Freshened up fairy tales

CastleThe fairy tale must be one of the most widely known literary forms.  Heroes, villians, perilous quests, and magic often form the basis of classic fairy tale stories.  Given the enduring appeal of these tales is it any wonder that modern writers have taken these basic ingredients and reworked them into stories to delight and surprise modern audiences?

If you like stories that start with “Once upon a time…” and end with “…happily ever after” but want something with a bit of a twist then you might like to try the following –

  • The Princess Bride is a classic tale of true love, magic and adventure.  The film has continued to be popular since it was released 20 years ago and the source novel by William Goldman is also a treat, though it is rather more cynical than the film.  The story goes that Goldman asked his young daughters what he should write a book about and they replied that it should have a princess and a bride, hence the title.  Fans should try and get their hands on the 25th anniversary edition of the book which features a “bonus chapter” to the non-existent sequel “Buttercup’s baby”.
  • Cinderella was never so plucky as she appears in the film Ever after.  With Drew Barrymore as the downtrodden but feisty “Danielle”, Dougray Scott as the floppy-haired prince, and Anjelica Huston doing a fabulous turn as the evil stepmother there’s much to recommend it.  And then there are the glass slippers by Ferragamo
  • What if a falling star landed, not in England but in a neighbouring faerie kingdom where the unlikely and fantastical are commonplace?  Would the star, rather than being a piece of space debris, not take the form of a beautiful young woman?  This is the premise of Neil Gaiman’s novel, and later graphic novel, Stardust.  Stardust is full of flights of fancy, colourful characters, and plenty of humour.  It was also made into a film starring Claire Danes as the fallen star, Yvaine.
  • For younger readers (or the young at heart) Ella enchanted might be the thing to read in lieu of more traditional fairy tales or try this list of similar titles.

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