I am in a very list making mood these days. I did one for people who want to try Science-Fiction and then was working on movies got to Clueless (which is of course a timeless Emma retelling) and thought… Retellings. The Best Ones I’d Recommend for People who want to give them a go!
FYI while this is about books I’d still totally recommend Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You (a Taming of the Shrew retelling.) Both classics of my youth!
One of my favorite retellings of Cinderella in which the main character is an inventor and friendship and business are given more interest than any romance. Plus it’s just such a beautiful book! I loved the inventions. I loved the characters and this just reminds me I really, really need to read the sequel!
If you’re unsure of retellings a short story collection is a great way to go! A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is all about Asian myths and legends many of which weren’t even a little bit familiar to me which made the read so much more fun. So maybe reading something new will peak a further interest.
Welcome to the magical world of Brooklyn where the local convenience store owner beheads shoplifters and Vassa’s sisters send her to said store for a light bulb wondering if she’ll ever back it back. This is a retelling of Vassilissa the Beautiful. It was a lot of fun. Very imaginative and sparked an interest in further retellings and Baba Yaga.
Maybe not a retelling so much as “from the point-of-view of” Circe– a character who in The Odyssey was pretty much just a witch who held up our hero. Because of who she is this one incorporates cameos from a lot of mythology a lot of what it means to be alive and a woman in mythology and was honestly just more beautiful than I thought it would be.
An it’s way easier to approach and get into than The Odyssey if that’s a worry. But it might convince you to pick it up. You never know!
Speaking of short stories and bit sized parcels. Neil Gaiman does Norse Mythology in this book. I know slightly more about that but it mostly helped with reading this that I could not stop thinking about Hemsworth and Hiddleston whenever Loki and Thor came up. Which actually made it fun though! Certainly not complaining.
Another Cinderella retelling and I admit not my favorite but it would be a good one for a lot of people to connect to. It’s got your usual elements plus celebrity, comic conventions, food trucks and really even some nice stuff with at least one of the stepsisters.
An who doesn’t know what its like to be pissed off when you don’t get the fan-cast actor that you pictured in the role?
Heartstone is Pride and Prejudice with dragons but somehow it works. Not only works but works really, really well cause why shouldn’t there be monsters? And why shouldn’t Darcy have a sweetheart of a dragon? The dragons definitely give it a flavor I think some other retellings have lacked. Plus it’s got a sequel (Dragon Shadow) coming out this Fall!
Okay, Heartless is not a retelling of Alice so much as an origin story for the Queen of Hearts and it’s a bit divisive. I know some people really didn’t like the ending. But I really enjoyed Heartless and I loved the main character who really just wants to open a bakery and do the right thing.
Without getting into spoilers what I loved was the ending and it’s actually grown on me. Not only is it enjoyable but I think it would make people who hadn’t read it go out and pick up Alice in Wonderland!
So those are my recommendations for retellings for people who are new to them and honestly there are so many good ones out there and so many who take “inspiration” from a fairy tale or classic novel there really is something for every reader.