(Inspired by this tumblr post from tumblr user thesepaprhearts)
And now for something completely different!!!
When I’m not reading comics or graphic novels, I love a good fantasy. Epic, urban, alternate universe… I love them all. But I do have one guilty pleasure.
Young adult fairy tale retellings.
I think part of this stems from the fact that I read a lot of them when I was younger. They were kind of a gateway into the fantasy genre as a whole for me, as well as historical fiction. I loved how an author could take a timeless tale and mold it into something new yet familiar. I’m laughing as I write this remembering all the fanfiction I used to write in the same vein, including one I started while I was in college and never finished. There’s something innately attractive about taking something old and making it new.
Here are some of my favorite ones:
- I love Donna Jo Napoli. She was one of my favorite authors growing up, and for a while she wrote exclusively YA fairy tale retellings based in historical fiction. Beast (Beauty and the Beast) is my favorite of her books, but I also love Sirena (The Little Mermaid), and Zel (Rapunzel). Her prose is poetic and she draws her characters with depth and emotion.
- East by Edith Pattou is a beautiful retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I had no idea this fairy tale even existed before I picked up the book, and it’s now one of my favorites of all time. The book is told from multiple points of view, and while the narrative is cohesive, all the voices are distinct.
- I discovered these only last year, because the author is one I read regularly. Lilith Saintcrow writes under the pen name Lili St. Crow for her YA novels. Her Tales of Beauty and Madness trilogy retell Snow White, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. These tales are detailed and beautifully haunting with just a dash of horror.
- The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi is a blend of Middle Eastern and Greek stories. The prose is absolutely beautiful. It reads like silk sliding over your skin. The plot revealed itself a tad too soon but the book was written so beautifully I spent exactly .2 seconds being upset about it.
- The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh was sort of the same, but I didn’t like it as much because of the writing and the (forced) romance implicit in a retelling of 1001 Nights with a female protagonist.
- Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson took the Bluebeard tale and transported it to the Mississippi swamps before the Civil War. Great dose of Southern Gothic in this one~ (even if the inevitable love triangle was vexing)
- And an upcoming one! Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter is supposed to be a retelling of Vassilissa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga. I’m quite excited to read it =D
… That got away from me a bit XD I love these things though!!! I was so inspired when I saw the tumblr post linked above and it just got my gears turning. Hope you guys enjoyed my tangent =D
October 10, 2016 at 3:57 am
I definitely need to check some of these out. I’m more familiar with middle-grade fairy tale retellings, but I bet the YA genre could really do a great job with them. Glad to see someone did East of the Sun and West of the Moon. I love that novelists are exploring a lot of fairy tales that aren’t as well known.
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October 11, 2016 at 3:58 pm
Me too! There are lots of Snow White and Cinderella and the like but finding any others is just like finding hidden treasure =D
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