New Books Highlight: Literary Remixes
The literary remix is fast becoming its own genre. Let me define: literary remix is when an author takes a work of literature or lore and reworks it as a new piece of fiction. Whether the story uses the same character names and relatively the same plot but puts it into a different time or place, or uses the plot and its symbolism as bones to build a pretty new story around – a lot of authors take inspiration from literature and lore. It’s a really fun genre because if you’re familiar with the original, the reworked piece is more vivid. It’s fun to see where the plot is similar, or how the author of the remix has transformed objects, places and people for the modern day or future. Here are a few new books that remix either fairy tales or canonical literature.
The fact that this is a remix is right in the title: twists on timeless tales. Melissa Marr works in the fairy-tale remix genre often, so it is not surprising that she co-edited this. It features new stories by authors like Neil Gaiman, Margaret Stohl, Rick Yancey and Holly Black. Each story reworks a classic piece of literature or lore, and in the remixing author identifies which story inspired them, and tells you a bit about why. This is the most fun to read if you know the stories being reworked, but if you don’t you will be inspired to find them.
This is the second volume in the Woodcutter sisters series. The author remixes not one but many fairy tales, even throwing in some Greek mythology for good measure. Most of Saturday Woodcutter’s family understands their magical gifts – everyone but her, it seems. So when the tossing away of a magic mirror puts her whole family in danger, Saturday is ready to take on the adventure in the hopes of better-understanding her gifts. She set sails on a conjured sea only to be imprisoned by a blind witch who mistakes her for her brother. But the witch has other prisoners and with their help Saturday may be able to orchestrate their escape – if she doesn’t accidentally fall in love first.
This is a dark and story paranormal romance retelling of Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. In this remix, the style of writing and the structure of the story remain very close to the original work – but author Croggon sets the story in a world in which women practicing magic has been made illegal, and main character Lina may have supernatural powers. As in the original, Lina is in a star-crossed lover situation with her adopted brother, Damek, which amps up the danger Lina faces. It is as haunting and atmospheric as the original, with even more Gothic touches and a paranormal overtone.
This is not a classic remix because it is set after the events in the original story, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Author Taub imagines what comes next after Romeo and Juliet have both died (and now you’re totally saying, “I have always wondered!”). Verona has found some piece in its grief over the young lovers’ deaths. But the Montagues and the Capulets have not set aside their rivalry. Their is violence in the streets, and Prince Escalus decides he must take action: by forcing a Montague to wed a Capulet, thereby uniting the two families once and for all.
Based on the classic Gothic novel Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. Tess has transferred to elite boarding academy Thorn Abbey. Despite her lack of confidence – or perhaps because of it – she draws the attentions of Max de Villars. However, Tess, and everyone at the school in some way or another, seems to be haunted by the ghost of Max’s last love, Becca, who tragically drowned the previous year. Tess’s roommate was especially changed by Becca’s death, and now seems to be channeling her madness towards Tess and Max’s union.