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Mini Novella Reviews: Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders, The Sunken Mall, Silver in the Wood

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Another in the series of mini review posts, this time focused on three novellas I finished recently. Novellas make fantastic palate cleansers, but I find I’m rarely able to write a full length review for books this short, so it makes more sense to group them like this. I couldn’t not review them.

Either way! Onto the books themselves. Coincidentally, m/m relationships seem like a common theme with those three.

Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders by Aliette de Bodard (Dragons and Blades #1)

Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders eBook by Aliette de Bodard ...

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ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Well, this was fun! Thuan, a Vietnamese dragon prince, visits his home to celebrate Tet, along with his husband, the fallen angel Asmodeus. Of course, they get roped into solving a murder and thwarting a plot to delegitimise the empress. Nice and cozy – in a stabby way.

What I loved the most was their dynamic – Thuan is very proper and diplomatic, with a bookish reputation, while Asmodeus tends to want to murder his way through problems. It makes for some excellent interactions.

I haven’t read any other Dominion of the Fallen books yet, but now I’m thinking I probably should!

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Recommended to: those who like “opposites attact” kind of relationships and murder mysteries

Tags that apply: ARC, fantasy, female author, lgbtq+, non-western, novella, politics, self-pub, contemporary, standalone, uplifting

The Sunken Mall by K.D. Edwards (The Tarot Sequence #1.5)

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Quick, fun reads are exactly what I need right now and this one had it all. It is set around Equinox (= Atlantean Christmas) – Brand and Rune are late getting a present for Max and Brand hates shopping, so Ciaran invites the whole crew to an abandoned mall from the 80s. Shenanigans follow.

I loved returning back to Atlantis and it has pretty much everything that made me fall in love with the series. Rune and Brand being delighfully snarky, Rune and Addam being utterly adorable together, found family moments, Brand being overprepared, fights, more imaginative worldbuilding…and this time, the 80s. But I’m not going to spill everything.

If you like The Tarot Sequence, go read this now. Seriously. What are you waiting for? It’s free!

Enjoyment: 4.5/5
Execution: 4.5/5

Recommended to: all Tarot Sequence fans

Tags that apply: fantasy, male author, lgbtq+, novella, fast pacing, just plain fun, contemporary, found families, uplifting

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh (The Greenhollow Duology #1)

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Looking at my notes, this has been pitched to me as “what if a very depressed queer version of Tom Bombadil living in a beautiful creepy magical wood was also a monster hunter and then he fell in love” and how could I not get it? And the love interest is a folklore scholar and it’s super sweet and cute (and also, I really liked his mom, she’s a badass). There’s a lot to like.

However, it also had the issue I have with most novellas: there was not quite enough of everything and the pacing was odd. I was left wishing there had been…more. Most parts were sped through and I couldn’t get as attached as I would have wanted. The romance never grabbed me.

But I will read the sequel for sure, perhaps that will help.

Enjoyment: 3/5
Execution: 3/5

Recommended to: fans of folktale-inspired books, those who don’t mind typical novella pacing

Tags that apply: fantasy, novella, female author, lgbtq+, folktale-inspired, uplifting

2 thoughts on “Mini Novella Reviews: Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders, The Sunken Mall, Silver in the Wood”

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