Discussion

Same Old Story Same Old Song and Dance

No this isn’t a post about an awesome wiggle worthy song by Aerosmith it is a discussion about where I stand on re-tellings.

This time last year re-telling novels were very much new to me and although I haven’t read many I feel like for the most part I have made my mind up on where I stand with re-tellings; I am not a fan!

What I’ve found is that re-telling novels will usually fall into two categories; A) Veering so far from the original novel that I feel duped and conned into picking it up OR B) They stick so close to the original that I feel duped and conned again because I may as well just read the original material! Perhaps this makes me seem like a little high maintenance on the subject but from my point of view we pick up re-tellings to get a different perspective of our much loved stories and so neither category gives me what I’m looking for.

I have tried a few Beauty and the Beast re-tellings, most of which I had to DNF, because it is my favourite Disney movie and I’m always interested in having my ideas turned upside down or viewed from a different angle. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find one that lives up to my expectations as yet! I tried a few other re-tellings too thinking that maybe if it was a re-telling of something I didn’t love so much I would be more open minded to it but I found a lot of the same issues. 

I guess for me personally it comes down to the fact you can already really guess what the lay out of a book is going to be if it’s a re-telling there’s a safety net for the author and they don’t really have to think of their own plot because they already have a guide line. There is clearly a market for it out there looking at some of the novels that are hyped in the book community many of them are re-tellings and I think deep deep down I’m a little jealous my mind doesn’t really take them in or accept them but I have come to terms with it now.

Are you a fan of Re-tellings?

What are you favourite re-telling novels?

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14 thoughts on “Same Old Story Same Old Song and Dance

  1. I have only read two re-tellings (that I am aware of) – A Court of Thorns and Roses and Beastly. I liked ACOTAR a lot but I think that it is more loosely based on the Beauty and the Beast story. Beastly on the other hand, one of the worst reads this year. I do understand there are difficulties with re-tellings, especially if they are re-tellings of stories you love. I can only imagine how I would feel about a Harry Potter re-telling. *Shivers*

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    1. I loved ACOTAR when I was reading it but I re-read it just before ACOMAF came out and it lost a lot of it’s magic for me. I remember the first time I read it and I found some parts a little predictable but I think that’s because it’s a re-telling so you come to expect some predictability 🙂
      Have you read any other re-tellings or just Beauty & the Beast ones?

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  2. I love retellings, but they can definitely be hit or miss. There are a lot that just fall into a bland “That’s nice” category for me–entertaining, but not particularly imaginative or different from 50 other retellings. I also agree that some are really different from the original story, which is fine, but then I think the author/publisher might as well say “inspired by X” instead of calling it a full-on retelling, or just nix the comparison entirely. Maybe the book STARTED as a retelling, but just turned into a mostly original story as the author kept working on it.

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    1. Which re-tellings would you recommend? I think there a miss for me just because I’m so picky I want it to follow the story it’s copying but not so much so that it’s almost identical and not so little that it doesn’t feel like a retelling and I think it must be hard to find that middle ground as an author

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      1. Well, I really like the Lunar Chronicles, though I’m the first to admit much of the plot is predictable. I just think Meyer manages to make the story really engaging anyway. I also liked Cruel Beauty. Beauty and the Beast is one of my favorite fairy tales, as well, but I think one of the toughest to retell because I really hate the part where it’s all “and now the girl is going to leave and things will go badly but she will totally come back and make everything better.” For some reason I find it really hard to write that part of the plot in a way that’s original and not annoying. :p I actually give Sarah J Maas major props for the way she handles that in A Court of Thorns and Roses, even if I don’t think the book is perfect.

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  3. To a certain degree, I like retellings. My most recent reads were ACOTAR and ACOMAF, and I liked both very much, but I don’t think I could read the first one over again. Another is The Wrath and the Dawn duology. They were good but not great. And the author stuck pretty close to the original on the first book. Another one I liked was the Abandon series by Meg Cabot, which is another Hades and Persephone retelling.

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  4. I don’t think I’ve actually read a retelling… I won a book on Twitter called The Neverland Wars which is a Petter Pan retelling, so I guess that will be my first.

    Beauty and the Beast is my favorite too! The Disney film just came out of the vault and I bought it for my daughter for her birthday in October… I must admit, I thought about opening and watching it 😂

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  5. I love retellings! Especially those that really, really veer away from the original source material 😅 My favourite retelling would have to be CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge, which happens to be a Beauty and the Beast retelling! Go check it out if you haven’t it is phenom.

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