I really loved talking about my favourite myth retellings I thought I’d share with you my favourite fairy tale retellings.
All these books I have given 4 or 5 stars. I highly recommend them.
The Wrath & The Dawn Duology by Renee Ahdieh
This duology retells the tale of One Thousand and One Nights. This is a traditional retelling at the start. Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last.
The romance between Shahrzad and the Caliph is a slow burn. I adore Ahdieh’s writing, also the way she describes food leaves me month watering.
Flame in the Mist ( Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh
Flame in the Mist is Ahdieh’s second duology and is Mulan retelling. The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits. As the lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for attempting to kill her.
I love that her work takes non-western fairy tales. Her writing style is lush and lyrical and she’s able to bring the Medieval Japan world to life. I have only read the first one and I’m excited for the sequel.
The Boy Made of Snow by Chloe Mayer
I adore this book! We follow Daniel and his mother, Annabel, in a sleepy English village during WW2. In this time both mother and son strike up a friendship with German prisoner of war, Hans. The only way Annabel is able to connect with her son is through fairy tales. To Daniel, a solitary boy caught up in the mythical world of fairy-tales, Has is perhaps a prince in disguise or a magical woodchopper.
This book is beautifully written and in Daniel’s sections the narrative takes on the narratives of the classic Grimms Brothers’ fairy tales.
The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell
On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom.
This a Sleeping Beauty retelling with Gaiman’s trademark dark magic. Also this is perfect for those who love feminist story lines. Also Chris Riddell’s illustrations add charming darkness to the story.
The Bear and the Nightingale (Winternight Trilogy #1) by Katherine Arden
At the edge of the Russian wilderness, Vasilisa spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. She loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village.
I loved getting a look at Russian folklore. Vasilisa character is quite head strong and I love how she works to defy her stepmother and continue honor the sprits. The way Arden is able to describe winter in so many different ways is amazing. I’m excited to read the rest of the trilogy.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Probably the most obvious one but A Court of Thorns and Roses is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast mixed with the dark world of the faerie. In this story we follow human girl, Feyre who’s family’s survival depends on her ability to hunt, which becomes increasingly more difficult when winter hits. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price and she’s dragged to Autumn Court for the murder of a faerie.
I adore this story and love the politics of the faerie realms. It does stick close to the Beauty and the Beast story line. However the addition of faerie’s does add enough difference to keep you interested.
The Goddess of the Rose by P.C Cast
This another Beauty and the Beast retelling but is mixed with the Greek mythology. Modern women, Mikki ends up in the strange Realm of the Rose, after unwittingly performs a ritual and becoming a priestess for the goddess, Hecate. The goddess has been waiting for her. Long ago, she had cursed her guardian beast and the entire Realm with a slumber only a priestess can undo. The beast at first terrifies Mikki, but soon intrigues her more than any man ever has.
I really love this series and The Goddess of the Rose is one of my favourites. I enjoy the twist of the Minotaur being the Beast.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn’t believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell. With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it’s the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who’s everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart.
I adored this retelling. Anderson gives voice to Tiger Lily. We see a much darker side to Neverland, where the bad guys sometimes win and love doesn’t always triumph. I adore that the story is told from Tinkerbell’s perspective. Having Tinkerbell narrate the story allows us to get a close look at all the characters and give a wider scope than first person allows. I love how the tale take elements from the original story and the well-loved Disney movie.
Sea Hearts by Margo Lanagan
This story explores the selkie folklore. In Scottish folklore, selkie’s are creatures who are able to change from seal to human by taking off their skin. The folk-tales generally tell of female selkies being coerced into relationships with humans by someone stealing and hiding their sealskin.
Sea Hearts follows the typical fairy tale but shows it from the perspectives of the sea-witch, Misskaella, who is able to draw a women from seals, and the children of these seal women. Lanagan’s writing style is lush and lyrical. It’s a stunning look at what cost will be once men start buying these sea-wives. This story is also known as The Brides of Rollrock Island.
That’s it for me. Comment down below and let me know what your favourite fairy tale retellings are.
Until next time, happy reading!