Fairy tales have had such a huge impact on so many stories that have been written both recently, and in classic literature. The originals are usually much darker and have much more sinister undertones than the simplified retellings (cough.. Disney.. cough). Sometimes in reading the originals it can be hard to know what the moral is, or if there even is one hidden away in the recesses of the tale. Sometimes it is easy to forget that many of these stories were told as warnings.
A lot of the fear has been lost in the retellings. The more modern versions often are more light-hearted and fun. Here are a few of my favourite retellings, all of which have a darker twist to them.
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
This is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. There is four books in this series, each a dark take on a familiar fairy tale. In these books the common enemy is a creature similar to werewolves. They are not the friendly or attractive sort that had a tendency to pop up in Y. A. literature a few years ago but are much more sinister.
The first book, Sisters Red, is about two sisters whose family was attacked by these creatures long ago. Now they are hunting them down in an attempt to stop a similar fate from happening to others.
Each book in this series is connected, though not direct sequels. They get darker with each book and that is one of the things I loved about them.
Splintered by A. G. Howard
This trilogy is perhaps one of my favourites of the retellings that have come out recently. They are Alice in Wonderland retellings with a big influence taken from the Tim Burton film released in 2010.
These books follow one of Alice’s descendants as she discovers the way to Wonderland, and has to right all the wrongs that were set in motion because of Alice, which has resulted in a curse being placed on the family for generations.
What I love most about these books is the dark and twisted way in which Wonderland and the other more extreme worlds are portrayed. I love the madness and the wonder.
The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
This is another trilogy that retells a different story with each book. These however, are retellings of classic horror stories. The first and most prominent storyline, is of The Island of Dr Moreau – a mad scientist whose experiments caused great scandal and shock in nineteenth century London causing him to flee and be presumed dead.
Years after his banishment, his daughter is left to fend for herself in the harsh reality that her father has left behind. When Juliet discovers her father may still be alive she goes in search of him, but finding him may just be more disastrous that Juliet could have ever imagined.
The settings of these books are brilliant from London society to islands with violent experiments.
I love when a modern retelling embraces the dark roots of the originals. These books are definitely worth checking out.