Rapid Review: Short Stories I’ve Read Lately

January has not been a great month so far for me, because I’m currently feeling the effects of a reading slump – totally not a nice thing to start the new year. I just couldn’t finish a full length novel, despite it being on my January TBR, and I don’t want to force myself into reading them because I might not end up liking it as much as I want to. But luckily, I’ve been trying to fight it by rereading some of my favorite books, and also getting more into short stories and novellas.

So here are some quick fire reviews of the short stories I’ve read recently.

The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon


ย I’m awful when it comes to reading novellas in order for some series I’m enjoying. I usually just tend to bypass them along the way, and then read them in a chunk afterwards. But this The Bone Season novella could have cleared up a loooooot of confusion within the first 100 pages when I first read the book years ago. This novella really gave the readers a brief introduction to the theme of The Bone Season, and the background of its main character, Paige Mahoney. It wasn’t as detailed as the first book, but if I’ve read this first before starting, things would have definitely been easier to understand.

Rating: 3/5 ๐ŸŒŸ


The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman


ย I picked this up based from Merphy Napier’s 2020 most favorites video. I never heard of this short story until recently, but I wished I learned more about this earlier. The over-all surrounding theme of mental illness and the progress of its treatment were already astonishing, since it reflects how much things have already changed since those times. It definitely emphasizes how the biopsychosocial model approach in treatment (what we currently use in the medical world) of any disease (whether it’s physical or mental ailment) does more wonders than just purely basing it on the science aspect. Ugh. My psychiatry professors should have used this book as an example in discussing that topic years ago.

But my mind totally got boggled when I watched a crash course video about this book afterward, and how it is just telling more than the narrator and author’s struggle with their mental problems.

Such a great hour and 16 pages spent today with this one. 

Rating: 4/5 ๐ŸŒŸ


Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson


This novella is a hard prerequisite before reading Rhythm of War. It has just opened more a lot more ideas (and even more questions) regarding this universe, and I practically ate it all up. I may not be yet that knowledgeable about the inner depths of the Cosmere lore, but this book is definitely already making my brain crank up those bits and pieces flung to the readers. It’s obviously the point of no return wherein the story finally gets to get deeper into the Cosmere origins.

I really loved how Brandon Sanderson put a lot of research effort in creating a paraplegic main character that is very real. I didn’t expect that I would be enjoying Rysn’s character that much because of how she tries to prove herself as an equal amongst her peers and colleagues despite her condition, and how much she wants to improve herself for the better. She was not someone who I really kept my eye on during her first appearance in the older books, but I’m now definitely interested to see more of her and how she fits in more with the continuing story.

This novella was also the Lopen and Huio’s time to shine. I LOVE reading the Lopen’s parts because he’s the amazing breath of fresh air within Bridge Four, but this one really made him show all his spectacular but weird colors. And I am so happy for what happened for both of them towards the end!

Such a wonderful treat before starting Rhythm of War.

Rating: 4/5 ๐ŸŒŸ


The White Sheep of the Family by J.C. Kang


White Sheep of the Family is an immediate follow-up to The Thorn of the Night Blossoms – an Asian-inspired fantasy world wherein ninja courtesans are our main protagonists. It’s just as immersive and beautiful as the first novella, but now we get to see a new adorable character in Tian – an 8 year-old son of a lord who has an eidetic memory and is training to become part of this secret group. I didn’t expect to like Tian at all, but his newness and innocence to the whole thing around his new life was just too cute, and the way his mind works was just as amazing.

I actually really enjoyed that this novella focused more on the training aspects of becoming a Black Lotus from the very beginning. And Jie and the rest of the gang were their usual badass selves.

Can’t wait to get into the next one soon.

Rating: 3.5/5 ๐ŸŒŸ


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