the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘novellas

Woah! How did it become December, like, when did that happen?

I could put myself under a ton of pressure to write thousand word reviews that won’t get read . . . or I could write some low-pressure mini-reviews.

Mini reviews it is. (I mourn my loss of review-writing motivation. I really do)

Here are some mini-reviews of books I read this year and enjoyed. If you read them, I’d love to know your thoughts! If you aren’t familiar with them, do they look interesting?

The Quantum Garden by Derek Kunsken – the direct sequel to Kunsken’s break out novel The Quantum Magician. I am a sucker for heist stories, and I am a sucker for when the con artist gets conned. This second novel in the series is quieter than the first, less action, less gigantic set pieces. And in the quiet spaces, we really get to know Bel and Cassie, and the family they came from. I’m not going to give away any plot points, because if you haven’t read the first book they won’t make any sense. If you like smart science fiction, if you like physics that is on the edge, if you like stories about science meets capitalism and human greed, and oh, if you’re looking to scratch your Locke Lamora itch, this is the series for you.  Seriously excellent in every possible way. Def gonna want to reread this and tease out all the cool dimension hopping physics and cultural and family obligation stuff, and just totally cool shit on every page.

And Shall Machines Surrender by Benjanun Sriduangkaew – I loved this book. It was fun, it was super sexy, the characters were great, I enjoyed the story, I loved the idea of a sanctuary community that is run and governed by AI’s who rebelled against their human owners. But this isn’t a story about AI’s, it is a romance. Orfea and Krissana have history, oh do they have history. And the only thing they have more of than history is chemistry. If you don’t like romance and sexytimes getting all squished up in your scifi, this isn’t the book for you. Enjoy ultra smart scifi characters who also get to have romantic relationships and sexytimes? This novella is the gift you give yourself. Even better news? Sriduangkaew recently published Then Will the Sun Rise Alabaster, which is same world, different characters. This is a huge sprawling space opera world that Sriduangkaew has created, there are endless stories she could tell.

Indelible Ink by Matt Betts – Ok, so I read this one a few months ago, and don’t remember a ton of the details. I remember that it had a rough start, but found its bearing pretty quickly, and that I enjoyed it enough that I’d read it again. Deena has some hella cool superpowers that she can sort of control, her story line felt X-Men and edgy, as if she was some mutant kid who got recruited into Magneto’s crew and didn’t really know what was going on. I remember really liking her as a character and rooting for her. And there was this crazy twist at the end that came out of left field, but at the same time made a ton of sense because there had been some clues all long. Yep, just gonna have to read this one again. If you can find a copy of this book, I recommend it.

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Death and Honey,  novellas by Kevin Hearne, Lila Bowen, and Chuck Wendig

available Feb 28th 2019

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher (Thanks Subterranean Press!)








Death and Honey has some original and unexpected things going for it.  Things that might turn you off, but shouldn’t. Lemme explain. The three novels contained in this volume take place in world already created and developed by these authors, and these stories take place rather late in the game for a number  of these characters. You might be thinking to yourself that either you’ll feel lost because you’re only on book three of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid series, or you’re woefully under read in Lila Bowen’s Shadow series, or maybe you barely got to the end of Chuck Wendig’s Blackbirds (oh, you weren’t thinking any of that? Must have been me that was thinking those thoughts).  Can you enjoy a story that takes place near the end of a series if you didn’t read the middle part? And what about spoilers??


The answers are Yes, and Yes.  Yes, you can fully enjoy these stories even if you have no idea who Oberon is, even if you have no idea who Rhett Walker is, even if the name Miriam Black doesn’t mean anything to you.   And yes, sorry, there are a few spoilers. Fans of the Iron Druid will find out just a teeny weeny bit about Ragnarok, I’m not familiar enough with the other series to tell you what was a surprise, and what a spoiler.  But so what? Reading a short story that takes place near the end of a series is like having dessert first. And what, like you’ve never read a McMaster Bujold out of order? (or, again, that could just be me)


Oh, oh the second weird and unexpected thing! I nearly forgot. All of these stories have to do with bees.  And honey. Sometimes the bees are nice, sometimes they aren’t, sometimes they are just bees. And everyone likes honey, right?  (I can’t possibly be the only one here who eats honey out of the jar with a spoon)


Also?  excellent full color artwork by Galen Dara!


Don’t want spoilers, just want my final thoughts?  Scroll all the way to the bottom.


Yo, so I’ve read a few of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid books, and yeah, I enjoyed them. But you wanna know what I really, really like? Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries!  Take your standard cozy mystery formula, but the sleuth is Oberon, Atticus’s psychically bonded Irish Wolfhound! Oberon’s sense of smell is amazing, he’ll do just about anything for a treat, he wonders why humans do such weird things all the time, and above all, Oberon wants Atticus to be happy.  In The Buzz Kill, Oberon and Starbuck find a body at the foot of a tree, a tree that has a giant beehive in it! Atticus is trying to stay under the radar, and instead gets sucked into helping the local police investigate the murder. Hearne has fun with the light heartedness, each chapter title is a play on words having to do with bees, flowers, or honey.

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and. . . .  we’re back to Hugo stuff!

The nominations for best novella are:

  • After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
  • The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
  • On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
  • San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (Orbit)
  • The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)

Those links will let you read an excerpt of the novellas.

Boy did I get lucky! I’ve already read and reviewed After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall and The Emperor’s Soul! (Those links will take you to my reviews)

Over the next few days I’ll be posting my reviews of the others.

In the meantime, two conversation prompts:

1. Have you read any of these novellas? what did you think of them?

2. Do you find novellas difficult to access? I meant that in a few ways. Novellas are tough for me because there’s so little time. As soon as I find myself immersed and invested, the story is over. They are super duper short novels.  And they are tough to find! Every issue of Asimov’s and most of the other magazines have a novella each month, and many anthologies or author’s collections will feature one or two novellas. But if you don’t read the magazines, or pick up the right anthologies or collections, how else will you get to read novellas?

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.