Rivetingly Retold

Top 5 contemporary adaptations of beloved classics, ranked.

5. For This Darkness Shows the Stars Diana Peterfreund
A futuristic retelling of Jane Austen’s infamous Persuasion is a beautiful dystopian plot-twist on the timeless tale of past promises, class divides and love despite obstacles: Elliot is part of the nobility when she falls in love with her childhood best friend, a servant- their love is opposed by her selfish family and Kai leaves, vowing to come back worthy of her. Great as both a retelling and a book in general, this is an amazing read; full of tough choices, upheavals and genuine feeling.

4. Dorothy Must Die series Gregory Maguire
Turning all our assumptions about the land of Oz upside down, this series from the master of fairytale retellings Gregory Maguire shows us what happened after happily ever after. Dorothy has become evil, the good witches are drunk on power and it’s left to the order of bad witches to find another girl from Kansas to finish the first. Bewitchingly told (no pun intended) the story of Amy Gumm gives us a twisted Oz that needs to saved from its saviour, adding just the right smattering of action and humour that was missing from the original.

3. The Wrath and the Dawn Renée Ahdieh
Renee Ahdieh’s 1001 Nights reworked has, since its release, taken the world not only of retelling but of literature by storm. In haunting detail, we see the fierce heroine who keeps her head on her neck only by the power of her words and the battle of conflicting emotions faced by her caliph, all set against the backdrop of magic and political uncertainty. A much more vivid version of the legend, this book is everything you could ask for in a retelling, and more.  

 2. Lock and Mori Heather W Petty
We all love Sherlock; with the countless screen adaptations whether worthy or unworthy, there has however been a dearth of literary retellings of the sleuth and his adventures. This is an adaptation not only set in modern times  but focusing on the relationship between titular hero and villain Moriarty- except here, Mori is a sassy London teen that meets reclusive Lock from Chemistry Lab during a fire drill at their high school. Their partnership has a great deal of differences from the original but the surprise twists make it so much more exciting and relatable.

1. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Seth Grahame-Smith
This is an epic twist on the original Austen novel-which is often hard to digest by the modern reader for its being set in such a misogynistic society- and in this revolutionary adaptation that’s also been made into a movie, the Bennet sisters are not simply women waiting to be won like prizes, they are warriors trained to fight better than most men against the Zombie plague infesting the country. With all the beloved characterisations and riveting prose from the original, this is a version of a classic that might just surpass the first in terms of readability!


-Devanshika Bajpai