Thursday, August 02, 2012

Mini Reviews: Seraphina and Struck Tie-in Short Stories

Lately, so many awesome young adult novels have equally impressive free short stories to accompany them, and the two I read most recently tie into Seraphina by Rachel Hartman (review here) and Struck by Jennifer Bosworth (review here). In both cases, the stories take place before the events of the novels, but in the first case it is immediately before, while in the latter it is many years earlier. However, neither story has any spoilers to the novel it accompanies and both can definitely be read before, or after, those books.

"The Audition" takes place right before Seraphina when the title character has gone to audition for the role of royal assistant music composer as well as the Princess' music tutor. It's a cute little story that corresponds well with what the reader later learns about the characters. I thought it especially was a good introduction to the Princess, showing her sense of humour. Seraphina came across as honest and nervous, and the way that she invited Orma, her music tutor, to come with her but not her father was really telling.

Even though it ties into a high fantasy novel "The Audition" honestly isn't. It's not about dragons or magic or anything like that. It's really just about one girl and her feelings. And despite that, Hartman captures the struggle in a pure and well-written way. After reading Seraphina I didn't feel like I was missing any of the story, but it was still great to have this added little insight into the character's experiences and what brought her to the royal palace in the first place. For that reason, I think "The Audition" would be great to read before Seraphina.

"Prophet" gives further background to the villain of Bosworth's Struck in a way the novel attempts, but doesn't fully reveal because it is told from the perspective of a different character. Instead of Mia, this is Prophet's story, only told back when he was simply Rance Ridley, the son of a cult leader. Before everything changed, and he became the person Mia meets. It's a soft introduction to him, and gives him a more human side that isn't really portrayed in Struck and for that reason I thought it was a nice little addition to the series.

Unlike "The Audition", I feel like "Prophet" is more interesting after having read the novel it accompanies. That's because reading Struck, I loved to hate Prophet, and I thought there was enough background for him as a character. Sure, it was a bit mysterious, but most bad guys are. Still, picking up this short story afterwards I definitely enjoyed being let into the character's mind and finding out the truth about the events that made him who he is. The story itself is strongly written and dramatic, and even though I knew how things were going to turn out in the end, I still really enjoyed reading it.

Great, basically spoiler-free little short stories that can be picked up for free– The Audition here, and Prophet here– these are definitely worthwhile reads if you're interested in the novels they accompany. Thought I found both to be quite a bit different than the books themselves, Hartman's story lacks the real fantasy element and Bosworth's is told from a completely different character's perspective, they fill in some of the gaps in the stories in a way fans of the novels, including me, can definitely appreciate.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, these short stories sound good, especially because I really loved both Struck and Seraphina. And yo, I loved to hate Prophet as well.


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