You’re never too old for a good fairytale.
Trust me. And with retellings like these, you’d never want to be anyway! Personally, I’m picky about my retellings (they have to really stand out to catch my attention), and these five are some of my absolute favorites.
And hats off, as ever, to Meeghan @ Meeghan Reads for setting today’s Top 5 Tuesday topic! She’s probably the wise wizard in so many of the original fairytales we know and love. I mean, look at how smart she is about her topic choices! 🧙
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
While House of Salt and Sorrows may not be my all-time favorite book (truth be told, I gave it a 3.5 star rating in my review), it is one of the only retellings of the Twelve Dancing Princesses that I’ve ever seen. More importantly, it’s a SOLID retelling, building a whole new world out of a familiar tale. I feel like this is what retellings really should be about!
Plus, it’s got a killer, salt-soaked atmosphere to it that I love. Bonus points for that!
A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney (Nightmare-Verse #1)
Normally, I don’t care for Alice in Wonderland it its bazillion forms. That should tell you just how good The Nightmare-Verse is, though, that I’m head over heels for it! L.L. McKinney does a brilliant job taking a story that’s often overused and sprinkled with oddities for funsies and manages to give it real weight and punch. Plus, her take on Wonderland itself is so refreshing, and the regular travels between our world and Wonderland create a ton of dynamism!
If you want grim Alice, this is the series to pick up.
Once & Future by A.R. Capetta and Cory McCarthy (Once & Future #1)
If you’ve ever wanted Arthurian legend in space where absolutely everyone is queer and angry at the soul-crushing drives of capitalism, this is the book. Seriously. It’s one part space romp, complete with some cheesy but earnest humor, and one part Arthurian legend wrapped in the strains of isolation, betrayal, and fear.
Also, the tagline for the second book is “Girls make better kings.” I’m about it.
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao (Rise of the Empress #1)
One of the first retellings I ever truly enjoyed, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns deserves a place on this list! It retells the story of Snow White from the Evil Queen’s perspective, and I think Julie C. Dao absolutely crushed it. She manages to crack open a whole new side to a character unilaterally portrayed as evil, and then follows that up with her descent into, you guessed it, being evil!
I’m kicking myself for not getting around to the other Rise of the Empress books, but making this post has reminded me just how badly I need to get back to them!
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (Camelot Rising #1)
Listen, I know that’s two Arthurian retellings in this list, but what can I say? I like myself some good sword and sorcery content (even if it’s in space). Besides, I almost didn’t read this book! I disliked And I Darken so much that just seeing Kiersten White’s name on the cover made me skeptical. Turns out, though, that this book appealed to me so much more, and I was just cranky because of genre differences and other disappointments.
But more than that, the Camelot Rising series is fascinating because it’s set from Guinevere’s perspective rather than Arthur’s. This isn’t a story about a boy fated to become king. This is a story about a girl trying to be a queen, a girl who knows less than she would like and is more powerful than anyone truly knows.
What can I say? Magic royalty is a soft spot of mine.
So, do we have any favorite retellings in common? And what story do you wish you saw more retellings of? I know folks are getting excited for the possibility of The Great Gatsby retellings since it’s in the public domain, but I personally would love to see more retellings of The Little Mermaid. The last one I read let me down (yes, it’s To Kill a Kingdom, please don’t recommend it), and I want to see someone do it right.
Who knows! Maybe we’ll all get what we’re looking for in retellings someday! ✨