There are a lot of retellings, especially in the young adult category, a hard of these, covering a wide variety of stories that we’ve all known. There are, of course, good ones and not so good, but for today let’s focus on my personal favorites. Warning, since this list does cover plot, there could be spoilers ahead, so read with caution.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
- This is perhaps one of my favorites on the list, and also covers a couple stories in one. The first book follows more of a beauty and the beast retelling, while the second and third have been compared to the Hades and Persephone storyline. Both are fantastic retellings, and the way they are woven together was done really well, the two building off each other as we follow Feyre and her path. These books are a little more mature as far as YA goes, having some R rated content for sure, but are worth picking up if you like fantasy novels with a focus on relationships/romance.
Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
- I was a late reader on this one, coming into the fandom well after the series had finished. On the bright side I got to binge read the heck out of this, but I still can’t tell you why I didn’t pick this up sooner. If you aren’t familiar with the series, Meyer set up each book to focus on a different fairy tale character, all while building a sci-fi/fantasy world around them. All the books are connected, with the character group growing as we get through each book. My favorite character, and the first we are introduced to, is Cinder, which as you’ve likely guessed is focused on the story of Cinderella. In this case the mc is Linh Cinder, who is a mechanic that also happens to be a cyborg, all with a mysterious/lost past to boot. It kind of gives you an idea of the twist Meyer gave our favorite fairy tales as you’re thrown into a struggle between Earth and the Moon.
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House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A Craig
- A retelling of the twelve dancing princesses, this one is a dark tale of twelve sisters with a curse. One by one, Annaleigh’s sisters have begun to die. The first two were thought natural or accidents, but as her older sisters begin to die off, each from different causes, and their ghosts begin to appear Annaleigh knows something isn’t right. This one was a great standalone, and a surprise retelling of a story I hadn’t thought of as much until reading this. Definitely worth a shot if you need a quick book after a long series.
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- The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
- One of my favorite stories growing up had been King Arthur, you can ask my school library if you want. I loved reading, and admiring this one illustrated version, oohing and aahing over the round table, excalibur, Arthur, and Guinevere. When I heard there was going to be a remix of the original tale I was all on board. The Guinevere Deception didn’t disappoint, and really did a great job giving a new version to the story, while still keeping the elements we all know and love. I think that’s one of the reasons I really enjoyed this, it didn’t try to flip everything on you, but darken everything you’ve known, and delve deeper into how the magic of the world would interact with the Pendragons and their legacy. Definitely a great read, and a sequel is on it’s way in September!!
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My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
- This one is a little different when compared to the others on this list, but is nonetheless a retelling. Technically it’s historical fiction, but in this case it’s retelling a piece of history that for the most part is not well known, and skewed by the “winners” of that conflict. My Lady Jane follows the story of Lady Jane Grey, who upon King Edward’s death is named the heir. The only problem? After eight wives, and his elder children being marked illegitimate, Henry the eighth’s only male heir is merely sixteen when he dies, and names an almost unknown relation for the throne. This puts Jane in considerable harm as Mary, later known as Bloody Mary rises up against the new heir to the throne of England. This one combined a lot of my favorite types of stories, all while adding fantasy elements into a story that I hadn’t focused a lot in a dark period of British history.
What are some of your favorite retellings? Any in the list above? Let me know in the comments below!