Short stories are excellent for when you feel like reading something, but don’t have a lot of time, or for between novels, when the last one is still lingering and you’re not quite ready to submerge yourself into another world yet. The other time when a short story is good is when you want to taste an authors’ style before purchasing a longer book.
These free short stories are perfect for ereaders. Read one while you’re waiting – anywhere!
Intisar Khanani’s The Bone Knife filled all these purposes for me and I was delighted to find a well-written, tight and sensitive portrayal of a girl with a club foot in a world where faeries and magic are feared.
One of Rae’s sisters has magic and she should have been given to the Council of Mages to be properly trained and sworn into the service of the King. When a faerie Lord comes to buy horses from the family, they are concerned that he will notice the girl and take her away and punish the family. This creates an air of tension, but the real drama in the story is when the townsfolk come banging on the door accusing them of harboring a faerie. How will they get the faerie away?
Khanani has managed to get a lot of character development into a few words – a mark of skill – and to give us insight into Rae’s inner and outer world. The story also has a nice little twist at the end – something I think all short stories should have – and leaves one wanting to know more about Rae and her world. It’s the perfect primer for a soon to be released trilogy featuring Rae as the heroine.
Clearly Inistar Khanani’s can write extremely well and though I didn’t read the excerpt in this book, I don’t doubt that her AIA novel, Thorn, is well worth a read.
Green by Sara Zaske is a terrific short story, well written, engaging and, as the best short stories do, has a nice little twist at the end. It’s even a little thought- provoking, exactly the elements I want in a short story. She also manages to give a sense of a whole planet in these few thousand words. Well done and well worth a read.
Available from Smashwords
Sara Zaske knows how to write a good short story. I loved this one even more than I loved Green. It’s set in a world of the future where zoos have ceased running for fear of terrorist attacks. The last Zoo has a janitor and one old blind polar bear that hid when the authorities took all the other animals away. Enter a young man working on a thesis, who turns the zoo into a modern ‘natural’ zoo. It’s an awesome idea and I loved what he did. The zoo idea makes a nice little statement, and the story is topped off with an unexpected ending. Another excellent story from Ms Zaske.
Available from Smashwords
This is a well-written story but a little bland in that it doesn’t have the deep characterisation, nifty little end twist, social or philosophical comment, or thought- provoking nature of the best short stories. Nevertheless, it’s an enjoyable read with a absurdity to it that is quite refreshing.
The above reviews are all by Tahlia Newland. The final one is by Jen Blood. (for obvious reasons!)
In the world around us, demons — invisible to the human eye — abound, feeding off the basest of emotions: jealousy, lust, anger, fear. Nick, however, not only sees these demons… he slays them.
“Run” is a short story that serves as an introduction to Tahlia Newland’s young adult Diamond Peak series. Evocative prose, imaginative details, and fully fleshed characters combine to make this a compelling read for all ages (though there is some adult content in this story that does not carry over into the series). Within the first two pages, I had already determined this was a universe I wanted to stay with, and promptly returned to Amazon to buy the first book in the series, Lethal Inheritance. Any fans of fantasy, magical realism, or simply readers who appreciate a well-constructed, thoughtfully written story, will not be disappointed.
Check out the other five star reviews that gave Run an AIA Seal of Excellence.
And let’s not forget this terrific little detective story