Mini Reviews: Retellings Edition

Mini Reviews: Retellings Edition

Retellings of classics are generally hit or miss for me. I haven’t figured out the sweet spot for me, because sometimes I like very faithful retellings and sometimes I like retellings that veer far from the original. I’ve recently read a few retellings and they’ve been all over the map. 

Interestingly, when compiling these mini-reviews, I started looking at Goodreads lists of retellings and it struck me how limited the spectrum of retellings really are. There are loads of Jane Eyres (um… and quite a few naughty versions) and a number of Jane Austens, but really, there’s not a broad range. I don’t know if I’d like to see more retellings, but if it’s something that’s going to continue as a trend, I’d love to see adaptations take on a broader swath of source materials.

Jane by April Lindner on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

Jane by April Lindner on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

Jane by April Lindner

{Original: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte}

And he left me to dreams that were anything but sweet.

I likely would never have read April Lindner’s adaptation of Jane Eyre if if hadn’t been for Angie’s enthusiasm for it. This is a very modern version of the source material (Rochester is an aging rockstar name Nico), but it’s also extremely faithful to the original story. The relationship between Nico and Jane should have really bothered me because it, like in the original, is not particularly functional. However, also like in Jane Eyre, the story is creepy and atmospheric. I do wish that Nico/Rochester’s Big Secret had been modernized to the extent that the other elements of the story were, because it did read as quite implausible. 

{Amazon | Goodreads}

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by DIana Peterfreund

{Original: Persuasion by Jane Austen}

In every letter, in every line, she saw him. He hadn’t changed—he’d only grown into the man he’d meant to be.

I’ve mentioned previously that Persuasion is the only Jane Austen that I like. I also really enjoyed Diana Peterfreund’s Rampant, about girls who fight killer unicorns (don’t laugh). Therefore, it’s no surprise that I For Darkness Shows the Stars is probably my favorite retelling ever. This is a futuristic retelling, and the world is a bit confusing at first because it’s not immediately explained. Instead it unfolds through letters between the two main characters (like in the original). There’s a wonderful sense of yearning and obligations colliding with one another through the book. 

{Amazon | Goodreads}

Ten by Gretchen McNeil on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

Ten by Gretchen McNeil on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves

Ten by Gretchen McNeil

{Original: And Then There Were None by Agatha Cristie}

[No quotation because I, for the first time ever, didn’t highlight a single passage in this book.]

This was my book club’s October pick and it was… unintentionally hilarious. I gave it three stars on Goodreads, which was pretty generous (I gave it a bonus star for being nearly satiric), but it was oddly enjoyable because it was a nostalgic reminder of the Christopher Pike-style teen slasher novels I loved when I was thirteen. There are lots of shout-outs (I hope they’re shout-outs) to horror flicks, too, and parts were legitimately creepy. However, the ending is significantly altered in comparison with the original material, which is very disappointing for a number of reasons. 

{Amazon | Goodreads}

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Ironskin by Tina Connolly

{Original: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte}

Unfortunately, Tina Connelly’s Ironskin is s a reverse beauty and the beast-type story amid a steampunk backdrop, which intrigued me tremendously. Unfortunately, it was victim of where it fell in my reading order. I started it shortly after enjoying Jane (Jane Eyre retelling) and Riveted (my new favorite steampunk) and only got a few chapters in before setting it aside. While the writing was solid, there was something missing for me, a bit of a distance from the characters that kept me from being drawn into the story. However, I think I will revisit Ironskin, because Sandra’s currently reading and really enjoying it. 

{Disclosure: Received for review from the publisher via NetGalley.}

{Amazon | Goodreads}

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