This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is Genre Freebie (pick a genre and build a list around it! i.e., best/worst romances, non-fiction for travelers, memoirs for foodies, classics that feel timeless, romance novel kisses, science fiction that feels too real for comfort, women’s fiction for newbies, etc.) It took me a while to pick a topic for this, but I love reading retellings (even if they sometimes disappoint) so I thought I would do something related. I didn’t, however, want to list the same ten fairy tale retellings everybody has heard of. Instead, I wanted to focus on retellings of stories that aren’t originally fairy tales.
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor: I never finished reading this Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland retelling, but I remember how cool I thought some of the aspects were like the mirror teleportation or the Mad Hatter being an assassin. I should revisit this and finish the series.
Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson: I’m a Peter Pan retelling snob because I love the original story so much. This series, however, caught me before I began sticking my nose up at retellings. It’s completely off track from the original, but I like that it attempts to explain how Peter and the Lost Boys and Hook and the mermaids and the fairies came to be in Neverland. The later books aren’t as good or as faithful, but my childhood nostalgia easily forgives them.
Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston: While some people might think Anastasia is a fairy tale, its origins are based on a historical rumors, so I’m counting it for this list. Heart of Iron is a retelling of Anastasia set in space. The first time I read it, I wasn’t too impressed, but after rereading it and reading the sequel, I thought it was pretty flipping fun.
Olivia Twist by Lori Langdon: This is a genderbent, historical retelling of Oliver Twist. While I’m only slightly familiar with Oliver Twist due to the musical, I thought it was cool how Lori took the familiar elements and made her own heroine with them. It’s exciting and swoon-worthy and the historical details are awesome.
The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton: This retelling of King Lear is way better than the Shakespeare play. Yeah, I said it. It’s rich and deep and complex, bringing more to the characters and story. If you like high fantasy that gives you all the details and descriptions, this one is for you.
Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne: I suffered through hundreds of pages of Jane Eyre in order to read this retelling set in space. It was worth it because I really enjoyed Brightly Burning even if the “twists” were predictable since I knew the story. I like how she incorporated the various elements but in an outer space setting.
Fawkes by Nadine Brandes: I don’t know much about the Gunpowder Plot/Guy Fawkes, but after reading up on it via Wikipedia, I think Nadine did a great job retelling the story with an interesting magic system. It’s certainly a unique choice for a retelling.
Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell: I heard this book was Les Mis in space and I immediately needed it. I love how they told the story from three points of view and while keeping similar plot, used the futuristic, outer space setting to give the story a new spin. Book two is out today!
Romanov by Nadine Brandes: Like with Fawkes, I appreciate how Nadine kept the Anastasia story as historically accurate as possible while adding in magical elements to give it something new. Excellent idea, and that cover is gorgeous.
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher: I don’t know if this counts as a retelling since it’s the same story just written like a Shakespeare play, but I’m counting it because it’s just so ridiculously brilliant. And fun. Especially when you read it out loud or listen to the audiobooks.