Book Retellings and Why They Can Be Poorly Received

Book Retellings and Why They Can Be Poorly Received

Book retellings are a popular genre. Many loved books have been based on an old fairy tale, classic, or old legends. A Curse so Dark and Lonely, based on Beauty and the Beast, A Court of Thorns and Roses, a book that takes creatures from old Scottish legend, and Cinder, a retelling of Cinderella, are all very popular books that use old works as source material.

While these books are very popular, why do some people not like book retellings in general?

From what I’ve seen, a lot people are very skeptical about classic retellings. For example, Jane Slayer, a retelling of Jane Eyre but if the beloved main character was a demon slayer, was poorly received by many of the fans of the original book. Many people thought that this was because it doesn’t live up to the original material, and, to some people, it spits on the name of the original work.┬áThat being the said, some retellings are received very well. When retelling a beloved classic, you have to take a lot of care to make sure that it doesn’t disrespect the original work. There are many books that do this well, such as These Violent Delights, a Romeo and Juliet retelling set in Shanghai in the 1920s, that quickly drew in readers.

A Court of Thorns and Roses, a well received book that uses old legend of faeries, didn’t exactly live up to my expectations. It felt like the author used to the legend of the faeries to draw in audiences. It only lifted a few minor aspects of the original story then pretty much discarded the rest of the legend. This is not my only complaint regarding the series, but I do criticize the retelling element.

When it comes to rewriting popular fairytales or classics, or using old legends for a story, an author might want to take care to make sure it can challenge the original work in terms of quality, or it could be poorly received.