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.

Scroll to the bottom of the list for the fairy tale mishmashes, and non-fairy-tale fairy-tale-like stories.

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

EDIT: as of March 2020, I have begun adding legends and myths to the list.

Arthurian Legends

  • The Lost Queen by Signe Pike (only tangentially Arthurian—this is the story of Merlin’s twin sister)
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The Once and Future King by TH White
  • BBC’s series Merlin


  • Deerskin by Robin McKinley

Beauty and the Beast

  • Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
  • Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marllier
  • Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
  • Chalice by Robin McKinley
  • When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
  • A Grain of Truth from The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Hunted by Meagan Spooner
  • Beauty by Robin McKinley
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  • 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)
  • The Beast with No Beauty by Jamie Campbell


  • 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
  • Whiskerella by Ursula Vernon
  • A Kiss at Midnight by Eloisa James
  • 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
  • Sinful Cinderella by Anita Valle
  • Dancing Feet by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
  • 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

Hansel and Gretel

Jack and the Beanstalk / Jack the Giant Killer

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


  • Ajaya: Roll of the Dice by Anand Neelakantan (I haven’t read the sequels yet, hence only the 1st book is on the list at the moment.)
  • The Pregnant King by Devdutt Pattanaik
  • The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni


  • The Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey

Nordic Mythology

  • Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman

A Little Mermaid

  • Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
  • Fortune’s Fool by Mercedes Lackey
  • Midnight Pearls by Debbie Viguie

Little Red Riding Hood

  • Little Red Rodent Hood by Ursula Vernon
  • Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer
  • Princess of the Silver Wood by Jessica Day George
  • Beheld by Alex Flinn
  • I Love Little Red by Jamie Campbell

One Thousand and One Nights


The Princess and the Glass Hill

The Princess and the Pea

  • The Princess Test by Gail Carson Levine
  • Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguie


  • Forest of Enchantments by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Ramayana Stories in Modern South India: An Anthology by Paula Richman
  • Asura by Anand Neelakantan


  • Disney’s Tangled
  • Cress by Marissa Meyer
  • Ratpunzel by Ursula Vernon
  • Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
  • Golden by Cameron Dokey
  • Her Hair (in A Wild Swan and Other Tales) by Michael Cunningham
  • Towering by Alex Flinn
  • Saving Rapunzel by Jamie Campbell


Scarborough Fair (yes, the song)

  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin

Sleeping Beauty

  • Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
  • While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
  • Princess Sonora and the Long Sleep by Gail Carson Levine
  • Beauty Sleep by Cameron Dokey
  • The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey
  • The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey
  • A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
  • Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon
  • 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.
  • Winter’s Child by Cameron Dokey

Snow White and Rose Red

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

  • Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis
  • Fairest by Gail Carson Levine (Sequel/companion to Ella Enchanted)
  • Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
  • Mira, Mirror by Hette Ivie Harrison
  • The Lesser Evil from The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapowski
  • Winter by Marissa Meyer
  • Snow by Tracy Lynn
  • Disney’s Snow White
  • Killing Snow White by Jamie Campbell
  • Sneaky Snow White by Anita Valle

Swan Lake

  • The 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

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

  • Frogkisser! by Garth Nix
  • Fractured Fairy Tales by A.J. Jacobs
  • Second Hand Curses by Drew Hayes
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
  • Enchanted and sequels by Alethea Kontis
  • Fables by Bill Willingham
  • Once Upon a Time (TV Series) (I loved season 1, then my interest diminished as it became less about “fairy tales” and more about “Disney”. I stopped watching mid-season 3. I still recommend this to anyone who likes Disney fairy tales.)
  • The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • Rotten Rapunzel by Anita Valle
  • Disney’s Descendants franchise (novels & films)
  • 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
  • Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
  • Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  • Penelope (film)
  • 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.)
  • Disney’s Enchanted

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