Fairytale Retellings for Adults That You Should Be Reading
If these books aren’t on your TBR list yet, they should be. I am absolutely obsessed with so many of these fairy tale retellings that I cannot recommend them enough.
Honestly, I feel like there’s a part of me that constantly feels like I am longing for a fairytale that will probably have a happy ending but it feels like it’s written for the modern reader. I am slowly building my collection of fairytale retellings for adults. So, as I find more I will be adding them to this list. Also, if you have any you feel should be on this list, please comment below! (Honestly, please fill my fairy tale dreams.)
Also, not all of these books will be new adult and spicy, some are just really good fairy tales that aren’t necessarily geared toward children which makes them fun for adults to read.
Immortal Warriors Series by Rebecca F. Kenney
So, I found out about this series over on TikTok even though I had been following Rebecca for what feels like forever. When I found out about this series, I knew I needed to have her over on the Barely Bookish podcast so that we could talk about Peter Pan and her reimagining.
These books are a fun fantasy series and they involve a component of different realms, which I am in love with as a storytelling mechanic. I also think the idea that this series can just keep going and evolving since every character doesn’t need to be mentioned at once is very fun. Plus, it’s over on Kindle Unlimited, so easy access for a lot of readers!
The Peter Pan books in particular also pay quite a bit of love to the original tale, while still standing as a story all its own. So, if you listen to the Peter Pan episodes on the Barely Bookish podcast you will definitely see where the stories are similar, and where they quite differ.
I personally started with the Peter Pan books, since they are all standalone. I will say that there are some spoilers for the first book in there, so I would recommend going in order instead. This is a great series to revisit your favorite fairy, but it is geared toward adult audiences, so make sure to keep that in mind.
Additionally, I have an entire post just about Peter Pan retellings if you need a little more of this fairy tale character in your life.
Summary of Jack Frost by Rebecca F. Kenney
When I get separated from the other members of my Antarctic expedition, I meet a strange, pale, beautiful man who saves me from freezing to death. He says he’s the actual Jack Frost, and he’s pretty much an ice god, which totally messes with my scientific worldview. I’m all too happy to leave his fine frosty ass at the South Pole and head back to the States where things are messy but not magical.
Too bad the charming ice god follows me home. Guess he likes me, or he’s magically attracted to me or something? Jack is the last thing I need now, right when I’m starting a new job; but I can’t help being curious about his powers and his ongoing war with the fire goddess Auxesia.
Too bad my association with Jack puts us both in more danger.Jack Frost by Rebecca F. Kenney
(Standalone adult romance based on the legend of Jack Frost, with holiday vibes, mild-to-medium heat, and a guaranteed HEA!)
Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
Lunar Chronicles is a YA novel that completely reimagines the fairy tales we grew up with. I will say the thing I like the best about this is the way all the stories interlock. With a lot of fairytale retellings, usually, you get one fairytale at a time, But, the Lunar Chronicles really builds on itself quite a bit in a way that doesn’t seem forced.
There are a variety of fairytales here, such as Snow White and the evil queen, Cinderella and her wicked stepmother, and so much more!
A good way to read these is alongside Prince Kai Fan pod! This lovely podcast goes chapter by chapter with the books and Bethanie was even thanked in her latest book by Marissa Meyer.
I also reviewed all of these books previously, so if you would like a more in-depth review for each of these books, click the book name: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter.
Summary of Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood and Bone is super good and brings in a lot of folklore that I’ve never really experienced before. It is such an easy read and I highly recommend it! Plus, I love the fantasy elements of this book. I think they’re super well done and definitely worth the read.
Summary of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
Hunted by Meagan Spooner
This Beauty and the Beast retelling is hanging out on my TBR right now. It’s super well-rated and even though I haven’t had the chance to read it, I hope you all will love it.
New York Times bestselling author Meagan Spooner spins a thoroughly thrilling Beauty and the Beast story for the modern age, expertly woven with spellbinding romance, intrigue, and suspense that readers won’t soon be able to forget.
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman.
But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation.
Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?Hunted by Meagan Spooner
A Ruin of Roses by K.F. Breene
We have another Beauty and the Beast retelling but this bad boy is darker and is rated 18+. So, make sure you keep that in mind when picking this one up.
I could save him, but he would ruin me.
The creature that stalks the forbidden wood.
The dragon prince.
He has suffered a fate worse than death. We all have. A curse put upon us by the mad king.
We are a kingdom locked in time. Shifters unable to feel our animals. Stuck here by a deal between the late king and a demon who seeks our destruction.
The only one keeping this kingdom alive is Nyfain, the golden prince to a stolen throne. The last dragon shifter.
He’s our hope.
He’s my nightmare.
When he catches me trespassing in the forbidden wood, he doesn’t punish me with death, as he’s entitled.
He takes me, instead. Forces me back to the castle as his prisoner. Seeks to use me.
Apparently, I can save him. I can save the whole forgotten kingdom, locked away by the demon king’s power.
But it would mean taming the monster beneath his skin. It would mean giving myself to him.
It would mean my ruin.Roses by K.F. Breene
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Cruel Beauty is another Beauty and the Beast fairytale retelling that’s been on my TBR for what feels like forever. Honestly, maybe I just love enemies to lovers, but I feel like I am easily sold when I see this type of retelling.
Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom’s mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can’t resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who’s gotten in her way by stealing her heart.Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
I am going to say it, there are not enough Snow White retellings. Not only is this book super well-rated, but it also includes a lot of the dark elements of a classic fairy tale, which I adore. This is another one I simply cannot wait to read.
This story hits all the points, we have a magical kingdom and classic retelling elements that will make this fantasy book all sorts of interesting.
Sixteen-year-old Mina is motherless, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.
Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.
Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Do you want to know if a classic novel (or maybe a classic fairy tale) is worth reading? Find out on the Barely Bookish podcast! Every Wednesday a guest and I go through the entire plot of a classic story and discuss whether it lives up to a modern reader or not. Plus, you can read the book with us or enjoy the cliff notes. Listen where ever you get your podcasts.