Wyrd and Wonder: Bite Sized Islands

After traveling through Dragon’s Pass, I’m now at the Wyrd and Wonder Bite Sized Islands. While here, I get to share with you some fantasy short stories and novellas! Sometimes it’s nice to kick back with a shorter tale. Thanks to participating in the inaugural SFINCS competition, I’ve read quite a few recently! So, in no particular order, here are some novellas to discover while visiting the Wyrd and Wonder Bite Sized Islands.

Wyrd and Wonder 2024 map.

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher

Thorn Hedge by T. KingfisherThis novella is a retelling of the classic Western fairytale The Sleeping Beauty. What’s great about it is Kingfisher creates a totally new perspective from a new character. It has “…a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.” Most of the story is about Toadling, but it does focus some on the sleeping beauty. Of course, not everything is as it seems, even beautiful things.

You can read my review here.

The Firetongue Heir by Elyse Thomson

The Firetongue Heir by Elyse ThomsonI read this novella during the SFINCS competition. It’s a prequel novella to the eastern Roman Empire-inspired Mages of Oblivion series. But it reads well as a standalone. I enjoyed the writing in this fantasy romance and felt like I got to know the characters. Basically, Nadia and Darius aren’t supposed to love each other because of what amounts to magical racism. Darius wants to get out from under his father’s toxic reign. And though Nadia will bide her time to rise, she doesn’t exactly want her family to direct her life. As I say in my review: “When the king discovers Darius’s affinity for Nadia and threatens her life, they must flee together, which sets up a chain of decisions and the allure of forbidden love.

Blackcap by Benjamin Aeveryn

Blackcap by Benjamin AeverynThis is another novella that I read for the SFINCS competition. It’s a paranormal mystery in which Kade switches from sleuthing out human criminals, and inadvertently sending some to their deaths, to helping solve paranormal cases. Although set in the Rainfallen universe, I found it easy to follow. What I really liked about it is that it’s essentially it’s own story. The ending more or less wraps up the story. I suppose it’s more in the horror category, but I consider horror a subgenre of fantasy.

You can read my review here.

Ruins of Smoke by João F. Silva

Ruins of Smoke by Joao F. SilvaYes, this is another novella that I read for the SFINCS! This one is a prequel novella as well. I think reading the related books might help the reader understand the background more, given they’re thrown right into some action. However, I picked up on enough to understand there’s a power struggle going on. And the different abilities of those involved (from various POVs) is so interesting. This novella is definitely for someone who likes jam-packed action. From the official blurb: “As the Deceiver threatens the Usharian Empire’s heart, fiends walk the streets of the capital. Men and monsters clash in a battle fit for gods. And the smoke follows them.”

You can read my review here.

A Necromancer Called Gam Gam by Adam Holcombe

A Necromancer Called Gam Gam by Adam HolcombeOf course I have to include this beloved novella, which I also read as part of the SFINCS. But I’d seen chatter about it well before that competition. As I mention at the beginning of my review, it’s a “somewhat cozy fantasy novella follows Mina and Gam Gam as they seek to put an end to the pursuit of Mina’s powers. Climb aboard for an undead adventure complete with knit wear.” Gam Gam is a necromancer helping Mina shake free of her pursuers. Not to mention there’s also an undead cat and spectral night.

Tales of the Celestial Kingdom by Sue Lynn Tan

Tales of the Celestial Kingdom by Sue Lynn TanTechnically, this is a collection of short stories from the Celestial Kingdom duology. I highly recommend reading those books before opening this one. Otherwise, you might be a little lost. These short stories follow familiar characters in behind-the-scenes moments. I really enjoyed these short peeks into these moments because it made some tougher characters seem more vulnerable. Tan’s writing remains beautiful, of course. Not to mention the cover of this book is as gorgeous as the first two.

You can read my review here.

Dreams of Fire by Shauna Lawless

Dreams of Fire by Shauna LawlessThis is a prequel novella to Shauna Lawless’s Gael Song series. You can read this without having read any of the ongoing series. As usual, the writing is fantastic and immerses you in 10th century Ireland. It gives some of the backstory about why the Descendants of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the fire-wielding Fomorians fight against each other. The main point of view here is that of Rónnat, who is the older sister of Fódla. In the main series Fódla has a main POV, but in DREAMS OF FIRE it’s great to get a different perspect from Rónnat as well as how she came into her power.

I don’t have my review up yet, though I did draft it, so keep an eye out for it! But you can read my reviews for THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN and THE WORDS OF KINGS AND PROPHETS. They’re books one and two, respectively.

And that’s a wrap for my Wyrd and Wonder Bite Sized Islands visit. If you want to read more of my SFINCS reviews, click here.

The black dragon artwork is by Ehtisham Sajid. Ariana at The Book Nook created the Wyrd and Wonder map.

12 thoughts on “Wyrd and Wonder: Bite Sized Islands

  1. All added to my TBR 🙂
    Shorter fiction doesn’t get reviewed as much, i’m glad this competition allowed you to read a bunch and recommend your favorites!

  2. I have heard of Thornhedge, but not any of the others. Thanks for sharing the list; I’ve enjoyed the trend of publishing shorter works.

    1. You’re welcome! I also am enjoying finding more shorter works. It’s nice to not have to commit to 300+ pages sometimes.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these, Celeste!! I really need to read something by T. Kingfisher. I tried to start Paladin’s Grace a few months back, but wasn’t in the right mood for it. Maybe I should start with Thornhedge just to get a taste of her writing! 🙂

    1. I’ve only read a couple of Kingfisher’s work (THORNHEDGE and WHAT MOVES THE DEAD) and enjoyed both—though I liked THORNHEDGE a bit more. I understand her works are well enjoyed so you probably can’t go wrong with whatever you start with!

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