It’s been argued that there are no original ideas anymore, and when you consider the number of retellings of classic or well known tales, you might be inclined to agree. However, sometimes you come across a version of a story that manages to remind you of what you liked about the original while still presenting you with something new and exciting. Here are a few books that might have you thinking, hey, that reminds me of somebody that I used to know!
Juliet, after being murdered by Romeo to ensure his own immortality, has spent 700 years fighting her fickle husband for the souls of true lovers. Their battle continues until the day Juliet meets someone she’s forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
This trilogy is a ghoulish take on the weirdness that is Wonderland, and although I never cared much for the original, this series captured my attention. It had one of the first scenes I can remember unsettling me so much I had to put a book down and walk away from it. Main character Alyssa is a descendant of the inspiration for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland who must pass a series of tests to fix Alice’s mistakes if she wants to save her family from their curse.
If the idea of a Dark Wonderland appeals to you, it’s well worth checking out A Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney, along with its sequel, A Dream So Dark. This Alice is trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland, yet still has to contend with curfew, an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA.
This retelling manages to keep enough of the gothic romance elements that characterize Charlotte Bronte’s novel that you recognize it, and maybe even know where it’s going, but while still bringing in new elements to keep the reader from getting bored.
Stella Ainsley leaves poverty behind when she quits her engineering job aboard the Stalwart to become a governess on the private ship, the Rochester. Unfortunately, no one warned Stella that the ship seems to be haunted, nor that it may be involved in a conspiracy that could topple the entire interstellar fleet. Surrounded by mysteries, Stella must decide whether to follow her head or her heart.
In The Shadow Queen, Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. In the neighboring kingdom, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed, the second-born is suddenly responsible for saving his kingdom. But, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
The Blood Spell follows Blue de la Cour. When her father is murdered and a cruel but powerful woman claims custody of Blue and her property, one wrong move could expose her–and doom her once and for all. The only one who can help? The boy she’s loathed since childhood: Prince Kellan Renard, crown prince of Balavata. Kellan must find a bride among the kingdom’s head families and announce his betrothal–but escalating violence among the families makes the search nearly impossible. When mysterious forces lead to disappearances throughout Balavata, Blue and Kellan must work together. What they discover will lead them to the darkest reaches of the kingdom, and to the most painful moments of their pasts.
The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert has much of the same ruthlessness that the original tales collected by the Brothers Grimm possessed. When Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began—and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.
So many books, so little time. What do you prefer, the classics in their original form, a fresh take on a beloved tale, or something entirely new?