Hello! I finished reading Cinderella is Dead a few weeks ago, but it took me a while to write this review. I really loved it though, and I think that it is a wonderful book.
Also, I’m on a camping trip and won’t have wifi and stuff, so I won’t be able to respond to comments until Wednesday or or Thursday.
Anyways, without further ado, here is my review of Cinderella is Dead, by Kalynn Bayron.
Cinderella is Dead
Author: Kalynn Bayron
Release Date: August 8th 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown
Genre: Young adult, fairy tale retelling
Representation: Lesbian black main character, gay side character
*this review is spoiler free*
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.
Cinderella is Dead, and now her fairy tale life has become the model that all girls and women must follow. Go to a ball, find a prince, and get married, all to live out the perfect happily ever after. But is the happily ever after really all that wonderful?
Sixteen year old Sophia sees what really happens. Women, struggling under the rule of a patriarchal society, forced to obey and submit, not being able to think for themselves and make their own decisions. Young girls, forced to marry men who could be their grandfathers. Girls not chosen at all, who disappear, disgraced.
And while some girls would dream about finding their prince, Sophia knows that she wants to marry a princess. Her best friend Erin, to be exact. However they are getting older, and it’s time for them to go to the ball, and face the fate that the girls have had to face for the last 200 years.
But when Sophia is at the ball, she flees, and seeks shelter in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last remaining descendant of Cinderella and her stepsisters. Constance shows Sophia a whole new side of the story, but even she doesn’t know everything. The two girls work together and uncover more of Cinderella’s story than they ever imagined they would.
The characters that we meet along the way are all really well written. They don’t all have the complex backstories that some characters do, but their personalities are all so unique!
Sophia knows that she is lucky, at least compared to many where she lives. She has loving parents, and friends that are there for her. Her father is caring, and loves her, and is good to her and her mother. Sophia doesn’t take that for granted, but she also knows that that should be a given. She is sad she cannot
Constance knows that it is up to her to keep the work of Cinderella and her stepsisters going, but she also knows that she is pretty much alone. Meeting Sophia is a wonderful opportunity, and they also quickly become friends.
Erin doesn’t want to get married, but is terrified of what could happen to her. She and Sophia are very different, and seeing the different actions of two characters in very similar situations is really interesting.
Those three characters were the three that really stood out to me the most. Sophia and Erin are both in very similar situations; they are in a society that oppresses them, and they will be forced to marry a man who chooses them, and will be forced to obey them. Sophia flees the ball, and fights for her freedom. Her spirited personality allows her to persevere through hardship, and push through the barriers trying to stop her from being her own person. Erin on the other hand wants to stay alive, and see’s the danger in what Sophia wants, and not as much the possibility.
The novel takes place two centuries after Cinderella’s death, but the book does not follow the story that we all know. It twists the story into something very different than the original, but in my opinion, it makes much more sense.
Why does Cinderella marry a man she hardly knows. To escape her evil stepmother? Why is her stepmother evil in the first place? Throughout the book, Sophia uncovers more and more of what really happened to Cinderella all those years ago in a truly magical way.
Kalynn Bayron is an author and classically trained vocalist. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. When she’s not writing you can find her listening to Ella Fitzgerald on loop, attending the theater, watching scary movies, and spending time with her kids. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family.
Cinderella is Dead takes the fairy tale that we know, and turns it into something different. But the fairy tale isn’t just laid out in front of us. The book follows the journey of Sophia, and she uncovers more and more of what really happened to Cinderella as the book goes on. The book also has a very diverse cast of characters. Cinderella is Dead is pretty much about a queer brown girl taking down the patriarchy. This is a book you should read.
My rating: 5/5 stars
To who? Fans of fairy tale retellings, magical stories and young adult fiction in general.