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Trends in YA: Dystopian Fairy Tales

Trends are a funny thing. Some come all at once and others seem to slowly creep up on you as you read. I feel like in the dystopian genre there more books coming out that take a fairy twist in a dystopian world. Fairy tales are always popular, but the dystopian twist seems to be taking off. Here are a few I've noticed:

-This was the first dystopian fairy tale I noticed. I listened to it on audiobook when it came out in 2011 and really enjoyed it. It's a dystopian/future/scifi take on Sleeping Beauty.

From Goodreads: Rosalinda Fitzroy has been asleep for sixty-two years when she is woken by a kiss. Locked away in the chemically induced slumber of a stasis tube in a forgotten subbasement, sixteen-year-old Rose slept straight through the Dark Times that killed millions and utterly changed the world she knew. Now, her parents and her first love are long gone, and Rose-- hailed upon her awakening as the long-lost heir to an interplanetary empire-- is thrust alone into a future in which she is viewed as either a freak or a threat. Desperate to put the past behind her and adapt to her new world, Rose finds herself drawn to the boy who kissed her awake, hoping that he can help her to start fresh. But when a deadly danger jeopardizes her fragile new existence, Rose must face the ghosts of her past with open eyes-- or be left without any future at all.

Cinder is  a cyborg Cinderella tale set in the future. I read it and really enjoyed it and liked the cyborg take on Cinderella. It was unique and fun.

From Goodreads: 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

And Cinder's sequel/companion novel, Scarlet. This time it's a future tale of Little Red Riding Hood. 

From Goodreads: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

This one comes out in April and is another Sleeping Beauty retelling.

From Goodreads: There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.

Any others  you have noticed? Do you like fairy tale retellings with a dystopian twist?


  1. I loved Cinder and Scarlet and A Long, Long Sleep sounds great. I like this trend!

  2. I'm in the middle of Stung right now and didn't even know it was a retelling. I'm pretty good at recognizing a retelling when I see one, and now it's easy to see the subtle elements of Sleeping Beauty slipping in. So glad you pointed it out. This is a trend I'm excited to see more of in the future!

  3. I just got Scarlet from the library. Can't wait to read it. And I hadn't heard of Stung, but it sounds good.

  4. Wow. Good observation (dystopian retellings of fairy tales). Yes, this is a good blend of the subgenres. I read Cinder, but haven't read the other two. Will add them to my list.

  5. These all sound really interesting. I'll add them to my reading list. The reworked fairy tale has also been a huge trend in movies and tv shows as well.

  6. I really enjoyed A Long Long Sleep and Cinder. I hadn't thought about this being a new trend, but you're is! There are some great books out there with fairytale twists right now.

  7. I found this really interesting, but-please no hate- i really disliked Cinder, it was really hard to get into! Am i the only one??

  8. I had no idea this was a trend until I stumbled upon your blog. I'm in the middle of writing a re-imagined fairy tale in dystopian. Now I don't know if I should continue with it or put it in another setting.


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