Fairytale Retellings I Love | Commercially Alternative

Monday, August 29, 2011

Fairytale Retellings I Love

Lolita inspires my imagination. Looking at ruffled skirts and ethereal photo shoots brings about images of princesses in gothic castles and maidens fighting evil trolls. Yes, I do imagine the forces of evil being fought by girls wearing petticoats and lace. It makes perfect sense if you look at guro lolita. *nods as if I know what I'm talking about*

Books also inspire my imagination. After reading one of my favorite books, Ella Enchanted, for the thousandth time, I decided to go on a fairytale-retelling binge. Here are a couple of my favorite retellings that I think everyone should try.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
This is a retelling of the Cinderella story. I adore this book. It’s short, I’ve read it hundreds of times over, and, yet, the journey never gets old. The hero is Ella. When she was born, a fairy gave her the “gift” of obedience. Needless to say, this “gift” is actually a curse. If someone were to tell Ella to cut off her own head, she would have to. I love the characters in this book, especially Ella. Despite the presence of magic, giants, and other fairytale things, the world that Levine creates seems very real and plausible. I highly encourage everyone to read this book. Please note that I do not acknowledge the presence of a movie by this same name. Even though all my friends say it’s a good movie (they haven't read the book), that is not my Ella. It is a separate entity entirely. That is, if such a thing actually existed. Which it doesn’t. 

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast by Robin McKinley
The title is self-explanatory. Unfortunately, I can’t remember what makes this book unique. I read it years and years ago, probably way back in middle school or even elementary school. Anyway, I’m going to include it in this list because I remember loving it very much. 

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
This is a retelling of the Grimm fairytale by the same name. It actually sticks extremely closely to the original tale, but fleshes it out into novel form. The story is about the crown princess Ani. When she was young, her aunt taught her how to speak to animals, more specifically, birds. This is not seen as appropriate behavior for a princess and she is pretty much shunned by everyone because she’s weird. Ani is not very good at being crown princess. She would much rather talk to the swans at the pond than the people of the court. Things happen and she is forced on a journey to grow up from a na├»ve princess into who she’s meant to be. It’s a good story and is written very well. It is actually the first of a series. The rest of the series goes on to tell the stories of other characters that you meet along the way. However, they are not based on any fairytales and are completely the author’s own. (I am not a fan of the rest of books actually and don't recommend them)

Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
This was a very charming yet simple story. It read very much like an old fairytale. This story is based of the Grimm fairytale involving 12 princesses that are cursed to dance every night until their slippers wear out. It's not very deep and I could guess how it ends, but I still greatly enjoyed myself. I definitely recommend it if you are not aware of this fairytale or even if you are a fan of it. 

I often forget how much I love reading books. It’s hard to start a book with such a busy schedule and even harder to find a good book that’s worth the time. I quite often use my spare time to read manga. They are easy to find and quick to read. I love the beautiful art, references to a different culture, and engaging plots. However, when I finally have time to sit down with a real novel, it’s a completely different feeling. Books absorb me into their world. If it’s raining and the characters are cold and miserable, I am genuinely surprised when I walk outside and it’s 110 degrees and sunny. For that short period on a bus or on lunch break at work, the characters reality becomes my own.

Do you have any favorite fairytale books? Or favorite books in general? I’m always open to recommendations to expand my repertoire. 


  1. Hiii. :D I found your blog through a comment you made at Her Curious Elegance. :3

    I read "Ella Enchanted" years ago and I loved it~. I won't watch the movie because I'm not a fan of Anne Hathaway. Besides, she was in that movie pretty much back-to-back with "The Princess Diaries"; I read that book a couple of years before the movie came out and was really disappointed by how the movie adaptation butchered the original book version.

    I *highly* recommend "Zel" by Donna Jo Napoli; it's a retelling of Rapunzel. It's not a super long book or anything, but I pretty much devoured it in a day. I haven't read it for a long time, but from what I recall, however, I was disappointed in the ending; it just seemed lazy and rushed. Other than that, though, I would definitely suggest that you read it. :3 Here's the Amazon link to it: http://www.amazon.com/Zel-Donna-Jo-Napoli/dp/0141301163 .

    It looks like I have a few new books to put on my reading list now, too. ^_^

  2. Thank you for the suggestion! I'll definitely pick that up sometime.