I don’t know if it’s the time of year or just my general love of fairy tales, but lately, I’ve been craving books that emulate those beloved themes and qualities from the fairytales I grew up with. So I decided to recommend some to you. Here are a few books that I think carry those fairy tale qualities excellently.
1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
To give you a mostly spoiler-free overview: Feyre Archernon and her family rely on her ability to hunt. But when she hunts the wrong creature, she becomes a criminal. To pay for her crimes she is dragged over the wall into the Spring Court of the faerie kingdom, where she must stay forever.
It’s no secret Sarah J Maas is an insanely talented author. I have fallen absolutely in love with her books and I can’t wait for the next series. A Court of Thorns is my absolute favorite and I die every time I think about it. In fact, I have already read the entire series twice this year. While it does carry through with elements from Beauty and the Beast, there is so much originality here. The entire series is breathtakingly beautiful and wholeheartedly powerful. I’m still dying at how perfect it is.
2. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I couldn’t possibly write this list without mentioning this series. It would be a crime. The Lunar Chronicles is a four-book series that touches on the stories of Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. The series as a whole centers primarily around the character of Cinder, a cyborg with a horrific adopted family and a past so secret that not even she knows it. Her journey throughout the series introduces her to Scarlet, Cress, and Princess Winter. Cinder is part of a rebellion, and she needs these young women to help her fight back.
This series was one I doubted and I was wrong. The books were recommended to me back in 2012, when Cinder was released, but I didn’t listen. But finally, after hearing incredible amounts of praise, I picked up Cinder and Scarlet. I finished all four books within about two weeks—honestly, it only took that long because I had to wait for the last two to be delivered. With the final book, Winter, I stayed up until three in the morning to finish reading it because I couldn’t make myself stop. I’m very impressed with this series and, while I am mad at myself for putting it off for so long, I’m relieved that I was able to read it all at once.
3. The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
This particular book isn’t really inspired by a single fairytale, but fairytales as a whole. Seventeen-year-old Alice has followed her mother from city to city, trying to escape the bad luck chasing them. Unfortunately, after the death of Alice’s grandmother—an author of dark fairytales—her mother disappears. The only message left from her mother tells her to “stay away from the Hazel Wood.” With the help of a classmate, who is a fan of her grandmother’s work, Alice sets off on her journey to rescue her mother and reveal the secrets of The Hazel Wood.
I was actually gifted this book from a friend and didn’t really know what to expect. I fell in love with the design of the book because it’s absolutely gorgeous and I’m a sucker for a good cover. Reading it was absolutely a fun journey. I really appreciated the stories within the story. I desperately want to read this book of stories that Alice’s grandmother wrote—but I’ll settle for seeing them through Alice’s eyes (Is my wish being granted? Tales from the Hinterland). I suppose this does sort of connect to Alice in Wonderland, but making that full comparison does feel a little too on the nose. If you’re interested in a take on dark fairytales—or in taking on dark fairytales—then this might just be the book for you.
4. The Selection by Kiera Cass
I’m not sure how fantastical this book is, but I love this series. I think one of the blurbs says it’s The Bachelor meets The Hunger Games, and who hasn’t been begging for that? Thirty-five girls from all castes have been chosen to court the enchanting Prince Maxon. Unfortunately for America Singer from cast five, she is one of those girls. America has been in a secret relationship with Aspen, but with him being a caste below her, he is one of many trying that sends her into the arms of the prince.
This series sounds cheesy at first glance, and honestly, the general concept is. But, I am in love with it. There is so much heart in this book that I’m consistently blown away. America is a strong character who believes in herself and values her heart and her needs. I have been rereading this at least once a year since I first read it in 2016. It’s definitely something that is easy to read and doesn’t require endless amounts of focus. It is the perfect leisure read.
5. Folk of the Air by Holly Black
Holly Black is well-known for being a Fae Queen with her writing. This series is perfect for this list because of that. At seven years old, Jude’s parents were killed before she and her two sisters were kidnapped to live in the High Court of Faerie under the guardianship of a general. None of the faeries around them are welcoming to humans, especially not Prince Cardan. But for Jude to earn her place at Court, she must risk her life and deceive those around her to save her family and the Faerie Kingdom.
I am in love with this series. The final book comes out very soon and I am dying to have it. Faerie stories are something I’ve always been drawn to, but until recently they never quite struck right for me. Authors like Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black have really helped me get back into these worlds and I have never felt so captivated by such exquisite world-building before. I am craving more stories like this.
Thank you so much for reading this list, I hope you found your next read. Be sure to check out all of the authors’ websites (linked in each section). Follow me on Goodreads if you’d like more recommendations (or to give me recommendations). Have a magical day and read some fairytales.