Ten Books for People Who Love Fairy Tales

March 10, 2015 Top Ten Tuesday 24

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Ten Books for People Who Love ______.  (I chose Fairy Tales.)

I tried to put these in order, but I just couldn’t. However, pulling this post together made me realize how many of these wonderful books I haven’t reviewed yet. (Click on title links to see the books I have reviewed.)

Beauty (Robin McKinley)

Beauty (Robin McKinley)

Beauty (Robin McKinley) One of the first novel-length YA fairytale retellings, and one of the best. If you’ve seen Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, they seriously cribbed some ideas from her – but hers is way better. (I’m rather fond of Disney’s version, so that’s saying something.)  You might also enjoy Rose Daughter, McKinley’s second and somewhat darker interpretation of the same fairy tale, written at least 20 years later.

The Perilous Gard (Elizabeth Marie Pope)  A wonderful YA re-imagining of Tam Lin, set in Tudor England. A great book for a YA book group; you can argue about whether the Lady does or does not use magic.

Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress (Marissa Meyer) SF re-imaginings of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. These are so wonderful! Meyer weaves elements of the traditional fairy tales into a wholly new and original story. I particularly love what Meyer does to subvert gender stereotypes. I can’t wait for Winter, coming in fall! (And I suppose I should read Fairest even if I don’t care at all for Levana. . . )

The Ordinary Princess (M. M. Kaye) An original and utterly charming fairy tale about a princes who is, well, ordinary. I guarantee you will fall in love with both the princess and the man-of-all-work. Do try to find the version with illustrations by Kaye herself; they are just perfect for the story.

Spindle’s End (Robin McKinley) Beautifully written, McKinley’s retelling of Sleeping Beauty has a far-from-helpless (or for that matter, somnolent) princess and a wonderful cast of characters. It’s one of my favorite books of all time.

Princess of the Midnight Ball (Jessica Day George) My favorite of the 12 Dancing Princesses retellings, both because I love the main character and because it gives some of the princesses more depth and makes their predicament more dire than the original version. There are two sequels, Princess of Glass and Princess of the Silver Woods, which I enjoyed very much, but this first book is the best.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld (Patricia McKillip) This was my introduction to McKillip, way back in high school, and though the details have faded, I’ve never forgotten it. (I re-read it a few years ago; it was just as good as I remembered.) The writing is gorgeous and mysterious, and everything about it feels like a grownup fairy tale, but the story is totally original.

The Serpent’s Shadow, The Gates of Sleep, Phoenix and Ashes (Mercedes Lackey) Lackey has an entire series called Elemental Masters, in which she reenvisions fairy tales and folk tales in a version of our own Victorian/Edwardian/WWI world, but with elemental magic. These three are the best. (Other books in the series I’ve reviewed include Home from the Sea, Steadfast, Blood Red, and the short story collection Elemental Magic.)

Once Upon a Winter’s Night (Dennis L. McKiernan) A retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, very much expanded and with a smattering of other fairytale elements and myths sprinkled in, and told in a somewhat archaic fairytale style. It’s quite fun, and has the merit of being one of the few retellings intended for adults.

The Light Princess (George MacDonald) An original story about a Princess cursed to be without gravity (in both senses of the word.) I particularly love the picture book version illustrated by William Pene du Bois.

Also notable:

Once Upon a Marigold (Jean Ferris)

Melisande (E. Nesbit, illustrated by Patrick Lynch)

Snow White and Rose Red (Patricia Wrede)

24 Responses to “Ten Books for People Who Love Fairy Tales”

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      It’s one of her earliest books, and since I haven’t read most of the later ones (other than the Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy), I can’t say how it stacks up, but I really loved it. I should probably re-read it soon!

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Thank you for the warning! I’ve been on the fence about that one anyway… maybe I’ll wait until after Winter (the book, not this interminable season that hopefully has finally said goodbye!)

  1. Becca @ Lost in thought

    Love this topic! I absolutely love a good fairy-tale retelling. The Lunar Chronicles is amazing; I love how elements of old, beloved fairy tales have been weaved into a sci-fi story. It’s so exciting. Beauty has been on my wishlist for ages now so I definitely need to check it out! Great choice this week 🙂

    Becca @ Lost in Thought
    My TTT!

  2. R_Hunt @ View From My Home

    Sounds like a fun list! I don’t read many fairy tale retellings, but I do want to rectify that sometime. I read another author’s version of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, but this one sounds even better. I did read Cinder at the same time as my eldest daughter, but didn’t progress further in the series…I should. Beauty and the Beast holds a special place in my heart because of Belle’s love of reading, so any retellings of that will be enjoyable for me. Thanks, Lark!
    R_Hunt @ View From My Home recently posted…What I Read When I Was Gone…My Profile

  3. Lark

    I love Robin McKinley and Patricia McKillip. Their books are so amazing. And Princess of the Midnight Ball is on my To Read list…glad to know it’s a good one. 🙂 Great list!
    Lark recently posted…A few bookish myths…My Profile

  4. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    Princess of the Midnight Ball is definitely going on my list. I’ve been wanting to read Jessica Day George for awhile and the cover is so pretty! I’m hoping to get to Cinder sometime soon. I probably won’t this month because I’m trying to clear off a tiny bit of space on my shelves but maybe next month I’ll have a library month. The Ordinary Princess sounds like a lovely read as well. This is not good for my TBR!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday – Ten Books for Readers who like MysteriesMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Just looking at your title, I have a feeling your list isn’t going to be good for my TBR, either! I can’t wait to see what you think of Cinder and of Princess of the Midnight Ball.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Sorry it has taken me so long to reply (it’s been a crazy-busy week), but I will definitely stop by! Glad you enjoyed the list.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      [jaw drops] They didn’t enjoy Cinder?!! [shakes head in rueful disbelief] Well, I suppose it takes all kinds to make a world…

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I have the same problem with the unevenness of the Elemental Magic series, but the first several were really good – especially The Serpent’s Shadow.

  5. Stephanie

    I love fairy tale-esque stories and re-tellings and yet I’ve read shockingly few on your awesome list. I’ve saved it on bloglovin’ for the next time I get a hankering for a fairy tale. Princess of the Midnight Ball, The Ordinary Princess and the Mercedes Lackey series. Phew… It’s gonna take me a while to catch up to you!
    Stephanie recently posted…I Wish I Lived in a Musical: My Favorite Broadway MusicalsMy Profile

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      I have a love/hate relationship with TTT. I always find all these great books I haven’t read yet, which is lovely – but it invariably torpedos any progress I’ve made on pruning my TBR list. 😉 Have fun with these!