Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I’d Love to Read If I Had a Fairytale Retelling Book Club

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Ten Books I’d Love to Read If I Had a …..Book Club!

Fairytale retellings pop-up in a wide variety of books and are always pretty popular. If I had to create a bookclub around a theme or genre, this is one of the topics I would chose. The first half of the list are retellings that I’ve read and loved. The other half are retellings that I are on my TBR list.


Cinder

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Retelling of: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.


cruel beauty

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Retelling of: Beauty and the Beast

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.


bloody chamber

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Retelling of: Blue Beard, Little Red Riding Hood, Beauty and the Beast, etc.

An anthology of short fiction by Angela Carter. All of the stories share a common theme of being closely based upon fairy tales or folk tales. 

Very dark retellings with a feminist bent. Continue reading

Cruel Beauty

cruel beauty

Cruel Beauty
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Published: 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Cruel Beauty Universe #1
Rating: A –


Cruel Beauty is the first book in a new fairytale retelling series by Rosamond Hodge.

Before she was born, Nyx’s father made a deal with the Gentle Lord that on her seventeenth birthday she would marry him. Long ago, the Gentle Lord (aka Ignifex) cursed their village to be separate from the rest of the world and let his demons run rampant. The only way to break the curse is to kill him. So, for all her life Nyx has been training to one day murder her husband. When the day finally arrives, she finds that life as his wife is not exactly what she has expected. It is both more horrifying and better than she had been raised to expect. Now Nyx must balance her conflicting feelings about her husband with her sense of loyalty towards the village.
Continue reading

Cinder

Cinder

Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult
Publish Date: 2012
Series: Lunar Chronicles #1
Rating: A –


Cinder is the first book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. From what I gather, each book in the series primarily features a different female character. So, you can imagine my frustration when I discovered this ends on a cliff-hanger. I was just really getting into the action of what Cinder was gearing up to do when the books ends suddenly. Usually, I hate cliff-hangers but this was awesome. I only hope that we still get some story from Cinder’s point of view in the next books.

This is a sci-fi/steampunk fairytale retelling of Cinderella, but only a few elements of the story match-up with the traditional set-up. In this, Cinder is a young cyborg who labors as a mechanic for her adoptive family. After agreeing to do a repair job for Prince Kai, Cinder finds herself forcibly thrown into the political mess of her country. Suddenly, she has to face being a test subject for a plague outbreak, prejudices against her kind, a visiting dignitary with mind control abilities, and an emerging secret from her past.

In Cinder, we are introduced to the impressive world Meyer has created for her characters, which is filled with social tension and unrest. I loved the imbalances of power we see and how all the characters are struggling, no matter what their social standing is. The leaders of the country are shown to be having just as difficult a time as Cinder. They’re just dealing with different set of hard issues and decisions. I also really loved the weight these decisions and actions were given in the book. It added a lot of gravity to the story, which I wasn’t expecting to find when I decided to start the series. All in all, this was a great read and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all plays out.

Gilded Ashes

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Gilded Ashes
Author: Rosamund Hodge
Published: 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Cruel Beauty #1.5
Rating: A


Gilded Ashes is a novella in Rosamund Hodge’s Cruel Beauty series and one of the most interesting Cinderella retellings I’ve read in a while. Since there’s no references made to the first book in the series (Cruel Beauty), Gilded Ashes works nicely as an introduction to Hodge’s writing and her world.

Maia is haunted by her mother’s ghost who exacts vengeance on anyone that upsets her daughter. After witnessing the cruelty her mother can exact from the grave, Maia has learned to smile and pretend nothing bothers her. She has spent years feigning happiness in order to protect her step mother and sisters. So, when one of the step-sisters asks her to start delivering love letters to Anax, the heir of the Duke of Sardis, she agrees. It’s an opportunity that Maia can’t pass-up since a marriage would get her family away from her mother’s watchful presence.

I was blown away by this novella. I wasn’t expecting to be so drawn into the world, characters, or Hodge’s beautiful writing. I bought it on a whim yesterday expecting a cute Cinderella retelling and got a wonderful, kind of dark, story instead. Maia is cynical about love because it is what motivated her mother to ensure she could still protect Maia after her death. She’s seen love do nothing but harm her entire life, so I completely understood her mind-set. It was an interesting flip on the typical Cinderella story since Maia didn’t crave love and had power. She could’ve destroyed her family for their ill treatment but chose to protect them instead. It was refreshing to see the main character in this sort of retelling not cast as a complete victim.

My only complaint about the novella was that the ending felt a little rushed concerning her relationship with Anax. After the drama that had transpired between them (prior to the climax) I had a hard time believing their relationship was immediately set right. However, it was only a small complaint and taken in context with the rest of the story, very minor.

If you’ve been considering reading Cruel Beauty but would like a small sample of Hodge’s writing before committing to a full length novel, I would highly recommend checking out Gilded Ashes.