Today I want to talk about novellas! (Specifically the ones that are companions to series, not the ones that are standalones.) I know that people are kind of love-or-hate about the idea of novellas, but personally I’m a fan. Of course there are some duds out there, but in general I love them. They’re usually quick and easy reads that provide some background knowledge to the series and/or access to a different character’s perspective.
Some novellas that I really love are: (1) the Shatter Me trilogy novellas, and (2) The Darkest Powers trilogy novellas. Both provide some key information about the world and characters that people who only read the main books are seriously missing out on. Instead of just being fillers to bolster the author’s salary and series’ popularity, they really add something to the story that you wouldn’t be getting otherwise. No, they’re not absolutely necessary for somebody to read the series, but I found that my enjoyment of both of those series was made greater by having read the novellas.
What I really want to talk about today, actually, is not my enjoyment or appreciation of novellas, but actually a more technical aspect. My question is: when and in what order do you usually read novellas?
I’ve found that there are a few ways to go about it:
- In order, exactly the way they are numbered. So, for example, if you were reading The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, you would read: The Witch of Duva (#0.5), Shadow and Bone (#1), The Tailor (#1.5), Siege and Storm (#2), The Too-Clever Fox (#2.5), Little Knife (#2.6), Ruin and Rising (#3). This seems to be the most methodical and “correct” method, but it also poses some problems. Like with, say, the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy, A Dawn Most Wicked is numbered “#0.5” on Goodreads, but personally I feel like it’s something that you should probably read after Something Strange and Deadly (#1), because you need some information gained in the first book in order to fully understand what’s happening in the novella and there are spoilers in the novella for the first book in the series. But I’ve definitely known some people to read them this way anyway, although not all #0.5 novellas require you having read the first book in the series (like in the case of the Grisha trilogy). Also, sometimes people decide they want to “try out” the series and pick a #0.5 one to read, in order to see if they like the characters/author’s writing style.
- In order, as they were published. This is a similar style to Way to Read Novellas #1, but in order to get around spoilers and not having enough information, you would read both #0.5 and #1.5 after book #1 and continue on in order from there.
- After all of the books. Some people choose to read all of the main books in the series, and then catch up on novellas. It might be because they just prefer to read them that way, or because they didn’t realize that the series had novellas until they’d already completed it.
Personally, I used to be a Way to Read Novellas #3 kind of girl. And it was mostly because it was just easier. Sometimes I wouldn’t know that the series had novellas, or I’d just want to go right into the next book instead of reading a novella first. I don’t really know why, but it’s how I did it.
But now that, in the past couple of months, I’ve been almost exclusively reading series only after all of the books have been published, I’ve been leaning more towards becoming a Way to Read Novellas #2 person. I definitely don’t agree with Way to Read Novellas #1, and after my experience realizing how crucial it was to read the novellas of the Shatter Me trilogy in the order that they were published, lately I’ve been doing it like that instead.