Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Fairy Tale Retellings

~posted by Jenny C.

I love a good fairy tale; both the originals and all the myriad sorts of retelling. My very favorites, though, are the ones that keep that darkness that’s inherent in many fairy tales, and add infinite embroideries onto a familiar cloth. One of the best examples of the sheer variety possible is in the wonderful series brought together by visionary editor Terri Windling in the 1990s. While we don’t have all the books in the series, the ones we do are worth enjoying.

Jack of Kinrowan in the SPL catalogSnow White and Rose Red in the SPL catalogFitcher's Brides in the SPL catalogBriar Rose in the SPL catalogWhite as Snow in the SPL catalogTam Lin in the SPL catalog

Jack of Kinrowan by Charles de Lint
Jacks are fascinating characters — charmed, like the seventh son or the third daughter, to lead an interesting and tricksy life.

Snow White and Rose Red by Patricia C. Wrede
Elizabethan England, where the borders to faerie are thin and easily crossed over.

Fitcher’s Brides by Gregory Frost
Bluebeard set in 1830’s upstate New York in a Utopian community where the charismatic preacher leads young women astray.

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
Sleeping Beauty and Holocaust memories make up this chilling and beautiful tale.

White as Snow by Tanith Lee
White as snow, red as blood, black as ebony. Not a story for the faint of heart, dark and cold and full of pain, as one might expect from Tanith Lee.

Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
Paints a nostalgic and idyllic picture of life at a small liberal arts college in the 1970s, where poetry and literature rule the day.

The Bloody Chamber in the SPL catalogA Court of Thorns and Roses in the SPL catalog A Kiss at Midnight in the SPL catalog Daughter of the Forest in the SPL catalog

Some other interpretations to add to that list:

The Bloody Chamber And Other Stories by Angela Carter
Dark and rich imaginings in extraordinary short stories.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Beauty and the Beast re-imagined, with a hunter Beauty and a different sort of Beast.

A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
Here’s something completely different — light and sweet historical romance and the start of a series.

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
The story of The Seven Swans begins this intricately set tale, which swiftly becomes a sweeping, epic fantasy.

There are also, of course, loads of fairy tale retellings that are great for kids and teens. Here’s a list of great YA picks!

4 thoughts on “Fantasy Checklist Challenge: Fairy Tale Retellings”

    1. I have not, but thanks for mentioning it! Peter Pan retellings have so much potential for interesting interpretations. It looks like we have it in the catalogue, I’ll check it out!

  1. Terri Windling is indeed a visionary editor, but she wrote a terrific book herself in the 1990s, The Wood Wife. SPL has a copy. It is sort of urban fantasy, but in the rural (borderline wilderness) Southwest. It has great depth in characterization, includes artists and poets, and a tingling borderline between art and magic. You are never quite sure which side of the border you’re on. A friend turned me on to it and I was captivated immediately. SPL has one copy.

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