A post by Leah Cypess here. Cypess wrote MISTWOOD, which I’ve sort of meant to pick up because I’ve heard good things about it, but I must admit I haven’t read it yet. (Has anybody else? I’d be interested in your opinions.)
I definitely enjoy retellings, fairy tale or otherwise, and in fact I’m pretty likely to go read the original classic in order to properly enjoy a retold tale. Here’s one Leah didn’t mention, probably because it’s not new:
Jenna Starborn by Sharon Shinn is a Jane Eyre retelling. It’s very good! Amazingly true to the original, while being quite different in its details. I will never love Jane Eyre the way Shinn does, but I read it for the first time solely because I was going to read Jenna Starborn. Obviously I am a better person for reading the classics, so Shinn did me a favor by (finally!) making me read Jane Eyre.
Of the ones Leah Cypess mentions . . . I’m not sure I’m up for another Eyre interpretation, but wouldn’t the dystopian Persuasion be interesting?
7 thoughts on “Non-fairy-tale retellings —”
I liked Cypress’s books very much indeed, especially her first one. But then I’m a huge sucker for historical fantasy books with a political component.
Personally, I’m very invested in classics, so I tend to be more dubious about retellings of them than of anything else. Therefore, I thought FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS was a fine book but didn’t catch the spirit of the original.
On the other hand, I’ve been reading a number of mythological retellings recently and really enjoying them. DARK OF THE MOON by Tracey Barrett, plus some of Mary Renault’s and Jo Graham’s.
It’s awfully hard to shake the habit of comparing anything dealing with ancient Greek retellings with Mary Renault’s work. Perhaps because of that, Jo Graham’s books haven’t impressed me – they are in the ‘ok, get from library’ category. Reading the Aeneas one, BLACK SHIPS, right after Le Guin’s LAVINIA didn’t help, either. It was a good Le Guin, and historical novel. In contrast the Graham felt … struggling to both recall and find words…. familiar, easy, and too genre-like. Probably a shame and not fair to Graham, but that’s the way my reading worked out. I think I’ll have to look up the Leah Cypress.
“a huge sucker for historical fantasy books with a political component”
Me, too! Sounds like I’ll really need to try MISTWOOD at some point!
@ Elaine T: Oh, Lavinia! I had completely forgotten about that one, but yes I can see Graham paling in comparison. Lavinia is fantastic.
When I followed your book link and read the reviews, a reviewer suggested this book The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. Just finished and really liked it.
I also really enjoyed The Eyre Affair. I haven’t tried the second or third in the series, but I hear they’re even better!
Clearly I had better add LAVINIA to my wishlist!