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As part of the Midnight Tales tour, Mandy C.’s compiled a list of (some of) her fave folklore and fairy tale books.


Welcome to the Midnight Tales tour, a celebration of Leigh Bardugo’s The Language of Thorns—on shelves today!

The book is a collection of six tales from Bardugo’s Grishaverse, the universe in which her Shadow and Bone Trilogy and the Six of Crows Duology are set.


Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.


Ever since I was little, I’ve loved the world of fairy tales and folklore, from the Disney versions to the darker origin stories. And a good YA retelling is tops on my list of favorite things to read. If you feel the same, you might dig some of these books, which are both original tales with old world themes—like The Language of Thorns—and “inspired by” those tales that we all know and love.

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness
Inspired by: “Tsuru Nyōbō”

The Japanese tale of “Tsuru Nyōbō” (or, “The Crane Wife”) tells the story of a man who saves a crane and later falls in love with a mysterious woman who turns out to be said crane. (Sorry for the spoilers!) Ness’ adaptation of the story moves the setting to modern day Britain, but it doesn’t lose the mysterious quality inherent to the original. (Side note: The Crane Wife is an adult book. Le gasp, I know.)

Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Inspired by: Cinderella

I can’t say enough good things about Poston’s take on the classic Cinderella tale, and how perfectly it weaves the fairy tale with fandom. Poston’s CInderella doesn’t need a prince, but it doesn’t hurt that he’s a megahot actor starring the in the movie reboot of her favorite classic science fiction series.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner
Inspired by: Beauty and the Beast

There are many familiar elements in Hunted, particularly the girl who gets captured by a beast, and the complicated feelings that follow. But Spooner’s Beauty questions these feelings, and in doing so makes it slightly more believable that someone would fall for their captor. (No knocking the original however; it’s a favorite of mine, but I can certainly admit its faults.) Spooner includes a lot of darker, folklore elements, too, which makes the story feel new and different.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa MeyerInspired by:
Inspired by: Cinderella, “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Rapunzel,” Snow White, etc.

Probably the most well-known YA retellings, The Lunar Chronicles doesn’t pull from just one fairy tale. In fact, each of the four main characters are themselves spins on familiar fairy tale heroines. Meyer weaves their stories together flawlessly, and the science fiction spin she takes breathes new life into their tales.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Original story

One of the most original “classic” folklore stories I’ve read in recent years, Uprooted feels like an old story that has only just been unearthed.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Inspired by: “Vasilisa the Beautiful”

The original Russian tale of  tells the story of a beautiful young maiden who has to outwit Baba Yaga, an old witch, to bring fire home to her family. Porter puts a modern spin on the story, with the main character of Vassa on the search for light bulbs in Baba Yaga’s curious (and somewhat sinister) convenience store.

When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
Original story

McLemore’s story is a modern one that includes elements not found in old tales (such as a transgender character), but still has an otherworldly feel. More magical realism than straight up magic, When the Moon Was Ours still features people who grow roses out of their wrists and a group of sisters whose control over the people of the town is not quite normal. I could see future generations passing down this story and Disney eventually turning it into a toned-down Princess film.

P.S.—When the Moon Was Ours is the Dec. 2017 FYA Book Club selection!

There’s a whole lot more where these came from, of course, and you can find more titles in our retelling, folklore, and fairy tale tags.

Do you have a favorite fairy tale or folklore book? Let me know in the comments!


Photo from Bardugo’s website.

Leigh Bardugo is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of fantasy novels and the creator of the Grishaverse. With over one million copies sold, her Grishaverse spans the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, the Six of Crows Duology, and The Language of Thorns—with more to come. Her short stories can be found in multiple anthologies, including The Best of and the Best American Science Fiction & Fantasy. Her other works include Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and the forthcoming Ninth House. Leigh was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Southern California, graduated from Yale University, and has worked in advertising, journalism, and even makeup and special effects. These days, she lives and writes in Los Angeles, where she can occasionally be heard singing with her band.

Mandy Curtis's photo About the Author: Mandy is a small town girl living in a nerdy world, or—if you want to get literal—an editor/writer living in Austin, TX. In addition to yearning for YA books—the more dystopian or fantastical, the better—she can also be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.