Volume IX: Retellings
We all hold close to our hearts fairytales, folktales and childhood stories, but in today’s volume of Topiary’s Reading Club, we bring to you novels that take the threads of these well-known stories, weaving them into fresh narratives full of unique charms and exciting twists.
Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair...This is her story. In the novel, the childhood tale of Peter Pan is reimagined with darker tones and heavier topics, creating a spellbinding narrative with such complex and damaged heroes and villains told in descriptive and lovely prose that completely sucks you into Neverland. It is written from the point of view of none other than our beloved fairy, Tinker Bell, and with her empathy and keen eye, the narration brings a fresh, well-rounded and intimate perspective on Neverland and its inhabitants.
We follow fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily, our heroine with a fiery yet delicate heart, as she navigates being an outcast in her tribe, being forced into an arranged marriage with a brutish man, falling in love with impetuous and enigmatic, yet undeniably charming Peter, and dealing with the outside forces that threaten to pull them apart. It is a poignant and beautiful tale of loneliness and loss, of change and growing up, of finding your place in the world, of what it means to love and be loved. It is a tale that will have your heart raw and aching by the end, tender to the touch, doused in a bittersweetness that’s more akin to reality than any fairytale, than any Happily Ever After.
The Wrath and the Dawn Duology by Renée Ahdieh
René Ahdieh takes readers on a dazzling ride with her retelling of A Thousand and One Nights, otherwise known as the The Arabian Nights. The Wrath and the Dawn is a delicious blend of romance, strong and compelling characters, hints of magic and folklore, and a rich MIddle-Eastern inspired setting. Embellished with such lush and vivid writing, it is so easy to feel completely immersed in the story, soaking up every word, basking in all the tastes and sounds and scents and sights and textures that seem to fly off the page.
The novel is set in the vibrant city of Rey in the kingdom of Khorasan ruled by the Caliph, Khalid, a boy-king who takes a new bride every night only to have her killed at dawn. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s friend is taken as one of the brides and is executed, Shahrzad volunteers to be the next bride with the determination to avenge her friend by ending Khaild’s life. But when she gets to the palace, she realizes not everything is as it seems and Khalid is not at all what she thought he would be, and despite everything, she finds herself drawn to him, and him to her like a moth to a flame. She finds herself falling into a world of secrets and stories and magic, into an intoxicatingly passionate romance that will steal your breath, leaving both the characters and readers vulnerable, yearning and utterly enchanted.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Snow White—all fairytales we know and love, but now imagine them with androids and cyborgs and space ships and Lunar people... In this thrilling Young Adult fantasy series, Meyer takes a futuristic, SciFi spin on these classics, retaining the fundamental bones of the original stories, yet building new flesh and bringing readers a narrative packed with adventure, action, drama, humor, romance and friendship.
Cinder, the first installment of The Lunar Chronicles, takes place in New Beijing with our protagonist, Cinder, a second-class cyborg mechanic with a mysterious past. When a fatal plague begins to devastate the masses, and when her life becomes entangled with Prince Kai, she finds herself thrust into the middle of an intergalactic battle with the fate of the Earth in her hands. As the series progresses with the following books, Scarlet, Cress and Winter, and as it takes on more layers, more characters, more twist and turns, you will find yourself falling head first into this captivating world, these lovable characters and this story that is sure to become one of your staple fantasy series.
After going through our list, we prompt you, our dear readers, to journey with us through retellings that breathe new life to old, beloved classics.