Question: Prequel Novellas, Yay or Nay?

Posted February 20, 2014 by Carmel in Question / 22 Comments


I’m not a big novella reader to begin with, so whether it’s a prequel or a mid-series addition, they aren’t at the top of my to-be-read pile. I have a habit of binge reading short stories—usually when I’m in a slump or just have too many of ’em that have accumulated on my eReader. But, when I DO read them, I’ve found that generally I enjoy prequels more if I tackle them after I’ve finished book 1. It’s rare that a novella succeeds in getting me excited about the next full-length installment; there’s just not enough story for me to become fully invested in the characters. I actually find that reading the prequel first can have the opposite effect—instead of psyching me up, I end up feeling confused. But, when I check them out after the fact, they can be a nice extra.

There are a few occasions where I’ve found that reading the prequel first actually makes a world of difference. Stacia Kane’s DOWNSIDE GHOSTS series immediately comes to mind; I strongly disliked the heroine when I finished UNHOLY GHOSTS, but after being urged by Jennifer (The Book Nympho) to give FINDING MAGIC a try, I developed a better understanding of Chess Putnam. If I’d read the prequel from the get-go, I probably wouldn’t have rated book 1 the way I did. On the flip side, I find that a lot of authors see novellas as a way to get a couple of extra bucks out of their readers by turning deleted chapters into bonus stories. I LOVE Kristen Callihan’s DARKEST LONDON series, but I’ll be honest with you, when I read EMBER I was like WTF is this? I couldn’t help but feel like it was a big waste of time because it didn’t add anything to the full-length books. ENTWINED on the other hand, was a great secondary character side story.

As a general rule I’m a nay when it comes to prequels but there are a few exceptions.

Prequel Novellas, Yay or Nay?

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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22 responses to “Question: Prequel Novellas, Yay or Nay?

  1. It’s rare to find a prequel that adds anything to the story. Most authors use it as a place for info-dump and back story. Having said that, shorter stories such as novellas are becoming more popular, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of them published.

  2. It all depends on the series. For example the Shatter Me series..I read them all and for the Hollows. Others not so much. Prequels can be a good marketing tool and if they are .99 cents or free I may try those before purchasing a new to me author’s first book. To be honest..I would simply prefer a longer length book with all of the deets included.

  3. I’m not really for or against prequels. When I love an author, I want to read EVERYTHING they’ve ever written. Like Ilona Andrews—if she writes it, I’m reading it. Doesn’t matter if it’s a POV from her main series, or a random SciFi novella. And then there’s Kelley Armstrong. Beginnings might be my absolute favorite thing she’s written.

    As far as order is concerned, I try to read things in the order that they’re published. Only when I’ve deviated from that, have things gotten confusing as far as plots/characters are concerned.

  4. I’m neither against or for prequels. Some help add to the story and get you hooked others can turn you off. If I love an author then I will read EVERYTHING they write. Like Cecy Robson, Ilona Andrews, or Jeaniene Frost.

    I prefer to read series in order, but sometimes that does not always happen.

  5. I agree, if it’s an author I love, I will read ANYTHING they write-including the telephone book! (j/k-maybe). Also, if someone recommends a series, I might try the prequel if it’s out there.

  6. Ktis

    I generally don’t much care for Novella’s because I feel like there isn’t enough there for me.. But I’ve known a couple of times when the novella’s work really well with the series. The In Death Series is one.. there was another series that I read a prequel for that really helped when reading the first book.. but I can’t seem to think of the series. Umm, man now that is going to bug me.. I’ll have to go look for it.. haha

  7. Krista

    With the exception of the Downside Ghosts series, most prequels/novellas are pointless to the story arcs and make me think the author was just desperate for more of my money. If they do include crucial info, I can’t help but wonder why the author didn’t include them in the main books (cough, cough… Marissa Meyer).

  8. I find that a lot of series are adding these and they aren’t usually necessary. I don’t normally read them unless it’s a series I really love, and then I always read them later on in the series, even if it’s a prequel.
    I think it kinds of ruins the magic of the first book if you have to read a prequel first in my opinion. Everything necessary should be included in the first book anyway.

  9. I think it all depends on the author. Some do a great job with prequels and novellas in general (Estep, Kane, Andrews, Hearne)…others not so much. Unfortunately it’s often a crap shoot when it comes to that first one…you just don’t know how it’s going to turn out until you try it. The majority of the ones I read are because I adore the author and want to read everything they write. But occasionally I’ll pick up the prequel from a new-to-me author that I’ve heard good things about their main series. That way I have the starting point when I’m ready to start something new.

    Another crazy week for me so I haven’t been around much, but I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  10. I’m a total yay but NOT because I want to read all the extras and fork out $2.99 for a 30 page novella but because I have OCD and I have to read everything published for a series or I haven’t finished the series. Believe me I know that this is the most ridiculous reason for reading a book but it’s the way my brain works so I’ll always read a novella. I suppose there are worse things in life!

    OH! Since the massive adoption of ereading I’m much happier that novellas can be purchased individually rather than having to buy a full length anthology novel for the one story. 😀