Today is Sunday, and that means another bookish post! There’s a huge trend in YA at the moment for fairytale retellings, so today’s post is going to look at YA recommendations based on different fairytales. Since it’s a pretty long list, I’m going to be splitting it into two sections, with the second part posted on Thursday. Some of these recommendations are based on things like Alice in Wonderland, but we’re so familiar with these stories that it makes sense to include them in this list too 😀
Please note that this post contains SPOILERS. Not for the books themselves, but some of them are second or third books in series, so if you see one that sounds good but haven’t read it and don’t want it spoiled, it might be worth finding a Goodreads synopsis of the earlier books or a spoiler free review of them.
- Cinderella Retelling: Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Geekerella is a gorgeous and romantic retelling of Cinderella, told through the perspective of a girl entering a cosplay competition at ComicCon and the famous actor playing the lead in the new Starfield movie. Elle loves geeky show Starfield with a passion, having watched it with her late-father. The cosplay contest prize is a chance to meet Darien Freeman, who is going to play Prince Carmindor in the new movie. Elle knows she just has to win, it’s what her dad would have wanted. But her stepmother and stepsisters have very different opinions on Elle entering the contest. It’s the only contemporary novel in this list, but I loved every moment of this book, and it made me squeal with joy many times over. It did some very innovative things with the links to the fairytale, including the ‘magic pumpkin’ food van. It’s also moving in places, and I loved how it combined so many things I like: YA, fairytales, fluffy romances, and conventions.
2. Mulan Retelling: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh.
This book is a gorgeous retelling of Mulan. Set in Japan rather than China, the book follows a noble girl called Mariko as she is sent to the palace to marry a prince. Along the way, her carriage is ambushed, and someone tries to assassinate her. Needing answers, she has no choice but to join the notorious Black Clan, who are trying to overthrow the royal family. It’s a brilliant tale, which has some true feminist moments in it, as well as the best descriptions I might have ever seen in a book. Mariko is a great character, and Renee Ahdieh really brings across the messages of the tale.
3. Beauty and the Beast Retelling: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
Most of you would have probably heard of this series by now, unless you’ve been hiding under your duvet for the past few years. Sarah J Maas’ trilogy based on the tale of Beauty and the Beast is packed with gloriously dark descriptions, lots of action and lots of… um adult happy times. The series follows Feyre, a human girl who accidentally kills a Fae and is taken away by the High Lord of the Spring Court, Tamlin, as recompense for the death. Tamlin and his court are under a curse, and it is up to Feyre to figure out how to break it, and how to control her growing feelings for Tamlin, before it is too late. The series is truly great for its twists and turns, although anyone reading it should be aware of all the sexy times, as well as some triggering things later in the series such as abuse, torture and mentions of rape.
4. Rapunzel Retelling: Cress by Marissa Meyer
Again, this is a much beloved YA series which blends fairytale retellings with sci-fi goodness. Cress is the third book in the Lunar Chronicle series. With Cinder, Captain Thorne, Scarlet and Wolf running for their lives, they’ve got no options but to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl who has spent her whole life isolated on a satellite, with only screens to keep her company. As a result, Cress has learned how hack really well, so she can keep updated with the world. Cinder and co will have to rescue her to get her help in stopping Levana from marrying Emperor Kai and potentially destroying the world. I thought the whole premise of this was fantastic, and all the characters were very realistic and distinct. Cress is my favourite in the series, and I found her to be amazing. The series is so good at reworking parts of several fairytales into a sci-fi setting and somehow making it work. Definitely recommended for fairytale fans.
5. Snow White Retelling: Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao
This book is a bit different from the others on this list, because it actually follows the villain. I really liked the concept, since it made her seem very realistic and almost impossible to hate, despite some of the awful things she does in the name of ambition. The book is set in an East-Asian inspired fantasy world and follows Xifeng, a beautiful girl who will stop at nothing to become the Empress. But, according to a prophecy, her only way to earn the crown is to embrace the darkness within her. There are enemies all around her, and one of them is destined to be her greatest enemy. I thought this was really edgy and powerful and packed a huge punch. I loved the descriptions and the worldbuilding, and although the whole Snow White thing isn’t really going to step up until book two, it is nice to have that character development already in place. Xifeng is brilliant and crafty, and I found myself flying through the pages, desperate to find out what happens next.
That’s it for now. What did you think of these recommendations? Have you read any or maybe even ALL the books on this list? Please let me know in the comment section 😀 and stay tuned for more fairy-tale goodness on Thursday 😀