I have recently discovered the fantastic world of the retelling genre, specifically young adult retellings. As the name suggests, books in the retelling genre take a previous story and transform it into a different version of the original story. For example, a retelling may share a familiar story from an alternative character’s perspective.
Many books from this genre retell popular fairy tales, others offer a modern spin on a classic. Last month I chose to read one of each of these versions of the retelling genre to share with my readers.
By K.C. Lannon
Tempest Cursed: A Wuthering Heights Retelling by K.C. Lannon is the first in a two-part young adult fantasy series that completely engaged me and had me rapidly turning pages.
This eerie story takes place on the island of Moon Tithe and Tempest, the home of young Pearl and her father. Pearl is mourning the loss of her mother. Her mother’s death is mysterious; it is believed she drowned, although her body has yet to be recovered. Before her passing, Pearl’s mother imparted several stories of the Deep Dwellers to her daughter. The Deep Dwellers are sea gods who accept offerings of silver and gold treasures to keep their fury at bay. Holding onto her mother’s magical stories of the Deep Dwellers is Pearl’s way of coping with her loss. When Pearl herself makes an offering to the sea gods, she comes face to face with Hake, a boy who is half-Deep Dweller. Hake and Pearl form an unexpected friendship, and as they become familiar with one another, it becomes clear to Hake that Pearl’s stories of the sea gods are far from accurate. Will Hake show Pearl the terrifying truth of the Deep Dwellers? How will Pearl and Hake’s bond evolve over the course of the book? And, perhaps the biggest question of all, is Tempest cursed?
K.C. Lannon has done a stellar job of taking the classic Wuthering Heights and transforming it into a unique Gothic retelling. The descriptive nature of Lannon’s writing style flows through the pages, bringing the magic and mystery of Moon Tithe to life. The storyline unfolds from the point of view of both Pearl and Hake, rotating back and forth throughout the book. Each point of view provides the reader with a different perspective surrounding the events that occur. The result is in-depth character development and eagerly anticipating what is to come when the point of view once again changes.
I would highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy young adult fantasy, Gothic storylines, and suspense. It is not necessary to have read Wuthering Heights to enjoy this book, personally, I would say the book is inspired by the classic rather than a retelling. While classified as a young adult fantasy, this book will appeal to adults who appreciate the genre. Readers who are deterred by multiple points of view may wish to preview the book prior to purchase to see if the writing style appeals to them.
The fantasy element combined with suspenseful events was spot on for me. I enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to the second book in the series. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. I gladly rate this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Tempest Cursed: A Wuthering Heights Retelling is an example of a retelling that puts a modern spin on a classic. This book was recently published on August 9th, 2020. If you are interested in reading this wonderful book you can purchase it here. Let me know what you think about the book in the comments.
The second retelling I read was a fairy tale retelling. I chose this book for the Online Book Club’s August Genre Discussion. The topic of this discussion was fairy tales and/or fairy tale retellings.
By Sarah Henning
Sea Witch by Sarah Henning is the first in a two-part young adult fantasy series that puts a thrilling twist on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale classic, The Little Mermaid.
For the first time the Sea Witch is able to share her side of the story, but it’s not what you think. Just when you thought you knew the story of the sea witch, you learn about Evie. Evie is the daughter of a fisherman, best friend of a prince, and…a witch! It’s not easy being Evie in a world where the magic of a witch is feared. She hides her secret to avoid the punishment awarded to witches, death. A chance meeting with a girl Evie finds intriguing soon prompts Evie to ask herself if she should continue to hide her magical powers or use them to help her new friend. Will Evie overcome her struggles and embrace her magic? Just what story does the Sea Witch have to share?
Henning weaves twists and turns throughout this book when you least expect them. Each time I thought I had unraveled the characters I was shocked by another turn of events. These plot twists kept me wondering what would happen next and the storyline strayed from the original fairy tale enough to make this story truly unique. It was refreshing that I wasn’t able to predict what would happen and the unpredictability made for a thrilling read.
Different character perspectives are shared as the narration changes “hands” over the course of the book. They each have their own struggles, which shape the way the characters interact with one another. I found this to be a unique writing element because the reader learns of the struggles from the character’s own point of view, when they are narrating, but also from the viewpoint of others when the narrator changes.
I was enamored by the story of the Sea Witch, so much so that I purchased the sequel, Sea Witch Rising, to ensure I could promptly follow up with the series. I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy the story of The Little Mermaid and are interested to “hear” from the Sea Witch herself. In addition, those who enjoy young adult fantasy with a thrilling aspect to it would enjoy this book. There is also a romantic element to this book. That said, there is no adult content (only some kissing) in this book.
The combination of fantasy, fairy tale, thrills, and romance worked for me! Sarah Henning’s Sea Witch earns 5 out of 5 stars from me. I can’t wait to read the sequel. I wonder what Hans Christian Andersen would think of this twisted fairy tale?
If you have read Sea Witch leave me a comment letting me know if you enjoyed the book. Have you already read both books? If so, will I be just as thrilled with Sea Witch Rising?
For the month of September Online Book Club’s Genre Discussion is focusing on the Cozy Mystery/Crime genre. I haven’t yet chosen what I will pick for the month, but I’m excited because Cozy Mysteries hold a soft spot in my heart. (Find out why on my About page.)
I’m open to suggestions! Post your favorite Cozy Mystery in the comments so I can check them out. If you are interested in joining the discussion this month, click here.
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