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.
26 thoughts on “8 Retelling Recommendations to Try”
Great article! I actually had no idea Clueless was a retelling of Emma. You learn something new everyday as the saying goes, LoL. That’s so cool.
I haven’t read any of the books you talked about. Although, I have heard about Geekerella. Sounds like a fun book. I’ll try to check that one out!
Did you watch the Emmys? Matthew Rhys won for The Americans and it won an Emmy for the series finale. I was a bit bummed Keri Russell didn’t win, but that was seriously a real tough category.
I was so happy for Matthew Rhys (also just adore him anyway.) Best Actress and Supporting were tough categories even though I haven’t seen Handmaiden! Keri and Claire should have tied but I would have equally been happy with Sandra or Tatiana. While I was pulling for Yvonne Thandie is awesome! The only one I was kind of blah about was Dinklage. Love him but to me Tyrion didn’t have the role that Matt Smith had. (Also heard Joseph Fiennes was excellent!) Too many great performances this year 🙂
Also Nikolaj deserves an award for making that jacket work!
I know, this year the shows and performances nominated were so flipping strong that it was nearly impossible to not want everyone to win the Emmy, LoL.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a really good show and the performances are incredible. You’ll see when you start the show.
I loved Geekerella! It was really cute. Also, I have been having Vassa in the Night on my TBR for a while.
Vassa can be out there but I thought it was a ton of fun!
I read Norse Mythology and Geekerella and I adore both. Circe sounds like a book that I would enjoy 😊😊
Is Norse Mythology a retelling? hmmm I didn’t know… maybe that is why I didn’t like it that much XD
I have issues with kind of Disney retellings? but I don’t know why… For example The Lunar Chronicles? I read like 3 pages of the first one and I was so no no no bye XD but The Song of Achilles is a retelling and I love it and cry and I got obsessed with Circe… hahaha so I am bipolar… haha
There’s an interesting article about the Gaiman book in the Atlantic and the politics of retelling pagan stories which I never even considered.. It seems fairly squarely classified in retelling status though!
That should interesting! where did you get that? 😮 maybe that will change my whole idea of retellings XD
Its called “The Politics of Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology,” in the Atlantic magazine. It’s on-line so you can get it through Google 🙂
Found it! Thank you so much! *starts reading*
I haven’t watched Clueless (shame on me I know), but I remember watching 10 Things I Hate About You! A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is on my TBR and I’m so so excited for it. Vassa in the Night I’ve seen around a lot and Circe is at the top of my TBR for sure. Norse Mythology and Geekerella were both wonderful reads! Great post!
Thanks! 10 Things I Hate About You was one of my favorites when it was out. Loved her father and Alison Janney as the counselor but to be honest I don’t think I’ve watched the whole thing since Heath Ledger died 🙁
Maybe I should.
Lovely post! I adore Circe and Geekerella, and enjoyed Heartless as well!
I just finished Circe, on your previous recommendation!
I hope you liked it! I couldn’t help but think it would make a great movie 🙂
Mechanica sounds really interesting since it focuses on friendship and business than on romance. I had never been a fan of Cinderella! Circe is on my TBR and so is A thousand beginnings and endings! I love Heartless but didn’t enjoy Norse Mythology very much! Heart stone is Pride and Prejudice with Dragons?! Goes straight to my TBR!
Cinderella’s not my favorite but she gets a lot of good retellings!
I totes want to read Circe <3
Mechanica looks cool! Kinda steam punk and all.
I don't think i read any retelling… at least i'm not aware 😀
I love this post! I hadn’t heard of A Thousand Beginnings and I want to find out more about Asian myths, and weirdly, I really didn’t know that Norse Mythology contained short stories so I’m going to have bump that up on my TBR. And yes, I love Clueless, what an iconic film.
I love this list. Clueless is one of my favorite re-tellings of all time. It’s SO clever. And Geekerella and Circe are nestled int he middle of my towering tower of books…which seems to grow larger instead of smaller every day. Oh the struggles of a bookworm. 🙂 I will read them soon!! A few of these I haven’t heard of but sound really interesting. I recently finished As I Descended, which was a unique modern retelling for Macbeth in a prep school. Definitely a different sort of re-telling.
I just looked that up and put it on my list. It sounds awesome! I’ve been meaning to get to the Hogarth Shakespeare retellings as well. Might have to reread the plays first though it’s been so long 🙂