Fans of popular series always want to read more about the characters and the world they've come to love. This might lead them to seek out fan fiction (or write their own) but such stories are of course never part of the official canon. That's why the growing trend of authors releasing novellas, e-shorts and short stories to promote and enrich their series books is such a treat for some readers - and a way for authors to earn additional income. Today, I'm going to talk about the stories that fall into the dystopian genre.
This week, Lauren Oliver released her e-short HANA, a story set in the DELIRIUM universe told from Lena's friend Hana's perspective and meant to be read after DELIRIUM. It was online for free for 4 days, and now available at e-tailers. If you've read DELIRIUM, then you know that Hana was Lena's more reckless friend who first introduced her to the illicit underground parties which allowed Lena the freedom to fall in love with Alex. In this story, you discover that Hana faces her own potential infection with the love disease and how that affects her relationship with Lena and, in fact, puts the events of DELIRIUM in a new light. Killer, killer ending. Definitely read this one if you're invested in the series.
Also this week, Lissa Price released an e-short called PORTRAIT OF A STARTER that serves as an introduction to her debut novel STARTERS coming out next month. This story is told from Callie's friend Michael's point of view and precedes the events of STARTERS. Because I read it after I read STARTERS, it gave me new insights into Callie's character, fleshed out Michael nicely, and provided some more details about the world. I could also see it working well as an introduction to the series, though first-timers to the books might find more of a hook in the first chapters of STARTERS itself. This story is not essential to your understanding or enjoyment of the series, but it's a very nice bonus. Lissa talks about the process of writing PORTRAIT OF A STARTER over at the League.
Author Carrie Ryan has quite a few treasures for fans of her FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH series. There's the prequel e-short HARE MOON (available at e-tailers or as part of the KISS ME DEADLY anthology) and three unrelated short stories set in the world of the unconsecrated available as part of anthologies. Of these, SCENIC ROUTE from the anthology ENTHRALLED: PARANORMAL DIVERSIONS is probably my favorite. It's about two sisters hiding out from the unconsecrated who spend their time planning road trips as if the world weren't in shambles around them. It's so well done - shocking and heartbreaking. Loved it. To find out more about all the related stories, see Carrie's website.
A couple e-shorts I still need to check out include:
TORTURED by Caragh O'Brien - a bridge story between BIRTHMARKED and PRIZED told from Leon's point of view. I love Leon, so I need to get a copy of this for my Nook when I'm back in the US at the end of April.
THE NEW WORLD by Patrick Ness - a prequel to the amazing THE CHAOS WALKING trilogy that details Viola's journey to the planet where the series' events take place. Why haven't I read this yet?
ETA - Just found INSIDER INFORMATION by Elana Johnson - a POSSESSION short story told from the POV of Zenn. And it's free on Smashwords.
Any I missed? Any you wish for? I'd personally love for Suzanne Collins to give us a POV e-short from Peeta - or really any of the tributes (a la Stephenie Meyer and BREE TANNER). What about you?