The best modern fairy tales to make you believe in magic again

The Books I Picked & Why

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

By William Goldman

Book cover of The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure

Why this book?

“True love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops.” If you’re a fairy-tale lover who hasn’t read The Princess Bride yet, you need to remedy this immediately. It pretends to be just ‘the good bits’ from a longer book by Morgenstern that doesn’t exist (I know because I spent a while looking for it!). With heaps of adventure, pirates, sword fighting, true love, and laugh-out-loud humour, it is endlessly entertaining and you won’t want it to end. It proves that there are infinite possibilities for fun within this wonderful genre.


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The Eyes of the Dragon

By Stephen King

Book cover of The Eyes of the Dragon

Why this book?

“Did they all live happily ever after? They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say.” This is a book I have read over and over again, and I never tire of it. Unlike the horror books he is well known for, this one was written by Stephen King for his daughter, and it is rooted firmly in a fairy-tale world, featuring a brave prince, his not-so-brave brother, a hunted dragon, and a truly nasty magician. However, King has injected this tale with his own, unique flair for interesting characters and truly gut-churning scenarios, and the story is all the better for it. 


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Stardust

By Neil Gaiman

Book cover of Stardust

Why this book?

“That doesn't happen," she explained. "Stars fall. They don't go back up again." "You could be the first," he told her.” Neil Gaiman is a master of unusual stories such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book, and I had trouble choosing just one of his books. Stardust is the most fairy-tale of them all though. This story follows a young man who sets out from his humdrum village and enters the world of Faerie to recover a rare fallen star, but there are other characters with shady motives who share the same goal. A rich, magical feast of a book with a truly satisfying ending.


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Inkheart

By Cornelia Funke, Anthea Bell

Book cover of Inkheart

Why this book?

“Books have to be heavy because the whole world's inside them.” It’s not often I’ve come across a book that can be savoured quite as much as Inkheart. It’s a magical book about a magical book, dark, captivating, and full of great characters. And, though it’s part of a trilogy, Inkheart stands very well on its own two feet. If you’ve ever wanted to magic people out of stories, or enter their fictional world yourself (okay, so that’s everyone!), this book is especially for you.


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The Goose Girl

By Shannon Hale

Book cover of The Goose Girl

Why this book?

“Some people are born with the first word of a language resting on their tongue though it may take some time before they can taste it.” The Goose Girl shouldn’t really be here. It is one of the countless examples of traditional fairytales retold. But, as it happens, it’s my favourite of the old stories, and this is a refreshingly new version still firmly embedded in fairy-tale land. It begins with a princess who can speak the language of animals, and who wouldn’t want to be able to do that?


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