Cinderella is Dead
Author: Kalynn Bayron
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA (August 6, 2020)
Paperback, 400 pages
It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.
Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball . are forfeit.
But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world.
I really wish I could give this 5 stars because I adore the premise and what the author was trying to do. It felt like this book really suffered from the need for some better development editing, especially in the back half. Really all of my problems with the book could have been solved with better editing and some overall tightening of the story and pacing.
The premise is amazing – 200 years after the time of Cinderella her story is used as propaganda to keep women obedient and subservient. They have no rights and are the property of their fathers and then their husbands. It’s a harrowing set-up that is really intriguing for this dark twist on a fairy tale retelling. I also really love fairy tale retellings with a shake up on the traditional pairings – heroes paired with villains, changed up genders, non cis-het pairings… So a wlw Cinderella story? Yes please!
There are some very beautiful and/or haunting passages, some interesting twists and surprises. There are also parts that are highly relevant with parallels drawn to the world we’re living in today. There’s a few lines in the eulogies that gave me CHILLS. Overall the bones to be an amazing book are there, I just wish it had been a bit more seasoned. I look forward to reading more from Kalynn Bayron in the future – maybe some more of those other stories mentioned in that book…