Sunday, December 30, 2012

Short stories are awesome.  They give us in-depth insight into characters, providing anecdotal proof of why some characters are they way they are.  They entertain by creating a certain mood or focusing on a singular effect...some instance in a previous body of work (or one to follow) that might have been glossed over or ignored completely in a longer novel. 

And so, every Sunday for the foreseeable future, I would like to highlight short stories and novellas set in worlds I've already come to love and learn a little more about some of the secondary characters in my favorite novels.  I'll be underscoring some of my favorite aspects of these short works of fiction, in addition to offering up a mini review of each work.

Missed last week's post (again) so I'm featuring two separate but equally awesome short stories this week:

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Title: The Witch of Duva
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: The Grisha, book #0.5 (prequel/folk tale)
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: June 5, 2012
Source: read online for free at
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

There was a time when the woods near Duva ate girls… or so the story goes. But it’s just possible that the danger may be a little bit closer to home. This story is a companion folk tale to Leigh Bardugo’s debut novel, Shadow and Bone.

This short story set in the Grisha world is a Hansel & Gretel retelling that is equal parts dark and creepy and terribly enthralling.  It's been a while since I read Shadow and Bone so I can't really comment on how this short ties into that storyline without going back for a re-read -- which I will totally be doing soon in preparation for Siege and Storm -- but as a re-imagining of the old Hansel & Gretel fairy tale, it is fantastic.

The Witch of Duva isn't what I expected at all.  I was continuously surprised and completely flabbergasted by the turn the story took, but I also really enjoyed the realizations I was left with concerning character motivations and discerning true danger from that which is perceived.

I loved Leigh Bardugo's writing in Shadow and Bone and I once again found myself fascinated and utterly captivated with it in this short story.  And now I'm kind of hoping that she'll write a book featuring only her versions of folk tales...her spin on this one was incredible!

Rating:  Photobucket

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Title: Neverfall
Author: Brodi Ashton
Series: Everneath, book #1.5 (Cole's POV)
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: December 26, 2012
Source: purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

A thrilling new novella from the author of the Everneath series!

Jack is trapped for eternity in the Tunnels while Nikki has managed to evade Cole's grasp . . . for now. But Cole is more desperate than ever to find answers about Nikki, his best chance for taking over the throne of the underworld. How did she survive the Feed? Can Cole find another Forfeit like her who can survive it too?

Cole's quest leads him to the other side of the world, to a mysterious, dangerous society known as the Delphinians, whose price for information might be higher than Cole can pay—a price that could destroy Nikki. But when Cole attempts to steal the answers instead, his mission ends in disaster. Faced with centuries in a Delphinian dungeon, Cole is confronted with questions he's been too scared to ask himself: Is he really obsessed with the throne—or is he obsessed with Nikki? And can she really give him a new beginning as the Everneath's king . . . or will she instead bring about his tragic end?

So, pretty much the only reason I've been putting off reading my ARC of Everbound is because I was waiting to read this novella from Cole's point-of-view.  Well, that and my reading buddy Em will kill me if I start it without her.  =)  I knew it probably wouldn't add that much to the story, but doesn't every girl want to get inside of the guy's head and find out what he's really thinking?  I know I was curious!

This short story mostly focuses on Cole's unwillingness to admit to himself that it's not just his need to find another Forfeit like Nikki that fuels his obsession with's also his desire for Nikki to be his and his alone that stokes the flames of his passion for ruling the Everneath.  After awhile, it almost seems like he doesn't even care about the throne, so much as making Nikki his.  He even gets himself into a spot of trouble because of it.  I liked seeing the inner-workings of this Everliving's mind, and because of that aforementioned trouble, there's plenty of time to figure out how Cole thinks and what he most desires.

As in the first book, there are portions of the story told in the present and those are interspersed with flashbacks to before the last Feed and a few memories from the six months after.  So, not only do we get to dig a little deeper into what makes Cole tick, but we also get to see key moments from Everneath from his perspective and see what hand he really had in the final outcome.  I have to say that I was more than a little surprised...I actually still held out hope that he orchestrated the entire ordeal, but I could still be further shocked because at less than 100 pages, it's hard to get the full picture.  That just means it's time to pick up Everbound!!!  :D

Rating:  Photobucket


  1. Thank you for referring me to I enjoy short stories myself and I'm glad to know you read them yourself. I look forward to your short story posts.

  2. You are right that I would've killed you. ;)
    Great reviews! I really need to pick up Witch of Duva. The wait for Siege and Storm is killing me!

    Emily @ Ed and Em's Reviews

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