Blog No. 393
I’ve recently finished reading the first four books of the Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells. There are two more books in the series, one out now and the other announced, but they are both novels. The ones I’ve finished are novellas, and seeing as the new ones are novels, they seemed to be the end of an arc. I was quite taken with the first book when I read it. I got it as an ebook since it was on sale (and may still be). I read it quickly and generally had a good time with it. I was eager to get to the next book (it was already out, and I think the other two were either forthcoming or just newly released at the time). I didn’t, though, because it was so expensive. I have an issue with the current price of ebooks ever since the publishers managed to take control of the pricing. I only buy ebooks on sale now, since the prices can be way too high. (When I can get a paperback for ten dollars, I’m not spending the same or more for a digital copy).
Eventually the second book went on sale, and I snatched it up. It was a long time after I had read the first one (maybe as much as a year, I can’t remember) but I dove in. I maybe should have done a reread of the first one (especially since it was so short) but I managed to remember enough during the reading that I could still follow the plot. It was a little less self contained than the first book, but it had a few interesting characters and was again a fun read.
I’m guessing my investment and interest in novellas is common knowledge to anyone who actually reads these blogs. Probably for anyone who has read any of my books, too. Like short stories (or long short stories?) there is a certain immediacy to a novella. Not to say I don’t like a good full length novel, but novellas can be fun and punchy in a way that’s hard for a longer novel to accomplish. It’s more of a vehicle for a single idea. Seeing such a popular, new novella series, I was eager to give them a read, but turned off by the price. The physical books, while nice, were even more outrageous. The hardcover of the first book (just over 30 000 words) is twenty-five dollars. The paper back is twenty. It’s hard to justify that price, even for a good read.
Eventually the whole series was offered for free from the publisher as a preview for the release of the new novel. Tor, the publisher, offered a free ebook a month to people who are signed up to their newsletter. I’ve read a few of them, but this was the first time the offered book (books in this case) was something I had been waiting to go on sale. I downloaded them (offered one a day for four days, good thing I didn’t miss them) and started the series from scratch.
I quite enjoyed the first two books the second time around. Since the books are small, they were quick to read. The continuation of the story was easier to follow that way. The third and fourth books, I was reading for the first time. They were even shorter and really felt like halves of the same book to be honest. I still enjoyed them, and they were great as pieces of the whole overarching story, but I was taken aback by the length and how they felt less complete on their own compared to the first two. The series was already popular and successful by that point. Also, the author wrote them quickly in the same year, maybe even ramping up for the longer novel to come. It makes sense and I still enjoyed the books and the whole series. I don’t think I would be as happy if I had paid full price for them, though.
I’m not sure what I was trying to get at with this post. I finished reading the books the other day and it’s on my mind. I would suggest them for other people, they are fun and light reads with good plots that stand up. Just don’t pay twenty-five dollars for them. I plan on reading the novels, but I’m going to get some other books done and wait for them to go on sale. If they follow the pattern of novel releases, they should get reasonably priced in paperback, or pocket paperback if publishers are even making those anymore. I may look into some of the other books by Wells. I like her writing and she has several other books and series’ that she’s done.
I guess that’s it for this week. I’m still working on my own novel with the next novella in my series ready to go after that, or in August. Whatever comes first.