Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top Ten All Time Favorite Books in ___ Genre. My genre of choice is fairy tales. Here are my favorites, in no particular order:
1. Beast by Donna Jo Napoli – This list could be comprised entirely of books written by Donna Jo Napoli. I love just about all of her fairy tale retellings, but Beast is by far my favorite. Set in Persia, this version of Beauty and the Beast is told from the point of view of a young prince who is transformed into a lion.
2. Enchanted by Alethea Kontis – Enchanted is a crazy mishmash of fairy tales, from well-known stories such as Jack and the Beanstalk to lesser-known tales like the Twelve Dancing Princesses. Although the plethora of characters and story lines can be a little overwhelming at times, this book has some beautiful language and is a lot of fun.
3. Kill Me Softly by Sarah Cross – Kill Me Softly tells the story of a town where every inhabitant is fated to live out a predetermined role in a fairy tale, be that as the villain, hero, princess, etc. The novel explores the darker side of fairy tales and poses the question – must we live the life that’s been decided for us, or can we fight to make our own destiny?
4. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – This is one of the first fairy tale retellings I ever read and the reason I fell in love with this genre. In this version of Cinderella, our titular character has been “gifted” – a.k.a. cursed – with obedience, so that she must follow every order given to her, even orders said out of malice or jest. As you can imagine, this makes for a very unique retelling of the Cinderella story.
5. Nameless by Lili St. Crow – What do you get when you combine a mafia-like vampire family with the story of Snow White? Why, Nameless, of course. This may sound like a strange combination, but I promise you that it works. I absolutely love this book, and it has some of the best swoon-inducing moments of any fairy tale I’ve read.
6. Breath by Donna Jo Napoli – I couldn’t resist adding another of Donna Jo Napoli’s novels to the list. Breath is one of the few retellings I’ve found of the Pied Piper, and I can’t imagine there’s any better. In this book, the town of Hamelin is plagued not just by rats, but also by madness caused by a mold that grows on the town’s hops. The only citizen not affected by this madness is 12-year-old Salz, a boy with cystic fibrosis who strives to save his fellow townspeople from the rats, the Piper, and each other.
7. Of Beast and Beauty by Stacy Jay – This version of Beauty and the Beast features a blind princess, a kingdom built on sacrifices and dark magic, and a garden full of bloodthirsty roses. Add to this a fascinating setting and rich characterization, and you’ve got yourself a winner.
8. Ash by Malinda Lo – Of all the books on this list, Ash feels the most like a traditional fairy tale, with gorgeous descriptions and lyrical syntax. I love the undercurrent of magic throughout the story, and an unusual three-way romance sets this tale apart from other versions of Cinderella.
9. The Princess Bride by William Goldman – It may be a bit of a stretch to call The Princess Bride a fairy tale, but I don’t care. There are pirates, sea serpents, giants, swashbuckling heroes, evil princes, sword fights, and, most importantly, True Love. What more could you possibly ask for?
10. Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley – It’s been about 10 years since I read Spindle’s End, so I don’t remember many details about it, but I do recall that it was my favorite of Robin McKinley’s fairy tale retellings. This is saying a lot, as McKinley, like Napoli, is a master of re-imagined fairy tales.
What about you – what are your favorite books in the fairy tale genre? Let me know in the comments section below!