Today (not actually all that much later), I read a variety of those three categories, but I've found a new genre that really appeals to me. One that I don't really have a name for, but can best be explained as fairy tale re-tellings.
*Pictured: East by Edith Pattou; Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine; Beast by Donna Jo Napoli; The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale; and Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Where an author takes an existing fairy tale and modernizes it. Since the re-tellings (at least the ones I've read) are novel-length, they also tend to give a lot more background information explaining why so and so is in this predicament to begin with. I love these stories. I don't necessarily love every one that I've read, but on the whole I love them. There is something about revisiting fairy tales from my youth (and learning about new ones!) that I really enjoy.
In the past week I've read two fairy tale re-tellings:
Princess Ben, by Catherine Murdock
I'm not sure this one actually qualifies as a re-telling because I don't think it uses any one fairy tale as a start off point, but there are lots of elements that remind you of fairy tales (sleeping princess that "can only be awakened by true loves kiss"; evil mother figure, etc).
I really enjoyed this story of Princess Benevolence growing up and becoming the princess she was destined to be. I especially loved her voice. She is quite funny and it's easy to root for her. Her forays into the wizards tower were always fun, and I loved the attitude the wizard's tower always gives her. Ben didn't get to do whatever she wanted; she had to fulfill the desires of the tower first. I did think it got a little annoying that she kept mentioning that she wasn't skinny. I realize it was probably to emphasize that what's inside counts more than what's outside, but I caught it the first half-dozen times. I didn't need to keep reading about it!
4 out of 5 stars
A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
This is a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Stirwaters Mill is cursed. Or maybe not, but the people that own/run the mill sure have a lot of bad luck. Like the fact that no Miller son has survived into adulthood. When Charlotte Miller's father dies, she is left with the responsibility to run the mill. Unfortunately, there is problem after problem and Charlotte nearly looses the mill due to debt. One day, a man identifying himself as Jack Spinner arrives offering to change a roomful of straw into gold. For this favor he only asks for Charlotte's mother's ring, which Charlotte reluctantly gives. Spinner helps out the Miller girls two more times, but payment his last assistance is more than the bargained for. Will Charlotte be able to break the curse in time?
I actually really enjoyed the story. A lot. There is a lot of back story to the Rumpelstiltskin character, which really added to the original story. However, I did not like Charlotte. At first her independence and strength really appealed to me. She even kind of reminded me of me - I stress about money like no one's business. But, as time continued it just got to be too much. How could you marry someone and not trust them with your secret? Maybe it's just me, but I tell my husband everything and I would be devastated if he just up and left one day because he couldn't stand my secret keeping anymore. I understand that she didn't want people to think that she had married him for his money, but it seems like he could have helped her come up with a solution to her many problems. Even if he was just there to support her decisions. It was so frustrating!
Oh, and I really like the cover for this one. There is something very appealing about how simple it is.
3.5 out of 5 stars
If you are interested, the Provo City Library has a book list called Fractured Fairy Tales, that lists all sorts of fairy tale re-tellings. I've only read a few from the list, but most of them sound interesting.
**And don't forget to enter my contest to win a copy of the Water Keep ARC by J. Scott Savage!!**