Top Ten Books with Lesser-Known Fairy Tale Characters!

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Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
Every once in a while I participate in this one when I either
1) Like the theme, and/or 2) Have the time!

This week's topic:
Top Ten Books with __________ Characters

So of course I'm going with fairy tales!

We all know Cinderella and The Little Mermaid and Sleeping Beauty. Tales such as Twelve Dancing Princesses and The Snow Queen and East of the Sun, West of the Moon are even more well-known than they once were thanks to all the retellings.

But what about all the other fairy tales out there?

Here are a few tales you may not have heard of until the retelling came out!

In no particular order...

(Um...and add an eleventh one because I can't count...)

In No Particular Order...


This book just came out this summer and I really want to read it! It's based on the tale of The Girl Without Hands, which is also known as The Handless Maiden or The Girl with Silver Hands. It sounds haunting and I hear it's fantastic!

2) VALIANT by Sarah McGuire

This book is another 2015 release, and so much fun! Sarah McGuire poked at the story of The Brave Little Tailor, which actually wasn't one of her favorite tales. She wanted to explore why, and once she realized she was seeing a FEMALE tailor, this story was born!

I haven't reviewed this yet!? How did that happen? Well, for now, Check out My interview with Sarah McGuire!



Who in their right mind is obsessed with the story of Bluebeard as a child!? Jane Nickerson, that's who! The lush environment brings the South to life in a very visual way, and adds so much atmosphere to this grisly tale! Jane Nickerson has gone on to write THE MIRK AND MIDNIGHT HOUR, features new characters and is based on the Scottish Ballad of Tam Lin, another tale that doesn't get much attention!

My Review, my interview with Jane Nickerson

4) WINTER ROSE by Patricia A. McKillip

I was introduced to Patricia A. McKillip by Throne of Glass author Sarah J. Maas, who'd been reading/recommending her on her blog after her publishing deal was announced a few years ago. I went onto Ebay and bought a lot of McKillip books to try out. WINTER ROSE incorporates The Ballad of Tam Lin and The Goblin Market, two tales that aren't well-known. Tam Lin is becoming more well-known and adapted, especially since Sarah J. Maas just incorporated elements of it into her novel A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, which took the YA world by storm earlier this year, but The Goblin Market is still largely unheard of!

(That lot of books from Ebay! Happy reading to me!!!)

5) HOLD ME LIKE A BREATH by Tiffany Schmidt

Another 2015 title I'm super excited about! I bought a copy as soon as it came out and had Tiffany Schmidt sign I just need to read! The book isn't based on an obscure fairy tale, because most people have heard of The Princess and the Pea. Buuuuuut, it's obscure to have a novel that retells the tale--and does os in such a modern way! For example, our "princess" bruises due to a really rare disease! PLUS we're dealing with mafia crime lords. Isn't that an awesomely unique take on a tale you thought you knew!?

View an excerpt from my blog tour stop and check out my interview with Tiffany Schmidt!

6) DAMSELFLY by Jennie Bates Bozic

You all know the story of Thumbelina, but have you seen many novels about her? How about novels where she's been engineered as the solution to a worldwide energy and food crisis? What happens when she falls in love with a boy through talking to him online, but her creators want to match her with another of their creations? This is Thumbelina like you've never seen her before!

7) TOADS AND DIAMONDS by Heather Tomlinson

TOADS AND DIAMONDS is based on Charles Perrault’s The Fairies. The tale is frequently referenced in fairy tale-inspired or fantasy novels because the curse/"gift" of speaking and spitting out toads/snakes or diamonds/flowers is a very traditional curse. But not everyone knows it comes from a story, and the cursed characters often aren't the focus of the book! In TOADS AND DIAMONDS, they are!!!

My Review


 I read THE SCARECROW KING earlier this summer and will be reviewing it soon on a future A Twist in the Tail Thursday, so keep an eye out! I've since moved on to reading other fairy tale-inspired books by Jill Myles. What's ironic is that THE SCARECROW KING is based on one of my LEAST favorite fairy tales, King Thrushbeard. I really hate the "lesson" of the tale, but Jill Myles took all of the bad elements and twisted them into something new that had more romance and less "command," plus, a built-in fantasy world that was hard to stay out of. I really enjoyed her version of this obscure tale!

9) WHITE CAT by Holly Black

If you know your fairy tales, you know that WHITE CAT by Holly Black was inspired by the tale The White Cat. It isn't a direct retelling, but there are threads running through the novel for fans looking to find this obscure tale! I was so excited when I heard that Holly Black was doing this!!!

(It looks like I never reviewed this. I'll have to do that someday when I re-read this book and then first-read RED GLOVE and BLACK HEART!)

10) CRIMSON BOUND by Rosamund Hodge

CRIMSON BOUND blends together The Story of Grandmother (A more obscure version of Little Red Riding Hood that you can read a retelling of on my blog!) with The Juniper Tree, The Girl Without Hands (The Girl with Silver Hands), and other lore from obscure tales and myths that will delight fans familiar with them. I love all the obscure references!

My Review

11) THE PEDDLER'S ROAD by Matthew Cody

What!? A retelling of The Pied Piper of Hamelin is coming out in October!? I must own this and read it!!! This is one of those tales where you know the story and you sometimes see a Pied Piper in literature or on TV, but books usually don't outright feature the tale! Nomnomnom, I want this so much!!!

What are some of your favorite obscure fairy tale retellings?



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