Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings I've Read/Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. There is a new subject each week and this week's topic is "Top Ten Fairy Tale Retellings I've Read/Want to Read"

Once Upon a Time is one of my favorite TV shows. I love the way it retells classic fairy tales with a modern twist. I thought it would be fun to match my list up with some of the characters from the show. 

Cinderella from Once Upon a Time

Cinderella is not my favorite fairy tale but for some reason it seems to be the most popular fairy tale to retell!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This is probably my favorite take on the classic with Cinderella being recast as a cyborg mechanic named Linh Cinder and facing off against her mean stepmother and an evil queen who wants to rule Earth. 

The Stepsister's Tale by Tracy Barrett

This book gives us a twist with a hardworking and sympathetic stepsister and a lazy Cinderella living in a rundown house and there is no fairy godmother here. The book reminded me a little of Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl but not as lighthearted in tone.

Shadows on the Moon by Zoe Marriott

Marriott's creative retelling features magic and a fascinating world based on Ancient Japan. The Cinderella in this tale is active rather than passive and she is out for revenge.

Ash by Malinda Lo

Malinda Lo's retelling is a beautifully written novel filled with various fairy tales and an unconventional Cinderella who must choose between her fairy Prince and a Huntress.

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

What happens when happily ever after isn't what you wanted in the end? This Cinderella doesn't have a fairy godmother but has to use her own intelligence to get out of the castle and find her true happy ending.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

While I best remember the Anne Hathaway film, this book is a lot of fun with its nontraditional take on Cinderella. Ella has been given the gift of obedience by the fairy Lucinda, a gift that is more of a curse. The book recounts her adventures as she tries to track down Lucinda to fix things before realizing she has the strength to do it herself.

Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George

This version of Cinderella involves smart and plucky main character Poppy participating in a royal exchange program where she meets a prince and Eleanora (Cinderella) who was wealthy and noble till her dad lost their money and she now works as a palace maid. There is also an evil "fairy godmother".

Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

I am looking forward to reading this steampunk fantasy retelling where Cinderella (Nicolette) is an inventor.

Belle from Once Upon a Time's take on Beauty and the Beast

I loved the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast with it's version of Beauty as a bookworm and the fun addition of characters like Cogsworth, Lumiere and Chip. 

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

This is not a strict retelling of Beauty and the Beast as it is also based on Tam Lin but I thought it was very creative and enjoyed the romance and fairy lore.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Popular and good looking Kyle Kingsley makes the mistake of humiliating the wrong person and finds himself cursed as he becomes a beast as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside. I really liked this retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in the contemporary world. The Alex Pettyfer/Vanessa Hudgens film definitely didn't do it justice.

Sleeping Beauty/Aurora on Once Upon a Time

This tale is not as compelling on Once Upon a Time. It was actually a pretty boring storyline with the exception of Mulan. Really the classic isn't all that compelling either but I liked these novels.

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell

This retelling has a historical feel and is told from the viewpoint of a servant of the Queen. I loved the setting and the creative way of interpreting the story without magic (some people think the evil Millicent has magical powers but it is more like superstitious belief). 

The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey

This humorous take on Sleeping Beauty is part of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series but it can be read as a standalone. The book also includes elements of Snow White and other fairy tales.

Evil Queen/Regina and Snow/Mary Margaret from Once Upon a Time

On the show, I like the character of Regina so much more than the bland and boring Snow White. She is so fun and interesting! Of course in the original fairy tale, I root for Snow White and these book heroines promise to be more inspiring than their TV show counterpart.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

This book has received comparisons to Cinder and while both involve droids and technically savvy protagonists living in a science fictional world, Stitching Snow is very much its own story. I liked how she was smart and a scrappy fighter.

Winter by Marissa Meyer

This is one of my most anticipated books this year. I can't wait to see how Marissa Meyer reinterprets Snow White. Winter is the stepdaughter of the evil queen Levana (who is way more evil than Regina from Once Upon a Time) and this is the final book in the series so we will see Cinder, Scarlet (Little Red Riding Hood) and Cress (Rapunzel) and everything will hopefully be wrapped up in a very satisfying way.

The Snow Queen/Ingrid and Elsa and Anna on Once Upon a Time

The show's version of The Snow Queen linked her character to Elsa and Anna from Frozen, the Disney movie that is inspired by The Snow Queen.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

In this contemporary retelling, young Hazel must rescue her best friend Jack from the clutches of a woman made of ice (inspired by both the Snow Queen and Jadis, the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe). I liked how the book looked at imagination and being on the cusp of leaving childhood behind. 

Rumpelstiltskin/The Dark One/Mr. Gold on Once Upon a Time

On Once upon a Time, Rumpelstiltskin plays multiple roles including the traditional fairy tale character, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast, the crocodile from Peter Pan and the Dark One. In traditional literature, he is an imp who can turn straw into gold and he makes deals with people but the way to defeat him is to find his true name.

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce

In this award winning historical fantasy novel, Charlotte Miller's family owns a cursed mill and after her dad dies and things start to get worse, she feels she has no choice but to make a deal with Jack Spinner who tells her he can make gold out of straw.

Some bonus fairy tale retellings that I really liked:

The Wild Swans

The tale of a sister saving her brothers who have been turned into swans was one of my favorites.

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott

East of the Sun, West of the Moon

I hadn't heard of this Norwegian fairy tale till I read the Jessica Day George book but I enjoyed both of these versions.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

East by Edith Pattou

One Thousand and One Nights/The Arabian Nights

I first watched a film adaptation of these tales that I loved and then later I read some of the tales.  This adaptation is very good but I wish the author had included more tales.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh


  1. I love your list! I haven't seen Once upon a time but I've heard really good things about it. I definitely need to check it out. I didn't realize there was so many retellings out there. I own the Lunar Chronicles but haven't had the chance to read it. I have read Beastly I loved it. I heard Alex Finn has other retellings out there I'm excited to read it.

    Great Picks!

    Tina @ Tina, The Bookworm

  2. Beastly was a pretty good book! I've been meaning to pick up A Court Of Thorns and Roses. I've never read anything by Maas before. Great list!

  3. This is a fantastic list, Christina. I need to save it, because most of these books are on my TBR list. Can you believe I haven't read a single one? I have been dying to read Cinder and A Court of Thorn and Roses.


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