Hah hah hah just kidding. I didn’t really try to get to ten favorites particularly. I just tried to get to ten that I’ve read and liked. Also, I didn’t make it anywhere close to ten. So it’s a list, but not really a top ten list.
Actually I’ve got two lists: one for Beauty and the Beast-inspired novels I’ve read and one (slightly longer) for stories I’ve heard of and want to read, but haven’t got to yet. If you’ve got a particular favorite, toss it in the comments, please, because somehow it’s always been one of my favorite fairy tales for retellings.
For whatever reason, I also particularly like The Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Wild Swans.
Anyway! The lists:
1. BEAUTY by Robin McKinley. This is my all-time favorite, the definitive version as far as I’m concerned, and that’s true even though the story just sort of dissolves gently into the ending. I think this is a difficult fairy tale to bring to a really great ending.
2. ROSE DAUGHTER by Robin McKinley is the one I think of second, mostly because it’s also by McKinley so naturally I think of it at the same time. I like it okay, but I think BEAUTY is way better.
3. THE CHOCOLATE ROSE by Laura Florand. Stepping outside fantasy and into contemporary romance, and of course this isn’t a retelling so much as a story that is gently influenced by the fairy tale. I love it, though mostly I don’t think I would be very interested in reading romances-that-aren’t-fantasy even if they draw on a fairy tale.
4. CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge. Not my favorite, but I did like it quite a bit.
5. THE PRINCESS CURSE by Merrie Haskell. This one draws only lightly on the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, but on the other hand, it draws more directly on The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I loved it.
6. THE HOBB’S BARGAIN by Patricia Briggs could be seen as a Beauty and the Beast retelling. Yes or no, what do you think? It’s a good secondary world fantasy either way.
I really thought I could get closer to ten when I started. I feel like I must have missed something.
Moving on, though: Top ten Beauty and the Beast retellings that sound like they might be great, but I haven’t had a chance to read them.
1. HEART’S BLOOD by Juliet Marillier. I have really, really loved some of Marillier’s books. Others, not so much. Her writing is lovely all the time, though. Has anybody read this? What do you think?
2. OF BEAST AND BEAUTY by Stacey Jay. This one sounds excellent.
3. SCARLET by Marissa Meyer. I haven’t read it, but I’m slowly listening to CINDER right now and I also do have SCARLET as an audiobook, so I expect I’ll get to it this summer.
4. THE FIRE ROSE by Mercedes Lackey. What do you all think of it, thumbs up or thumbs down? I haven’t ever read much by Mercedes Lackey, so it’s hard to guess what I might think of this one.
5. BEASTLY by Alex Flinn. A retelling from the pov of the Beast? That sounds interesting.
6. UPROOTED by Naomi Novik. It’s not quite out yet, but it’s supposed to draw a bit from Beauty and the Beast. I read the first chapter and *loved* it, so I’m sure looking forward to it hitting the shelves, even if it doesn’t turn out to draw much from Beauty and the Beast.
7. BEAST by Donna Jo Napoli is also from the pov of the Beast. It sounds fascinating: “Orasmyn is the prince of Persia and heir to the throne. His religion fills his heart and his mind, and he strives for the knowledge and leadership his father demonstrates. But on the day of the Feast of Sacrifices, Orasmyn makes a foolish choice that results in a fairy’s wretched punishment: He is turned into a beast, a curse to be undone only by the love of a woman. Thus begins Orasmyn’s journey through the exotic Middle East and sensuous France as he struggles to learn the way of the beast, while also preserving the mind of the man.”
8. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES by Sarah J. Maas. I’m not sure this is really a Beauty and the Beast retelling? The male lead is evidently named Tamlin. Maybe it draws more from Tam Lin?
9. BELLE: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast by Cameron Dokey. This one sounds more like a direct retelling. “Belle, who lacks her sisters’ beauty, spends her time alone with her wood carving, until she must carve the fabled Heartwood Tree to save her father from the Beast.”
10. I thought I could get to ten with this half. Not quite, it turns out! What’s your favorite Beauty and the Beast retelling (or inspired by) fantasy that I have missed?