Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Top Ten Fairytale Re-Tellings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful folks over at The Broke & The Bookish, if you want to join in then follow the link!

I love fairy tales and fairy tale re-tellings so this weeks topic was particularly fun for me to compile. There are some really fantastic re-tellings out there that it was hard to pick just ten! But here are the ten books that I think are some of the best out there!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she's ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex's secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.

A re-telling of Beauty and the Beast with some of the most intriguing world development and twisty magic I've ever seen in fiction. I loved seeing how this story diverged from the original tale. It's filled with love and terror and intrigue and I loved loosing myself in this story.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them

This quiet, haunting novel littered with hidden magic is one of my favourite books, and it breathes fresh life into the story of the snow child. It's raw, it's beautiful and infused with magic and wonder. An adult standalone book, it's a favourite to come back to.
You can read my review here

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

Heather Dixon has since cemented her status as Queen of beautiful yet terrifyingly twisty with her latest novel 'Illusionarium', but the groundwork was laid with this gorgeous re-telling of the twelve dancing princesses.
Beautiful, quiet, filled with stunning moments and the wonderful bond between the sisters, as well as darkness, horror and utter terror as you fall into the final act. This was a stunning debut novel, and my favourite retelling of the twelve dancing princesses of all time.

You can read my review here

Scarlet by A C Gaughen
Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets - skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know...that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbourne closes in a put innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. There is real honor among these thieves and so much more - making this a fight worth dying for.

I'm not sure if this one counts, but I love it so much that it's going in here anyway! A brilliant re-telling of the Robin Hood story, with a gender twist, this series broke my heart, made me fall in love and gave a completely fresh and fascinating insight into the Robin Hood tale.
You can read my review here

Ash by Melinda Lo

In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
The day that Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love-and her desire to live. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

It's been a very long time since I first read 'Ash', but it's one that has stuck with me and one I want to go back and revisit soon. Filled with elegant, lyrical writing and a stunning re-working of the traditional Cinderella tale, this is a gorgeous novel.

The Wrath & The Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
Every dawn brings horror to a different family in a land ruled by a killer. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi's wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch . . . she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend.
She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.

A re-telling of the Arabian nights story, this is one of the best books I've read this year. Gorgeously vivid, filled with flawed and brilliant characters and sumptuous details with a heartbreaking story at its center, if you haven't yet hopped on the bandwagon of love for this book, do so now!
You can read my review here

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriott
Shadows have fallen across the beautiful and lush Kingdom. The queen was attacked by an unnatural beast, and the healing skills of her daughter, Alexandra, cannot save her. Too soon the widowed king is spellbound by a frightening stranger - a woman whose eyes reflect no light. In a terrifying moment, all Alexandra knows disappears, including her beloved brothers, leaving her banished to a barren land unlike her own.
Alexandra has more gifts than even she realizes as she is confronted with magic, murder, and the strongest of evil forces. She is unflinchingly brave and clever as she struggles to reclaim what she knows is rightfully hers.

A retelling of Hans Christian Anderson's 'The Wild Swans' this is a truly gorgeous novel. Another one that I read years ago and want desperately to go back and re-read, it's one of the first books that sprang to mind when this weeks topic was announced. It's not as well known a story as some of the other fairytales, but it has its own charm and magic and I loved Zoe's interpretation of it.
You can read my review here

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

It isn't easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.
When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.
The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

A mash up of lots of different fairy-tales in one book? Yes please. This was such a great twist on the usual fairy-tale re-tellings with so many absorbed into one big story. Plus it's the start of a series focusing on the Woodcutter sisters and I cannot wait to get caught up on the next two books 'Dearest' and 'Hero'. 
You can read my review here

A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James

Miss Kate Daltry doesn't believe in fairy tales... or happily ever after.
Forced by her stepmother to attend a ball, Kate meets a prince... and decides he's anything but charming. A clash of wits and wills ensues, but they both know their irresistible attraction will lead nowhere. For Gabriel is promised to another woman—a princess whose hand in marriage will fulfill his ruthless ambitions.
Gabriel likes his fiancee, which is a welcome turn of events, but he doesn't love her. Obviously, he should be wooing his bride-to-be, not the witty, impoverished beauty who refuses to fawn over him. 
Godmothers and glass slippers notwithstanding, this is one fairy tale in which destiny conspires to destroy any chance that Kate and Gabriel might have a happily ever after.
Unless a prince throws away everything that makes him noble... 
Unless a dowry of an unruly heart trumps a fortune... 
Unless one kiss at the stroke of midnight changes everything.

This series of books is fantastic, Eloisa James has taken a whole host of fairy tales and given them an historical twist. The first book in the series, 'A Kiss at Midnight' is a take on Cinderella and is my favourite of the series. Magical, fun and with a brilliant heroine at its heart, this is a steamier and utterly fantastic take on the Cinderella tale.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
Miss Linnet Berry Thrynne is a Beauty . . . Naturally, she's betrothed to a Beast.
Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant, lives in a castle in Wales where, it is rumored, his bad temper flays everyone he crosses. And rumor also has it that a wound has left the earl immune to the charms of any woman.
Linnet is not just any woman.
She is more than merely lovely: her wit and charm brought a prince to his knees. She estimates the earl will fall madly in love—in just two weeks.
Yet Linnet has no idea of the danger posed to her own heart by a man who may never love her in return.
If she decides to be very wicked indeed . . . what price will she pay for taming his wild heart?

The second in the series of James' novels is a beauty and the beast retelling and come a very close second in the favourite stakes for this series. One hell of a grumpy beast, a determined and feisty heroine and I was sniggering and swooning all the way through this one.
You can read my review here

So there you have my top ten fairy tale re-tellings. Are there any you haven't come across before on here? Or any that have made it onto your list too? Or some you can't believe I missed off? Let me know in the comments below and link me to your own top tens!


  1. I have a couple of these on my to-read list, so glad to hear that you loved them!

    1. Ooo I really hope you enjoy them! I'd love to hear what you think of them!

  2. Cruel Beauty is on my list too. Awesome to hear that you loved it!

    Cheryl @ I Heart Fictional People

    1. It's such a great take on Beauty and the Beast! So awesome to hear it's getting more love today! Thanks so much for stopping by!

  3. I loved Ash and The Swan Kingdom! It's been a while since I read them. I really want to read The Wrath and the Dawn. Great list!

    Michelle @ Michelle's Minions

    My TTT

    1. The Wrath and the Dawn is fantastic, I really hope you enjoy it! It's been a while since I've read most of these, but I loved going back and rediscovering them in my hunt for fairy tale retellings. My to read pile just got a lot bigger with books I need to re-read!

  4. A Kiss at midnight looks really good and refreshing. I'm always looking for some historical series as well. :D I still really need and want to read The Wrath and the Dawn SO BAD, looks so amazing and I literally haven't heard one bad review about it! Great list! My TTT: http://simplybookishthings.blogspot.com/2015/08/ten-fairytale-retellings-i-really.html

    1. Eloisa James writes some really fantastic historical romances, I really recommend both the two listed here as well as her Desperate Duchesses series! So good! The Wrath and the Dawn is stunning, one of the best books of the year, read it, read it now, seriously, I'll wait here for the flailing when you finish ;)

  5. The Snow Child has been on my list forever, I must pick it up soon. I really liked Cruel Beauty and I need to read The Wrath and the Dawn soon. Great list!
    My TTT

    1. The Snow Child is gorgeous, such an under-rated book, I really hope you enjoy it! And oh wow The Wrath and the Dawn! You are in for a treat! One of the best books I've read this year!

  6. I love the Swan Kingdoms cover, its beautiful. I am really looking forward to reading The Wrath and the Dawn :)

    1. I really hope you enjoy it! It's one of my favourite books of the year! :)

  7. Hi Rosy! I much prefer your cover of Swan Kingdom! Its beautiful! (Is it wrong that I kinda want to go buy a new copy just to have that cover lol.) Retelling's always seem to have beautiful covers. I love your cover for Ash too!

    I just bought my friend a copy of The Wrath and the Dawn for her birthday, because of your recommendation of it :)

    Happy Reading
    Rachel @ Paein-and-Ms4Tune

    1. Totally not wrong to buy another copy for the cover! (Been there, done that, got a whole host of duplicate books because COVERS...) GAH YOU HAVE MADE MY DAY! That makes me insanely happy, and also blushful, and also kinda nervous BECAUSE I HOPE SHE ENJOYS!