It is not Friday. Er, it was supposed to be a Friday when I posted, but to take from an old adage: I do what I want. Haha, more like I was up at night trying to finish this post in time to get it out on an actual Friday and then I fell asleep, and now it’s Saturday. But let’s just all use our powers of imagination and cover up my blip, right? 🙂 Anyways, Friday Fight Days are when two bookish items, people, genres, etc. battle it out to be crowned champion. Every week it’s a new battle!
This week it’s…
*Dun, dun, dun*
Fairy Tale retellings vs. Mythology retellings.
Retellings are all the rage these days, specifically fairy tale ones. Mythology retellings took the turn in the spotlight just a few years before fairy tales, with the Percy Jackson series even hitting some schools’ summer reading lists.
For my senior year of high school, we had to read this book that emphasized over all other points this term called intertextuality, which is the relationship between one text and another text. The author of the book said that all books are connected, and that even though we don’t know it, whenever we read a book we are automatically linking that book with the ones we’ve read in the past. And maybe, in a way, that’s why retellings are so popular. Because they are intertextuality to the extreme. They don’t just echo past works, they remodel them. They take the Greek, Roman, Asian, and Egyptian myths I read as a child, as well as the texts I used to read in my big book of fairy tales and gather inspiration from them. The result is that I get excited even before I start to read them, because they’re already beloved to me.
But even though I love both mythology based books as well as fairy tale ones, there can only be one champion.
The Strong Suits (Popular books in each category)
-The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
-Beastly by Alex Flinn
-Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
-Entwined by Heather Dixon
-Sisters Grimm Series by Michael Buckley
-The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
-Abandon by Meg Cabot
-Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner
-The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
-The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
Since retellings go in any direction the author wants them to go, it’s hard to come up with specific pros and cons that each category has, since any author doesn’t have to fall into the potholes of each one. But there are a couple of big differences that I think are pretty important.
1. In Mythology (specifically Roman and Greek, because that’s what I mainly read and so I can’t say much about other myths) many characters exist in the same land, so can interact with each other in the same books. Take the Percy Jackson Series. Percy Jackson is the son of Poisedon, but that doesn’t mean he can’t interact with Zeus, Athena, Hades, etc. Since the myths combine all those characters together, any one book can feature all of them without it being unique. Meanwhile, fairy tale retellings usually only include one notable figure, such as Snow White, Cinderella, or Red Riding Hood. It’s more atypical to have all sorts of characters interact with each other, although there are certain books where this happens, such as the Sisters Grimm series.
2. Fairy Tale retellings, for the most part, usually have the main character as the fairy tale they are modeled after. Just Ella is literally Cinderella, only after her marriage. Beastly is the Beast from Beauty and the Beast. Entwined is about the 12 Dancing Princesses. Meanwhile, mythology based books usually have the main character meeting famous mythological creatures. Percy Jackson isn’t actually a person of notability, and while Pierce and John’s tale in Abandon follow the course of Persephone and Hades, Pierce herself clears up that they aren’t actually Persephone and Hades. Of course, there are many books in mythology where this isn’t true. Nobody’s Princess is one, as well as a few others. But while mythology bounces back and forth between being about meeting famous mythological figures and being famous, mythological figures, fairy tales seem to usually be about being those figures.
This one is a hard one to crown winner, because I love both old fairy tales and mythology. The Sisters Grimm Series is on my all time favorites list, but Nobody’s Princess and Abandon are both great. I like how in many mythology books a whole collection of characters comes out to play, but I also like fairy tale retellings in that they shadow the story, but with a twist. So, that said…who is Crowned Winner?
*Dun, Dun, Dun*
Guys, I’m going to have to go with fairy tale retellings on this one. As much as I love mythology, I think there’s a wider selection of fairy tales books on the market, and since there are so many different fairy tales, the selections have the opportunity to be really unique. Plus, I think the general *feel* of fairy tale books are, on average, much more whimsical and pretty (can that be a word to describe books?).
So, what do you think? Do you think Fairy Tales or Mythology retellings deserves the win? Why? Read any good mythology or fairy tale books, yet? Let me know in the comments below!