I like retellings! I feel like a lot of people do. “Retelling” is a rather vague word though, when you think about it, because there are all different types of these books out there, ranging from different genres to different types of stories being retold to different twists. So I thought it’d be fun to talk about it and get everyone else’s opinions!
Types of Stories that Can Be Retold
People tend to mostly talk about fairy tale retellings, but fairy tales aren’t the only types of stories that can be retold! There’s also mythology, classics, poems, short stories, children’s stories, nursery rhymes, folklore, the lives of famous historical people, historical events, and maybe even other types that I haven’t thought of or come across yet.
I like all of these, as long as I’m able to read or learn about the original beforehand. I would love to see more retellings based on classics though, as those are hard to find but they have so much potential! The Picture of Dorian Gray, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde… so many classics have such unique concepts that I’d love to see explored more and in different ways. I also think it would be cool if there were more retellings of short literature, like poems and nursery rhymes. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a nursery rhyme retellings, but I really want to find one!
Retelling vs. Prequel/Sequel vs. Inspired By
There are also different types of retellings, even though I’m guilty of lumping them all under the same word. There are the true retellings that use the same story idea/basics but with some sort of twist or just with more depth. Sometimes they use the same characters as the original, sometimes they use the story but different characters. Then there are prequel and sequel “retellings” that use the same characters (often with the author’s own take on them) but tell of events leading up to or taking place after the original story. Last but not least, there are the stories that aren’t quite retellings but are inspired by another story and use an idea or two from the original to jumpstart their own story.
I do enjoy all of these, but my favorite in most cases is the kind that uses the general story and basics of the original but gives it a twist. For Peter Pan retellings specifically, however, I prefer the prequel/sequel since it’s the characters I find so interesting, especially Hook. I would also love some Hades & Persephone retellings that use the actual characters and expand on the original story with more depth. Inspired-by types can be great books in general, but they’re not satisfying when it’s an actual retelling that I’m looking for.
Types of Twists
There are also all different ways an author can twist a story to make it different and unique. Authors can change the genre, the setting, the genders of the characters, the species of the characters (i.e. make them paranormal), the relationships among characters. They can make the story about LGBT+, POC, or disabled characters. Authors can also add twists to the plot and general story, exploring different concepts or taking things in a different direction.
I enjoy any kinda twist, and I’ve also enjoyed retellings that weren’t particularly twisty but just added more depth to the story and characters. However, I’d specifically love to see more paranormal retellings and retellings with different kinds of rep/diversity/inclusivity.
Overall Thoughts on Retellings
They still need to be well-written books, I’m not going to read or love something just because it’s a retelling, but I do think they can be a lot of fun!
Scrudge & Barley, Inc. is a really sweet modern M/M retelling of A Christmas Carol.
The Goblins of Bellwater is a retelling based on the poem The Goblin Market.
This Dark Endeavor is kind of a modified prequel about Victor Frankenstein.
Girl on a Wire is a YA retelling loosely based on Romeo and Juliet.
Captain is a prequel that tells how James came to be Captain Hook and how Neverland became the way it is.