story Collection combining 4 novellas, because there was a bit of meat to it.

I guess it just comes down to whether I find them to offer value for money, increased character and story development, and of a decent length.

What are your thoughts on novellas? 

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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78 responses to “Chatterbox: Thoughts on Novellas

  1. triciasbookreviews

    Most of the time, I enjoy novellas, especially if it's part of a favorite series. For me, for a favorite series it gives extra time with favorite characters or extra bits to the story. If it's done well, anytime I get extra bits on favorite characters, I love it!!
    My recent post What’s On Your Book Wish List?

    • That\’s great to hear you love novellas Tricia, they aren\’t for everyone but they are a bit of a bonus aren\’t they 🙂

  2. Ebony

    I can never concentrate long enough to read a short story. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it's because of how short they are. I'm never able to (re)connect to the characters, and the novella always ends up my last priority. I don't plan to read them unless it's for a series and I've heard GREAT things about it, or if it's for a standalone, I loved, then I'll usually pick it up. Wonderful topic of discussion, Jeann! 😀
    My recent post 12 Days of Book Blogmas – Nice List

    • I know, I find being able to connect to characters a big thing affecting my enjoyment for the book, so if it isn't there then it's hard for me to do. Thank you Ebony!

    • I know, novellas aren\’t always the best hey? I\’m good thanks, good to see you up and blogging again! I have missed you lady x

  3. I was just thinking about this the other day when I read Night of Cake and Puppets, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone novella. I don't usually bother with them but I did really enjoy that one so I feel like I should make more effort. I definitely need to read the Throne of Glass ones.

  4. rlsharpe

    I haven't read too many Novella's that are connected to a series because they are usually ebooks and I don't read that many ebooks. And I only read them if they are free – unless they are bundled into paperback form, than I'm happy to pay for them. If there is a series I love, I'll read the novella's connected to them, but again, only once they are bundled together in paperback form. I have so many books to read I don't have time to read novellas too – that is unless I really love the series than I'll squeeze it in.
    I do read and enjoy novella's that aren't connected to a series, ones that are a full story in themselves.

    • Ah, yes most novellas seem to be available in eBook format because they are so short. The time factor is also a big thing, why spend time reading a novella when we can be reading an actual book?

  5. I hate novellas for the most part. I feel like most authors/publishers use them as a ploy to make more money, it doesn't seem like a sincere way of writing. There are some novellas that are amazing and so good though (ex. Assassin's Blade novellas).Sometimes I feel like they help the story arc, most of the times I feel they're extraneous. Lovely post <33
    My recent post The Unproductive Reader

  6. I completely agree Jeann! I love novellas because they usually allows us to read from the POV of characters other than the main character; and I really like that. But, like you said, I usually find that they leave me wanting more, you know? Thanks for sharing, and fantastic review! &hearts;
    My recent post Made for You

  7. literateture

    For me it depends, there are some Novellas that have enough pages, but there are some books that should be a novella. Some authors like to stretch their book too thin that it doesn't even sense anymore. It just keep dragging and dragging. Those dragging books should become novellas HAHAHA *nods*
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  8. I think they can be well done, but I also have read those novella's were I wa sleft wonderign what they actually offer. I do like seeing different perspectives, so if a novella does that it often works for me. I also adore Kelley Armstrong her novella's as they almost read like real books only shorter and they are really enjoyable.
    One thing I dislike most about novella's is when they feel rushed, as long as the author manages to avoid that, there's a higher change of me beign able to enjoy it.
    My recent post My To-Be Read List #4: Chosen Book

  9. LilysBookBlog

    I don't typically read novellas–they just aren't my thing and I usually find them pointless. They happen to be pretty expensive for just an a hudred page book so I tend to stay away.
    That being said I did read Destroy me and Fracture Me, which were both novellas but felt vital to the overall story. I've made note of getting The Assassins Blade novellas since they are vital to Celeana's past, I just haven't gotten around to reading them yet.
    My recent post {Blog Tour} Amour Amour: Teaser Poster

    • I do think they are quite expensive for what they are when we have to pay for them. Interesting to hear about the Shatter Me series! I hope you do read the Assassin's Blade, I loved that series.

  10. Hmm interesting! I wasn't such a huge fan of them at first, but later as I got to read more and more of them I found some really interesting ones. For example I love Maybe Not which was really good. So yeah. I also love when the authors give them for free on their sites 🙂 It's like they give us gift for being amazing, which we always are 😉 Great post, Jeann 🙂

    • Glad to hear you found some really good ones, I can't wait to read Maybe Not! The free ones are the best too hehe. Thanks Tanja.

  11. ciaraholmes09

    I read the Assassin's Blade novellas before I started the Throne of Glass books and liked them but as a whole I just don't think novellas contribute much to the larger story due to their length. I read one of the novellas of the Divergent books and it was okay but I wasn't persuaded to buy the collection and I've been giving novellas the skip ever since. I do think they are better in a collection, like TOG or the Divergent series rather than a once off novella in a series.
    My recent post Review: 1984 by George Orwell

    • Yay, I'm glad to hear you loved the AB novellas! Yeah, I was the same with the Divergent novellas, I picked up one and never went back. Until the bound book came out and I read it all hehe 🙂 The collections are definitely a lot better for substance and value, I feel.

    • Four was actually quite decent by the end, even though they weren't connected I liked how there were a few of them and they linked in with the original story.

  12. I do not buy them. I think like you do that they are just a way to get quick easy money from loyal readers without giving us a suitable meal in return. It's like a friend inviting me to dinner and yet insisting I pay the whole bill. So I will read them if they are free and if they sound good because I do enjoy short stories but I won't buy them unless they are part of a bigger anthology.
    My recent post Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

    • Ah, I think it's because I don't enjoy short stories because I feel like they don't give me enough development to get invested in the story. But yeah, I do think sometimes they are a bit overpriced for what they are, unless they are bound together.

  13. Eugenia

    I don't usually read novellas, unless it's for a series I REALLY like and think that I'll be missing something big if I don't read them – though that's not usually the case. For the most part, I'd rather spend my time reading the actual books in the series where most of the action is happening, even if I'm missing out on a bit of background that the novella might have. Great discussion Jeann!
    My recent post Loony Blurbs (4)

    • Thank you Genie! I know, I rarely feel like I'm missing anything if I don't read the novellas, which is strange. I guess you don't want to leave people out of the story.

  14. I agree, most of the time I skip over the novellas. Even though I have most of the ones you mentioned on my kindle, I have yet to touch them just because I sometimes cannot be bothered. I never buy novellas (except for Sarah Maas's before they published ToG), and will only read them if they're free and I'm VERY invested in the series. I would prefer getting a bind up of them all so I can justify spending the money tbh. Great discussion lovely!

    • I totally agree, lots of people have mentioned the ToG novellas and they are fantastic! Although, even sometimes the free ones are disappointing, but then again I'm like "oh well it was free" hehe. The bind up ones are the best though.

    • Oooh I have heard a few people mention The Selection ones, and I know they are available in a bounded copy so I must check them out when I finally read the series.

    • I know, short novellas are difficult to get into and before I know it, they are finished. I LOVE The Assassin's Blade though, don't get me wrong.

  15. cristinasbookreviews

    I can go either way on them, seriously. My favorite novellas had to be the one from Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the novellas from Throne of Glass. I felt those were important to the overall stories and gave more depth to the characters. But sometimes it doesn't work out that way. *shrugs* I did buy the the the physical copy of the TOG novellas because I just couldn't help myself. 😉
    My recent post Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson

    • I actually haven't read the Daughter of smoke and bone ones yet, although that's a good reminder for me to continue the series! I think I've only read the first one so far. The TOG ones are AWESOME though, I love The Assassin's Blade.

  16. It really depends how I feel about the series as a whole. There are some authors that can write anything and I will pick it up, no matter what. So when they come with novella's I will read it too. Sometimes I feel 'mweh' about a series or it's just not good enough, then I'd most likely stay away.

    What I do like is when the novella's are free or bounded in one book, like The assassin's blade. I'm not a fan of very pricey novella's & I think it's better if you an buy them at once.

    • It's great if you like the author you will continue to support them through novellas. The bounded ones are my favourite though.

  17. I don't hate novellas, but I'm not all that excited about them either. I rarely read novellas that are extensions of a series. Even series I love, like The Lunar Chronicles – I've never read any of the novellas.

    But I do like novellas that are their own stories with their own characters. I haven't read Finding Cinderella, but along that vein – those are the types of novellas I like.

    • I don't see much point in picking up novellas either, unless they do have new stories and it really does go into them a lot you know? I loved Finding Cinderella! I don't know of many novellas like that that are done well though.

  18. Bieke (Nelly B.)

    I like novella's but I only tend to buy them if they're bundled together in one big book like The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas. I don't read them often because I can't really review them because they're too short for that.
    My recent post Review: Endsinger by Jay Kristoff

  19. karawrites15

    This is an interesting post! I don't, honestly, read or like many novellas. Mainly because they're in an eBook format, and I don't read them often. (Save from some review copies I get from Netgalley . . . but still, I much prefer print copies of things.) They're also so SHORT. Obviously, but you get what I mean–I always want MORE after I've finished them. I guess in a way they are good–they might piece together things for readers, or bridge two books together–but ultimately they're not really for me, I don't think. 🙁
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  20. Yeah, I – if it's free then maybe I'll read it, or really cheap, or it's a series I like, for example, The Iron Fey, I bought the bind up of those novellas and I just – it kept me in the world with the characters and it bridged the stories and created more depth to the characters, to me, they were worthwhile, but the Lunar Chronicles ones, meh, not so much.. I do think they're an easy sell for people who feel the need, but to me, if what you're writing in the novella is so important, why not just include it in the novel, you know? Seems pointless and mean otherwise.. Anyhow, fantastic post Jeann, really good! 🙂
    My recent post Five Friday Favourites #45 – Books You'd Gift

    • I loved that Iron fey bind up that you got, I think that's the best way to read novellas because it's more substantial you know? The Lunar Chronicles ones were definitely a bit meh. Thank you Amanda, glad you enjoyed it!

  21. Novellas? No no no no no. I don't read them, just because I feel like I'm not going to gain anything. Which is completely ignorant of me to say because technically, I haven't given them a go. BUT there's so much out there to read and so little time and bleugh. I tend to give them a miss. I have so many but I haven't read them so nowadays, I just don't buy them. Although if it was a full length novella then I'D DO IT. Maybe it's length that matters to me? I mean, I wouldn't buy a book of novellas smushed together BUT I'd just by a really long one? Wait, what? I don't even make sense anymore. SORRRRRRRY! <3 But thanks for the fantastic post, Jeann! You've got me thinking now 😀
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    • Wow, I'm surprised you've never even read a novella before! I have tried buying them here and there but always ended up disappointed but if they're free, not so much. Hehe but yeah the ones I recommended in the post are worth giving a shot 🙂 like the Assassin's Blade!

  22. I have no time for novellas. hehe. Unless they're free on Amazon! I've probably read about 4 novellas in my life. I feel like they're pointless, mostly, like when it's just a scene from an other POV, maybe I'm a bad fan but I'm not really that interested. >_< I DO like it when lots of novellas are grouped in one book. Like The Bane Chronicles (I haven't read them, but I'm going to!) and Four. I can get onboard with that. 😉
    My recent post The Heroine Tag

    • Oh I know, sometimes they just feel like there wasn't much to it you know? I do love novellas grouped in one book though, if the novellas are good.

  23. we share pretty similar thoughts on novellas! i used to avoid them at all costs because they were either about characters i didn't care for/ i didn't think them pertinent to the story. however, i find that authors have been getting better at novellas, and some novellas might have become my new favs!

    for one, leigh bardugo's fairytale novellas set in the world of Ravka are THE BOMB. i probably wouldn't BUY a novella if it's a few short pages, but i might consider the bound ones like Four or The Assassin's Blade because somehow with volume comes a better justification for money well spent haha =) great post!
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    • I can see a few novellas really offer a great and substantial story recently too! I think you should check out The Assassin's Blade if you love the series, it really is fantastic.

    • I've read a few here and there and always found myself disappointed unfortunately. I do like the combined novella books though 🙂