The best YA fantasy novels that are inspired by a fairy tale

Who am I?

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.

I wrote...

Foxgloves Are For Deception

By Clair Gardenwell,

Book cover of Foxgloves Are For Deception

What is my book about?

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.

The books I picked & why

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Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

By Marissa Meyer,

Book cover of Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles

Why this book?

There are many reasons why Cinder is my number one favorite when it comes to retellings like these. The world building is beautiful. A futuristic world with a powerful race of people capable of casting any image they want, cyborgs, and characters with personalities so unforgettable that I couldn't wait to finish the rest of the volumes in the series. Cinder herself was the perfect Cinderella, including when she lost her cyborg foot trying to stop a sharp-witted prince before an evil queen could blackmail him into marrying her. Plus, Iko alone makes the perfect sidekick to help cross the galaxy and save the empire.

A Court of Thorns and Roses

By Sarah J. Maas,

Book cover of A Court of Thorns and Roses

Why this book?

Once again my love for the Beauty and the Beast-inspired tales surfaced in this novel. Feyre herself was my favorite can-do girl, charging ahead in the adventure no matter the consequences. She certainly proved that she is no shy beauty, carving her way through the fae lands of Prythian and encountering all of the magical beings along the way. Her capture of the Suriel was a particular favorite scene of mine, using a chicken as bait for the snare trap she had laid in waiting. But that was only one of many well-written scenes that brought out the inner facets of Feyre's personality.

Of Beast and Beauty

By Chanda Hahn,

Book cover of Of Beast and Beauty

Why this book?

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.

Flame in the Mist

By Renée Ahdieh,

Book cover of Flame in the Mist

Why this book?

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: Snow; Beauty Sleep

By Liz Braswell, Cameron Dokey,

Book cover of Once Again: Snow; Beauty Sleep

Why this book?

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. 

5 book lists we think you will like!

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