20 New Fairy Tale Retellings for Adult Readers

Posted on May 1, 2017 by

As children, many of us were introduced to reading through fairy tales. And among fairy tale storytellers, one stands out above the rest — Mother Goose. May 1 marks Mother Goose Day, and to celebrate, we’ve compiled a list of new or soon-to-be released fairy tale retellings for adults. These books are sure to remind you of the kid you were, while entertaining the adult you’ve become! Publishers’ descriptions included.

 

Beauty and the Beast retellings

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

hunted

New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner spins a thoroughly thrilling Beauty and the Beast story for the modern age, expertly woven with spellbinding romance, intrigue, and suspense that readers won’t soon be able to forget.

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones — and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas… or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory — a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

 

Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter

Beauty of the Beast by Rachel DemeterA beast living in the shadow of his past

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve 25 years ago.

A beauty in pursuit of a better future

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle — unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

Beauty and the Beast

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the OperaBeauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

 

Enchant by Demelza Carlton

Enchant by Demelza CarltonA beastly prince. An enchanting beauty. Only love can break the spell.

Once upon a time…

The wicked King Thorn forced the enchantress Zuleika to cast a terrible curse. She fled his court to travel the world, helping those who need her magic most. Until a search for her merchant father’s lost ships leads her to an enchanted island, where Prince Vardan, the island’s ruler, is afflicted by the most powerful curse Zuleika has ever encountered. She’s not sure she can reverse the spell, but she’s determined to try. After all, a prince who fights pirates can’t be all bad… no matter how beastly his appearance.

Together, can the enchanting beauty and the beastly prince break the spell?

 

Wizard of Oz retelling

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The End of Oz by Danielle Paige

The End of Oz by Danielle PaigeIn this dark, action-packed fourth book in the New York Times bestselling Dorothy Must Die series, Amy Gumm travels from Oz to the twisted land of Ev, where she fights to free Oz from evil once and for all.

My name is Amy Gumm. You might remember me as the other girl from Kansas. When a tornado swept me away to the magical land of Oz, I was given a mission: Dorothy must die. That’s right, everyone’s favorite Wicked-Witch-slayer had let the magic of Oz corrupt her. She turned evil. So I killed her.

But just when we thought it was safe to start rebuilding the damaged land of Oz, we were betrayed. Now I’m following the Road of Yellow Brick as it helps me escape toward the mysterious land of Ev, where the Nome King rules a bleak and angry world. And what I’m about to find is shocking: My original mission may not have been successful.

I thought my job was over, but it’s only just beginning. And it’s up to me to foil Dorothy’s plans for revenge — and finally save the land I’ve come to love.

 

Russian Fairy Tale retelling

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

the-bear-and-the-nightingale

A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind — she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed — this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

 

Cinderella retelling

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Geekerella by Ashley PostonCinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win… unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons — before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake — until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

 

Rumpelstiltskin retelling

The Wish Granter by C. J. Redwine

the-wish-granter

An epic, romantic, and action-packed fantasy inspired by the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, about a bastard princess who must take on an evil fae to save her brother’s soul, from C. J. Redwine, the New York Times bestselling author of The Shadow Queen. Perfect for fans of Graceling and the Lunar Chronicles.

The world has turned upside down for Thad and Ari Glavan, the bastard twins of Súndraille’s king. Their mother was murdered. The royal family died mysteriously. And now Thad sits on the throne of a kingdom whose streets are suddenly overrun with violence he can’t stop.

Growing up ignored by the nobility, Ari never wanted to be a proper princess. And when Thad suddenly starts training Ari to take his place, she realizes that her brother’s ascension to the throne wasn’t fate. It was the work of a Wish Granter named Alistair Teague who tricked Thad into wishing away both the safety of his people and his soul in exchange for the crown.

So Ari recruits the help of Thad’s enigmatic new weapons master, Sebastian Vaughn, to teach her how to fight Teague. With secret ties to Teague’s criminal empire, Sebastian might just hold the key to discovering Alistair’s weaknesses, saving Ari’s brother — and herself.

But Teague is ruthless and more than ready to destroy anyone who dares stand in his way — and now he has his sights set on the princess. And if Ari can’t outwit him, she’ll lose Sebastian, her brother… and her soul.

 

Sleeping Beauty retellings

Spindle Fire by Lexa Hillyer

Spindle Fire by Lexa HillyerHalf sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood, a Faerie Queen who is preparing for war, a strange and enchanting dream realm — and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

 

Rory, the Sleeper by A.W. Exley

Rory, the Sleeper by A.W. ExleyWho will awaken the sleeper…?

Ella wants the sleeper to stay undisturbed. Especially since it’s Millicent deMage, the first Duchess of Leithfield and a supposed witch who died over three hundred years ago. As Ella learns about the history of Serenity House, she begins to realize the long dead duchess could be the key to understanding the pandemic of vermin.

For the final battle Ella needs a new ally, one forged from an old adversary — Charlotte, her step-sister. Ever since Ella shattered her world and destroyed her family, the young woman has been trying to figure out how to survive. Now, Charlotte is the one woman who can anchor Ella in this world as she does battle in another.

Sometimes the fiercest battles are the ones we fight in our minds. But this might be one fight Ella can’t win, and she will be the one put to sleep forever…

 

The Singing Bone retelling

The Great Pursuit by Wendy Higgins

The Great Pursuit by Wendy HigginsIn The Great Pursuit, the dramatic sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Great HuntWendy Higgins delivers another thrilling fantasy filled with dangerous enemies, political intrigue, searing romance, and a princess who is willing to do everything to protect her kingdom.  

One hunt has ended, but the pursuit for love and justice continues.

The kingdom of Lochlanach has traded the great beast that once terrorized the realm of Eurona for something far more dangerous: the ire of powerful Lashed woman Rosaria Rocato. Rosaria demands that Eurona overturn the laws prohibiting magic, or an innocent will be killed each day.

Despite the king’s resistance, Princess Aerity believes they must make peace with the Lashed, and though she’s accepted a betrothal to the man who took down the beast, she cannot help thinking about Paxton, the Lashed man who stole her heart and disappeared.

Aerity soon discovers that Paxton has joined Rosaria’s army in the war against her family. Though her feelings for him are still strong, her duty to her kingdom and her family is stronger — especially when her parents are kidnapped and she has to step up to the throne and once again put aside what’s best for her in order to do what’s best for her people. Paxton and Princess Aerity must fight to see what is more powerful: their love or the impending war between the magical Lashed and the non-magic humans.

 

The Little Match Girl retelling

Drawn Away by Holly Bennett

Drawn Away by Holly BennettOne minute Jack’s in math class. The next, he’s on a dark, cobblestoned, empty street. Empty, that is, except for a skinny girl wrapped in a threadbare shawl. “Matches, mister?” she asks, and just like that, Jack’s life collides with one of Hans Christian Andersen’s grimmest tales. And just when he has almost convinced himself it was just a weird dream, it happens again.

Suddenly, Jack’s ideas about what is “real” or “possible” no longer apply. While he and his new girlfriend, Lucy, struggle to understand who or what the Match Girl is, they come to realize they must also find a way to keep Jack away from her. The Match Girl is not just a sad, lonely soul; she’s dangerous. And each time Jack is drawn into her gray, solitary world, she becomes stronger, more alive… and more attached to Jack.

She wants to keep Jack for her very own, even if that means he will die.

 

The Little Mermaid retelling

The Seafarer’s Kiss by Julia Ember

The Seafarer's Kiss by Julia EmberHaving long wondered what lives beyond the ice shelf, 19-year-old mermaid Ersel learns of the life she wants when she rescues and befriends Ragna, a shield-maiden stranded on the merfolk’s fortress. But when Ersel’s childhood friend and suitor catches them together, he gives Ersel a choice: Say goodbye to Ragna or face justice at the hands of the glacier’s brutal king.

Determined to forge a different fate, Ersel seeks help from the divine Loki. But such deals are never straightforward, and the outcome sees her exiled from the only home and protection she’s known. To save herself from perishing in the barren, underwater wasteland and be reunited with the human she’s come to love, Ersel must try to outsmart the God of Lies.

Release date: May 4

 

The Goose Girl retelling

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson

The Noble Servant by Melanie DickersonThe impossible was happening. She, Magdalen of Mallin, was to marry the Duke of Wolfberg. Magdalen had dreamed about receiving a proposal ever since she met the duke two years ago. Such a marriage was the only way she could save her people from starvation. But why would a handsome, wealthy duke want to marry her, a poor baron’s daughter? It seemed too good to be true.

On the journey to Wolfberg Castle, Magdalen’s servant forces her to trade places and become her servant, threatening not only Magdalen’s life, but the lives of those she holds dear. Stripped of her identity and title in Wolfberg, where no one knows her, Magdalen is sentenced to tend geese while she watches her former handmaiden gain all Magdalen had ever dreamed of.

When a handsome shepherd befriends her, Magdalen begins to suspect he carries secrets of his own. Together, Magdalen and the shepherd uncover a sinister plot against Wolfberg and the duke. But with no resources, will they be able to find the answers, the hiding places, and the forces they need in time to save both Mallin and Wolfberg? 

Release date: May 9

 

Indian Folklore retellings

Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields

Poison Kiss by Breeana ShieldsMarinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It’s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya — a poison maiden — is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she’s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.

This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

 

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

The Library of Fates by Aditi KhoranaNo one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything — family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on one another. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life — and another love — await?

Release date: July 18

 

Other Fairy Tale and Folklore Compilations

Beheld by Alex Flinn

beheld

New York Times bestselling YA author Alex Flinn is back with magical twists on four fairy-tale favorites, each featuring a little help from Kendra, the witch from Beastly, as she searches through cities and centuries for her lost love.

Being a powerful witch, Kendra has survived it all. Since she first beheld James over 300 years ago, Kendra has tangled with witch hunters and wolves, helped a miller’s daughter spin straw into gold, cowered in London as German bombs fell, and lived through who knows how many shipwrecks. But her powers have limits, and immortality can be lonely. Kendra isn’t ready to stop searching for the warlock she had met centuries ago.

With the help of her magic mirror, Kendra will travel the world to reconnect with her lost love — and, of course, she can’t help but play a hand in a few more stories along the way.

Featuring retellings of favorite fairy tales such as Little Red Riding HoodRumpelstiltskinEast of the Sun and West of the Moon, and The Ugly Duckling, Alex Flinn’s latest young adult novel, Beheld, is fresh fairy-tale fun from beginning to end.

 

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

Frogkisser by Garth NixPoor Princess Anya. Forced to live with her evil stepmother’s new husband, her evil stepstepfather. Plagued with an unfortunate ability to break curses with a magic-assisted kiss. And forced to go on the run when her stepstepfather decides to make the kingdom entirely his own.

Aided by a loyal talking dog, a boy thief trapped in the body of a newt, and some extraordinarily mischievous wizards, Anya sets off on a Quest that, if she plays it right, will ultimately free her land-and teach her a thing or two about the use of power, the effectiveness of a well-placed pucker, and the finding of friends in places both high and low.

With Frogkisser!, acclaimed bestselling author Garth Nix has conjured a fantastical tale for all ages, full of laughs and danger, surprises and delights, and an immense population of frogs. It’s 50% fairy tale, 50% fantasy, and 100% pure enjoyment from start to finish.

 

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Wing and Ruin by Sarah J. MaasLooming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords — and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

Release date: May 2

 

Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa de la Cruz

Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De La CruzDeep beneath the waves, King Triton’s powerful trident has passed through the magical barrier that surrounds the Isle of the Lost — keeping villains in and magic out. And when Mal’s longtime rival Uma, daughter of Ursula, gets wind of this, she can’t believe her luck. The tide has dragged in something good for a change, and Uma is determined to get her wicked hands on it. But first, she needs a pirate crew.

A storm is brewing back in Auradon, and when Mal, Evie, Carlos, and Jay hear that the trident has been washed away, they realize they’ll have to find it before anyone from the Isle does. Luckily, they seem to have a talent for locating missing magical objects.

As Uma readies for the high seas alongside Harry, son of Captain Hook, Gil, son of Gaston, and the toughest rogues on the Isle of the Lost, the reformed villains of Auradon devise their own master plan. And with King Ben away on royal business, they won’t have to play by all the rules. Using bad for good can’t be totally evil, right?

The thrilling, perilous race to the trident pits old friends — and current enemies-against each other with the future of Auradon on the line. Both teams might like to make waves, but only one will come out on top of this one.

Release date: May 23

 

Because You Love to Hate Me edited by Ameriie

Because You Love to Hate Me by AmeriieLeave it to the heroes to save the world — villains just want to rule the world. 

In this unique YA anthology, thirteen acclaimed, bestselling authors team up with thirteen influential BookTubers to reimagine fairy tales from the oft-misunderstood villains’ points of view.

These fractured, unconventional spins on classics like “Medusa,” Sherlock Holmes, and “Jack and the Beanstalk” provide a behind-the-curtain look at villains’ acts of vengeance, defiance, and rage — and the pain, heartbreak, and sorrow that spurned them on. No fairy tale will ever seem quite the same again!

Release date: July 11

Which of these fairy tale retellings would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

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