Recommended Fairy Tale Adaptations

This isn’t a complete list of every fairy tale retelling. These are only fairy tale adaptations I liked to some degree. (If I was ambivalent, it is on this list. I only exclude retellings that I outright dislike.)

Furthermore, after some careful consideration, I decided not include interpretations like Ed McBain’s Matthew Hope series—which are murder mysteries blatantly meant to characterize certain fairy tales and certainly relate back to the fairy tale, but only in tiny degrees. On the other hand, interpretations like Robin McKinley’s Chalice—which never claimed to have anything to do with Beauty and the Beast but can easily be seen as a retelling of the fairy tale—have been included. Yes, it’s highly subjective, but while you may find yourself running into insanely gloomy retellings, you won’t find yourself stumbling into murder mysteries that have little to do with the actual fairy tale. King Arthur and other legends may find their way in here eventually as well.

Italics are books that I particularly enjoyed. If I’ve reviewed a book on this blog, the title will link to the review.

Bearskin

  • Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Beauty and the Beast

  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marllier
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  • Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
  • Chalice by Robin McKinley
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley
  • Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey
  • Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey
  • The Quantum Rose by Catherine Asaro
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn
  • Beast by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Belle by Cameron Dokey
  • Beasts (in A Wild Swan and Other Tales) by Michael Cunningham
  • Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay
  • Roses by G.R. Mannering
  • Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (animated and live action)

Cinderella

  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (If you haven’t read this, you really ought to. If you saw the movie without reading the book, you need to read it regardless of whether or not you liked the movie.)
  • Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Bewitched by Alex Flinn
  • Bound by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell
  • Before Midnight by Cameron Dokey
  • Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George
  • The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey
  • Cinderellis and the Glass Hill by Gail Carson Levine
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Disney’s Cinderella (animated and live action)
  • Ever After (starring Drew Barrymore)

Cupid and Psyche

East of the Sun and West of the Moon

The Goose Girl

  • The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (Though this book can stand on its own, there are so far 3 sequels which are very engaging if you liked this one.)
  • Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marllier

Jack and the Beanstalk / Jack the Giant Killer

  • Jacked (in A Wild Swan and Other Tales) by Michael Cunningham
  • Jack the Giant Slayer (Yes…it’s a movie. But I reviewed it, and it does belong on this list.)

Little Red Riding Hood

  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • Princess of the Silver Wood by Jessica Day George
  • Beheld by Alex Flinn

One Thousand and One Nights

  • A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

Rapunzel

  • Disney’s Tangled
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Her Hair (in A Wild Swan and Other Tales) by Michael Cunningham
  • Towering by Alex Flinn

Rumpelstiltskin

Sleeping Beauty

  • Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
  • While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey
  • A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
  • Disney’s Sleeping Beauty
  • Disney’s Maleficent

The Snow Queen

  • Disney’s Frozen (part 1 and part 2) **I don’t actually consider this an adaptation. It has very little in common with the original fairy tale, except for the overall message and a couple of details. I highly recommend it, though, in its own right.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (Related to Ella Enchanted. If you haven’t read that one, I would suggest to read it first unless you have a specific reason not to do so. Story-wise you don’t have to, but Ella is, in my opinion, the better book.)
  • Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
  • Mira, Mirror by Hette Ivie Harrison
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Snow by Tracy Lynn
  • Disney’s Snow White

Swan Lake

  • Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey
  • Swan Princess movie and sequels

Tam Lin

  • Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Winter Rose by Patricia A. McKillip

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

  • Entwined by Heather Dixon
  • Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

The Wild Swans/The Six Swans (Brace yourself—interpretations of these seem to find it necessary to be a lot more depressing than the fairy tale itself.)

  • Wild Swans by Peg Kerr
  • Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier
  • A Wild Swan (in A Wild Swan and Other Tales) by Michael Cunningham
  • Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis

Fairy Tale Mishmashes

  • Enchanted and sequels by Alethea Kontis
  • Fables by Bill Willingham
  • Once Upon a Time (TV Series)
  • Cloaked by Alex Flinn
  • Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross

Fairy Tale-Like, But Not Based on Any Story in Particular

  • Ever/After (in A Wild Swan and Other Tales) by Michael Cunningham
  • The School of Good and Evil by Soman Chainini
  • For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (this is supposed to be a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion; but it reads more like a fairy tale, to me. I may explain this in a review, someday.)
  • The Princess Academy and sequels by Shannon Hale (not nearly as good as the Goose Girl, and intended for a younger audience; but they are an entertaining read.)
  • Disney’s Enchanted

Know that I will continue adding to this list as I find time and/or read more interpretations.

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