In terms of posts I did not think I’d write, this is one of them! After such a slow start of the year for bookish misc, there was a bit of a run of them later on in the year, allowing me to post one a quarter!
I thought this final post would be the shortest, but as it’s the end-of-the-year post, it contains all the short stories and bonuses I read in the last few days to get my total books read up to a nice, satisfying number!
FROM THE EDITORIAL PAGE OF THE FALCHESTER WEEKLY REVIEW, by Marie Brennan
This is a short story set in the world of A NATURAL HISTORY OF DRAGONS, set between the third book (THE VOYAGE OF THE BASILISK) and the fourth (IN THE LABYRINTH OF THE DRAKES). It’s basically a short series of letters back and forth between Isabella, the series’ heroine, and a male scientist who she is pretty sure is faking it. She probes into his evidence and he gets increasingly annoyed and tries to shut her out because she’s a woman questioning him.
It is done through politely addressing the editors of the paper, and making pointed remarks, in the proper way of newspaper letter arguments. Naturally, it is utterly hilarious and full of voice, just like the books.
TIDES; PAJ AND AUSTER, by Adrienne Young
TIDES: PAJ AND AUSTER was a novella Adrienne Young released via her newsletter in the lead up to the release of THE LAST LEGACY. It’s set before FABLE, and as the title suggests, it’s the story of how Paj and Auster met, fell in love, and left Bastian together. The ending is super open – you know they’re together, but not what happens between then and meeting West. Perhaps there are more short stories to come?
It’s a nice addition to understanding them better and getting another insight into the world of the Roths (hence being released in the lead up to THE LAST LEGACY’S release.) The bare bones of the story gets told in the main duology, but it was so nice to see it told in full. They are a really sweet couple, and seeing Auster – a Roth of the underworld who doesn’t fit in – fall in love when he knows no one will approve was a super fun dynamic.
Bonus Chapter from DEFY THE NIGHT, by Brigid Kemmerer
The Waterstones edition of DEFY THE NIGHT contains a bonus chapter set before the start of the book, detailing Tessa and Wes’ first encounter. We hear Tessa’s reminiscence of the meeting in the book, but we get it in full from Wes’ perspective in this bonus.
It was very interesting to see his side of it, and the emotional tangle he was in that led him to help her so impulsively. It is the meeting that sets them onto the path that leads to the book. It’s not necessary to have to understand the book, as the bare bones of the meeting the tangle of his emotions are explored in the book, but it’s a fun little extra.
THE EID GIFT, by S. K. Ali
This is a bonus little story set before the epilogue to LOVE FROM A TO Z (found on the Riveted Lit “Free Reads” page.) It was a really cute little story to whet the appetite for more from these two ahead of the release of the sequel (LOVE FROM MECCA TO MEDINA!)
Eid is approaching, and Adam and Zayneb are looking forwards to their nikah (the legal wedding ceremony in an Islamic marriage,) but their intended presents for each other are unintentionally at odds with other…
It was so sweet to see them trying to make adjustments for each other (and surprise one another) but accidentally working at cross purposes. Plus the (awkward) discussions with well-meaning family about how to be have a healthy, intimate relationship was nice to see on page, to see that consideration in terms of a faith-based discussion.
DEFENDING ELYSIUM, by Brandon Sanderson
This short story is available on Brandon Sanderson’s website, and is set in the world of SKYWARD. It is set hundreds of years before, with humanity on the brink of FTL, having made contact with some of the species in what will become the Superiority. I read it after CYTONIC and the SKYWARD FLIGHT NOVELLAS (which is when I discovered it) and the advice from other readers is to read it at least after SKYWARD.
It’s an interesting little short story. It’s more of a glimpse of another part of the cytonic universe and its history (though this was written over a decade and a half before SKYWARD) than part of the series. It’s also got a very different tone. It feels much more like adult sci-fi than YA, and has a much closer-to-our-reality feel to it. I quite liked how completely separate it was.
A DASH OF A NIGHTMARE, by Rebecca Ross
This bonus chapter was part of the DREAMS LIE BENEATH pre-order campaign digital goodie packet. It retells one of the key chapters in the book from Phelan’s perspective, the rival magician the main character Clem is duping in order to get her revenge on his family.
I loved seeing this scene from his perspective (her interview to become his partner. She’s in disguise.) Her magical attack was great in the book, and it’s even more terrifying when you see if from his perspective, with it coming for him and tearing into him. Plus, even knowing what would happen, it was satisfying to see his expectations utterly destroyed.
THE PHANTOM OF LINKSHIRE MANOR, by Marissa Meyer
This short story was the pre-order campaign bonus for GILDED (and I completely forgot about it until the very end of the year, rediscovering it while trawling through my downloads for something else!) It’s not at all related to GILDED as it’s a completely different world and genre – it was just something the author had on her computer to send out!
This short story is a gothic murder mystery about an apprentice doctor turning up to the house of a widower who’s very ill. There are claims of haunting and revenge, and it’s highly likely that the illness is not very natural at all.
It is a good lesson in getting clues and a mystery into a small number of words. Clues to sort of fall into the girl’s lap and there’s not really the room for making everyone a suspect. Instead, the tension is between whether it’s supernatural or murder, or if the two are interlinked.
I did, however, think the romance was a bit quick (over about the course of day!) and rather inappropriate, all things considered. I have no idea how old she is (but she seemed to be upper teens by the narration style) while he is probably in his thirties (was already married for 10 years.) My main eeek point what that she was the doctor (already being questioned for being a woman) and then goes about kissing her patient.
What bonus material have you enjoyed this year?