Tag Archives: retellings

Somebody That I Used To Know

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 Immortal by Stacey Jay, AKA Romeo and Juliet

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.

The Splintered Series by A.G. Howard, AKA Alice in Wonderland

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.

Brightly burning

Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne, AKA Jane Eyre (but in space!)

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.

The Ravenspire Series by C.J. Redwine, AKA fairy tales

Specifically, books 1 – The Shadow Queen (Snow White) and book 4 – The Blood Spell (Cinderella). These folkloric classics become dark epic fantasies in Redwine’s hands,

shadow queen

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.

Hazel wood

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?

Happy reading,

Megan

The Classics, Renewed

Do you re-read books, or do you prefer to find new ways to enjoy your favourite stories?

There was one family vacation where I read the third Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, 8 times within one week.  I had only brought two books, which was my first mistake, and the other was a murder mystery, disqualified because I had already figured out whodunit, which was my second. By the end of the week, I was quoting passages from specific pages that I had memorized, and I had grown thoroughly sick of the book! But when J.K. Rowling released the next volume in the series, I read it right away – and have with every book she’s released about Harry and his friends since, including The Cursed Child. 21 years after Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published, we still want to revisit those characters and that setting. Luckily, the books are still popular enough to warrant Rowling producing more content within the Harry Potter universe – but what do you do about other books that you’ve loved, with authors who are long gone?

With some, you can watch the movie and film adaptations: Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first adapted for the screen in 1938 as a television movie, then in 1940 as a film, as a TV miniseries in 1952, 1958, 1967, 1980, and 1995, and then again in 2005 as the film starring Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet. This isn’t even counting the productions inspired by the plot and characters – Bride and Prejudice, the 2004 Bollywood musical version (which is very fun), the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, or Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. If Pride and Prejudice is your favourite, you have a plethora of ways that you can revisit the story. But enough: this is not a blog titled Adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, an Incomplete List.

texts My current favourite way to return to a story I have loved is through Daniel Mallory Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters. In it, Ortberg transforms each of the chosen classic (or contemporary!) tales, ranging from the Greek myths and Beowulf to The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, into a text message dialogue between two characters, and they are hilariously done. Check out this excerpt from the conversation between Odysseus and Circe as an example:

circe1

circe2

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(Ortberg 14-16)

If you like comics and quick summations of stories, Henrik Lange’s 90 Classic Books for People in a Hurry might be just up your alley! Alternatively, maybe you want to take a bit more time with a book you’ve loved before: consider a graphic novel adaptation! Our collection has options ranging from Artemis Fowl to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. There’s something to suit everyone – including Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Happy reading!