Retellings are such an interesting book genre. If you think of it just know the story is a retelling is kind of spoiler-y. It also runs the risk of being some one boring or been there and done that -ish. On the other hand when a retelling is done well, it can be amazing! While on one hand it taps into something familiar and beloved it adds new depth and excitement. It’s like the ultimate refashion or makeover.
Today I’m sharing 10+ Fairy Tale retellings to check out. They are all super interesting takes on old favorites. And some happen to be some of my all time favorite books. Click on the book titles or covers to read the official synopses of each book.
The Lunar Chronicles – This series is SO good. I mentioned before that I thought the idea of the first book Cinder (cyborg Cinderella) was so dumb when I first heard about it. But I was WRONG. SO WRONG. The story while definitely hitting some key Cinderella points is so fresh and fun. And Marissa Meyer the author is like a character genius. Not only are you sure to fall in love with Cinder but the series some how gets better and better. Each book continues the story line but focuses on a different character (don’t worry the characters you fall in love with in the first book are still around). But by the time the series is finished we’ll get Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood (Scarlet), Rapunzle (Cress), Snow White (Winter), and the Evil Stepmother/Queen (Fairest not technically in the series but in the same world). And while the stories pull from fairy tales they really are this masterpiece of one giant brand new awesome story weaving together. If you read any books from this list it’s these. Hands down, they are so great!
Entwined – A retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses which honestly I am only familiar with through the ballet but this is a fun beautiful story. I got hooked in immediately and it has sprinkles of magic. It almost feels like you’re reading historical fiction but without the slow draggy feel it sometimes has.
Tiger Lily – Fans of Peter Pan will want to check out what life was like pre-Wendy Bird. You aren’t going to find perfect characters here and I think that was one of the things I really liked about this book. While each is flawed they all do have great quantities as well. This wasn’t a page turner for me but this time it was okay. It was a book I had to get through slowly which was good in it’s own way.
Crimson Bound – Me oh my what great big teeth you have. Are you looking for a dark slightly creepy fairy tale retelling? Are you more of a Brother’s Grimm kind of fairy tale reader? Well this take on Little Red Riding Hood is delightfully dark. And you know I am a self proclaimed wimp to horror and scary stuff so it’s not too bad at all just enough to make it good. I’ve been listening to the audiobook and totally sucked in. The story the characters it’s a great one take on the story but with definitely much more to it the same old story. And if you enjoy this book by Rosemund Hodge you’ll want to check out Cruel Beauty which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. (They are not a series and can be read independent of each other.) The audio versions are a must!
The Books of Bayern – The retelling of The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale and the books that follow in the series are lovely. The first book is The Goose Girl but there are 4 books in the series and I think the third one The River Secrets is my favorite! Book two is one Enna Burning and the last book is Forest Born.They are full of characters with grit and dept who grow and learn from their mistakes and weaknesses. These aren’t just for older teens and adults you can get your tweens both girls and boys in on these too. A great combo of royalty, magic, and friendships.
Wicked – So wicked was not my favorite but I feel like it was such a huge book and such and interesting retelling that I had to include it in my list. It’s definitely adult and does have mature concepts and it’s not really a feel good book (part of my dislike) but getting the back story of the witches from The Wizard of Oz that is definitely interesting in it’s own way. It’s one of those rare books that I didn’t particularly enjoy but I’m still glad that I read if that makes sense.
Strands of Bronze and Gold – Do you know the story of Bluebeard and his wives. Yeah I didn’t so much but that didn’t stop me from really enjoying this retelling of the tale. It’s a tad bit creepy after all Bluebeard is known for murdering his wives but the story completely sucked me in and was a very entertaining read.
The Graveyard Book – When I first started reading Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book I really had no idea what I thought. It’s such a different book. It’s whimsical and magical and heart warming and sad all at once. It didn’t take me too long to fall in love with this sweet retelling of The Jungle Book in which the animals are substituted for ghosts raising a real boy. If you haven’t read it definitely check it out.
A Court of Thorn and Roses – I am just 25% of the way into A court of Thorn and Roses and I’m already in love. It’s Beauty and the Beast but with Fae and Fairies thrown in. Now let me just say that I am not usually a Fae fan. But that being said I feel like Sarah J. Maas is a magician with words. The stories she writes are fantastic. Such original ideas, amazing characters, and great adventure. Keep in mind that this book is categorized as New Adult so for more mature readers it does get a bit steamy. If you want something more YA or just something else awesome you’ll want to check out her Throne of Glass series which is also considered a retelling but I’m not going to say a retelling of what since I actually preferred not knowing that when I read the first few books since I don’t think the retelling aspects come out until a few books in so it might be a bit spoilery.
I know there are more out there but like always I like keeping my book lists to books that I have personally read. What are some of YOUR favorite fairytale retellings?
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Sarah H says
I stared reading the Cinder series based on your suggestion and then proceeded to read them all. I’m hoping to run into Marissa since we live in the same city. This is a new to me genre so looking forward to reading a few more off this list.
So glad you liked those books. If you see me out and about definitely say hi!!!!
I love retellings! I’m going to start the Throne of Glass series soon, but I didn’t know it was considered a retelling. I’m not quite interested in what it’s retelling. Hmmm… There are some great books on this list!
I hope you like the Throne of Glass books they are some of my favs!!!
I had no idea Throne of Glass was a retelling either. Definitely don’t want to know.
What about The Princess in the Opal Mask?
What’s The Princess in the Opal Mask a retelling of? You know I love those books!
I love retellings! The cinder series has been one of my recent favorites. Try Enchanted and Hero (companion books) as well. The retell several stories at once. Pinned.
who’s the author I’m finding a lot of Enchanted books :)
Alethea Kontis is the author. There are several books in the Woodcutter Sisters series.
I loved that series too. I can also suggest Unenchanted by Chanda Hahn, and Insanity & the grimm diaries by Cameron Jace
Wicked is so much fun! I just started throne of glass but am enjoying it, I have to try some of those other ones as well.
Amy | Amy's Cooking Adventures says
I love fairytale retellings!!! I’ve read several of these, and definitely adding the rest to my list! Other musts are Ella Enchanted (Cinderella) and Fairest (Snow White) by Gail Carson Levine and Spindle’s End (Sleeping Beauty) by Robin McKinely!
I know it’s crazy that I haven’t read Ella Enchanted I need to add that to my library hold asap
KLW Rose says
I love this post. You picked some excellent books! I’m definitely pinning this so others can enjoy your book.
yay glad you found some to add to your reading list
Courtney Lovell says
Tiger Lily sounds so good! I’ll have to get my hands on a copy of it :)
My favorite fairytale retelling is Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It’s about what happens to Cinderella after the ball and I absolutely love it. I’ve read it over and over again and it never gets old!
oh I’ll have to add that to the list it sounds great
I love the Lunar Chronicles, I agree that the story gets better with each book. I am so excited about Winter coming out later this year! I also agree with you about Wicked that it wasn’t really a great book but I am glad that I read it. I love the play a billion times more though (and yes, I did read the book first). I have yet to read anything by Sara J Maas. I think I own the first book in the Throne of Glass series but have not started reading it. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, and I do love fae, so I will have to check out A Court of Thorns and Roses.
These sounds so great. Might I also suggest a few series I love. An Unfortunate fairy tale by Chanda Hahn, Insanity by Cameron Jace, and The Grimm Diaries also by Cameron Jace.
Another retelling that I really enjoyed was While Besuty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell. It is her first novel. I highly recommend it!
One of my favorite retellings is Beast by Donna Jo Napoli. Gail Carson Levine does great retellings in the ya genre. Also, Mercedes Lackeys elemental masters series has many fairytale elements. But don’t skip fire Rose.. many people don’t know about that one as it was published under a different publishing house. It’s a retelling of beauty and the beast. Cinderella, little mermaid and others can also be found. Fantastic adult series. I own every book in the series. :)
One author I was sad you missed is Robin McKinley, she writes amazing versions of Fairy Tales. My favorites are Spindle’s End which is a retelling of Sleeping Beauty and Beauty which is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. She is an amazing story-teller, I recommend her to everyone I know.
I will have to check her out I haven’t read any of hers.