Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles
A fantasy romance author myself, there's something comforting about seeing my favorite fairy tales retold in new ways. It's so much fun to see how authors can twist the tales into something new and totally unique. Maybe the handsome prince is no longer the prince, but a cursed ogre. Or that dragon flying through the night is a queen in disguise, waiting for that one special true love to unlock their curse. But no matter the journey, we know that true love will win, break the curse and save the day, and here are my recommendations for some of my very favorite books.
A darkly twisted mixture of Snow White and King Arthur filled with magic, romance, and danger. Regina Laelia was cursed at birth, bound to a dark element of magic that is destined to destroy her, and hunted by the very queen of the kingdom herself. It's only with the help of her friends that she survived a fiery attempt on her life, and sparks a journey that will span the entire land of Myrr as she searches for a way to take back her rightful throne. All while trying not to fall prey to the dark temptations of the magic swirling in her veins, and resisting the pull to one ruggedly handsome blind knight expelled from the Evil Queen's army.
Shepherd is readers supported. When you buy through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).
The bloodthirsty roses, Isra the blind beauty, and Gem the intriguing beast. It was an intriguing combo that first made me pick up this book and start the beginning of this adventure. That isn't to say that this book is all sweetness, there are most definitely moments that had me seething with anger. The way the 'perfect' Smooth Skins treated the flawed one of their own kind, and the Monstrous struggling to survive outside the dome. But by far my most favorite part was how Gem and Isla bonded over gardening together. Yes, it was originally a lie so that Gem could gather information to help his own people, but it turned into some of the most character-building scenes that tied the whole story together in a rose-shaped bow.
A retelling inspired by the ballad of Hua Mulan, this tale is not a fairy tale in the sense of princesses, but a powerful legend in its own right. Taking place in feudal Japan, the character Mariko immediately weaved her place as my favorite. Always thinking how she can best escape or twist a situation to her advantage, the beginning of the story featured her setting out to find who was trying to kill her, and never stopped from there. Including finding her own found family of outlaws, and able to use her love of experiments in any way she pleases. Every time Mariko came up with a new idea for an invention, it felt like I could see the thoughts sparking inside her mind. Sometimes they worked, sometimes not, but she never stopped trying. That includes finding the truth to some of the darker events that come into play.
Once Again is actually a combined volume of two stories inspired by Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, but each easily stands out on their own. Snow was by far my favorite, introducing an evil stepmother who has a particular love for the science arts, and the dwarves were inspired into a combination of unforgettable human-animal hybrids that was perfectly brilliant. Raven and Jessica, or Snow as she is known to the Hybrids known as the Lonely Ones, were a cute pairing that made a very sweet ending together.
We think you will like Ella Enchanted, The Sleeper and the Spindle, and Kill Me Softly if you like this list.
From Astrid's list on the best nostalgic books that hit the spot.
From the moment I picked up this book, I was quite literally enchanted—or perhaps it was spellbound. I absolutely adore the quirky style, the banter, and the magical setting, not to mention the very powerful message about breaking away from the control of others, particularly social pressures, to think and choose for oneself. I also love the inventiveness of this Cinderella retelling, which gives you all the events of the original fairytale, but presented in a way that is so utterly new and different.
I first read this book to my daughter when she was seven years old, and we’ve read it together multiple times since. I love Gaiman’s take on these two mashed-up classic fairy tales—not only does he allow a normally passive princess to be the hero and choose her own future, he completely subverts reader expectations about the outward appearance of good and evil. This was the first time my daughter had been confronted by this kind of subversion in a book, and it blew her mind in the best possible way.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if all the iconic fairy tale characters were friends and lived in the modern world, then this is the novel for you. Kill Me Softly is the ultimate fairy tale mashup, with heroes and heroines—and of course, villains—from Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and countless others, all living in one enchanted town where magic comes in two forms: blessings and curses. The reader follows a teenage orphan as she gradually comes to understand what it means to have the mark that brands her as an inevitable victim, though her stubborn determination to change her fate and go against the norm is a welcoming variation. With a plot chock-full of intrigue, love triangles, and dark twists, this YA novel is sure to charm.