The Best Fairytale Retellings
Fairytales are a staple of childhood, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or location. Every country has wonderful fairytales to share and I enjoy learning about them through.
One of my favourite ways to discover new fairytales is to read retellings – usually modernised versions with a fresh take on the original morals of the stories.
Here is my selection of the best fairytale retellings:
My most recent fairytale retelling was this wonderful debut book from Kalynn Bayron. Whilst the world-building leaves a lot to be desired, the actual reading experience is good fun and this is the perfect read to get you out of the slump. This story takes place 200 years after Cinderella lived, and in this world, the girls of society have to attend a ball and find a husband, or else their lives are forfeit. But what if you’re gay and in love with another girl? Not to mention, society is beyond misogynistic and the King of the land is a patriarchal arsehole! Cinderella with feminism and LGTBQA+!
I recently read Ella Enchanted, expecting it to be a lot like its movie adaptation but no. I loved both stories, but Ella Enchanted the movie follows a very thin strand of the Ella Enchanted novel plotline. The story is actually a great retelling of many fairytales in one, with lots of clever additions and characters. The main fairytale, of course, is Cinderella, however. But whereas Cinderella may be considered a little meek and a pushover, Ella is much stronger and far more resolute in her decisions.
If you’re more into bionic retellings then you’ll love Cinder by Marissa Myer. This story is a brilliant retelling of Cinderella, but instead of being a simple orphan mistreated by her step-family, Cinder is actually a bionic servant. This is part of a wider series that includes retellings of Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and other stories but I’ve yet to read those.
Literary and poetry lovers will enjoy Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue. Before she wrote Room, Emma wrote a series of short stories retellings traditional fairytales including Hansel and Gretel and the Princess and the Frog. It’s not my favorite, but there is no denying the lyrical prose is stunning in places.
This is a collection of fairytales, legends, and myth retellings from around the world. It’s a brilliant selection with stories from far and wide that I had never heard of. Most of the stories have been purely adapted for modern times, rather than adjusted in their entirety. Really enjoyable and easy to read; I particularly recommend the audiobook.
And finally, a graphic novel. I’m not a fan of Neil Gaiman, but I appreciate his attempt at an LGBTQA+, feminist retelling of Sleeping Beauty. The illustrations by Chris Riddell are particularly gorgeous in this graphic novel. It would make a fantastic gift.
What fairytale retellings would you recommend? Let me know in the comments below.