SciFi and Fantasy Book Club discussion

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Recommendations and Lost Books > Searching for great fairy tale retellings. Could you please recommend?

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message 1: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 49 comments Hi everyone. I love fairy tales and their retellings. Even darker ones. Or especially those. :)
Could you please recommend me a few that you know are great?
Thank you.


message 2: by Rachel (new)

Rachel | 1323 comments I remember there was a short fiction collection recently that was all re-tellings. Now if I could just remember it’s name...


message 4: by Ariana (new)

Ariana | 657 comments Robin McKinley has several books like this. I remember reading Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast and liking it, but it was a really long time ago. I think Spindle's End and Deerskin are also in this vein, but I can't remember if I've read them or not.


message 5: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 314 comments Yes I remember reading and really liking Spindle's End (quite a few years ago though). I think it's Rumpelstiltskin retold. Robin McKinley is a quality writer and has written several novel length fairy tale reimaginings. They would be a few years old now, though.


message 6: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 35 comments I really like Gregory Maguire. He's mostly known for Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West which is fantastic (but not much like the musical) but I also enjoyed Mirror Mirror and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister.

He tends to set his fairytales within a historical context which, as a historical fiction lover, I love!


message 7: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new)

Anna (vegfic) | 9629 comments Mod
For East and South Asian folklore/mythology, there's this anthology recently out. I haven't read it yet, but I've been waiting for it since I first heard of it.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings


message 8: by Gary (new)

Gary (plaidchuck) | 55 comments They are mature themed comics but i would recommend trying the first volume of Fables by Bill Wellingham.


message 9: by Lizzie (new)

Lizzie (lizzie_bobbins) | 92 comments I really enjoyed Thorn by Intisar Khanani which is a retelling of The Goose Girl - but I believe it is going to be republished by HarperTeen, so I'm not sure if she is going to be re-drafting it for that.


message 10: by Leonie (last edited Jul 09, 2018 02:20AM) (new)


message 11: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 291 comments I'd second the Robin McKinley - Beauty in particular is superb.



The great Angela Carter did this a fair bit. Angela Carter's Book of Fairy Tales, The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, Nights at the Circus - sometimes straight retellings, sometimes using the tropes and themes. Always brilliant.



Red as Blood, or Tales from the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee, along with some of her other short stories are twists on fairy tale.



Finally, it would be a crime not to mention Terri Windling, who has written and edited numerous fairy tale-themed books.


message 12: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Cinder, Scarlett, Cress and Winter) are fairy tale retellings.


message 13: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 49 comments Thank you so much guys! 😘
So many great titles here. Please keep them coming!!!


message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 49 comments @Jacqueline - I already read the Lunar Chronicles and loved them.


message 15: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 2610 comments Most of the fairytale re-tellings I've read and am familiar with are YA:

A Court of Thorns and Roses (Beauty and the Beast)
Throne of Glass (Cinderella)
The Shadow Queen (Snow White)
The Wish Granter (Rumpelstiltskin)
Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles (Alice in Wonderland)
A Blade So Black (Alice in Wonderland- not sure it's been released yet)
Dorothy Must Die (Wizard of Oz)
Heartless (Queen of Hearts)
Cruel Beauty (Beauty and the Beast)
To Kill a Kingdom (Little Mermaid)
The Surface Breaks (The Little Mermaid)
Sea Witch (Ursula- The Little Mermaid)

I haven't read all of these- and some of them I didn't personally like but plenty of other readers did. Of that list my favorite was Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles. It was entertaining and I loved finding all the little Alice in Wonderland references.


message 16: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Alif the Unseen is sort of a modern take on Arabian Nights. Really cool stuff.

I know I mentioned it already, but Deathless is lush and lyrical and very dark. Really liked it.

Juliet Marillier does amazing retellings. I particularly like Daughter of the Forest which is a "realistic" take on the Children of Lir (sort of). Warning, it's got some pretty grim, graphic stuff, so if you need content warnings, please let me know and I'd be happy to provide more context.

Neil Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples is one of my favorite versions of Snow White.

Faerie Tale was an interesting take on faeries.

And for lighter stuff that hasn't been mentioned, there's the Once Upon a Romance series by Jessica Woodard which as you may have guessed revolve around romance stories, but are retellings from an interesting perspective.


message 17: by Paul (new)

Paul  Perry (pezski) | 291 comments Allison wrote: "Neil Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples is one of my favorite versions of Snow White."




I'd completely forgotten about that one! Thanks for the reminder, i may have to dig it out for a re-read.


message 18: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 49 comments Allison wrote: "Alif the Unseen is sort of a modern take on Arabian Nights. Really cool stuff.

I know I mentioned it already, but Deathless is lush and lyrical and very dark. Really..."


Thank you. :)
I loved Daughter of the Forest. And I don't mind grim and graphic stuff at all. Sevenwaters was great. Do you know of any other series similar to it?


message 19: by Ariana (new)

Ariana | 657 comments Laura, the buddy read for Spinning Silver starts tomorrow (when the book is released). Here's the link if you're interested in joining the discussion!

Spinning Silver Buddy Read


message 20: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 49 comments Thank you Ariana, but I don't have the book and can't get it this month anymore as I've already crossed my book-buying-amount.
I'll add it to my TBR though because it looks like a great read.


message 21: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (last edited Jul 09, 2018 09:45AM) (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Laura wrote: "I loved Daughter of the Forest. And I don't mind grim and graphic stuff at all. Sevenwaters was great. Do you know of any other series similar to it?"

Oh yay! I should have looked at your bookshelf, sorry. So few people seem to have read it that I just assume!

I don't think I've found another author so far besides McKinley who writes with the same sort of feeling about fairy tales.

Feeling-wise, however, Sharon Shinn's Archangel has a lot of that mythic-yet-relatable sense. A lot of people who found Marillier seem to have found Shinn though, so maybe I'm not helpful.

In the blend of myth and realism, I'd suggest The Golem and the Jinni which is a doorstop but absolutely stunning to read, and a great meld of two traditions into one world.

I really must mention Nnedi Okorafor. She writes a lot of stories based somewhat on Yoruba traditions. I hesitate to include them off the cuff because both Who Fears Death and Book of Phoenix, while inventive and rich, are definitely not easy content.

I'd likely say ditto Wild Seed which is rooted in folk tale and beautifully written but harsh.


message 22: by Ariana (new)

Ariana | 657 comments Laura wrote: "I've already crossed my book-buying-amount."

Ah, gotcha! Well we'll let you know if it's worth it :-)


message 23: by Laura (new)

Laura (lauradragonchild) | 49 comments @Ariana - thank you. :) I'm looking forward to your thoughts on it.

@Allison - Sharon Shinn?! Yeay! I've been having that series on my shelves since I don't even remember when and didn't give it a chance till now! I'm adding it to next month's TBR together with a lot of other titles from the recs here.

I'm planning to make a change to my reading style and read from a theme in particular every month. Next month will be the fairy tales. Would it be ok if I ask for recs for a different theme on another thread in this folder next month? I'm receiving so many great tips.


message 24: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Sure! The only caveat I would add is that we've had a bunch of themed polls and other people have asked about various book genres before, so maybe take a second to search the group discussions (there's a search box on the desktop version inside the discussion thread and you can clarify to limit the search to topic titles ex. "fairy tale" in thread title only). If it's already there, voila! You have 5+ books that might help you! If you don't find anything, absolutely, folks are generally very willing to share ideas :)


message 25: by Anna, Circadian heretic (new)

Anna (vegfic) | 9629 comments Mod
There's a bug in the search function right now, so don't try it yet. Hopefully it'll be fixed soon.


message 26: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Really hoping it doesn't last long enough to impact a search for August!! I will cry. No porcupines can save me now :( :(


message 27: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline | 2306 comments Fair enough Laura. Just adding them to the list. Might help someone else looking for the same thing 😃


message 28: by Jan (new)

Jan (jan130) | 314 comments Oh yes I enjoyed Alif The Unseen. And the Juliet Marillier. I second both of those.


message 29: by Ginny (new)

Ginny (ginny83) I don't know if The Changeling by Lavalle would be considered a re-telling, but it's very dark fairytale-esque.


message 30: by Allison, Fairy Mod-mother (new)

Allison Hurd | 13034 comments Mod
Ginny wrote: "I don't know if The Changeling by Lavalle would be considered a re-telling, but it's very dark fairytale-esque."

That's also on the poll for next month's fantasy read!


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