fairytale retelling books
Happily ever afters are practically synonymous with fairytales. That is until you open up the hefty volumes of the Brother’s Grimm. Drenched in dark magic, malicious intent, and violence, the Grimm’s fairy tales are beyond twisted, making them all the more intriguing for those not faint of heart.
In this curated list, you can find many retellings of a multitude of classic fairytales including Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Rumpelstiltskin, Sleeping Beauty, and many more.
Read on for the best fairytale retelling books.
The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan
Soon after her move to New Orleans, ballet dancer Clare Campbell becomes fascinated by the heartbreaking legend of Windisle Plantation and the tragedy that took place behind its walls.
Set on uncovering the secrets hidden within the beautiful crumbling structure, Clara travels to the plantation only to make a shocking discovery: It might not be as abandoned as everyone believes.
There she meets Jonah.
The Wish Collector is a magical Beauty and the Beast reimagining overflowing with emotions, fantastical fairytale-like descriptions, and haunting beautiful prose. As one of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings, I recommend adding it to your bookshelf and cracking it open because once you start, you will not be putting it down anytime soon.
Gild by Raven Kennedy
Despite being plucked out of the slums and given safety and security within King Midas’s golden court, Auren knows it is all a smoke screen – a gilded cage.
For nearly a decade, she has lived behind those gold-crusted bars in complete acceptance, knowing nothing could harm her from the outside world. However, that trust is put to the test when war makes its way to those golden gates and leads to a deal that changes everything.
From bestselling author Raven Kennedy comes Gild, a highly addictive romantic fantasy overflowing with romance, magic, and intrigue. As one of the best fairytale retellings of King Midas, I recommend adding this page-turning series to your bookshelf.
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
Daughter of the Forest tells the story of Sorcha, the daughter of a lord, whose life is thrown into disarray by an evil sorceress who bewitches her father and casts a malicious spell that leaves her six brothers bereft of their humanity.
Sent on a dangerous quest to save her brothers, Sorcha is forbidden from speaking a word till she completes the mission. But plans never go as planned and when she finds herself in enemy territory, Sorcha will face a difficult decision: Save her brothers or choose love.
Juliet Marillier brings us an intricately weaved tale of magic, love and adventure in Daughter of the Forest.
The Child Thief by Brom
In this dark reimaging of Peter Pan, Brom brings us a spellbinding tale that is as enchanting as it is macabre. Fans of dark adult fantasy and fairy tale retellings will fall in love with this unique take on the beloved story, so prepare for some sleepless nights because you will not be escaping Neverland anytime soon.
As one of the best dark Peter Pan retellings, I recommend adding it to your bookshelf because it is a fairy tale reimagining that will give you a new view of Peter and his home in Neverland.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim
In a land where magic is outlawed, the only princess of Kiata, Shiori’anma, is forced to keep her magic buried. When she loses control during her betrothal ceremony, Shiori inadvertently attracts the interest of her stepmother Rakima, a sorceress with dark secrets.
Now exiled and cursed with silence, Shiori must figure out how to break the spell, lest she speaks, thereby killing one of her brothers that Rakima turned into cranes. With help from unlikely allies, Shiori ventures onto a dangerous quest to break the spell and save her kingdom from peril.
In the bestselling novel Six Crimson Cranes, Elizabeth Lim seamlessly blends whimsical fairytale elements with a breathtaking adventure rife with romance, action, and mythology. As one of the best YA high fantasy romance books of 2021, I recommend adding this fairytale retelling to your bookshelf.
Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
Miryem, the daughter of a moneylender, has a reputation around town for turning silver into gold. When the enormity of her gift reaches the ears of the king of the Staryk, fearsome fae-like creatures that desire gold, her life becomes entangled with the winter fae, and once that happens, nothing is ever the same.
In Spinning Silver, Naomi Novik delivers an unforgettable Rumpelstiltskin retelling rife with complexity, magic, and intrigue. Beautifully told and mesmerizingly atmospheric, this New York Times bestseller is one of the best high fantasy romance books and fairytale retellings of 2018.
Malice by Heather Walter
In the tale of Sleeping Beauty, there is always a villain. But what if the “villain” in the story wasn’t quite as villainous as the kingdom perceives? And what if the girl she cursed became her greatest love?
Malice is Alyce’s origin story. In this masterful feminist retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Heather Walter delivers a darkly imaginative fantasy romance overflowing with witchery, true love, and vivid storytelling.
As one of the best fairytale retellings of Sleeping Beauty, you cannot go wrong with this enchanting page-turner.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Before she became the Red Queen with a guillotine obsession, Queen of Hearts was just a young girl dreaming of love.
In Heartless, Marissa Meyer expertly weaves her Queen of Hearts fairytale retelling with romance, magic, and a sprinkling of madness, perfect for fans of Alice in Wonderland.
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella. No one knows the tale of Isabelle, one of the ‘ugly’ stepsisters.
Jealousy twisted Isabelle and her sister into jagged pieces of their former selves, making them bitter and hateful. Now Isabelle has the chance to alter her destiny and walk down a different path – one that lauds her for her warrior’s heart rather than demonizing it.
Emotional, powerful, and thought-provoking, Stepsister is a beautifully written Cinderella retelling that gives the ugly stepsisters a voice and a chance to show that they are not merely the villains in Cinderella’s story but victims of society.
Peter Darling by Austin Chant
Ten years came and went in the real world. Now Peter is ready to return home – to Neverland. Expectations of fanfare and welcome home parties shatter upon realizing that his time away had little impact on the residents of Neverland. The only person who did miss him is none other than his longtime rival, Captain Hook.
Overflowing with magic, intrigue, and forbidden love, Peter Darling is a must-read for fans of Peter Pan. Not only will you see all the classic aspects of the well-known tale, but you can also expect some twists, including a romance between the two nemeses.
Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman
In Snow, Glass, Apples, Neil Gaiman reshapes the tale of Snow White into a new and exciting graphic novel that revolves around a not-so-evil evil queen and a less-than-innocent Snow White. With Gaiman’s signature style and Colleen Doran’s beautiful illustrations, prepare to be hooked and thoroughly spooked by the end.
Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer
In the kingdom of Kandala, sickness ravages the lands. Determined to help those unable to afford the rare and expensive cure, apothecary apprentice Tessa Cade defies the monarchy and steals Moonflower petals to make the elixir for those suffering from the deadly disease.
As the state of the world worsens, Tessa knows there is only one way to save her people: Murdering the king.
In this enchanting reimagined take of Robin Hood, Brigid Kemmerer weaves a mesmerizing tale of love, mystery, and intrigue. As one of the best YA high fantasy books of 2022, I recommend adding Defy the Night to your bookshelf, especially if you love friends-to-enemies-to-lovers romances.
Alice by Christina Henry
Alice is in an asylum. With memories of a world riddled with magic, madness, and mayhem, Alice can no longer separate fantasy from reality.
When a fire allows her to escape the confines of her prison, Alice ventures to the Old City in search of answers and revenge, and with Hatcher by her side, their journey will undoubtedly be one of blood and gore.
Dark, gritty, and disturbing, Alice is a mind-bending fairytale retelling of Alice in Wonderland. With captivating, morally gray characters and worlds that may or may not be rooted in reality, Christina Henry’s dark fantasy is a must-read for anyone looking to read twisted fairytale retelling books.
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
In The Bear and the Nightingale, Vasilisa defies her family, the church, and societal expectations to save her wintry Russian home from an evil that threatens to destroy everything she loves.
The Bear and the Nightingale is an enchanting fairytale rich with mythology, magic, fantastical creatures, forbidden love, and lyrical prose. Katherine Arden’s spellbinding debut novel is perfect for readers looking for fairytale retelling books rooted in Russian folklore.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
With her large collection of prince’s hearts, Princess Lira is revered across the ocean as one of the sea’s deadliest sirens. But when fate forces her hand in killing another siren, Lira’s mother transforms her into the one thing she despises the most: human.
Hunting sirens isn’t simply a hobby for Prince Elian, it’s his purpose. After unknowingly rescuing the siren princess from the grizzly depths of the ocean, Elian finds an unlikely partner in the mysterious woman in his quest to destroy all of sirenkind. What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him. Right?
The Siren Reaper and the Heart Thief clash in this epic maritime love story between mortal enemies, perfect for anyone who has been dying to read The Little Mermaid fairytale retellings that takes place out in the high seas.
Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher
Struck with misfortune, Bryony and her sister are now without a father, a home, and money, forcing them to make a living in an unfamiliar city far from home.
When a blizzard leaves Bryony stranded, she finds safety in a secluded, abandoned manor. However, Bryony soon learns that the gothic structure may be home to much more than she bargained for, including a cursed beast and dark sorcery.
Humorous, charming, and witty, Bryony and Roses is a magical Beauty and the Beast reimagining that skirts the edge of darkness and delivers an unforgettable tale of love, mystery, and intrigue.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
After a chance encounter with a wolf places Feyre in deep waters with the fae, Feyre is swept away to a magical kingdom where she is to live out the rest of her human life. Held captive by the mysterious green-eyed Tamlin, Feyre finds herself growing feelings for her jailer. But the question remains: What is he hiding behind the mask he refuses to remove?
ACOTAR is a captivating Beauty and the Beast retelling that brings us an epic slow-burn romance filled with magic, adventure and intrigue. If you can’t get enough of the enemies-to-lovers trope, Maas’s bestselling series is a must-read.
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Set in a village plagued by a deadly evil known as the Wood, Agnieszka and every other young girl grew up knowing that one of them would be swept away by the Dragon, the wizard who keeps the evil at bay.
Everyone believed that it would be the beautiful and sweet Kasia that would be his tribute. However, no one is more surprised than Agnieszka when she learns that the Dragon has his sights set on someone else.
Heartbreaking, moving, and darkly enchanting, Uprooted is a breathtakingly beautiful romance that is undoubtedly one of the best Beauty and the Beast retellings on the market.
Radiance by Grace Draven
To unite their kingdoms, Ildiko, a human princess, and Brishen, an alien prince, are to marry.
Between their shaky union and the precarious political landscape amongst their kingdoms, Kai and Ildiko will have to forego their honeymoon and do some damage control before the warring kingdoms rip them apart.
Looking for a slow-burn fantasy romance between an alien and a human who find each other repulsive and bicker like an old married couple? I recommend sinking your claws into Radiance.
House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Everyone knows the tale of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Cursed to dance every night, they return home exhausted and with their slippers worn through, pushing the King to
In the haunting seaside manor of Highmoor lives Annaleigh, one of the eight remaining twelve dancing princesses. Annaleigh has always had suspicions about the nature of their deaths, and when the ghosts of her four deceased sisters begin haunting her, she sets out to uncover the mystery of their deaths.
House of Salt and Sorrows is a hauntingly beautiful fantasy immersed in dark magic, mystery, intrigue, and suspense. Erin A. Craig’s beautifully crafted page-turner is undoubtedly one of the best dark fairytale retelling books of Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Brine and Bone by Kate Stradling
Magdalena of Ondile may hold a flame for the crown prince of Corenden, but nothing could ever come of it. Not when she belongs to the sea, and his place is on land.
Or so she thinks.
Based on H.C. Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, Brine and Bone has a more bittersweet feel than Disney’s version of the beloved tale. Prepare to be immersed in a mysterious world filled with magic, romance, and complexity.
Dust by Kara Swanson
In a world devoid of her brother, Claire Kenton has long since given up on hope and her belief in magic. Set on finding her twin, the 19-year-old ventures off to London in hopes of discovering new clues and answers to his disappearance. Everything changes when her path collides with the boy whose existence proves that magic does exist: Peter Pan.
Grounded in London and unable to return to Neverland, Peter must track down the one person who has the power to help him find his way back: Claire Kenton. Together the two join forces, but in a world where magic exists, nothing is ever as it seems.
Dust is a captivating young adult Peter Pan retelling overflowing with magic, love, and a dash of pixie dust.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Cursed to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth birthday, Prince Rhen is determined to break the curse by falling in love.
Between her absent father, her sick mother and a brother who underestimates her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper understands struggles. When she witnesses what appears to be a kidnapping in action, Harper steps in and whacks the would-be kidnapper in the head…and ends up in Emberfall.
If you’re into Beauty and the Beast retellings featuring badass heroines and the enemies-to-lovers trope, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is one of the best slow-burn fantasy romances for you.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
Being convent-raised, Princess Marra of the Harbor Kingdom never had to worry about an arranged marriage.
When her older sister is shipped off to marry Prince Vorling, the same prince their older sister married months before dying under mysterious circumstances, Marra knows nothing good can come from this union.
Determined to save Kania from that same fate, Marra sets out to do the impossible and rescue her – even if that means resorting to murder.
In Nettle & Bone, T. Kingfisher delivers a mesmerizing high fantasy romance, immersed with epic quests, a demon-possessed chicken, and fairytale elements.
To Bleed a Crystal Bloom Sarah A. Parker
As the sole survivor of a bloody massacre, 20-year-old Orlaith still bears the scars from that night. If not for the enigmatic High Master Rhordyn who took her in as his ward, Orlaith would have fallen victim to her nightmares long ago.
But after 19 years, her feelings have blossomed into something all-consuming, yet all the more unrequited. And when it comes to Rhordyn, nothing is ever easy.
Shrouded in shadows and secrets, Orlaith must step out of her comfort zone if she ever hopes to begin playing the game if she ever hopes to step out of the dark.
Mysterious, addictive, and enticing, To Bleed a Crystal Bloom is a seductive dark Rapunzel retelling that will keep you entranced from the very first page. If you’re looking for a beautiful fairytale retelling overflowing with angst, magic, and intrigue, this is the perfect read.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder is a gifted mechanic who is belittled and overlooked by her stepmother and one of her step-sisters. The other step-sister looks up to Cinder. As a cyborg, Cinder does not have the same rights as humans.
During a chance encounter, Cinder becomes irreversibly changed when her life becomes intertwined with Prince Kai’s. With the fate of the world on their shoulders, Cinder and Kai will have to race against the clock before time runs out.
Filled to the brim with danger, mystery, and intrigue, Cinder is a captivating read with a steamy slow-burn fantasy romance perfect for fans of modern fairytale retellings mixed with a splash of science fiction. In the following three books of The Lunar Chronicles series, you can expect to come across Little Red Riding Hood in Scarlet, Rapunzel in Cress, and Snow White in Winter.
Land of the Beautiful Dead by R. Lee Smith
In a post-apocalyptic world plagued by the undead, Lan is simply trying to survive. When her mom falls prey to the zombies, Lan ventures to the walled city of Haven where Azrael, the Lord of the Beautiful Dead, resides to end his reign of death.
In this darkly twisted version of Beauty and the Beast, you can expect a post-apocalyptic world dominated by zombies and ruled by the Lord of the Beautiful Dead. As one of the best dark Beauty and the Beast retellings, I recommend sinking your claws into this page-turner because it might end up becoming your new favorite reimagined fairy tale.
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
The Wrath and the Dawn tells the story of an eighteen-year-old caliph, Khalid, who takes a new bride each night only to have a silk cord wrapped around their neck each morning and a commoner, Shahrzad, who is intent on ending after her best friend falls victim to Khalid.
If you love retellings with cunning heroines that fall under the enemies-to-lovers trope, The Wrath and the Dawn is one of the best slow-burn fantasy romance books to add to your TBR list. You do not want to miss this standout novel.
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
In this stunning debut novel from Aiden Thomas, we are thrust into an imaginative retelling about our resident fairytale hero Peter Pan.
After five disappearance-free years, the town’s sense of safety is shattered when kids begin vanishing once again.
Faced with the past, Wendy attempts to outrun it by fleeing only to almost run over an unconscious boy in the middle of the road who goes by Peter – a boy who existed solely in her dreams.
Lost in the Never Woods is a fairytale retelling perfect for fans of Peter Pan.
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