The Real Princesses of Faery County

The past few nights, the hubby and I have been curling up on the couch together. He has his Celtic mythology book and likes to regale me with stories of the gods and goddesses or the terrible doings of their mythological creatures. It’s something that we’ve been doing a lot lately.
Faery tales and mythology is something that I really geek out over. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been digging through books and the internet to learn as much as I can. Inside my head are selkies that lounge on barnacle ridden rocks and kelpies that peer at you from beneath the water’s surface (I think summer makes me think of water).
But I’m seeing a new trend pop up everywhere. Even my 15 year old sister-in-law has hopped onto this trend train. Her closet and bedroom are filled with anything and everything Little Mermaid. Disney Princesses, the well known cartoon versions of classic faery tales, have managed a really big takeover. Even I worshipped Jasmine and Pocahontas when I was a kid and devoured ABC’s Once Upon A Time.
But I’m still left craving the meatier, older faery tales. That’s when I turn away from the television and towards my bookshelf. For those that are committed to their princesses and faery tales I want to share my favorite versions.
1. Beauty, a retelling by Robin McKinley: This book is older than me, but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less relevant. An ugly duckling daughter with a head for books and work agrees to live with a monstrous creature who shares her same passions. There are magical roses, greathorses, and great morals. I read this while I was still in high school and years later I hunted it down in our local bookstore.
2. Sunshine by Robin McKinley: For the older crowd that is looking for an updated version of Beauty and the Beast, this book features a heroine who bakes the best cinnamon rolls and discovers a strange magic inside herself that draws her into the world of vampires, especially one mysterious and manly vampire.
3. Tithe, Ironside, and Valiant by Holly Black: Each one is a great example of bringing the dangerous old world faeries into a new urban setting. Tithe and Ironside are about a changeling girl discovering her faery blood and falling for the wrong guy. Valiant, my favorite, is about a normal human girl who finds herself caught between humanity and fae when a potion to ward against iron sickness is used by human kids as a drug. A book where the heroine learns to wield a sword is instant awesome.
4. Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr: Here is another great example of what happens when you take faery tales and give them a new urban setting. I’ve only read the first two books in the series, running out of money before I could catch up, but the first book alone was enough to find a place in my heart forever. Marr takes the idea of faery tale love and turns it on its head in each book.
5. Tides by Betsy Cornwell: A recent read that I brought with me during our camping trip in NNY. It took me two sittings to read the entire book. It is a YA story about a dysfunctional family that meets a pod of selkies. While the story is fantastical, it deals with real world problems like bulimia and sexuality making it a must read for young adults.
6. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I will always promote this book. It depicts a contest between two 19th century magicians, using a fantastical circus as the stage. The circus is black and white, but the story is anything but. The story takes you along with the circus, showing the costs of the contest on not only the magicians, but on those around them. I love this so much that I modeled my wedding after it and I definitely plan on getting some of Morgenstern’s fantastic quotes tattooed.
These are my picks for modern faery tale books. Check them out at your local library, Oyster (I know for sure that Tides is on it), or pick them up if you have a bookstore available. And if you like this kind of thing tell me which faery tale books you really love.

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Author: Leah Chiasson

I am a twenty something geek, wife, writer, and all around goofy girl. I am a freelance writer as well as the author of Marked For The Hunt, available on Amazon.com, and the coming sequel, Marked as Prey. You can find me on Leahcorrinewrites.wordpress.com and on my Patreon site!

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