Todays’s Wyrd and Wonder prompt is “bite-size fantasies.” While this sounds delightfully fun, it is meant to focus on short story or novella-length fantasy stories. Since last year’s Wyrd and Wonder I have read quite a bit more fantasy books (obviously), some of which were on the shorter side. Here is a list of some bite-size fantasies that might be of interest. I loosely interpreted novellas as 200 pages in under, though I believe technically they are typically shorer than that.
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow
Print Length: 126 pages
USA Today bestselling author Alix E. Harrow’s A Spindle Splintered brings her patented charm to a new version of a classic story. Featuring Arthur Rackham’s original illustrations for The Sleeping Beauty, fractured and reimagined.
It’s Zinnia Gray’s twenty-first birthday, which is extra-special because it’s the last birthday she’ll ever have. When she was young, an industrial accident left Zinnia with a rare condition. Not much is known about her illness, just that no-one has lived past twenty-one.
Her best friend Charm is intent on making Zinnia’s last birthday special with a full sleeping beauty experience, complete with a tower and a spinning wheel. But when Zinnia pricks her finger, something strange and unexpected happens, and she finds herself falling through worlds, with another sleeping beauty, just as desperate to escape her fate.
The Man and the Crow by Rebecca Crunden
Print Length: 24 pages
Some witches curse, others are cursed. And sometimes, the cursed want revenge.
This short story was previously published in Spellbinding: An Anthology of Magic (2019).
Read my review here.
The Sixth Deaths of the Saint by Alix E. Harrow
Print Length: 30 pages
The Saint of War spares the life of a servant girl so she can fulfill her destiny as the kingdom’s greatest warrior in this short story of love and loyalty by New York Times bestselling author Alix E. Harrow.
Always mindful of the debt she owes, the girl finds her worth as a weapon in the hand of the Prince. Her victories make him a king, then an emperor. The bards sing her name and her enemies fear it. But the war never ends and the cost keeps rising—how many times will she repeat her own story?
Alix E. Harrow’s The Six Deaths of the Saint is part of Into Shadow, an enthralling collection of dark fantasy stories about the lure of forbidden knowledge. Read or listen to each in a single sitting.
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
Print Length: 125 pages
Return to the captivating world of Elfhame with this illustrated addition to the New York Times bestselling Folk of Air trilogy that began with The Cruel Prince, from award-winning author Holly Black.
Once upon a time, there was a boy with a wicked tongue.
Before Cardan was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone. #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame’s enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan’s perspective.
This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector’s item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman
Print Length: 130 pages
The thrilling, wintry Nordic tale by Neil Gaiman, who weaves a magical story of legend and adventure that will enchant readers from beginning to end.
Odd, a young Viking boy, is left fatherless following a raid. In his icy, ancient world there is no mercy for an unlucky soul with a crushed foot and no one to protect him. Fleeing to the woods, Odd stumbles upon and releases a trapped bear…and then Odd’s destiny begins to change.
The eagle, bear, and fox Odd encounters are Norse gods, trapped in animal form by the evil frost giant who has conquered Asgard, the city of the gods. Now our hero must reclaim Thor’s hammer, outwit the frost giants and release the gods…
Spear by Nicola Griffith
Print Length: 188 pages
She left all she knew to find who she could be . . .
She grows up in the wild wood, in a cave with her mother, but visions of a faraway lake drift to her on the spring breeze, scented with promise. And when she hears a traveler speak of Artos, king of Caer Leon, she decides her future lies at his court. So, brimming with magic and eager to test her strength, she breaks her covenant with her mother and sets out on her bony gelding for Caer Leon.
With her stolen hunting spear and mended armour, she is an unlikely hero, not a chosen one, but one who forges her own bright path. Aflame with determination, she begins a journey of magic and mystery, love, lust and fights to death. On her adventures, she will steal the hearts of beautiful women, fight warriors and sorcerers, and make a place to call home.
The legendary author of Hild returns with an unforgettable hero and a queer Arthurian masterpiece for the modern era. Nicola Griffith’s Spear is a spellbinding vision of the Camelot we’ve longed for, a Camelot that belongs to us all.
Read my review here.
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Great list! I think quite a few of Kingfisher’s books would fit this prompt, too. She tends to write shorter books!
Thanks! I know, I just hopped onto the Kingfisher bandwagon. Next I really want to read What Moves the Dead…it sounds so strange and fascinating.
The only one of these I’ve read is A Spindle Spintered, which I loved. I enjoy reading novellas in between longer books😁
Me too! It gives my brain a break to switch to something shorter every now and then.
This is great for when I need a quick read! I have read the Holly Black book but that’s it.
Thanks! Hopefully this gave you some options to consider for when you just need to change up the pace. 🙂
I’ve got to say that my favorite “bite-size” fantasy is probably A Psalm for the Wild-Built. It’s 147 pages of coziness, tea, and good vibes. Second place would be Mysteries of Thorn Manor, the novella for Sorcery of Thorns. It was so cute! I’ll have to pick up a few of these as well 🙂
You know, I think I picked up a Becky Chambers book at the bookstore a while back and wasn’t particularly taken by the style when I skimmed the beginning. I think it was part of a trilogy? But at 147 pages, I can certainly make time for that.
And I know, I know…I’ve seen a lot of good comments in passing about Mysteries of Thorn Manor. I definitely want to read that one, but I want to read Sorcery of Thorns first. Both are on my list!
Thanks for the recs!
Ooooh Odd and the Frost Giants sounds good – Neil Gaiman writes such fun fantasy!
It’s a cute middle grade book…definitely a quick, but fun read.