September is my favorite month, and I’m so excited Meeghan is kicking off the month with a Top Five Tuesday prompt featuring one of my favorite things: retellings. If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably already seen me gush about my love for retellings. I think I included at least one retelling in each of my Top Five Tuesday posts last month, and I have at least a dozen (maybe two) retellings on my TBR. So when I say I love retellings, it’s no joke. Fairy tales, classics, myths, I love them all! Seriously, if the best way to get me to read a book is to tell me it’s a retelling. Like, I still haven’t picked up Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, but I’ve already read 1,296 pages of Les Mis in space. So if I seem a little excited about this week’s prompt, I am 😉
As excited as I am to get started, I’m also a little daunted by the task. There are so many choices out there, and I’m sure some great retellings will be kept off the list. Like, do you know how many retellings are out there?? (According to my Goodreads shelf, I’ve read 205 so far.) I’m super indecisive, so it’ll probably be hard for me to narrow it down to five. Wish me luck!
Genres: Middle Reader, Fairy Tales, Fantasy
“At her birth, Ella of Frell receives a foolish fairy’s gift—the ‘gift’ of obedience. Ella must obey any order, whether it’s to hop on one foot for a day and a half, or to chop off her own head! But strong-willed Ella does not accept her fate. Against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a quest to break the curse forever.”
I’ve got a whole post half-written somewhere about my love for Ella Enchanted, so I’ll spare you my full rant for now. Ella Enchanted might be the first retelling I ever read (it’s definitely the first one I remember reading,) and it holds a special place in my heart. Gail Carson Levine gives us an exciting tale full of adventure while keeping all our favorite Cinderella elements. If you love far off places, daring heroines, magic spells, and fairies in disguise, you should definitely check it out. (Especially if your only impression of Ella Enchanted is the movie. I love Anne Hathaway, but that movie was atrocious.)
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Mystery, Retellings
“When children start to go missing in the local woods, eighteen-year-old Wendy Darling must face her fears and a past she cannot remember to rescue them.”
Lost in the Never Woods was my first five star review in literal years. It’s modern and fanciful, dark and sweet, melancholy and hopeful. It’s lovely and gave me all. the. feels. If you like realistic coming-of-age stories with just a touch of pixie dust, Lost in the Never Woods is for you.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Sci-fi, Retellings, Fairy Tales
“Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…”
I don’t know if I like Cinderella variations because there are so many of them, it’s easier to find good ones or because I like Cinderella stories, but two of my top five are inspired by the same fairytale. Out of all The Lunar Chronicles books, Cinder is my favorite. I still think the whole series deserves a good screen adaptation (I’ve always imagined Kai as a a young Harry Shum Jr. for some reason,) but Cinder holds a special place in my heart. Maybe because it’s a “true” retelling where the book is essentially structured around the fairy tale, maybe because I love imagining a futuristic Beijing, but whatever the reason, I fell in love with this sci-fi Cinderella ten years ago and haven’t gotten over it since.
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance, Retellings, Jane Austen Fan Fiction
“Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco—a compelling, heartwarming romance between two strangers from completely different worlds, and a poignant exploration of cultural assimilation, identity, and the meaning of the word home.”
After the Great Austen Adventure of 2020, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include at least one Jane Austen retelling on the list. Pride and Prejudice and Other Flavors is another book that gets a lot of screen time on the blog. It’s a book that’s grown on me since my first reading and has become a bit of a comfort read. It’s P&P with Asian Americans, set in the Bay Area, about a doctor and a chef. It also has one of the best modern interpretations of the Hunsford proposal I’ve ever read. I’m also excited that my dreams are coming true and Emma is finally getting the Raje treatment in 2022!
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
“Steeped in Celtic mythology and the political intrigue of medieval Britain, Stephen R. Lawhead’s latest work conjures up an ancient past and holds a mirror to contemporary realities. Prepare yourself for an epic tale that dares to shatter everything you thought you knew about Robin Hood.”
I decided to keep the list to five because it was going to be ridiculously long otherwise. I wanted to feature a series that I don’t see too often in my bookish circles: The King Raven Trilogy. I read this way back when I first tried my hand at book blogging and haven’t mentioned it since, but I remember devouring the books as quickly as I could. I think this might be the only Robin Hood retelling I’ve read, and I love the idea of taking the outlaw back “where the story actually began: the primeval forests of Wales.” Hood was definitely my least favorite of the bunch, but if you like medieval fantasy, historical fiction or retellings with a side of grit, the series is worth checking out. It’s on Kindle Unlimited which is another plus 🙂
I’m almost scared to ask because my TBR is monstrous right now, but what are some of your favorite retellings? Also, should I check out the Percy Jackson series? 😬