The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
October 15, 2020 7:54 AM EDT

In this innovative retelling of Swan Lake, teenage sisters Blanca and Roja know that only one of them, the “good” one, is destined to live her full life as a human. The other, due to a curse on their family, will be turned into a swan. The girls never see each other as competition, and when it appears that their time together as humans is coming to an end, they decide they’ll do whatever it takes to outsmart the curse. “Swan Lake is a deeply moving love story, but if its messages about womanhood go unquestioned, they reinforce the idea that we can be reduced down to basic types,” Anna-Marie McLemore said in a 2019 interview. Instead of giving into the original tale’s tropes—the love story here is clearly between the sisters—McLemore demonstrates just how tiresome it is to be “good,” and yet how heartbreaking it is to be seen as anything else. —Annabel Gutterman

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