Tuesday, May 29, 2012


A Curse Dark as Gold
I'll admit it, I'm not drawn to fairy tale retellings and I don't usually seek them out. I'm not sure why because when I discover one accidentally, I'm usually not disappointed. For example, Plain Kate by Erin Bow is based on Russian folklore and was an excellent read. And the fact is this corner of the MG/YA market is quite popular. Have you noticed the stream of Snow Whites and Red Riding Hoods at the movies lately?

On a recent trip to my local library, Elizabeth Bunce's, A Curse Dark as Gold kind of presented itself to me. As I was searching the shelves for something to read, I picked up Starcrossed, another of Bunce's books. The jacket read, "...author of  ACDasG, winner of the ALA Morris Debut YA award." This piqued my curiosity, and as luck would have it, Curse sat on the shelf, tucked up tight against the other book. I read the jacket and was intrigued that it was a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. Though I've always found Rumplestiltskin rather creepy, it's one of my favorites because of how the miller's daughter finally outwits him. If you're not familiar with the tale click here to read more.

Bunce's excellent storytelling and likable main character drew me right in. Charlotte is strong, courageous, and determined to keep her family's mill running despite problems that arise, both the seemingly ordinary and the unexplainable, which have plagued the Millers for generations. The mystery is slowly revealed throughout the novel and revolves around a curse which Charlotte denies at first, but eventually must face and overcome. I thoroughly enjoyed this retelling and would recommend it to anyone who loves YA historical fantasy.

Below are other novels based on  fairy tales, mythology or folklore.

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu (based on the Snow Queen)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (inspired by the Greek myth Theseus - click link for an interview with Collins about her inspiration for the trilogy)
Beastly by Alex Flinn
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Myer: Cinder (Cinderella), Scarlet (Red Riding Hood), Cress (Rapunzel), and Winter (Snow White)

I've heard good things about Cinder and recently reserved it at my library. Can't wait to read it!

What do you think about fairy tale/folklore retellings? Not original enough or entertaining? What are some of your favorites? I'd love to add them to my TBR list.


  1. I took on the Santa mythology when I wrote THE MAN IN THE CINDER CLOUDS. It's an origins story with a new angle on hos Kris Kringle came to be known as Santa Claus. I like it because it still has elves and flying reindeer, but it also feels real (as real as such a story could feel, I guess). I tried to make it unique by bringing together multiple elements of the legend in a way that hasn't been done before.

    I like re-tellings when they are clever. I thought "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle" was a brilliantly executed spin on Hamlet.

    I think books have a better chance at a good revival than Hollywood...the screenplays usually come out weak, betting on familiarity of the title over good characters and story.

    1. Rick, your story sounds like something my daughter and I would enjoy reading together. Thanks for the Amazon link.

      And I agree with you about book retellings being better than most screenplays. Through character development and plot details, an author can create and twist an adaption into a story that is quite original.

  2. I really liked this one! And I LOVED Cinder! Happy reading. :)