Over at Book Riot, not normally a place I look for book recommendations, a moderately appealing list from Margaret Kingsbury: What should be your next fairy tale read?
This is actually an internet quiz! I enjoy silly internet quizzes, so sure, let’s just see what title gets tossed up for me:
Ah, looks like The Fox’s Tower by Yoon Ha Lee. Well, I don’t know. Foxes, check, fairy tales check, but this is a short story collection and I don’t generally l get very excited about short stories, except those connected to a universe I’m already into. I mean, I liked Patricia Briggs’ story collection that are all in the Mercy Thompson universe.
On the other hand, fairy tales might actually appeal to me in in shorter formats. I liked Robin McKinley’s short fairy tales. I wonder just how short Lee’s stories are … oh, they’re flash fiction. Well, probably not, then. Let’s try this quiz again. This time I’m going to aim to get The Girls at the Kingfisher Club.
Yep, got it.
Okay, normally I’m all about shortening up a list — not fifty items, but ten. Not one hundred — for God’s sake, that’s way too many — but twenty. But for a quiz that’s meant to kick up a result that will appeal to you, I do think there aren’t enough choices here. I think if you put in “historical fiction,” you’ll get The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, which is fine, but it would be significantly more fine if there were other options in “historical fairy tales” so that the rest of the quiz questions could have some influence on sifting through the crowd and selecting a book that would appeal to you.
Also, a quiz where you can check off multiple categories — SF, fantasy, historical, but not graphic novels or horror (for example). That would work better, probably.
Here are some other fairy tales that could be included to make this quiz work better:
Fairy tales that are also historicals:
The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by G Valentine
The Wild Swans by P Kerr
Strands of Bronze and Gold by J Nickerson
Fairy tales that are contemporaries:
Roses and Rot by K Howard
Fairy tales that are nearly straight retellings:
Beauty by R McKinley
A Curse as Dark as Gold by E Bunce
Daughter of the Forest by J Marillier
Fairy tales that are less straight retellings:
The Princess Curse by M Haskell
Castle Behind Thorns by M Haskell
Fire and Hemlock by DWJ
Fairy tales that are SF
Jenna Starborn by S Shinn — granted this is not a fairy tale retelling; it’s a Jane Eyre retelling. But it’s a retelling and I’m including it because I dislike all the SF fairy tale retellings I’ve read so far.
Of Beast and Beauty by S Jay — which I haven’t read, but I wanted a second choice under “SF fairy tales.”
Fairy Tale retellings that actually deconstruct the whole concept:
Ash and Bramble by Sarah Prineas
“Into the Woods,” which is of course a play, but I wanted another entry under this category as well and couldn’t think of another book.
Fairy tales that are original, not retellings:
Uprooted by N Novik
The Changeling Sea by P McKillip
The City in the Lake by R Neumeier
Of course there are zillions more. Especially relatively straight retellings that stick pretty much to the actual fairy tale — many, many of those.
I couldn’t think of another fairy tale with a contemporary setting, but there must be some.
Likewise for SF settings. I know, I know, Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, but I disliked those. I couldn’t finish the third book and can’t recommend the series.
I had trouble thinking of others that deconstructed fairy tales to the extent that Prineas’ novels do. Not sure there are any.