Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On The Extra Stories In A Series

I read my fair share of Young Adult Fantasy and Science-Fiction series. They're fun, entertaining and some full of interesting ideas. I ready Adult Science-Fiction and Fantasy too, but I'm going to stick to YA right now. I'm thinking about all these series that have companion short stories. Some are prequels, some are re-tellings of scenes from another character's point of view, some are about what has happened in between novels. Not all series have them, The Hunger Games, for example. It's three novels, that's it, the end. Then there is a series like Delirium with so many extra tales, that though originally published as ebooks (as all these extra tales first are), they published a paperback edition too, though most leave their companion tales as ebooks, like the Grisha trilogy.

Though there are other series that leave out the extra bits (like Uglies from Scott Westerfeld), I feel like there are more who have at least one ebook tale (like Legend, by Marie Lu) and an increasing amount of others who are publishing their multiple ebook shorts in paperback form (Shatter Me, by Taherah Mafi). Why am I thinking about this?  Recently I read Red Queen. It was great, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I'm itching to read Glass Sword. I own both novels. I picked them up recently (at a very good price). However, Cruel Crown was not available to purchase. If it was there, would I have purchased it? Probably, yes. While I have skipped companion ebook short stories in the past, when there is more than one, I feel more of a pull to get them. What might they reveal about the characters I love, the ones I hate, the history of the world? With Red Queen a recent read, I'm left wondering if I should buy the paperback, the two ebooks separately (a cheaper deal) or just skip the stories.

As I type this, read what I've written, I think I might be feeling companion story burn-out. Why do the majority of series (at least the ones I've read lately) have these extra bits floating around? Some of the short stories I've read have been brilliant, like Leigh Bardugo's The Witch of Duva and Little Knife. Others I've been less fond of, like alternate perspectives, where I know what's going to happen (I like a little tension or mystery in my stories), especially if they don't tell me anything I didn't already know. I have a similar problem with prequels, a story is nice, but I want to learn something. The Assassin's Blade was a collection of prequel stories done right. They had their own plots and we learned a lot about the main character and even had hints about what could happen in future novels. I guess I am just wondering, why can't their be more series like The Hunger Games? A bunch of novels I loved. I'm not saying just trilogies either. Uglies is a series of 4 books. I just... I don't know... There are just so many... I want to be able to pick up the books and read them, without having to search online to see if any other stories exist. (I have to say, I do appreciate the ones that are free.) But why can't it be bam, bam, bam, done? If I hadn't joined Goodreads, I probably would have missed most of these stories (Thanks, Goodreads, for links on where to read them too.) It's just burn-out, that's all it is. Right? Bah! Whatever.

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