Fractured Fairy Tales

The picture book that made the strongest impression on me during my elementary school years was The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka.

That, combined with several years of watching the “Fractured Fairy Tales” segment on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, helped established my long-lasting love of authors taking fairy tales, ancient myths, and popular folk tales and twisting them for the readers pleasure and amusement. Recently there has been an incredible resurgence in this particular subgenre of fantasy writing and that makes me one happy reader!


The Lunar Chronicles Series by Marissa Meyer

Starting with Cinder, this epic tale of a dystopian future society unfolds with the tale of Linh Cinder, a lowly cyborg mechanic in New Beijing trying to stay on her stepmother’s good side when she encounters the undercover prince in the marketplace and…I won’t give too much away here.

What you need to know is that there are three of us on staff that are obsessed with this series.

After you relish what Meyer does with the Cinderella story, you get to move on to Scarlet and the reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood!

Newly released is the third title in this (seriously epic) saga, Cress, where the titular character is the newest imagining of a satellite-bound Rapunzel.

(Rumor has it the fourth installment is all about Snow White and tentatively named Winter. Excited doesn’t even begin to cover our rabid fan squealing at the prospect).


Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

My only complaint with this retelling of Beauty and the Beast is that it isn’t going to be a series! I need more Rosamund Hodge, and I need it now!

This tale of Nix Triskelion and her beast, the demon lord Ignifex, magically weaves together a certain well known fairy tale and greek mythology to create something new and shiny and quite unique. Nix has been betrothed to Ignifex for years. During this time, she’s been training to assassinate him after the marriage is official. Once inside the physics-defying tower the demon lord calls home, Nix finds her mission more complicated than she ever imagined. She finds some comfort in a blossoming friendship with Ignifex’s shadow/servant. This particular Beauty will find more at stake than just her Beast’s life…

Fables by Bill Willingham

This graphic novel series was the (never really acknowledged) inspiration for the TV series Once Upon a Time. The TV show lacks the delightful bite that Willingham’s stories have though. Don’t worry, though. There’s also no amnesia factor here. In Fables, the fairy tale creatures were forced to flee the Homeland by The Adversary and have set up shop in New York City…while the more noticeably unnatural creatures (i.e., anthropomorphized animals) reside on The Farm in upstate New York. Like any good comics series, there are soap opera-worthy flings and fights. Lots of drama and mysteries to resolve. Bigby (aka the Big Bad Wolf) features prominently as the sheriff for the Fabletown community. There are characters from several different fairy tale and folklore canons represented and Mark Buckingham’s art is a treat.


Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

This book can make it into your hands in April, my pretties!

This is the first in a series and introduces us to Amy Gumm (derisively nicknamed “Salvation Amy” by her cruel classmates), a girl who would give anything to escape her trailer park existence and her pill-popping mother. A tornado whisking her off to Oz just wasn’t quite what she expected.

When Amy arrives in the world she thought was pure fantasy, she quickly discovers that the terms “wicked” and “good” have swapped meanings! She learns a power-hungry Dorothy (with the aid of her grotesquely transformed friends) is stripping Oz of its magic and demanding a compliant and servile populace. Amy is rescued from certain death by The Wicked, an alliance of witches and warlocks who train her in the use of magic and develop fighting skills so she, a fellow Outlander, can kill Dorothy and rid Oz of her abuse. Danielle Paige has crafted a continuation of Baum’s world that retains the dark magic feel of the original series.

And we love it.

Have a few fractured fairy tales close to your heart? Share your favs with us in the comments!



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