Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Best of 2013: Novellas

This list was so, so, so hard.  Seriously, you'd be surprised by how many novellas I've read this year, and some of them were amazing.  Now, I'm limiting my list of short stories to ones actually connected to a larger series, which excludes things like Brandon Sanderson's The Emperor's Soul or Janette Rallinson's A Longtime (and at one point illegal) Crush, both of which I absolutely adored. Still, that only narrowed it down a little bit. It's also hard because how well I love the series it's connected to, also plays into how well I like a novella.  Still, I'm trying to judge it on the novella itself, how complete it is, and the story it holds.

Now, here's my Best of 2013, in no particular order and with several Honorable Mentions at the end, novellas/short stories.

1. The King's Guard by Rae Carson

At fifteen years old, Hector is the youngest squire in the most elite military force in the country. And his first day is disastrous. Everyone assumes the only reason he was recruited is his close personal association with King Alejandro, not because he's really earned it.

But Alejandro needs Hector for a secret mission, one that gives him the chance to prove to everyone—including himself—that he is worthy to be a Royal Guard. Hector must break into the ancient Fortress of Wind to retrieve something so important that the kingdom's future depends on it. What Hector finds in the fortress will stretch his bond of friendship with his king near to breaking. And it will prepare him to become the fearsome warrior and lord commander Elisa will never let go.
A riveting prequel to Rae Carson's epic and acclaimed Fire and Thorns series.  Quoted from Goodreads

2. Phoenix Overture by Jodi Meadows

This breathtaking and lyrical novella captures a thrilling and momentous decision for a young man and the people he loves. Told from the perspective of Sam, the sensitive musician from Jodi Meadows’s Incarnate series, lifetimes before he meets Ana, Phoenix Overture is a story of love and loss, strength and courage, and facing the consequences of the hardest of decisions.

Phoenix Overture offers existing fans a deeper insight into a favorite character and the intriguing history of Heart, while new readers will find a stunning introduction to this rich world and the romantic, captivating fantasy of the Incarnate series.
In the wilds around the Community where Sam and his family have taken shelter, life is dangerous. Dragons, trolls, centaurs, and other monsters fill the world. The word comes from the council that everyone must leave and journey to rescue their leader, Janan, who has been abducted by a mysterious new enemy in the north. Faced with overwhelming threats that bring death and destruction, Sam and the others reach the northern Range and, reunited with Janan, are given an unimaginable opportunity. Although it would give them the privilege to live and learn and love without fear, the choice is not without its own dire consequences. And lives—though not theirs—are sure to be lost. Just how much are they willing to give up to save themselves?  Quoted from Goodreads

3. The First Star to Fall by Diana Peterfreund

Discover how it all began . . .

New Pacifica was designed to be a tropical paradise, a refuge for humanity filled with natural wonders and technological marvels. A place of perfect peace, where “war” was only a war out of ancient history–or so the privileged teenage aristocrat Persis Blake had always been taught.

But then comes the revolution and the death of a queen, and suddenly it’s no longer enough for Persis to trust the words of her parents, the lessons of her teachers, and the decrees of the men in power.
One terrible night, Persis witnesses the truth: there are those who will stop at nothing to destroy her world . . . but is there anyone who could save it?  Quoted from Goodreads

4. Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson

From "New York Times" bestselling author Brandon Sanderson's action-packed novel "Steelheart" comes "Mitosis," a short story set in the world of The Reckoners series, exclusively available in the digital format.

Steelheart may be dead, but Epics still plague Newcago and David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.  Quoted from Goodreads

5. Double Crossed by Ally Carter

Macey McHenry—Glamorous society girl or spy-in-training?

W.W. Hale V—Heir to an American dynasty or master thief?

There are two sides to every coin. Whether these two can work together is a tossup.

Born into privilege, Macey and Hale are experts at mingling with the upper class. But even if they’ve never raised an eyebrow at the glitz, neither teenager has ever felt at home with the glamour.

When Macey and Hale meet at a society gala, the party takes a dangerous turn. Suddenly they’re at the center of a hostage situation, and it’s up to them to stop the thugs from becoming hostile. Will Macey’s spy skills and Hale’s con-man ways be enough to outsmart a ruthless gang? Or will they have to seek out the ultimate inside girl to help?
The worlds of Heist Society and the Gallagher Girls collide in Ally Carter’s fast-paced, high-stakes and tantalizing new story. Get a behind the scenes glimpse as Ally delivers an irresistible thriller that is full of her signature style and savvy twists.  Quoted from Goodreads

This list has to have a few Honorable Mentions because I felt so bad leaving them out, and I'm still not sure that they aren't on par with some of the ones I've included.  First and foremost, Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan. How could I not love Percy and Carter coming together to defeat an evil, possessed crocodile? Then we have Undone by Elizabeth Norris and A Dawn Most Wicked by Susan Denard which were also excellent novellas and really expanded their universe.  

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