In case you’re not on the hype train, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is coming out later this month (Jan 29!) The book is a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast so lots of people, like me, are really looking forward to getting our hands on it.
There’s something about Beauty and the Beast retellings that are just so timeless and intriguing. Maybe it’s because of the enduring lesson that beauty matters most when it is found within, not without. I’m a sucker for retellings so I’ve read my fair share of B&B stories; some really good and some not so great.
In honor of my favorite classic story and ACSDAL coming out, I wanted to share my top five favorite Beauty and the Beast retellings.
1. Uprooted by 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.
This book was really hyped up for a reason. I remember when I first read it thinking that it was one of the more ‘in-depth’ books I’d read in a while. The characters and their feelings are complicated, and nothing is straightforward. It’s a book that makes you think, and it’s a great read for anybody wanting something a bit challenging.
2. Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L. Demeter
A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST
Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.
A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE
Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.
BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…
Nobody seems to really know about this gem of a book. If you like Beauty and the Beast retellings but want something that’s a little bit darker and sexier, this book is for you. It’s like if Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera had a baby. Personally, I loved it, though the ending is pretty straightforward and easy to see coming.
3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
Another popular book, but the reason why I liked it so much is that it tells the Beauty and the Beast story as part of a larger romance. Without spoiling anything if you haven’t read the series, Maas really turns the classic tale on its head. I think that’s why I really loved this series because it says a lot about how a fairy tale ending is not always what is right.
4. Wicked Abyss by Kresley Cole
The terrifying king of hell…
As a boy, Abyssian “Sian” Infernas had his heart shattered by a treacherous fey beauty who died before he could exact vengeance. Millennia later, a curse has transformed him into a demonic monster–just as she’s been reincarnated. Sian captures the delicate but bold female, forcing her back to hell.
Meets his match.
Princess Calliope “Lila” Barbot’s people have hated and feared Abyssian and his alliance of monsters for eons. When the beastly demon imprisons her in his mystical castle, vowing revenge for betrayals she can’t remember, Lila makes her own vow: to bring down the wicked beast for good.
Can two adversaries share one happily-ever-after?
As Calliope turns hell inside out, the all-powerful Sian finds himself defenseless against his feelings for her. In turn, Lila reluctantly responds to the beast’s cleverness and gruff vulnerability. But when truths from a far distant past are revealed, can their tenuous bond withstand ages of deceit, a curse, and a looming supernatural war?
Oh man, this book. Basically, it’s Beauty and the Beast, but with a demon lord and a fae girl who likes to kick ass and take names. It’s a crazy ride and yes, it can be a bit smutty at parts but it’s an endearing type of smut, okay? If you like this book, chances are you’ll love the rest of her Immortals After Dark series too. They all build upon each other so there’s plenty to read.
5. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.
With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.
But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.
As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.
The first time I read this book, I remember being a bit confused and DNF’d it 3/4 of the way through. But the second time I tried it, I absolutely loved it. It’s a great starter retelling if you want something with magic and whimsy.
Do you have any B&B retellings that you love and would recommend? Share them below!