Blurb: 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 doesn’t want to go to the ball at all. Not when she’s afraid the girl she loves might be chosen too. Pushed beyond breaking by a society that denies everything she is, Sophia sets out on a journey that will remake the world… into one where she gets to choose.
Title: Cinderella is Dead
Author: Kalynn Bayron
Genre: Fiction, YA, Fantasy, Fairytale
In a world where woman are merely pawns to be selected by men at their convenience, Sophia can’t help but rebel against everything she knows. Against the tyrant king who rules with an iron fist, against the men who have been raised to believe themselves superior and against the notion that she must be chosen by a man to be worthy – when all she wants is the chance to be with the girl she loves. But Sophia is not the only want dreaming of putting to an end to the misogny…
The first thing I have to note about this book is the premise and how fantastic it is. This is a Cinderella retelling that I’ve never come across before and I loved that it was about more than the princess falling in love with a prince. We had everything from witches and necromancy to the fight against misogny and girl power. The world building in this aspect was also brilliant as we’re immediately pulled into a medieval feeling world where the king’s word is law and everyone else must fall in line, with the women getting the short end of the stick. I also really appreciated that there was a fair amount of representation in this book – Sophia, the main character, is a lesbian and she finds a relationship where she really begins to recognise her worth as a human being 😍 There’s also a range of skin tones and hair types in this story. As it’s a fantasy, there aren’t any specific ethnicities mentioned but from the descriptions, and that glorious cover, we see a fairytale that’s not centred around the white perspective.
My overall favourite part of this book is the message it gives to readers. No matter the society that you live in or how much privilege/oppression you face, we should all be using our voices to make changes for the better and to benefit our fellow humans. This is summed up in the last few lines of the book and serves as a fantastic reminder to us all that there’s always something more that we can be doing to help bring about change, no matter what area it may be in.
As for what I disliked, my main gripe was the pacing. There’s a lot of the characters going back and forth to collect things (despite apparently being hunted by palace guards) and there’s very little mention of journey time. It felt like they’d be in one place for a minute and then all of a sudden in another. I also felt that there were times when we were sort of hanging around for a few chapters before a big event would happen, particularly when we’re waiting for the winter cotillion. However, this didn’t take away from the overall message of the story which I still absolutely loved!
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fairytale retellings with a bold heroine who fights for equal rights and the end of toxic patriarchal society!
Have you read this book? Or maybe you’ve read something similar? What did you think? I’d love to know!
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