Once upon a time, we were children curled up in bed while book pages turned and we traveled to lands of fairy tale characters far, far away. Princes saved princesses, knights slew dragons, animals spoke, and a happily ever after was always around the corner.
We’re all familiar with the classic fairy tale characters through children’s picture books or magical Disney movies. However, the versions that we adore are often not the tales initially told. The older the stories are, the more treacherous the adventure, with sinister characters, dark stories, and a happily ever after that comes at a cost.
Below are some of the most beloved fairy tale characters and their most popular YA fairy tale retellings. If you’re craving familiar stories with a twist, any book below will satisfy your thirst for adventure!
Fairy Tale Characters & YA Fairy Tale Retellings
- Beauty and the Beast
- A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
- A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
- Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
- LittleRed Riding Hood
- Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
- Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, David Leslie Jognson, Catherine Hardwicke
- The Goose Girl
- Thorn by Intisar Khanani
- Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
- Cinder by Marissa Meyer
- A Dance with the Fae Prince by Elise Kova
- What Once Was Mine by Liz Braswell
- Peter Pan
- Straight On Till Morning by Liz Braswell
- Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
- Sleeping Beauty
- The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett
- Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
- Malice by Heather Walter
- Snow Whiteand the Seven Dwarves
- Mirror, Mirror by Jen Calonita
- The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
- The Little Mermaid
- To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
- Part of Your World by Liz Braswell
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
- Unbirthday by Liz Braswell
- Heartless by Marissa Meyer
- King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
- Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
1. Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is a tale as old as time, featuring fairy tale characters we all know and love. The original fairy tale, written in 1740 by Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve (but can be dated back almost four thousand years), is similar to the Disney classic. A cruel prince, cursed by an enchantress to be a Beast, must fall in love. Beauty, or Belle, is the unfortunate woman he traps in his home to marry.
Beauty and the Beast features a strong female lead, as the princess saves the prince, further emphasized in some of the most popular YA fairy tale retellings.
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 jeweled 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.
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
Fall in love, break the curse.
Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year, Prince Rhen, the heir of Emberfall, thought he could be saved easily if a girl fell for him. But that was before he turned into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. Before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.
Nothing has ever been easy for Harper. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, Harper learned to be tough enough to survive. When she tries to save a stranger on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s pulled into a magical world.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.
Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. A prince? A curse? A monster? As she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.
Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon
Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanour, and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.
2. Little Red Riding Hood
Little Red Riding Hood is a fairy tale whose origins can be traced back to the 17th century. On her way to deliver food to her sick grandmother, a little girl in a red cloak must protect herself from the big bad wolf looking for his next meal.
In the story by Brothers Grim, a hunter saves Little Red and her grandmother, though Little Red Riding Hood saves herself in a few childhood versions, and sometimes her grandmother too.
YA fairy tale retellings of this classic story don’t often involve a huntsman or woodcutter at all (unless he’s a love interest). Instead, Little Red Riding Hood saves herself, and sometimes an entire village, from the big bad wolf.
Red Hood by Elana K. Arnold
Since her grandmother became her caretaker when she was four years old, Bisou Martel has lived a quiet life in a little house in Seattle. She’s kept mostly to herself. She’s been good. But then comes the night of homecoming, when she finds herself running for her life over roots and between trees, a fury of claws and teeth behind her. A wolf attacks. Bisou fights back. A new moon rises. And with it, questions. About the blood in Bisou’s past and on her hands as she stumbles home, about broken boys and vicious wolves, and about girls lost in the woods—frightened, but not alone.
Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright, David Leslie Johnson, Catherine Hardwicke
The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.
Valerie’s sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.
After her sister’s violent death, Valerie’s world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them–it could be anyone in town.
It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes…or everyone she loves will die.
3. Fairy Tale Characters: The Goose Girl
First published by the Brothers Grim, The Goose Girl tells the tale of a princess sent to marry a king. Her mother, a queen, gives her a magical charm that will protect her. Upon losing it, the princess’s servant demands that they switch clothing.
Upon arrival at the new kingdom, the servant impersonates the princess, leaving the princess-turned-servant to tend to the geese. When the king hears of the odd magical things the goose girl can do, he discovers that she is the actual princess and has the cruel servant punished for her crimes.
While YA fairy tale retellings of The Goose Girl are few and far between, below is a bold retelling of a princess caught between who she is and who she could become.
Thorn by Intisar Khanani
Between her cruel family and the contempt she faces at court, Princess Alyrra has always longed to escape the confines of her royal life. But when she’s betrothed to the powerful prince Kestrin, Alyrra embarks on a journey to his land with little hope for a better future.
When a mysterious and terrifying sorceress robs Alyrra of both her identity and her role as princess, Alyrra seizes the opportunity to start a new life for herself as a goose girl.
But Alyrra soon finds that Kestrin is not what she expected. The more Alyrra learns of this new kingdom, the pain and suffering its people endure, as well as the danger facing Kestrin from the sorceress herself, the more she knows she can’t remain the goose girl forever.
With the fate of the kingdom at stake, Alyrra is caught between two worlds and ultimately must decide who she is, and what she stands for.
Cinderella is one of the most popular fairy tale characters to date. An orphaned girl suffers beneath her evil stepmother until her fairy godmother grants her wish to attend the prince’s ball. When the clock chimes midnight and the spell begins to break, she leaves behind a single slipper, and the prince begins the search for his future bride.
Our sweet Cinderella tries on the slipper in the Disney classic and marries her prince with no fuss. In darker versions, such as the story from the Brothers Grim, the stepsisters chop off their toes or heels to fit the slipper. When that doesn’t work, and they try to sabotage the wedding, Cinderella sends her doves to blind them.
Cinderella is a fairy tale character who takes her happiness into her own hands, a trait that is not overlooked in these YA fairy tale retellings.
Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her stepsisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew…
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl… Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.
She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness.
But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Check out our ultimate guide to The Lunar Chronicles books in order for more info.
A Dance with the Fae Prince by Elise Kova
She knew her hand in marriage would be sold. She had no idea a fae prince was the buyer.
Katria swore she’d never fall in love. She’s seen what “love” means through the cruelty of her family. When she’s married off to the mysterious Lord Fenwood for a handsome price, she wants a better life than the one she’s leaving. Feelings are off the table.
But her new husband makes not falling in love difficult.
As their attraction begins to grow, so too do the oddities within her new life. Strange rules, screams in the night, and attacks by fae that Katria never thought were real. When she witnesses a ritual not meant for human eyes, Katria finds herself spirited away to the land of Midscape.
Surviving the fae wilds as a human is hard enough. Katria must survive as a human who accidentally pilfered the magic of ancient kings. Magic a bloodthirsty king is ready to kill her for in order to keep his stolen throne – and her new husband is the rightful heir in hiding.
The power to save the fae is in her hands. But who will save her from a love she vowed never to feel?
Rapunzel is another fairy tale character with a story a tad grimmer than the classic children’s tale often told. We all know about the princess locked away in a tower, who lets down her hair. In the Brothers Grim version, however, a more sinister story unfolds.
Cast out of the tower by the evil witch, the prince wanders the forest searching for Rapunzel, blind from his fall into the rose bushes. The prince reunites with his true love upon hearing her singing voice, and Rapunzel’s tears of joy heal his eyes.
YA fairy tale retellings are not as common for Rapunzel. But they still highlight the strong princess who defies the witch and rescues her prince.
What Once Was Mine by Liz Braswell
What if Rapunzel’s mother drank a potion from the wrong flower?
Desperate to save the life of their queen and her unborn child, the good people of Corona search for the all-healing Sundrop flower to cure her—but mistakenly acquire the shimmering Moondrop flower instead. Nonetheless, it heals the queen, and she delivers a healthy baby girl with hair as silver and gray as the moon. With it comes dangerous magical powers: the power to hurt, not heal. For her safety and the safety of the kingdom, Rapunzel is locked in a tower and put under the care of powerful goodwife, Mother Gothel.
For eighteen years Rapunzel stays locked away, knowing she must protect others from her magical hair. But when she leaves the only home she’s ever known, wanting only to see the floating lights that appear on her birthday, she gets caught up in an adventure across the kingdom with two thieves—a young woman named Gina, and Flynn Rider, a rogue on the run. Before she can reach her happy ending, Rapunzel learns that there may be more to her story, and her magical tresses, than she ever knew.
6. Fairy Tale Characters: Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a beloved fairy tale about a boy who will never grow old and a land where anything is possible. From cranky pirates and dancing mermaids to flying children and pixies, whether you’re a fan of the Disney adaptation or J.M Barrie’s original fairy tale, these fairy tale characters pack a nostalgic punch.
Popular YA fairy tale retellings tend to twist this classic into something a little darker, as Wendy, now all grown up, must return to Neverland.
Straight On Till Morning by Liz Braswell
What if Wendy first traveled to Neverland… with Captain Hook?
Sixteen-year-old Wendy Darling’s life is not what she imagined it would be. The doldrums of an empty house after her brothers have gone to school, the dull parties where everyone thinks she talks too much, and the fact that her parents have decided to send her away to Ireland as a governess-it all makes her wish things could be different.
Wendy’s only real escape is in writing down tales of Never Land. After nearly meeting her hero, Peter Pan, four years earlier, she still holds on to the childhood hope that his magical home truly exists. She also holds on to his shadow.
So when an opportunity to travel to Never Land via pirate ship presents itself, Wendy makes a deal with the devil. But Never Land isn’t quite the place she imagined it would be. Unexpected dangers and strange foes pop up at every turn, and a little pixie named Tinker Bell seems less than willing to help.
But when Captain Hook reveals some rather permanent and evil plans for Never Land, it’s up to the two of them to save Peter Pan—and his world.
Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas
When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.
It’s been five years since Wendy and her two brothers went missing in the woods, but when the town’s children start to disappear, the questions surrounding her brothers’ mysterious circumstances are brought back into light. Attempting to flee her past, Wendy almost runs over an unconscious boy lying in the middle of the road and gets pulled into the mystery haunting the town.
Peter, a boy she thought lived only in her stories, claims that if they don’t do something, the missing children will meet the same fate as her brothers. In order to find them and rescue the missing kids, Wendy must confront what’s waiting for her in the woods.
7. Sleeping Beauty
We all know and love the beautiful Disney adaptation of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, but this story has a sinister origin. We’re familiar with the tale of the poor princess who pricks her finger, most often on a spindle, and is then cast into a deep sleep only true love’s kiss can break.
But where Disney closes the curtains on that happily ever after, the original tale continues. After the princess gives birth to twins, another woman in the prince’s life demands that the royal cook kill and serve the children for dinner, and the princess too. The cook does no such thing, serving the other woman for dinner instead.
Because this story involves a seemingly helpless princess, many YA adaptations of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale will twist this narrative to give the princess a fighting chance.
The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett
An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke’s daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.
When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.
In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.
Part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia, with a thrilling political mystery, The Winter Duke is a spellbinding story about choosing what’s right in the face of danger.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
Malice by Heather Walter
Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after. Utter nonsense.
Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.
Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.
But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating—and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world. Nonsense again.
Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
8. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves may be the fairest of all fairy tales. In a dark fairy tale from the Brothers Grim, a young princess flees from the evil queen who wants to kill her, only to end up in a small cottage with seven dwarves. After ingesting a poisoned apple, courtesy of the evil queen, Snow White falls into a deep slumber. Instead of waking from true love’s kiss, the prince dislodges a piece of apple from her throat, effectively breaking the curse.
This strong princess makes for the perfect YA heroine, as Snow White and her dwarf companions are fairy tale characters that won’t stand for the evil queen’s wrath.
Mirror Mirror by Jen Calonita
What if the Evil Queen poisoned the prince?
Following her beloved mother’s death, the kingdom falls into the hands of Snow White’s stepmother, commonly referred to as “the Evil Queen” by those she rules. Snow keeps her head down at the castle, hoping to make the best of her situation.
But when new information about her parents resurfaces and a plot to kill her goes haywire, everything changes for Snow. With the help of a group of wary dwarfs, a kind prince she thought she’d never see again, and a mysterious stranger from her past, Snow embarks on a quest to stop the Evil Queen and take back her kingdom. But can she stop an enemy who knows her every move and will stop at nothing to retain her power… including going after the ones Snow loves?
The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine
Lorelai Diederich, crown princess and fugitive at large, has one mission: kill the wicked queen who took both the Ravenspire throne and the life of her father. To do that, Lorelai needs to use the one weapon she and Queen Irina have in common—magic. She’ll have to be stronger, faster, and more powerful than Irina, the most dangerous sorceress Ravenspire has ever seen.
In the neighbouring kingdom of Eldr, when Prince Kol’s father and older brother are killed by an invading army of magic-wielding ogres, the second-born prince is suddenly given the responsibility of saving his kingdom. To do that, Kol needs magic—and the only way to get it is to make a deal with the queen of Ravenspire, promise to become her personal huntsman…and bring her Lorelai’s heart.
But Lorelai is nothing like Kol expected—beautiful, fierce, and unstoppable—and despite dark magic, Lorelai is drawn in by the passionate and troubled king. Fighting to stay one step ahead of the dragon huntsman—who she likes far more than she should—Lorelai does everything in her power to ruin the wicked queen. But Irina isn’t going down without a fight, and her final move may cost the princess the one thing she still has left to lose.
9. Fairy Tale Characters: The Little Mermaid
Hans Christian Anderson originally wrote The Little Mermaid fairy tale, which has an unhappy ending compared to its Disney adaptation. In the original fairy tale, the Little Mermaid trades her voice for legs to be with the prince, only to have her heart broken. When he announces his engagement to someone else, the Little Mermaid’s deal with the sea witch ends, and she must return to the ocean to live as sea foam.
These YA retellings play on the Disney adaptation and create a strong, powerful, and deadly version of our favorite mermaid and other fairy tale characters.
To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.
The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavoury hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?
Part of Your World by Liz Braswell
What if Ariel had never defeated Ursula?
Five years after the (twisted) events of the film, Ariel is now the queen of Atlantica, and Ursula is running Eric’s kingdom on land. But when the sea witch threatens Atlantica once more, Ariel finds herself returning to a world (and a prince) she thought she’d left behind forever.
10. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Alice, from Lewis Caroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a fairy tale written about a girl who tumbles down a rabbit hole and discovers a whole new world. Tea parties, a disappearing cat, a rabbit in a waistcoat, and a vicious queen await her in Wonderland.
With fairy tale characters as unique as the ones in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, it’s no wonder why this story is so frequently adapted and retold. These YA retellings mix madness and magic, creating unique adventures full of challenge.
Unbirthday by Liz Braswell
What if Wonderland was in peril and Alice was very, very late?
Alice is different than other eighteen-year-old ladies in Kexford, which is perfectly fine with her. She’d rather spend golden afternoons with her trusty camera or in her aunt Vivian’s lively salon, ignoring her sister’s wishes that she stop all that “nonsense” and become a “respectable” member of society. Alice is happy to meander to Miss. Yao’s teashop or to visit the children playing in the Square. She’s also interested in learning more about the young lawyer she met there, but just because she’s curious, of course, not because he was sweet and charming.
But when Alice develops photographs she has recently taken about town, familiar faces of old suddenly appear in the place of her actual subjects-the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar. There’s something eerily off about them, even for Wonderland creatures. And as Alice develops a self-portrait, she finds the most disturbing image of all—a badly-injured dark-haired girl asking for Alice’s help. Mary Ann.
Returning to the place of nonsense from her childhood, Alice finds herself on a mission to stop the Queen of Hearts’ tyrannical rule and to find her place in both worlds. But will she be able to do so… before the End of Time?
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Long before she was the terror of Wonderland—the infamous Queen of Hearts—she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.
Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favourite of the unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next queen.
Then Cath meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the king and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship. Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.
11. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
Made popular before the 11th century, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is full of fairy tale characters, love, war, and sacrifice. Arthur, upon pulling the sword, Excalibur, from stone, is crowned king of Camelot. With the help of Merlin, the sorcerer, King Arthur develops the Round Table, where only the strongest knights may sit.
As King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a fairy tale with many characters, adventures, and stories, there are endless possibilities for retellings, especially in YA.
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
After her mother dies in an accident, sixteen-year-old Bree Matthews wants nothing to do with her family memories or childhood home. A residential program for bright high schoolers at UNC–Chapel Hill seems like the perfect escape—until Bree witnesses a magical attack her very first night on campus.
A flying demon feeding on human energies. A secret society of so-called “Legendborn” students that hunt the creatures down. And a mysterious teenage mage who calls himself a “Merlin” and who attempts—and fails—to wipe Bree’s memory of everything she saw.
The mage’s failure unlocks Bree’s own unique magic and a buried memory with a hidden connection: the night her mother died, another Merlin was at the hospital. Now that Bree knows there’s more to her mother’s death than what’s on the police report, she’ll do whatever it takes to find out the truth, even if that means infiltrating the Legendborn as one of their initiates.
She recruits Nick, a self-exiled Legendborn with his own grudge against the group, and their reluctant partnership pulls them deeper into the society’s secrets—and closer to each other. But when the Legendborn reveal themselves as the descendants of King Arthur’s knights and explain that a magical war is coming, Bree has to decide how far she’ll go for the truth and whether she should use her magic to take the society down—or join the fight.
More Classic Fairy Tale Characters
- Hansel and Gretel
- The Three Little Pigs
- The Gingerbread Man
- The Frog Prince
- Goldilocks and the Three Little Bears
- The Ugly Duckling
- The Emperor from The Emperor’s New Clothes
- Robin Hood
- The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Favorite Fairy Tale Characters
Which fairy tale characters are your favorite? Which YA fairy tale retellings have you read? Let us know in the comments below.
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