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message 1: by demicaractere (new)

demicaractere | 5 comments I was just curious what everyone's favorite and least favorite retellings are. I could always use some new recommendations but it would also help to know which titles I shouldn't bother with. Fairytales/myths/folklore any retellings.


message 2: by demicaractere (new)

demicaractere | 5 comments Ok so I'll start since I began this discussion.

For my least favorites I have

Fairest - I read this one several years ago so I can't remember all of the details but I didn't really like it. Actually I've yet to find a good retelling of Snow White, I don't know why.

Just Ella - For this one I just didn't like how negative it was towards the original story, Cinderella. I did, however, really like the sequel, Palace of Mirrors.

Ice - I don't usually like modern retellings but a few have piqued my interest. This is not one of them. I don't think I even finished this one.

And now, my favorites:

Princess of the Midnight Ball, Princess of Glass, Princess of the Silver Woods.

I absolutely LOVE this series! If you couldn't guess from the titles/covers these stories are based on The 12 Dancing Princesses, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood. These retellings are so unique and the characters are so life-like. I really wish someone would make these books into a miniseries or something (as long as they didn't ruin it...). I will say that the third book is probably the weakest of the group. There are some slight plot holes and annoyances I have with recurring characters but I still think it did a good job of wrapping up the trilogy.

Entwined - This is another 12 Dancing Princesses book. It takes a very different direction compared to Princess of the Midnight Ball (aside from the circa Victorian era setting and the princesses' flower themed names) but I really enjoyed this one too.

Enchanted - The "Woodcutter Sisters" series is also pretty good. I wouldn't say the writing is absolutely flawless, but I really like that all of these fairy tales live in the same world (sometimes even in the same timeline). Actually, I just finished Dearest today.


message 3: by Annie (new)

Annie Knabb (steelsong) | 1 comments I love anything by KM Shea. She is the queen of re-tellings including a fairy tale retelling series, a genderbent King Arthur series, and a genderbent Robin Hood series.


message 4: by Jalilah (last edited Jun 01, 2017 01:31PM) (new)

Jalilah | 4259 comments Mod
Some of my favourite retellings are:

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
The Snow Queen by Eileen Kernaghan
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
And
Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley

When I have more time I'll try and remember some of the worst.
I tend to forget the bad ones.


message 5: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 286 comments Lila wrote: "Some of my favourite retellings are:

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
The Snow Queen by Eileen Kernaghan
Tam Lin by [author..."


Thank you for calling my attention to Eileen Kernaghan's Snow Queen. It sounds amazing! Like many Canadian books, it isn't available to me through the library. So I ordered the paperback from Amazon.


message 6: by Christine (new)

Christine (chrisarrow) | 1385 comments Mod
I didn't like Ice either. It is so nice to see someone else didn't,

Favorites:
Tam Lin
Ash
Angela Carter's work as well as the various collections by Datlow/Windling


message 7: by demicaractere (new)

demicaractere | 5 comments I just thought of a few more. East was pretty good but I liked Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow a lot better. Even though it was shorter I really connected with the characters and I like the writing style.

One I didn't like was The Thirteenth Princess. Again, it's a book I read more than a year ago so I can't remember everything about it but I do know there were plot holes. Plus, other writers have done much better things with the story.

Does anyone know about any mythological retellings? None come to mind but I love all kinds of mythology and I would like to read other takes on it.


message 8: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4259 comments Mod
Demetria wrote: " I liked Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow..Does anyone know about any mythological retellings? None come to mind but I love all kinds of mythology and I would like to read other takes on it. "

I liked Sun and Moon and Ice too!
A Pomegranate and the Maiden and Psyche in a Dress are good retellings of Greek Myths.

I just remembered another retelling I loved! The Girls at the Kingfisher Club is a retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses or The Worn Out Slippers and is set in New York City during the prohibition era.


message 9: by Tamara (last edited Jun 04, 2017 09:18PM) (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 723 comments Demetria wrote: "Does anyone know about any mythological retellings? None come to mind but I love all kinds of mythology and I would like to read other takes on it. .."

Here are a few others:
Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin is a retelling of Virgil's The Aeneid.

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood is a retelling of Homer's The Odyssey.

Ransom by David Malouf is a retelling of The Iliad. It's one of my favorites.

I recently finished Bright Air Black by David Vann which retells the story of Medea. It's great if you're interested in getting inside the mind of a dark, complex, maniacal and brilliant female.

Lila wrote: A Pomegranate and the Maiden and Psyche in a Dress are good retellings of Greek Myths

Thanks for recommending my novel, Lila.

In addition to A Pomegranate and the Maiden, I have also written Unsung Odysseys, a retelling of Odysseus' return from Troy through the voices of the women involved in his escapades.

Like you, Demetria, I love mythological retellings. So let me know if you come across any others that you think are good.

Happy reading!


message 10: by demicaractere (new)

demicaractere | 5 comments Just added A Pomegranate and the Maiden and The Girls at the Kingfisher Club to my list. I can't wait to read them! Thank you.


message 11: by Dominique (new)

Dominique (mique3483) Demetria wrote: "I just thought of a few more. East was pretty good but I liked Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow a lot better. Even though it was shorter I really connected with the character..."

Till We Have Faces is a beautiful retelling of Cupid and Psyche from the point of view of Psyche's sister. Also, Bone Gap isn't exactly a retelling, but it has a lot of ties to the myth of Hades, Persephone, and Demeter.


message 12: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Demetria wrote: "One I didn't like was The Thirteenth Princess. Again, it's a book I read more than a year ago so I can't remember everything about it but I do know there were plot holes...."

Well, I barely remember it, but my review starts with "A poorly characterized and poorly plotted retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses"..." so I must have agreed with you about the plot holes.

My least favorite retelling ever is probably Strands of Bronze and Gold, which is a retelling of "Bluebeard" set in the antebellum US. South. It has this weird, unnecessary slavery/underground railroad subplot that I really hated.

Most favorite is a lot harder!

Deerskin was a teenage favorite, but I haven't re-read it as an adult, so I don't know how well it holds up. It's a retelling of Donkeyskin/Allerleirauh.

Angela Carter's Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories, of course (I simply refuse to pick favorites with her work). She does all sorts of retellings - fairy tales, of course, but also of real historical persons/events - Lizzy Borden, for instance.

Jeanette Winterson is lovely, though she tends more towards allusions to stories rather than outright retellings.

Catherynne M. Valente has done quite a few retellings. Silently and Very Fast is wonderful. I hardly ever re-read but the first time I read it, I went straight from finishing it right back to the beginning and started it over. Though it did loose some of it's shine on the 4th or 5th re-read. It's kind of a retelling of "Sleeping Beauty." Sort of. (It's been anthologized several times, so no need to get the more expensive stand-alone edition.)

For something a bit less well-known, Kij Johnson's The Fox Woman is lovely and deals with kitsune folklore.


message 13: by Elysia (new)

Elysia | 11 comments Demetria wrote: "Ok so I'll start since I began this discussion.

For my least favorites I have

Fairest - I read this one several years ago so I can't remember all of the details but I didn't really..."


Demetria wrote: "Ok so I'll start since I began this discussion.

For my least favorites I have

Fairest - I read this one several years ago so I can't remember all of the details but I didn't really..."


Hi Dementia, I may not be as well versed in fairy-tale retellings as you or anyone else here. But, what you said about Snowwhite's re-telling caught my eye.

Personally, I like retellings of little red riding hood. My favorite is stuck between Angela Carter's, "Company of wolves" from from her book Bloody Chamber. Or Chinese red riding hood...I can't recall the author and I digress, seeing as I'm going off topic.

But, If you like Neil Gaiman, and hes's known for his spooky and supernatural writing's I recommend. "Snow, Glass, and apples". But, don't read it if you don't like adult or taboo themes.

Other than that, it paints Snowwhite's step mother as the heroine, and Snow-white as a vampire monster. Again, please do not read if you do not like adult or taboo themes. I'm sorry to say that, But I thought that was a good re-telling other than that.


message 14: by Elysia (new)

Elysia | 11 comments Melanti wrote: "Demetria wrote: "One I didn't like was The Thirteenth Princess. Again, it's a book I read more than a year ago so I can't remember everything about it but I do know there were plot holes...."

Well..."


Melanti, that Kitsune sounds interesting. I always liked the lure of foxes, in Japanese Mythology. in some versions they take possession of women who wander alone at night, and even lead men astray.

I think that the fox figure is interesting as a trickster. And I wish there was more attention paid to the Yuki-onna. I've heard probably three short stories on them, and possibly there was a play,But, I've yet to find a book that makes a story around them. I think that would be cool.


message 15: by Lacey (new)

Lacey Louwagie | 236 comments One of my favorite retellings is Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan, which retells "Snow White and Rose Red."

A few of the "worst" retellings I've read include A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James, East by Edith Patou (felt like a summary rather than a story), and The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison. The worst was definitely the Eloisa James book, though -- too many romance tropes. The others I just didn't like the writing style or the way the story was interpreted.


message 16: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Lacey wrote: "A few of the "worst" retellings I've read include A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James..."

I'd forgotten about that one! Soo awful! People can't tell Sister A apart from Sister B, just because of a wig, even though Sister A doesn't even attempt to act like Sister B? And they're all jerks too, so you can't even root for any of them...

I wonder if people who like bodice rippers would find this more likeable?


I did like The Princess and the Hound though I admit I don't remember the first thing about it and have never bothered to continue the series.


message 17: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4259 comments Mod
I think the reason I can't remember any of the very worst is because I usually ditch them before I finish them.


message 18: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
You're smarter than I am!


message 19: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 169 comments I really enjoyed Thorn by Intisar Khanani. It's a retelling of The Goose Girl. It's not as cheesy as most retellings. I do remember thinking it was a little dark, but more realistic on some issues.

Absolutely loved Wildwood Dancing which included parts of 12 dancing princesses and the frog prince.

And I also enjoyed East, though I must admit it's been over 10 years since I've read it.


For bad ones...
Enchanted ended up in my "did not finish" pile.

A Kiss in Time is another I didn't like, though can't really remember why.

HATED The Wishing Spell. Can't stand the trend of "the villians are just misunderstood and really great people underneath".

and gave up on Six Gun Snow White. I didn't write much for a review, but I did write that I was really disgusted by what I did read.


message 20: by Jalilah (last edited Jun 18, 2017 06:11PM) (new)

Jalilah | 4259 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: " Absolutely loved Wildwood Dancing which included parts of 12 dancing princesses and the frog prince. .."

How could I have forgotten to mention that one! I loved it too even though I found the frog part was a little creepy.
The follow up book Cybele's Secret is good too.


message 21: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "I really enjoyed Thorn by Intisar Khanani. It's a retelling of The Goose Girl. It's not as cheesy as most retellings. I do remember thinking it was a little dark, but more realistic on some issues...."

Oh, yes, Khanani's Thorn is good!

We read one of Flinn's other books as a group read once, (my fault) and I thought it was kind of creepy. A couple of people who normally don't say much chimed in to say they liked it, so obviously she has a audience.

I normally love Valente, but Six Gun Snow White didn't quite work for me. I didn't think it was bad, just not quite up to her usual standard.


message 22: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "I really enjoyed Thorn by Intisar Khanani. It's a retelling of The Goose Girl. It's not as cheesy as most retellings. I do remember thinking it was a little dark, but more realistic on some issues...."

I liked Thorn a lot too.

I've read another by Alex Flinn, but based off of how much I disliked that, I'm never going to read another. She writes for a pretty specific audience, and I'm not it.

I normally love Valente, but I thought Six Gun Snow White wasn't quite up to her usual standards.


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan Chapek | 182 comments Thanks for this thread, which will help me with my TBR. I am a sucker for retellings. Here's my list.

Beloved enough to reread bits on impulse now and then:
The Mists of Avalon
The Perilous Gard
Fire and Hemlock
Tam Lin

Hmmm. Noticing a lot of Tam Lin retellings there. But that doesn't mean I like Faerie stories, because I rarely do. I love the listed ones for the fabulous author voice, and obviously the Tam Lin type of romance grabs me (the mortal female daring to battle immortals for her love).

Others I liked well enough to recommend:
Bound
Rumpled
Ella Enchanted

Would never recommend:
Impossible
Briar Rose


message 24: by Lacey (new)

Lacey Louwagie | 236 comments Melanti wrote: "I'd forgotten about that one! Soo awful! People can't tell Sister A apart from Sister B, just because of a wig, even though Sister A doesn't even attempt to act like Sister B? And they're all jerks too, so you can't even root for any of them...

Yes! I did not like any of the characters ... probably the one I disliked least was Tatiana, the prince's original betrothed, who you know is going to end up getting a raw deal ... although in this case probably losing the prince isn't that raw a deal ...

I wonder if people who like bodice rippers would find this more likeable?

I think so -- I just don't have a lot of patience for romance tropes. I thought the retelling angle might make it fun, but it was just too ridiculous. Unfortunately, when I found out about the series I got excited and downloaded a bunch of them, so I may return to Eloisa James' retellings yet and add more "unrecommendations" to this list, ha!

I did like The Princess and the Hound though I admit I don't remember the first thing about it and have never bothered to continue the series."

The Princess and the Hound was LEAGUES better than Kiss at Midnight, and I honestly don't remember very much about it now, except that overall I was disappointed in it. But I would consider reading something by Iverson again if the storyline caught my interest.


message 25: by Lacey (new)

Lacey Louwagie | 236 comments Oh, another one for the trash pile -- the erotic sleeping beauty trilogy by Anne Rice writing as A.N. Roquelaure. The first book is The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, I think. I never read past that one. I don't really have an issue with erotic retellings, but the level of spanking was purely ludicrous.


message 26: by Melanti (new)

Melanti | 2125 comments Mod
I've heard enough stories about that one that I've been tempted to try it out for myself just to see if the stories are true.


message 27: by Lacey (new)

Lacey Louwagie | 236 comments Melanti wrote: "I've heard enough stories about that one that I've been tempted to try it out for myself just to see if the stories are true."

If you do give into the temptation to read it, I promise you will not be tempted to read the sequels!


message 28: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 4259 comments Mod
Lacey wrote: "If you do give into the temptation to read it, I promise you will not be tempted to read the sequels!"
Lacey LOL!


message 29: by Catherine (new)

Catherine Rose | 1 comments My favourites are:

Shannon Hale: The book of a Thousand Days

and

anything by Angela Carter or Leonora Carrington.

I'm currnetly in the process of saving up to self publish my own retelling of some lesser known Grimm tales with a modern, cultural twist. Eeeek.


message 30: by Leah (new)

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Rachel wrote: "and gave up on Six Gun Snow White. I didn't write much for a review, but I did write that I was really disgusted by what I did read."

Disgusted is a pretty strong reaction. Would you mind elaborating (if you can recall specifics without being too spoilery)?

Susan wrote: "Would never recommend:
Impossible
Briar Rose


I recall the group consensus for Impossible being overall negative. I'm curious why you would not recommend Briar Rose?


message 31: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 169 comments Leah wrote: "Disgusted is a pretty strong reaction. Would you mind elaborating (if you can recall specifics without being too spoilery)?"

This is all I put for my review:
"the idea of putting snow white in the wild west is a unique idea but there is SO much wrong with this. WHY so many references to her "tits". And constantly comparing her to animals?..... this could have been done so much better. I'm closing this book disgusted."

I don't remember making it very far before shelving it. I did find this other review that had similar feelings.


message 32: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 3429 comments Mod
Rachel wrote: "This is all I put for my review:
"the idea of putting snow white in the wild west is a unique idea but there is SO much wrong with this. WHY so many references to her "tits". And constantly comparing her to animals?..... this could have been done so much better. I'm closing this book disgusted."

I don't remember making it very far before shelving it. I did find this other review that had similar feelings.
."


Wow, I didn't have the same feelings at all! I loved it! I don't remember enough to remember an abundant use of the word 'tits,' but I do remember that many of the people in her life were sexist, and she was trying to escape that.


message 33: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Gaile | 8 comments I really enjoyed An Earthly Knight as a retelling of Tam Lin. Also Thorn Jack (another Tam Lin one).

I was not a fan of Entwined. It moved way too slowly for me. And I had to laugh at the mention of Anne Rice's Sleeping Beauty series. It is pretty ridiculous. I kept reading determined to find the point behind it all, but there never was one.


message 34: by Leah (new)

Leah (flying_monkeys) | 1009 comments Alicia wrote: "I really enjoyed An Earthly Knight as a retelling of Tam Lin. Also Thorn Jack (another Tam Lin one).

Loved Roses and Rot, so now I keep my eye out for recent Tam Lin retellings. And, oh my, Thorn Jack sounds right up my alley. I saw a couple reviewers mention it's a great read for October with its autumn setting and its climax on Halloween. Thanks for mentioning, Alicia!


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