The Best Of: Retellings

I don’t often set out to read retellings, it’s more that I get pleasantly surprised when the book I’m reading turns out to be a retelling.  However, I do really enjoy them so I have got a few planned to read over the course of the year. If you have read or know of any good retellings please let me know!

*So this post is a little bit of a cheat as these books are all inspired by fairy tales rather than being outright retellings, but that’s fine, right?*

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Legendborn is the debut novel by Tracy Deonn, and what a debut it was. Secret societies, a plot full of twists and turns and relatable characters made for an incredibly mysterious read.

Based on the tale of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, this was an interesting retelling. It’s probably more inspired by the tale than actually telling the story of it, but still. 

I’m yet to check out the second instalment, Bloodmarked, but it is definitely on my to be read.

Synopsis: After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.

A flying demon feeding on human energies.

A secret society of so called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down.

And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.

The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.

She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

It took me a crazy amount of time and attempts to get into this book, but it was definitely worth it. A Curse So Dark and Lonely is inspired by Beauty and the Beast and its a very fun retelling. 

I have plans to continue this series at some point because I own the rest of them, but for now this is the only one I’ve read.

Synopsis: Fall in love, break the curse.

Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realises Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

Princess of Souls by Alexandra Christo

You can’t go wrong with an Alexandra Christo standalone retelling. Especially one loosely based on Rapunzel. I was very lucky to receive an ARC of Princess of Souls last year and it was one of the best books I read in 2022. 

There is a lot of worldbuilding in this, so it can start out as a very slow read, but trust me when I say keep going. Selestra is a really cool character and the magic of this world is very interesting. 

Synopsis: For sixteen years, Selestra Somniatis has been trapped in a castle on the Floating Mountain, preparing to take her mother’s place as King Seryth’s right hand. Tied by blood to steal souls for the immortal King of the Six Isles, the Somniatis Witch foretells the deaths of participants in the Festival of Predictions. To outrun your fate is to save your soul and steal the King’s immortality. But if you die, your soul is forfeit. And though thousands have tried, nobody has ever beaten death.

As a soldier in King Seryth’s army, Nox Laederic is an unlikely candidate for the Festival, but he has no plans to die at the hands of the King or his witches. His plan is more akin to violent revenge: steal the King’s immortality and kill the entirety of his court, starting with Selestra herself.

But when Selestra touches Nox in her very first prediction, she sees her own death alongside his–their fates are unmistakably intertwined, and Selestra is no longer safe in the only home she’s ever known. Nox and Selestra will have to enter a turbulent alliance in order to survive long enough to free the Six Isles from King Seryth’s clutches and escape the new fate that hunts them.

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: To Be Read: ARC Update – January 2023

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