Top Ten Tuesday: Must-Reads for Fairy Tale Enthusiasts

Vector of knight in shining armour by Graphics by yours truly.

I love doing Top Ten Tuesdays, I just wish I could be more consistent about it. This week’s theme is a semi-freebie, you’re meant to give your recommendation to a particular subset of people. I decided to target those who, like myself, adore fairy tales. I won’t be covering fairy tale retellings, because I’ve done that before. Instead, I want to recommend stories which follows fairy-tale narratives and possess the same timeless quality.


1. In The Night Garden by Catherynne Valente: Regulars of this blog will know that I mention this book in basically 80% of my recommendation posts. It’s my favourite of all time – and I plan to reread and review it on the blog this year to hassle you all into reading it (again). This is very loosely based on 1001 nights. Valente accomplishes the extraordinary feat of writing an expansive and immersive tale – spanning several lives and a multitude of stories. It’s multifaceted, subversive, and powerful.

2. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: A multi-generational tale that packs a punch despite its relatively short length. The language used is evocative and atmospheric, painting a tale that illustrates the hopes and pains of love. Magical realism at its most captivating.

3. Stardust by Neil Gaiman: A classic tale given the modern treatment: boy sets off to find his destiny and win true love. At once nostalgic and irreverent, this coming-of-age story remains one of my favourite Gaiman novels. It reminds me that magic and love can be found in the most unlikely of places.

4. Wink, Poppy, Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke: Dark and mystifying, this book examines the role of fairy tales in our lives. The three voices in this book are intertwined yet distinct, leaving the reader to figure out the riddle: who’s the hero and who’s the villain. Although the ending lacks impact, the book is worth reading based on its gorgeous proses alone.


5. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr: Deeply moving and beautifully executed, this WWII novel is filled with elements straight out of a storybook. Each sentence is exquisite and each metaphor carefully considered, making it an absolute joy to read. At once tragic and uplifting, it’s a fairy tale for the modern age.

6. Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier: I’ve been a long time fan of Juliet Marillier, and the Blackthorn & Grim series is her back in top form. Deftly weaving both fairy tale elements and Celtic lore, Marillier creates her own brand of dark and mesmerising cautionary tales. The best part? The heroine here plays the role of the wise, sagely ‘witch’ rather than the naive princess.

7. Uprooted by Naomi NovikA spellbinding tale combining Polish folklore with strong female characters and relationships. Uprooted has it all: a dangerous Wood, a girl-abducting Dragon ;), and girls who save themselves.

8. Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: An unflinching commentary on the way society objectify women and its preoccupation with apperances. The story weaves between magic and reality with ease, using fairy tale elements to further enhance its message.


As you can see, stories with a fairy tale like edge is a weakness of mine. Have you read any of these? Which books are missing from the list that I should check out? Let me know below 😀

39 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Must-Reads for Fairy Tale Enthusiasts

  1. What an awesome list! =) I still need to read Valente. I read half of the girl who circumnavigated fairyland and I didn’t really like it but her writing is really good so hopefully her other books I’ll like more.


  2. Never in a million years would I come up with this list but you did and I am thrilled that you did. I have always wanted to pick up Uprooted and I just loaded your review so let’s hope I like what I read about it!

    GORGEOUS, as usual, Aentee! xx


  3. ooooh! we have entirely different topic for today but we share All the Light We Cannot See. 😀 I agree… it is really a bit fairytale-ish. Good fairytale that is! 😀


  4. I love your topic for this week! Fairytale retelling books are part of my favourite sub genre and you’ve given me some new ones to check out which sound amazing! I read both Bone Gap and All the Light We Cannot See and they’re favourites of mine. Both have such beautiful writing and stories.
    Great picks!


  5. I’ve seen those books everywhere but haven’t read them yet! I’ve been eyeing Uprooted and Stardust for a while, and I’m going to read All the Light We Cannot See this month. Amazing picks!


  6. Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve been seeing Uprooted everywhere lately. Adding that one to my TBR for sure. Great topic choice! I almost picked the same one hehe.
    My TTT


  7. Book marking this post because obviously I need more fairytale retellings in my life. I’ve read 2 from your lists and they are 2 I LOOVED. I really want to re-read Uprooted one of these days. It’s such a brilliant book and not to mention, sexxxxy!
    Ava Lavender is one I especially need to get my butt in gear and just get because it sounds perfect for me.
    Thanks for the great list, Aentee! 😀


  8. I’ve been seeing Wink Poppy Midnight around my blogfeed, so I will have to check that out. I must get to this Marillier book at some point. And YES to Uprooted. Love that book.


  9. What a great list – i love fairytale type books and have read a few of these but I now really fancy the Valente and also the Ave Lavender book (which I’ve had a copy of for ages).
    Lynn 😀


  10. Exquisite list! Uprooted, Ava Lavender and All the Light are treasured favourites of mine! I have yet to read any of Catherynne Valente’s books, but I’ve heard they’re all mystical and magical and weird, which is right up my alley.

    Alice Hoffman’s writing can be quite fairy-tale like, she incorporates a lot of magical realism in her work, if you’re looking for something similar.


  11. I absolutely love your spin on this topic and there are so many books on this list that I’ve either read or desperately need to read. Stardust is definitely a classic and it’s such a quick read. I am also loving the cover you used for that book. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrow of Ava Lavender has been sitting on my shelf for months now. I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up yet but I will get to it one of these days haha. All the Light we Cannot See is another one I am desperate to check off the reading list.
    I enjoyed Uprooted and I definitely felt like I was in a fairy-tale as I was reading the book but I did feel like the overly descriptive nature of the writing halted the pace a bit, especially when you entered a tense situation.


  12. Oh my GOSH I so have to read In the Night Garden. I just Goodreads’d it (totally a verb) AND THE REVIEWS. Plus I’ve read a couple of Catherynne Valente’s books and I think she’s just fabulous. Plus I absolutely adore fairytales. You should definitely read Fairytales for Wilde Girls, by the way – it’s Aussie and creepy and delightful 🙂


  13. First off, your graphics are so gorgeous and ohmygoodness, they are GOALS. ❤

    Secondly, I'm dying to read Wink, Poppy, Midnight! I saw it at the bookstore and read the 1st few pages and I'm already hooked ahh. ❤ I JUST NEED THAT BOOK SO BAD.


  14. I’ve heard so many great things about Bone Gap but it’s only the magical realism that has me hesitating. And of course I know All the Light We Cannot See is Jenna’s favourite book so I’ll have to pick it up sometime. I absolutely LOVED Uprooted as well! Great recommendations Aentee ❤


  15. Out of all of them on this list, I’ve only read Ava Lavender, but I do plan to check out the majority of the rest. Especially Bone Gap. I’ve been wanting to read that for a while now, but I haven’t had the money to buy it and it’s been checked out from my library for so long! D: Have you ever read The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black? It has magical/fairy tale elements as well.


  16. With your impeccable taste for atmospheric books with beautiful writing I think I just add all these books to my tbr-list. I don’t gravitate toward these kind books lately, but I safe them for the time when I’ll be in the mood for such a book.


  17. Let me know when you feel like re-reading In The Night Garden because I’d love to to do an impromptu re-read of it too. (I don’t get to re-read faves, so this error on my part must be fixed.)

    I haven’t heard of Wink, Poppy, Midnight but I’m all for stories with unreliable narrators.


  18. These all sound amazing! I completely agree with you about All the Light We Cannot See – it’s such a beautiful and heart breaking story, yet it still carries that whimsical feel like fairy tales do. I really hope to read Bone Gap soon – I absolutely love the sound of it, and the way it carries messages about how women are treated in today’s society. I’m so excited to read Uprooted too, because it’s got such a beautiful cover!

    Thank you for these recommendations!
    Denise | The Bibliolater


  19. I looove All the Light We Cannot See! Also have always adored the Stardust film but need to read the book!! Great post xx


  20. Omg yaaass I’m super crazy about The Strange and Beautiful Tales of Ava Lavender! I’ve heard so many beautiful things about Uprooted, and I know All The Light We Cannot See is Jenna’s fave.

    For me, I liked Cruel Beauty, which was a fairytale retelling but super twisted – it was still super sweet and lovely in a way though.


  21. Yes to All the Light We Cannot See and Uprooted and Stardust! They are all so wonderful! I’ve got a copy of In the Night Garden and I’m really excited to read it now… I promise I’ll do it soon 😉
    Wink, Poppy, Midnight looks so interesting too!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooo I hope you read In The Night Garden soon, I love that book so much but don’t know anyone who has read it.


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