Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Non-fairy-tale retellings —

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?

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7 Comments Non-fairy-tale retellings —

  1. Maureen E

    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.

  2. Elaine T

    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.

  3. Rachel

    “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!

  4. Rabh Marrach

    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.

  5. Rachel

    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!

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