It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again. Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . . This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.
This book was one my radar because I knew it was queer. It was also on my radar because it sounded like a fascinating fairy tale retelling. But, it was on my radar on in a very quiet way, and I wasn’t sure when I was going to get to it. Though, some of my friends read and fell completely in love with it, so it got bumped up on my list! I wanted to read it and see if I would love it as much as they did. Trigger warnings: sexism, blood
I loved it as much as they did. Wow, all the love I saw online for this book, every piece was true. This book deserves all the praise, and more, that it’s getting. It’s truly incredibly.
What blows my mind about this book is just how smart the idea behind it is. A fairy tale, that is upheld as law. A fairy tale, where they characters live by it as religion. A fairy tale, that really happened and has become so ingrained into society. It’s an incredibly unique idea, but one that is so stunningly interesting. It takes this classic fairy tale and breaks it apart. It builds something new out of the shards of the old. It takes something that is so beloved and shows a completely new side to it, while also hitting all the beats of the original. Just thinking about the concept blows my mind, even after reading it.
This book is also so good because it was executed incredibly well. The author absolutely new what she was doing. She’s incredibly, incredibly talented and her writing showcases that. She created this harsh world, with hints of beauty in it. There’s cruelty, but there’s sweeping ball gowns as well.
This book is also queer as heck. There’s a f/f romance and I loved, loved how it played out. Its awkward and its sweet and its just brilliant.
Another thing I really, really loved was how steadfast Sophia was in her beliefs. She’s frustrated and angry with the world she is living in, and she’s going to do something about it. She wants to bring about change and there is nothing that can stand her way. She knows she’s strong enough to do and she knows that change is possible. She doesn’t apologize for wanting a better life; she’s going to fight for it as hard as she can.
I also really loved Constance. She’s as firey as her hair and the way she wields a knife is suburb. Though, there were times where I felt that the way she was written delved a little too far into cheesy. Some of her lines felt like they were trying too hard to be badass or mysterious or something along those lines. But I really liked her other than that!
I honestly liked all of the characters! A lot of them had minor roles, but they shined in even those.
Seriously, I think about this book and I think about how amazing it is it exists. It has this incredible premise, a f/f romance, girls saving the world in ball gowns, knives hidden under skirts, magic, a uniquely imagined fairy tale, and incredible writing. It truly is a book that completely blew me away.
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One thought on “Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron”
Great review! Definitely want to check it out!