Novella Round-Up #4: Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories

I’ve read a few novellas, and when I’ve read a few, I do one big post of novella reviews- they’re usually too short for me to do one review, but at the same time, I want to review them, so I figured it was easier to talk about several of them in one post!

Today’s novellas are the short stories set in the Beautiful Creatures universe!  All three novellas are written by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.

The Mortal Heart CoverNovella #1: The Mortal Heart (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories #1)

Published March 2015 by Little, Brown|51 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Genre: YA Paranormal

What It’s About: Everyone in Gatlin has a story…

Before she met and married Mitchell Wate, the beautiful and brilliant Lila Jane Evers was an honors student at Duke University. Studying late into the night in the rare books library, she is captivated by a single line of text on an old piece of parchment: “In the Light there is Dark, and in the Dark there is Light.”

What can it mean?

Then one night, Lila Jane meets a mysterious young man who may have the answer. His name is Macon Ravenwood, and for every secret he reveals, he is hiding another. With Macon’s help, Lila Jane uncovers the wonders of the Caster world–the Light and the Dark. But a romance between the Incubus who is fighting his own dark side and this fiercely independent Mortal is doomed from the start. The closer Lila Jane and Macon become, the more her life is in danger.

What I Thought: I liked it!  I’m glad they’re doing short stories on some of the other characters in the Beautiful Creatures series, and I loved seeing Lila and Macon fall in love.  Given how much he still seemed to love her, I wanted a little bit more of their romance.  I know it’s a novella, but I expected more to it, especially given how much I liked Dream Dark (Beautiful Creatures 2.5) and Dangerous Dream (Dangerous Creatures 0.5).

It felt good to be back in this world, but I really was hoping for a little more to this one.  Maybe I need to re-read the original Beautiful Creatures books before re-reading this one.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it, and I think fans of Beautiful Creatures will enjoy this novella, but I also wish there were a little more to it.

The Seer's Spread CoverNovella #2: The Seer’s Spread (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories #2)

Published July 2015 by Little, Brown|38 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Genre: YA Paranormal

What It’s About: “Fate is a powerful thing…”

Ethan Wate is still grieving the loss of his beloved Amma when he receives an unexpected gift–the old, yellow Whitman’s Sampler box that held Amma’s most closely guarded secrets. “One day I might let you have a look under that lid, Ethan Wate,” Amma used to say. “But today isn’t the day.”

Now it’s time for one of her greatest secrets to be revealed. In a long-lost letter, Amma tells Ethan the story of growing up as a young Seer with a remarkable gift for reading cards. But with a power that far-reaching comes responsibility, and Amma has been honoring her mission since before Ethan was born–to protect the Wate family at any cost. So when Lila Jane Evers enters Mitchell Wate’s life, bringing the whole Caster world with her, Amma turns to her cards. This time, it’s the reading that will define the rest of her life–and Ethan’s.

What I Thought: I really liked The Seer’s Spread!  I think I liked it a little more than The Mortal Heart, but Amma is one of my favorite characters, so I might be a little biased.  I loved seeing how she became a part of Ethan’s life, and how much she cared for him.  I loved seeing her do whatever she could to protect Ethan and his dad, while all respecting the fate that she saw in the cards.  More than any other character, I wish we got to see more of her life.  It just makes me love her more.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I loved getting more of Amma’s story, but I wish it were longer!  It’s a great addition to the Beautiful Creatures world.

Before The Claiming CoverNovella #3: Before The Claiming (Beautiful Creatures: The Untold Stories #3)

Published November 2015|42 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the e-book from the library

Genre: YA Paranormal

What It’s About: “You can’t hide from fate…”

While looking through her grandmother Emmaline’s keepsakes, Lena Duchannes comes across a little blue book with a big history–a book that changed Macon Ravenwood’s life and saved Lena’s.

When Lena was a baby, Seer and gifted card reader Amma Treaudeau saw a terrifying future in the cards that sent her to Emmaline’s door. When a powerful Dark Caster sets fire to Lena’s house with baby Lena and her father trapped inside, Amma, Emmaline, and Macon vow to protect the child. Lena’s grandmother and her Uncle Macon whisk Lena away, protecting her and moving her to a new place at the first sign of trouble. But a Caster can only hide for so long, and Macon must rely on the teachings in an ancient book to control his Dark nature. Ultimately, it will be his job to protect Lena–and keep her from surrendering to a Dark fate.

What I Thought: Of the three, this one is probably my least favorite.  I did like seeing more of Lena’s relationship with Ridley, and how connected her family is with Amma.  I enjoyed it, but it didn’t have something the other two had, especially The Seer’s Spread.  I did like seeing Lena before she moved to Gatlin.  Like the other two, I know they’re short, but they were too short, and I really wish they were a little longer!  Still, seeing how involved their families were was interesting, and I wish we saw more of that.

My Rating: 3 stars.  I liked it, but not as much as the other Untold Stories.  I am curious if they’re doing another short, and what it would be about.

Some Random Thoughts About All Three:

I really am wondering if there are going to be more, because I would like to see what else they’d write.  At the same time, though, what I loved about Beautiful Creatures (and the Dangerous Creatures spin-off) seemed to be missing in these stories, and I don’t know if it’s the length or the fact that I just haven’t been in the mood to read lately or that maybe the Beautiful Creatures universe would have been fine without these stories.  It doesn’t seem like overkill (unlike anything set in the Shadowhunter world), and I did enjoy the stories but I didn’t enjoy them like I thought I would.  Maybe because it’s my first time reading, and not listening to them?  I wonder if that was part of it.

Basically, I enjoyed them…but I think I might have been fine not reading them because it didn’t really add anything to the world.

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