Tuesday, December 09, 2008

A Slew of Fairy Tale Retellings

I love a good fairy tale retelling, and we had quite a few nominated for the Cybils this year. Here are most, though not all. There are still a few I have yet to read. Also, I've stuck some in below that are not fairy tale retellings, but that would be enjoyed by the same readers.

Wild Magic by Cat Weatherill. This one's a Pied Piper reimagining, for those of you who've wondered whatever happened to the kids. Hint: it involves a trip through a hill to the land of the elves, plus shape-shifting and curses. Quite lovely.





Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier. Take the fairy tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses" and people it with the Bennet sisters of Pride and Prejudice, then set it in a castle in Transylvania. With faeries and vampires. I'm so sold on the pitch, and sold on the book. This is not a Cybils nominee this year (it came out in 07), but the "companion novel" (below) is, so I quickly read this to catch up. It's enchanting and romantic, with lovely writing!

Cybele's Secret by Juliet Marillier. Okay, this is not actually a fairy tale retelling, but as the *companion novel* to Wildwood Dancing, I'm including it here anyway. A young girl accompanies her merchant father to Ottoman-era Istanbul to bid on a rare pagan goddess relic. Forces both of this world and "the other" try to intervene, as Paula gets caught up in a journey with two very different young men -- a dashing Portuguese pirate and a strong, loyal Bulgar bodyguard. Fun!

A Crimson Thread, by Suzanne Weyn. A "real-world" historical Rumplestiltskin set in the immigrant community of 19th-Century New York. Bertie is an Irish girl, newly arrived, who gets a job assisting the seamstress to a wealthy textile merchant's family. The merchant's dashing son woos her, as does a mysterious fellow immigrant, Ray Stalls (not his real name; can you guess what is, hint hint), who might be a labor organizer, and might. . . spin straw into gold. I really enjoyed this book, which is part of Simon Pulse's "Once Upon a Time" series.

Ever by Gail Carson Levine, is not a fairy tale retelling, but an original story with an invented mythos and pantheon of Gods, but I'm including it here because there are lovely echoes of Persephone's descent into the Underworld. This is a very romantic story, in which the youngest of the gods, Olus the wind god, falls in love with a mortal girl named Kezi who is to be sacrificed in a month, to the god of her own people, one who -- unlike Olus and his fellow gods -- is not manifest in the flesh, and may or may not exist. Together, the two set about thwarting her fate, braving challenges set by the gods to win her immortality.

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George. I must love the folk tale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," because I have three picture book versions of it, plus the novel version East by Edith Patou, and I still have room for more! The classic story tells of of a young girl who finds herself swept into an enchantment, forced to live in an ice palace with a polar bear, endure the silent stranger who climbs into bed beside her in the dark night after night, and use all her wits and fortitude to rescue the one she loves from the clutches of a troll princess. Jessica Day George puts her own spin on things, and introduces a new twist that adds suspense to a well-loved tale.

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriot. This book draws inspiration from Hans Christian Anderson's The Wild Swans, in telling a tale of a princess whose three older brothers are enchanted by their evil stepmother and turned into swans. This book was a delight, with memorable magic, a strong heroine, and a sweet romance.



If you're more into "demon lovers" than fairy tale retellings, check out Charlotte's list HERE.

8 comments:

holly cupala said...

I loved EVER. Speaking of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I heard Sarah Beth Durst just sold a retelling - can't wait!

See you Wednesday! Yay!

Staci said...

Darn you! You make me so tempted to spend my whole paycheck at the bookstore!

lizardek said...

Well! There's my Christmas list right there!! Wheee!

Charlotte said...

What nice books we got to read!

Lexi said...

Hoo-rah books!

Em said...

Fairy tale re-tellings are some of my favorite books. nice recap! :)

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