It’s been nearly a year of Novel Darlings and somehow we haven’t done a recommendation post yet! So it’s time we fixed that with a post recommending one of my personal favourites – fairy tale re-tellings.
Are you excited? I’m excited. How can I not be? Fairy tales are an integral part of childhood. It’s where you learn that good always wins, fairies come to those in need and not to take the deal from the sketchy little guy. This is especially true if you watch Once Upon A Time.
See? Hella sketchy.
Anyways, here at Novel Darlings, we love fairy tales so much we’re writing our own book inspired by a famous fairy tale. Look at our list of amazing book recs and you’ll soon love fairy tales too.
If you know me and Andy at all, you know what our first entry will be.
Oh, look, it’s the Lunar Chronicles. What a surprise.
If you’ve read this series, you probably understand why we love this series so much. If you haven’t, read it and then you’ll understand.
I am still not quite over the fact that this series is finished. I picked up the first book, not long after Scarlet was released – I’ve had years of waiting, knowing that a new book would be released soon. This is one of those series that is just so perfect, even six books isn’t quite enough.
I expected to like this book. It’s a standalone from MARISSA MEYER. You know, the same one that wrote the thing of beauty that is the Lunar Chronicles? So yeah, I was expecting to be pretty happy with it.
And then I read it.
And if there’s one thing that I love more than fairy tales, it’s fairy tale retellings that make you want to rip your heart out at the end and CRUSH IT just so you don’t feel the horrendous, agonising pain anymore.
(Ok, I mostly used that analogy so I could use a picture of angel, Lana Parrilla with her classic murder smile.)
It’s gorgeous, full of lemon tarts and snarky cats and evil creatures, and you are horribly, horribly aware the whole time that this will not end happily. And sometimes that’s satisfying but for this book, you really, really just want Catherine to be happy.
Emerge is a great book because it’s not a retelling as such, it’s what’s after. Emerge follows Lia, a mermaid who is stuck on land after the famous little mermaid unleashed a curse that has stripped all merpeople of their immortality. It’s a great book that incorporates such a famous tale with a really original twist.
Technically…not a retelling. But it does have fairy tales at it’s core. Magrat suddenly finds herself in possession of a fairy godmother’s wand and in charge of a young lady named
Cinderella Emberella. They have to travel across the Discworld to make sure Ella doesn’t marry a prince – they’re hindered by another, slightly more evil fairy godmother and the fact that Magrat can only turn things into pumpkins. It’s more of a parody and slightly sarcastic take on all things magical and fairy tale but a great book nonetheless.
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley is a gorgeous re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. The Beast’s palace has a glasshouse where his once beautiful rose garden is dry and barren, and McKinley resurrects Beauty’s two sisters that I remember from the tale I read growing up; the sharp Jewel-Tongue and courageous Lion-Heart. The novel has excellent world building and fleshes out the characters, giving them lives of their own outside of Beauty’s own story. The ending gave me everything I look for in a fairy tale – the well earned Happily Ever After.
I want to scream my love for Uprooted from the rooftops! I’m not sure I could write a coherent review without devolving into gushing adoration. Not a straight-forward retelling, rather, it’s rooted in Eastern European folklore and involves an enchanted, ancient Wood that terrorizes the villages it surrounds. These villages are under the protection of the Dragon, the local wizard, who takes a girl every seven years to his tower to serve him.
The writing is lush and intoxicating, and it one of those stories that I will carry in my heart for a long time.
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter is the collection of fairy tales to end all fairy tales. Carter draws out the latent themes behind our beloved fairy stories – those of blood, sex, and death, and deftly empowers the female characters.
Carter is dark and brilliant and I implore you to read her work. But be careful…
…her stories have teeth.
So there you have it – our favourite fairy tale twists and retellings. I’m sure that we have more (especially Luna) but these are the ones that make you want a mermaid tale or a magic wand.
If you have any recs for us, please let us know! We’re always on the look out for more.