Off the Shelf: Fairytales, Mythology, and Children's Classics

By Sharon Saye on March 28, 2018 from Off the Shelf via

Everyone loves fairy tales even if you haven’t read any, you have seen the basic formula in endless television series and movies.  Books for young adult readers have become immensely popular since the Harry Potter phenomenon and there is an entire genre of rewritten fairy tales, mythology, and children’s classics.
E. K. Johnston in “A Thousand Nights” has rewritten the story of Scheherazade from the Arabian Nights.  Lo-Melkhiin has killed over three hundred girls after he takes them to wife.  Each village in turn must provide one girl to be his wife most of them lasting only a few days.  When he comes to the unnamed heroine’s village, she knows he will pick her sister since she is the most beautiful, so she takes her place.  Expecting death, each night she survives and when exploring the palace, she discovers that Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler, but once a loving, adventurous boy.  What has happened and how has this curse come upon her people?  “A Thousand Nights” reads like a beautiful fairy tale full of darkness and hope.
“Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones combines the story from the movie “Labyrinth” and the fairy tale of “Beauty and the Beast.”  Liesl is a talented musician, but not as talented as her brother.  Her sister Kathe is beautiful and as the dark days of winter approach entranced by a handsome stranger that Liesl expects is The Goblin King.  Determined to protect her, she makes a deal to live in the underworld with him.  Although Liesl’s skills as a violinist may not be as great as her brother’s, her gift for composition and the music she produces entrances The Goblin King.
Jae-Jones has produced a beautiful and frightening world of music, magic, and darkness.  The sequel is now available, “Shadowsong.”
A new book that is garnering great praise is a debut novel by Tomi Adeyemi, “Children of Blood and Bone.”  This is set in another world of magic and danger but based on West African folktales.  Told from multiple points of view including two children of the king as well as two victims of his power, Adeyemi’s story is gaining four-star reviews with its themes of injustice, change and discrimination.
Other books that fit in the fairy-tale retelling genre are: “The Wrath & The Dawn” by Renee Ahdieh, “The Shadow Queen” by C. J. Redwine, “Unhooked” by Lisa Maxwell, “Beauty” by Robin McKinley, “Flame in the Mist” by Renee Ahdieh, “Cruel Beauty,” by Rosamund Hodge, “The Lunar Chronicles” by Marissa Meyer, “East” by Edith Patou, “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine, “Crimson Bound” by Rosamund Hodge, “Briar Rose” by Jane Yolen, “Tiger Lily” by Jodi Lynn Anderson, “The Looking Glass Wars” by Frank Beddor, and “The Sea of Trolls” by Nancy Farmer.

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