Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Retellings

The topic for Top 5 Wednesday today is 'Favorite Retellings".
You can find the group, created by Gingerreadslainey here.

I was really excited to pick out my books for this topic because I really love a good retelling. That became the problem. I couldn't decide which ones I wanted to include. I knew my top two but after that most of them were tied. I decided to make it 9 plus one non book for an even ten. 
So without further ado... my Top 10:

#1: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days is tied for first for my favorite Shannon Hale novel (along with the next selection). It is a retelling of Maid Maleen by the Brothers Grimm. 
Shannon Hale has taken their tale and reset it in an Asian inspired world. 

"When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years because of Saren's refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment. As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. With the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two suitors- one welcome, the other decidedly less so- the girls are confronted with both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows."

This book is awesome. It is exciting and interesting and has some great plot twists. 

 #2: The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

This is the other book that ties for first place as my favorite Shannon Hale novel. 
The Goose Girl, the first in the book series The Books of Bayern, is a retelling of the Brothers Grimm tale by the same name. 

 "Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee, Crown Princess of Kildenree, spends the first years of her life under her aunt's guidance learning to communicate with animals. As she grows up Ani develops the skills of animal speech, but is never comfortable speaking with people, so when her silver-tongued lady-in-waiting leads a mutiny, Ani is helpless and cannot persuade anyone to assist her. 
Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani must learn to use her own special powers to find her true destiny."

This book is really magical. It was the first book I ever read by Shannon Hale and now I have a shelf of her books. Her writing is beautiful. 

#3: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

I don't know if it is a retelling as much as an alternate history but I love it. 
 "Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men. Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She's a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered. With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn's paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever."

I love the character of Deryn. I love the crazy way they speak and the alternate steampunk version of history. I really enjoy the whole series. 

#4: This Dark Endeavor by Kenneth Oppel

 This book is a retelling/ prequel to Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. 

 "Victor and Konrad are the twin brothers Frankenstein and inseparable until Konrad falls gravely ill. In the forbidden Dark Library, Victor finds an ancient formula, and seeks an alchemist to recreate the Elixir of Life. With friends Elizabeth and Henry, he scales highest trees in the Strumwald, dives deepest lake caves, and each sacrifices a body part."

I really enjoyed this book and its sequel when I last read them. However, since then I have read and loved the original Frankenstein and I'm not sure how I would feel about them anymore. I need to reread them very soon to find out. But for now, I will include it based on my feelings when I read them last. 

#5: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

I really enjoyed Cinder, obviously a Cinderella retelling. I haven't finished the rest of the Lunar Chronicles series yet but I am looking forward to reading the rest of them after having read this book. 
" Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future."

#6: Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

This book is written by one of my really good friend's mom. I have met her a few times and she is a really sweet woman. I was excited to read her book to support her but I had no idea I would enjoy it so much. It is a retelling of the Bluebeard tale. It is one I was only slightly familiar with but from what I knew about it, I knew it was a very gruesome tale. 
Jane managed to tell the story without going too gross while still being able to keep a gothic feel to it. 
"When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi.

Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world."

#7: Beauty by Robin McKinley

 Beauty is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I am very partial to the story of Beauty and the Beast, my favorite fairy tale, and I wasn't sure I would like it. But I really did! 

"Beauty has never liked her nickname. She is thin and awkward; it is her two sisters who are the beautiful ones. But what she lacks in looks, she can perhaps make up for in courage. When her father comes home with the tale of an enchanted castle in the forest and the terrible promise he had to make to the Beast who lives there, Beauty knows she must go to the castle, a prisoner of her own free will. Her father protests that he will not let her go, but she answers, "Cannot a Beast be tamed?"

#8: Entwined by Heather Dixon

Entwined is a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses
I had a few issues with the book, feeling like some of the characters weren't completely fleshed out, but overall I really enjoyed it. 
 "Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation. Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late."

#9: Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon and Dean Hale

This graphic novel tells a new version of Rapunzel's story full of girl power and excitement. 

 "Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother. Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall. And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond. Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you've never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter."

And finally, #10: The Once Upon A Time television series

This series retells pretty much everyone's stories and I love it. 
It is really engaging, creative, and fun to watch. 
To be honest, I hope they end it soon while I am still loving it and give everyone that I love a happy ending. (Especially Hook and Swan!)

Do you read retellings? 
What are some of your favorites? 
I tag anyone who would like to do this! Let me know in the comments if you do so that I can see what your choices are. 


Donna said...

Ooh, fun post! I loved Beauty and The Goose Girl. We read Book of a Thousand Days a few years ago in my book club and I liked it but I didn't love it as much as The Goose Girl and some of Shannon Hale's other books for some reason. I really want to read Cinder and Entwined.
I really wish I had started watching Once Upon a Time when it first started. I can tell that I would have really liked it. It's going to have to be one of those series I start watching when it's all done.

cheryl said...

I love Once Upon a time but I do worry that it is just going to keep going until it isn't as creative anymore. So hopefully they will wrap it up soon and end it well.

The Kings said...

I have read Book of A Thousand Days, Goose Girl, and Leviathan of the books you had listed and really enjoyed them! Like you, I hope Once Upon A Time wraps up before I get tired of it. I enjoy watching it but after awhile when stories take different roads and it seems they will never end it can get tiresome!

cheryl said...

Yes. They need to leave people satisfied with the show!