Lately I find myself struggling to keep reading entire, full-length novels. Life has became too tiring, I have difficulties concentrating on something for too long and I’m always searching for new stimuli.
So, novellas are the perfect read for me.
Usually, novellas are stories in the range of 20-40k words – at least those published by tor.com, which are the ones I read. I personally find it a beautiful range to work with (even tried writing one myself!) because it allows you to spun a simple but intriguing story without dead beats. Honestly, many full length novels I read would have worked better as novellas. There are never filler episodes in a novella, but there’s enough space for you to fully develop your characters and setting. If you have a short attention span like I do, novellas are the perfect read because the pace is kept tight and there is never a word too much. I love them for this!
Some of my favourites are those published by tor.com, which to my knowledge is the biggest publisher of novellas. Check out the catalogue here.
Here three novellas you just have to read:
THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN
by J.Y. Yang | goodreads
East-Asian inspired tale, extremely character driven and focused on the twin brother on a prophet and his journey to adulthood and gender affirmation. This novella plays with the concept of gender a lot, I don’t necessarily appreciate how it does so (especially in the sequels there is a lot of focus on one’s AGAB, too much for my taste) but it’s definitely refreshing to see adult fantasy dipping its toes out of the binary. It helps that the author is non binary, too!
I loved the imagery of this novella and the coming-of-age flavour of it, and the sequels are just as good (there are for books in the Tensorate series). Highly recommended!
THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE
by Nghi Vo | goodreads
This novella is clearly inspired by the rise to power of Wu Zetian, China’s only female Emperor. It tells the tale of a concubine growing to conquer an empire, narrated through the eyes of one of her maidservants, who recollects the events years later. The magic is very quiet, but it’s there nonetheless, and the story is spun in such a delicate and lovely way reading it was like getting wrapped in fresh linens in a spring evening.
SILVER IN THE WOODS
by Emily Tesh | goodreads
This may be my favourite novella of all. The story focuses around a century-hold keeper of an enchanted woods, and his infatuation for a young… let’s call him an occult researcher. The story is way more complex that it seems however, in the space of few pages the author manages to pull quite the plot twists and revelations that left me mouth agape. The atmosphere of the story is also just my cup of tea, very Jonathan Strange and Mister Norrell.
I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the sequel!