Retellings to thrill any fantasy reader

Do you love retellings? Whether of classic books or fairy tale retellings, they make up a large portion of my reading list. I’ve reviewed quite a few, so now it’s time to put them in one place!

Retellings to Thrill any Fantasy Reader

Note: This list will be updated as I review more titles.

Fairy Tale Retellings
Enchanting Fate cover

Enchanting Fate – This Beauty and the Beast retelling by debut author Ashley Evercott has a Downton Abbey-style romantic twist. When the servants get POVs, you know you’re in for a fun and thoughtful retelling!

An Enchantment of Thorns – Veteran retelling team Helena Rookwood and Elm Vince take on Beauty and the Beast with the A Court of Fairy Tales series, bringing serious action, swoony romance and cottage core vibes to the tale.

The Fox and the Briar – Understated, Darcy-esque, a villain with swagger—all ways I’ve described the contents and characters of this fae Sleeping Beauty retelling by Chesney Infalt. The Fox and the Briar also has slow burn romance and the arranged marriage trope.

Of Silver and Secrets cover

Of Silver and Secrets  – Famous for her romantic fantasy stories, author Sylvia Mercedes puts her unique spin on Rumpelstiltskin. Though the retelling part comes in toward the end, this tale of a dream-walking witch and a trained mage is filled with non-stop action and major romance.

Six Crimson Cranes cover

Six Crimson Cranes  – Elizabeth Lim takes on The Six Swans in an East-Asian inspired fairy tale world of dragons, curses and truly lovable characters.

Spindle  – W.R. Gingell’s madcap take on Sleeping Beauty has a unique thread-based magic system and no shortage of quirk.

Thorn – Now a traditionally published book, clean YA fantasy writer Intisar Khanani takes on the Goose Girl fairy tale with a Middle Eastern-inspired setting and a princess torn about her duty.  

Throne of Sand This is the first retelling by the powerhouse writing team that is Helena Rookwood and Elm Vince.One Thousand and One Nights(specifically the story of Aladdin and the lamp) gets a female lead with a penchant for trouble.

Classic Book Retellings

Ariadne  – Jennifer Saint gives Ariadne and her sister Phaedra a voice in the Theseus myth with unforgettable imagery.

The Chosen and the Beautiful The Great Gatsby gets a queer, female makeover with dark bargains, lusty Roaring Twenties party animals and secret magic, courtesy of the wonderful and creative fantasy author Nghi Vo (her Singing Hills Cycle books are also some of my favorite recent reads.)


Music of the Night, by Angela J. Ford, book cover

Music of the Night – Angela J. Ford writes two types of fantasy: steamy romances and epic. This The Phantom of the Opera retelling is the former, with two narrators who are instantly attracted to one another. Unfortunately, one carries a terrible secret involving the local theater, and the other must become its star in order to survive.

Within These Wicked Walls cover

Within These Wicked WallsJane Eyre is the love story that defied social class and the idea that only pretty, accomplished young women could be the object of love stories. Author Lauren Blackwood adds a super creepy cursed house and a streetwise spell-breaking protagonist to this tale of love that goes beyond the superficial.

Within These Wicked Walls review

A review of Within These Wicked Walls, by Lauren Blackwood

This fresh take built on the framework of Jane Eyre misses some of the charm of the original, but takes it in a riveting and spooky new direction that had me binge-reading. Within These Wicked Walls is true dark fantasy, with a surprisingly sweet romance at its core.

As a debtera, Andromeda cleanses people of manifestations of the Evil Eye. After being kicked out of her abusive mentor’s home beneath a church, Andi goes from the streets to a grand manor she labels a castle. Yet this home (belonging to a far younger Mr. Rochester, with lighter personal baggage) is in a desert, and no one wants to go near it—including other debtera.

Within These Wicked Walls cover

Andi becomes the 11th debtera to try to cleanse the frigid and ominous Thorne Manor, where rooms casually trickle blood or fill up with snow (there’s a whole lot of creepy in that house, but I won’t spoil it too much). She also gets to know Magnus Rochester, the 20-year-old who inherited his father’s curse alongside his chocolate empire.

Mr. Magnus Rochester is boyish and silly, and insists on informality. Andi is the one challenging him, rather than the other way around. He lacks much of the dashing and intellectual flirting of the original Mr. Rochester, but is a warmer figure, suitable for a girl who’s known little kindness to fall in love with.

The attachment comes on a little quickly for me, being far closer to insta-love than slow-burn. I wondered how fierce and sensible Andi could fall in love so quickly, but wholly believed in her affection for Saba. Mentor Jember is also portrayed unevenly, and Andi’s drive to eke out some admission of caring from him didn’t track for me. When she tries to chalk up his behavior to debilitating nerve pain, it felt unkind to real-world nerve pain sufferers and not believable for his character.

Still, the atmosphere of Thorne Manor, the sweet, young romance and genuine plot twists kept me glued to this book. While I wished for a stronger ending and thought some loose ends were too quickly tied up (or left alone, like the significance of the nasty spider closet), I adored most of this book and would read a title from its author again.

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