Top Ten Tuesday: Under the Radar Retellings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic was pretty open-ended: recommendations for X (Hufflepuffs, Game of Thrones fans, etc). I thought I’d go for some under the radar retellings for readers who love them as much as I do!

retelling recs 1
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen: Scarlet is a genderbent Robin Hood retelling with amazing characters, lots of action, humor, a love triangle done right, and an interesting dialect that took some getting used to but added so much charm to the writing.

A Long, Long Sleep by Anna Sheehan: an extremely unique, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking Sleeping Beauty retelling set in a futuristic world.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston: the perfect mix of geeky fandom culture and a Cinderella story with a diverse cast.

A Little In Love by Susan Fletcher: a devastating but engrossing story inspired by Les Miserables, told from Eponine’s POV. I wish more people talked about this book!

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge: Beauty and the Beast meets Greco-Roman mythology in this lush, strange, and darkly romantic retelling. It’s a little confusing but worth the read!

retelling recs 2
Ash & Bramble by Sarah Prineas: this mash up retelling isn’t for everyone- it’s dark and a little confusing at first, but it also has one of the most original villains/story mechanics I’ve ever come across. I liked how intriguing and twisty the plot and characters were.

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz: A really fun Peter Pan-inspired adventure! The writing was sharp and descriptive and had that humorous winking bite, and Jocelyn is a heroine worth following.

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis: A sci-fi retelling of Snow White, this book always slips under the radar and I’m not sure why! Essie is self-sufficient, badass, and brave (she cage fights!) and I loved the droids; I also love the hate-to-love romance. The setting and worldbuilding was extensive but not confusing, the villains were disturbing, and I loved all the Snow White allusions throughout the story.

Entwined by Heather Dixon: I’m not sure how well this holds up but when I read it I thought it was a magical retelling of Twelve Dancing Princesses. The ending could have been more dramatic but it’s a good read for fairy tale fans.

And I Darken by Kiersten White: a genderbent historical retelling of Vlad the Impaler, Lada is a wholly unique and vicious YA character. The political machinations, the detailed inclusion of religion, and the moral grayness of characters make the book stand out along with its attention to action, romance, family loyalty, and non-Western culture.

retelling recs 3
Princess of Thorns by Stacey Jay: the rare book that has everything I love in a fantasy and also manages to be an original retelling/sequel of sorts to Sleeping Beauty.

For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund: this dystopian retelling captures the romantic spirit of Jane Austen’s Persuasion so perfectly in a wholly unique setting.

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: I’ve read and watched my fair share of Troy adaptations but this is the best; the writing is exquisite and lovely. It felt fresh and original, accessible, and brought to life these magnificent doomed characters.

The Boleyn King by Laura S. Andersen: a what-if retelling of Tudor history where Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s son grows up to be king. It feels like well-researched historical fiction but without the comfort of knowing what actually happens! The new and reimagined characters are really compelling.

Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson: The story is a very clever and familiar, but alien retelling of Peter Pan. I loved the focus on Tiger Lily and thought it was interesting to have Tinker Bell narrate the book. It’s a sad little book with a complex emotional journey.

What are some of your favorite retellings, both well known and lesser known? Let me know!

19 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Under the Radar Retellings

  1. Jessie H. says:

    YES! YES! YES! To Geekerella! I need more people to read that one! I love retellings!

    Briar Rose by Jane Yolen is one of my absolute favorite under the radar retellings. It’s a different spin on the Sleeping Beauty tale and is perfectly blended with the historical fiction aspect of the book. I really love it a lot!

    Others I’d recommend: The Bear and the Nightingale, Spindle’s End, Uprooted, Rose Daughter, Bryony and Roses, Sun and Moon Ice and Snow, The Looking Glass Wars, The Hob’s Bargain, Ironskin, Heart’s Blood, The Graveyard Book (it’s a Jungle Book retelling set in a graveyard!), A Matter of Magic (this a duology bind-up and has Cinderella and My Fair Lady vibes with magic. It’s not strictly a retelling.), and Hunted.


  2. The Wanderlust Reader says:

    Omg these are some amazing recommendations! I’ve only read Entwined but I’m dying to read Geekerella and Scarlett!! Not very underrated but my fav fairy tale retellings are the Lunar Chronicles and Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce!


  3. Kel says:

    I love For Darkness Shows the Stars! I always have to mention Robin McKinley’s Spindles End and Beauty. More recently, I really liked Rook by Sharon Cameron, a Scarlet Pimpernel retelling. 🙂


  4. Becky V says:

    I really enjoyed so many of these, but especially Princess of Thorns, Geekerella, and Ash & Bramble! I need to read Scarlet someday, I hear so many great things about it!


  5. FranL says:

    Awesome! You actually have some on here that I haven’t heard of, so I’ll have to check those out ASAP. In terms of others these are some faves
    Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
    While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
    The Fire Rose by Mercedes Lackey (Beauty and the Beast)
    The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey (Swan Lake)

    My own Beauty and the Beast retelling is coming out soon as well. Just had to add a tiny bit of self promotion!


  6. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense says:

    I love love love Tiger Lily. For Darkness Shows the Stars is also a favorite of mine, probably my favorite Jane Austen retelling. Robin McKinley’s Beauty, Juliet Marillier’s Wildwood Dancing, and Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn. All of them are so beautiful.


  7. Jade @ Bedtime Bookworm says:

    I’m always looking for more retellings to read! I added a bunch from this post to my TBR 🙂 I LOVE And I Darken – it was one of my favorite books from last year! I’m currently rereading it so I can read the sequel! Have you read the sequel yet?!


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