Hello again, everyone. How are you all doing?
Today is Thursday, which means it is time for a new post and as promised today will bring you part two of my YA Fairytale Retelling Recommendations. There’s magic, mayhem and good doses of creepiness in store. As with the first part of this post, I should remind you guys that this post MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. I’m trying not to spoil the books I’m recommending, but if I’m recommending the second or third book in a series, then I’m going to have to give a spoilery synopsis for books earlier in the series.
Cool, let’s get into this then:
- Rumplestiltskin Retelling: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Confession time, I haven’t actually read this one yet, but it is on my TBR and I have heard some really great things, so I’m just going to post the synopsis: Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.
But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.
Sounds awesome, right?
2. The Goblin King Retelling: Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
Wintersong is a gloriously dark retelling which recalls Labyrinth, as well as the German tale of The Erl King. All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind and spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesel can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away. But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. To do so, she must go through a terrifying and captivating world. And she must learn who she is before it’s too late. This tale is so awesome for the atmosphere and the beautiful descriptions.
3. Alice in Wonderland Retelling: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Splintered is another very dark retelling. Based on the Lewis Carroll tale, Alyssa Gardner is able to hear the whispers of bugs and flowers– and it terrifies her. These are the same symptoms of her mother’s illness, and her mother is currently in a mental hospital. Alyssa’s whole family has been cursed, stretching as far back as her ancestor, Alice Liddell, the inspiration for the original tale. When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. I wasn’t entirely sold on the love-triangle, but it was a really interesting take on a classic and so many people have fallen in love with the series.
4. Sleeping Beauty Retelling: The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman
Okay, so this one isn’t teeeeecchhhnically YA, but it is absolutely goshdamn gorgeous, so I’m including it in any case. It’s a Sleeping Beauty retelling illustrated by Chris Riddell, with some dashes of Snow White thrown in for good measure. The cover is literally to die for [the gold is so so pretty] and I loved how it subverts the ‘prince on a white horse coming to rescue the damsel in distress princess’ trope. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it’s honestly one of my favourites. It’s pretty short, but the illustrations really make the tale, along with Gaiman’s gorgeous writing style. I’m not sure it counts as a list of Fairytale Retellings if it doesn’t have a Gaiman story in there somewhere.
5. One Thousand and One Arabian Nights Retelling: The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
Is it surprising anyone that this author made it on the list not once, but twice? Nope, thought not. In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all. Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. The plot in this one is so detailed and intricate, and I loved the impossible conundrum Shahrzad is placed in– to seek revenge or to follow her heart.
6. The Little Mermaid Retelling: The Surface Breaks by Louise O’Neill
Another book on my TBR, but it comes highly recommended by other reviewers I trust, so I don’t feel too guilty recommending it without having read it first. Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans. A book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding.
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 😀