10 Wonderfully Inventive Retellings That Interpret Classic Stories In A New Way
Classic stories stand the test of time for a reason, whether it's their compelling characters, fascinating lore, or timeless plots. When talented writers put their own spin on these tales, they can make them even more relevant to contemporary audiences, thus passing the stories on to new generations. The books listed here are inspired by everything from fairy tales to Greek myths. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.
Books Based on Classic Tales: Our 10 Picks
Fun Activities For Fantasy Fans
If you love adventure, magic, and stories set in the past, then you might be interested in the wider genre of fantasy. If that's the case, here are some ways you can bring that imaginative world into your real life:
- Host a magical movie night
- Enter a Magic: The Gathering tournament
- Play a fantasy video game with friends
- Use a Ouija board to contact the spirits
- Create a cosplay of your favorite character
- Have a board game night
- Podcast about your favorite show, movie, or book
- Host a Dungeons and Dragons campaign
8 Great Films Based on Classic Tales
- West Side Story (1961)
- Jack the Giant Slayer (2013)
- 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
- Clash of the Titans (1981)
- Into the Woods (2014)
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993)
- Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
- Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
What Makes a Hero?
There's no comfort like that of a familiar story, whether it's a fairy tale, myth, or a classic novel. But when contemporary authors add their own twists and turns to the old tropes and archetypes, it can provide a playground for fresh ideas. Here, in no particular order, are ten exciting variations on well-known tales.
In the #1 spot is "Roses" by G.R Mannering, the first book in the "Tales Trilogy." In the city of Sago, a strange child is born with silver skin and violet eyes. As a joke, she is given the nickname Beauty. She is raised by the cruel Ma Dane, but receives true affection only from her servant, Owaine. When the city is devastated by an uprising, Beauty and Owaine flee to a magical forest. Inside the forest, however, lurks a strange creature, and Beauty must bargain with him for Owaine's life.
At #2 is "Bellevere House" by Sarah Scheele, the third installment of the "Vintage Jane Austen" series. Faye Powell is a young woman living with her rich uncle during the Great Depression. She serves as the voice of reason to her pack of carefree, irresponsible cousins. When her uncle leaves on a business trip, Ed, his son from an earlier marriage, comes to stay, and immediately clashes with Faye. He is followed by an enigmatic brother and sister pair who quickly disrupt the household. Scheele reinterprets Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park" in the context of 1930s America.
When her uncle leaves on a business trip, Ed, his son from an earlier marriage, comes to stay, and immediately clashes with Faye.
Taking the #3 position is "Ithaka" by Adele Geras. Klymene is a young woman living on the island of Ithaka in Ancient Greece. She is close friends with Penelope, the wife of Odysseus, who has waited for her husband to return from war for a decade. Despite her many suitors, Penelope remains faithful to her absent spouse, even as she faces increasing pressure to remarry. After a naked man crawls out of the ocean, claiming to be the long-lost Odysseus, Klymene and Penelope soon realize that their struggles are only part of a much larger conflict involving the gods themselves.
At #4 is "The Beast's Heart" by Leife Shallcross. In seventeenth-century France, a terrible creature lives alone in his ruined chateau, going only by the name Beast. He was once a man, but a fairy's curse transformed him into an animalistic monster. His existence is lonely and bleak, until a traveler stumbles upon his castle. When the man's daughter, Isabeau, comes to find him, the Beast makes a deal with her: he will release her father, if she agrees to live in the chateau for a year. Shallcross retells this classic story from the perspective of the Beast.
At #5 is "My Name is Rapunzel" by K.C. Hilton. A young woman contacts a newspaper writer with an impossible story. She claims that she is the Rapunzel of folklore, and that all the previous versions of her tale have been wrong. For two hundred and fifty years, she has been trapped under the enchantment of a witch. In addition to cursing her with immortality, the witch stole the man she loved and imprisoned her. Now, after centuries, she has decided the time has come to leave her tower and tell the world the real story of her life.
She claims that she is the Rapunzel of folklore, and that all the previous versions of her tale have been wrong.
Coming in at #6 is "Stone Field" by Christy Lenzi. As Missouri stands on the edge of the Civil War, Catrina Dickinson finds a strange man making patterns in her family's sorghum field. He is suffering from a terrible fever and has no memory of his past. Despite this, he and Catrina fall quickly and deeply in love. Their relationship is a rocky one, however, as they must endure the judgment of Catrina's family and find a way to escape the impending war. This passionate romance is based on Emily Bronte's "Wuthering Heights."
At #7 is "Circe" by Madeline Miller. The daughter of Helios, Greek god of the sun, Circe is born with a powerful talent for witchcraft. The gods, frightened of her abilities, banish her to a secluded island. There, she meets legendary figures such as Medea, Icarus, and Odysseus, and comes to harbor a strong affection for the human race. But all her magic cannot help Circe overcome the challenges of love, loneliness, and motherhood. Miller examines a character from the "Odyssey" by putting her story front and center.
At #8 is "Slipper" by Hester Velmans. In seventeenth-century England, Lucinda is an orphan, forced to serve her wealthy family as a cinder-sweep. Her only inheritance from her parents is a pair of glass-beaded slippers. When she falls madly in love with an army officer, she runs away from home to follow him to France. Eventually, she makes her way to Paris, where she meets a man named Charles Perrault, who will turn her life story into one of the world's most beloved fairy tales.
In seventeenth-century England, Lucinda is an orphan, forced to serve her wealthy family as a cinder-sweep.
Taking the #9 spot is "Sleeping Beauty and the Beast" by Melissa Lemon. Princess Eglantine is trapped in an enchanted sleep. In her dreams, she meets Prince Henry, who swears to rescue her from the spell. Meanwhile, Henry's brother Duncan encounters a wild, beastly woman who has been accused of murder, and believes in her innocence. The two brothers seek to save the women from their respective predicaments in this story that blends together "Sleeping Beauty" and "Beauty and the Beast."
And finally, at #10 is "All the Ever Afters: The Untold Story of Cinderella's Stepmother" by Danielle Teller. Everyone in the kingdom knows the story of Cinderella and her difficult childhood. But as the country prepares for Cinderella's wedding, Agnes, the wicked stepmother herself, puts down her own version of events. She tells her life story, ranging from her humble beginnings to her years spent in servitude, leading to the marriage which made her the new mother figure of the strange and beautiful child, Ella. Teller reimagines the story of Cinderella from the perspective of the villain.