Book List

Tale as Old as Time: 8 Beauty and the Beast Retellings

April 28, 2017
Jess Harold
Riveted Editorial Board

After seeing Beauty and the Beast, I knew I wanted Belle’s life—secret castle far away from everyone, talking household items fulfilling my every need, and an enormous library. Getting to kiss the prince was just a bonus! And the only way to be a princess like Belle was to dress the part.

Beauty and the beast costume

But nothing lasts forever. Whether it was a growth spurt or my love of fruit punch, I had to give up my Belle dress for the pedestrian collection of clothes waiting in my unfortunately inanimate wardrobe. So I channeled my love for provincial French fairy tales into something more sustainable: reading. It’s likely that Disney Belle’s love of books is an homage to B&B’s original author, Gabrielle-Suzanne Bardot de Villeneuve, a noblewoman who defied social convention by earning her living from her writing. Regardless of who is telling this story, I wanted to read it. So for Princess Week, here is a list of Beauty and the Beast retellings that I have cultivated through the years. Did I miss any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments!

 

BEASTby Donna Jo Napoli

Meet the Beast -- before there was Beauty
Orasmyn is the prince of Persia and heir to the throne. His religion fills his heart and his mind, and he strives for the knowledge and leadership his father demonstrates. But on the day of the Feast of Sacrifices, Orasmyn makes a foolish choice that results in a fairy's wretched punishment: He is turned into a beast, a curse to be undone only by the love of a woman.
Thus begins Orasmyn's journey through the exotic Middle East and sensuous France as he struggles to learn the way of the beast, while also preserving the mind of the man. This is the story of his search, not only for a woman courageous enough to love him, but also for his own redemption.

A Court of Thorns and Rosesby Sarah J. Maas

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it... or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Belleby Cameron Dokey

The story of Beauty and the Beast finds new life in this magical and imaginative retelling that’s filled with romance and adventure.

By the time her sixteenth birthday comes around, Belle feels more convinced than ever that she is being called by the wrong name. Unlike her older sisters Celeste and April, whose names suit them perfectly, Belle knows that she is not beautiful. She begs to be called by her given name, Annabelle—or even Anna for short—but to no avail. Her solace is her wood-carving hobby, and she longs to find the Heartwood tree: Legend has it that, when carved by the right hands, it can reveal the face of one’s true love.

One day, during a fierce storm, Belle’s father stumbles upon the fabled tree—only to become ensnarled by it and come face-to-face with a terrifying and lonely Beast, who will set him free on one condition: that Belle carves the Heartwood. Belle agrees, never dreaming that she and the Beast have the same wish: to be seen not with the eyes of the mind, but of the heart.

Phantom of the operaby Gaston Leroux

Far darker than the stories familiar to audiences of today from the phenomenally successful Broadway musical and the early Lon Chaney, Jr. film, Leroux's Fantom is a genuine murderer, and the story, a true Gothic murder/horror tale. Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, terrorizes the Opera Garnier (or Paris Opera House) by a successful multi-year blackmail plot. When new owners take over the Opera, Erik's reign of terror is abruptly curtailed. With this threat to his formerly comfortable living, and his budding, if bizarre relationship with the lovely soprano Christine Daee, coming to a halt, Erik takes drastic and murderous action. More complex, and far darker than the Broadway musical and film, some have criticized Leroux's novel for its deliberate Nineteenth century pace, and its talkiness. Others have found it fascinating and absorbing reading, with depths not to be found in the later, extraordinarily popular adaptations. The novel is partly inspired by historical events at the Paris Opera during the nineteenth century and an apocryphal tale concerning the use of a former ballet pupil's skeleton in Carl Maria von Weber's 1841 production of Der Freischutz."

Uprootedby Naomi Novik

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

Of Beast and Beautyby Stacey Jay

What if Beauty became the Beast? Discover a new angle on the classic fairytale in this fantasy retelling that's perfect for anyone who can't get enough of Beauty and the Beast.

In the city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra is raised to be a human sacrifice. Her death will ensure her city’s vitality.

In the desert, a mutant beast named Gem fights to save his people, known as the Monstrous, from starvation.

Neither dreams that, together, they can return balance to their worlds.

When Gem is captured for trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, he becomes a prisoner of the city. Isra enlists his help, and soon begins to care for him—and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

Beastlyby Alex Flynn

I am a beast.

A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright—a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever—ruined—unless I can break the spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.

Cruel Beautyby Rosamun Hodge

The romance of Beauty and the Beast meets the adventure of Graceling in this dazzling fantasy novel about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Perfect for fans of bestselling An Ember in the Ashes and A Court of Thorns and Roses, this gorgeously written debut infuses the classic fairy tale with glittering magic, a feisty heroine, and a romance sure to take your breath away.

Betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom, Nyx has always known that her fate was to marry him, kill him, and free her people from his tyranny. But on her seventeenth birthday when she moves into his castle high on the kingdom's mountaintop, nothing is what she expected—particularly her charming and beguiling new husband. Nyx knows she must save her homeland at all costs, yet she can't resist the pull of her sworn enemy—who's gotten in her way by stealing her heart.

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