I (generally) love short stories/novellas/bonus chapters. They provide extra insight into the world, fleshing out the past and the world. Sometimes they show a different character’s thoughts, which adds depth to those scenes.
They can also be a brilliant way to get ahead/catch up on your reading goal! I’ve starred (*) the ones that I found as separate books on Goodreads. If you’re looking to inject a kick into your reading challenge, why not try these out?
The stories weren’t long enough to merit reviews themselves, so I’ve pulled all my thoughts together into what I hoped would be one post. However, it’s March and I’ve already read so many that if I wait all year this will be an insanely long post. I’m hoping there’ll be one every quarter, but it depends if there are enough. This post covers January 2019 – March 2019.
The order is simply the order I read them in. Enjoy!
WESLEY’S POV, by V. E. Schwab
This is a bonus chapter found at the end of THE DARK VAULT (the new bind up of THE ARCHIVED and THE UNBOUND novels, the first time they’ve been released in this country). It’s set just moments after THE UNBOUND.
It was nice to see another POV and hear Wesley’s narrative voice. It doesn’t add any new layers to the story, other than a marginally different world view. It simply showed the immediate fall-out and how Wesley’s coping with everything that happens at the end of THE UNBOUND.
THE PALE DREAMER, by Samantha Shannon
This is a prequel novella/novelette in THE BONE SEASON world, set a few years (I want to say three?) before THE BONE SEASON. I enjoyed it as much as THE BONE SEASON – in fact, I liked it a little more as I wasn’t so confused. It adds another layer to the world and fleshes out Paige’s history. From Paige’s POV, this novella is about her trying to prove she deserves her place in the Seven Dials. I think the timing is about six months after her arrival into their gang.
I loved the insight into the day-to-day work of the clairvoyance underground. This is everything from the tensions between gang to the danger from rivals and ghosts. It show both sides of the mime-gangs; the practical (rent/protection fees) and more magical (chasing and capturing ghosts). It’s definitely worth a read if you like THE BONE SEASON.
Interested in reading THE PALE DREAMER? Add it to your Goodreads Shelves here.
Bonus content from SHADOW AND BONE, by Leigh Bardugo
Tucked into the back of SHADOW AND BONE are a letter from Mal to Alina and an interview with Bardugo. The interview is pretty standard, but I love the letter. It’s written just as Mal’s about to head into enemy territory while he’s tracking the stag and really expands his character. He appears so little in this book, and yet is key to Alina’s journey.
Of course, there’s a big focus on his feelings, but I enjoyed how it showed what his life was like a tracker – and the danger he was facing while Alina is at the Little Palace. The white-out sounds horrifying, and it was interesting to see how he was coping with the events on the Fold which isn’t talked about at all in the book. He almost died, as did his friends. It’s short, but a fun way to expand on his character.
Pre-Order Story for THE KINGDOM OF COPPER, by S. A. Chakraborty
This is a shorty story emailed out to those who submitted proof of per-order (and then later to those subscribed to Chakraborty’s email list). It was originally going to be part of the prologue, I think, but then was removed and enlarged into this short story (maybe 1-2k?).
It shows off Ali’s new abilities, and so makes sense that it was taken out as he has almost too much control and acceptance for his arc in THE KINGDOM OF COPPER. Yes, his new magic is the tiniest bit of his arc, but still.
Set between THE CITY OF BRASS and THE KINGDOM OF COPPER, Ali is searching for a young woman snatched by a sea monster. It pokes a bit of fun at traditional tales, with the girl initially excited about being in a story-like situation before she realises how glamourous is it. The monster introduced is pretty revolting – a big mud creature.
Bonus chapter from ON THE COME UP, by Angie Thomas
This chapter is included in the back of the Waterstones exclusive edition (aka, their main paperback edition right now.) It is titled TREY’S GRADUATION. It’s a really short five pages scene tucked in the back.
It confused me a fair bit. I started it thinking it was set after the events of ON THE COME UP, but it seemsed to undo several of the character arcs. Maybe it was set pre-ON THE COME UP? That would mean the interactions between Bri and mother, and her mother and grandparents make more sense, but it’s really not all that clear.
Bonus Content from VENGEFUL, by V. E. Schwab
At the back of the UK paperback of VENGEFUL (it could easily be elsewhere) is an example of Victor’s marking up of books and a short story called COMMON GROUND.
The marking up is of the book’s first chapter, crossing out nearly all of the words to leave a message – which basically spells out the problem he’s trying to fix. It’s really quite clever and fun to see an example of his hobby.
Featuring a side character from the book, COMMON GROUND gives a little more depth into her backstory and understanding how she comes to be where and what she is. She wasn’t that present in the book, and felt a little like simply a plot device, so it was nice to understand a little more.
What bonus material have you read recently?