This is going to be a shorter LitCrit than usual because of NANOWRIMO.
As someone who has grown up in Denmark I grew up with fairytales. Whether this be the Hans Christian Anderson fairytales my parents read me as a child, or the Grimm fairytales, I was told to analyze in school. To make a long story short fairytales have been embedded in the very fabric of my being since a young age.
This is why i have become a great fan of fairytale retellings, they offer the basic storyline and setup as all the stories i grew up with, while still putting a new, and oftentimes kind of dark twist on it.
Classical fairytales can be categorized into two different genres: folk fairytale, and literary faire tale. With some of the major plot points in the genre being:
- The tale has one clear hero, who in the end of the tale has succeeded in their misiion, or somehow changed for the better.
- oppposiotes play a big role, oftentimes opposites such as good/bad and young/old, are used to drive home the messege of the tale.
- A lot of fairytales featur some kind of magic, which play a big part in the understanding of the tale.
- Numbers play a huge part, especially three. But the numbers 4-7- 9-13, often make apperences as well.
- the storyaercs are built up using the home-out-home structure.
These are also tropes that are seen in the retellings, but oftentimes altered in some way. Like when reading a retelling there’s no guaruntee that the story ends happily for the hero, instead it may end tragically for them.
These retellings have the ability to reimagine old tales that everyone know, and put them into a new universe and introduce new elements that the original did not possess.
Some Fairytale retellings:
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Cinder, a gifted mechanic in New Beijing, is also a cyborg. She’s reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s sudden illness. But when her life becomes entwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she finds herself at the centre of a violent struggle between the desires of an evil queen – and a dangerous temptation.
Cinder is caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal. Now she must uncover secrets about her mysterious past in order to protect Earth’s future.
Vanity is a factor, but it is more a question of control. It is easier to trick others into perceiving you as beautiful if you can convince yourself you are beautiful. But mirrors have an uncanny way of telling the truth.
- Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
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.
You fought and fought to keep all the cruelty locked up in your head, and for what? None of them ever loved you, because none of them ever knew you
- The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Adhieh
halid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, takes a new bride each night only to have her executed at sunrise. So it is a suspicious surprise when sixteen-year-old Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid. But she does so with a clever plan to stay alive and exact revenge on the Caliph for the murder of her best friend and countless other girls. Shazi’s wit and will, indeed, get her through to the dawn that no others have seen, but with a catch…she’s falling in love with the very boy who killed her dearest friend. She discovers that the murderous boy-king is not all that he seems and neither are the deaths of so many girls. Shazi is determined to uncover the reason for the murders and to break the cycle once and for all.
Some things exist in our lives for but a brief moment. And we must let them go on to light another sky.
- Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
The story of the Sea Witch, the villainess from Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale The Little Mermaid, told from the viewpoint of the Sea Witch when she was a twelve-year-old girl…
Evie has been wracked with guilt ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned. So when a girl appears on shore with an uncanny resemblance to Anna, Evie befriends her in an effort to make amends. And as the two girls catch the eyes – and hearts – of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at happy ever after. But is Evie’s new friend really who she says she is?
Though magic can shape life and death, love is the one thing it cannot control