Cover Image: Cinderella Is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead

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Member Reviews

Please give me all the unapologetically queer badass MC's destroying the patriarchy in a ball gown.

I've had this book for ages and I don't know why I've been putting it off. I've legitimately had it in every format, ebook, audio, and physical copy. I don't know what my brain was thinking because this is a wonderful Cinderella retelling. It's a little bit harsh and brutal at times but at its core it is about being unapologetically yourself and standing up for what you believe in, even if it's hard.

The whole premise of this book is a fairy tale like dystopian world. It's set 200 years after the story of Cinderella and the king has imposed all of these laws and rules that put women and girls at the mercy of men. The women have to attend a Cinderella ball in their teenage years and if they are not chosen by a man within three balls, they are forfeit and sent to work as forced labor essentially, or worse. Everyone just seemingly is okay with this and even if they're not okay with it they're not willing to stand up for themselves or their daughters. That is, everyone but Sophia.

Sophia is opinionated and loud and so so gay it was fantastic. She refused to censor herself or silence herself and she is determined to find a way to bring down the king. All she wants to do is be with the girl she loves named Erin, but when Erin goes along with the Cinderella ball and Sophia flees, she's forced to find another path forward. It leads her into the arms of Constance who is the last living relative of Cinderella's family. Through some magic and some fighting and a hell of a lot of resistance, Constance and Sophia do their best to do what they think is right.

I enjoyed the premise of this book and I loved Sophia,  but I got really frustrated with the parents and their lack of will to speak up for and stand up for their daughters. I got especially frustrated with Sophia's parents who tried to convince her to put aside her gay feelings and just go along with the flow. And after shunning her essentially they just expect to be embraced at the end.

I personally would have loved to see an alternate ending or an alternate prologue from either Cinderella's point of view or the underground women's movement POV. I think that would have added a really great element to the story because the way that it ends is a little bit too neat and tidy for me.

This is definitely a stellar book though and I definitely recommend it, especially if you are into fairy tale retellings.

Also I really loved Luke and all of his gay wonder. 

CW: violence against women, murder, execution, sexism, misogyny, homophobia. 

Rep: Black lesbian MC, secondary queer characters including gay, lesbian, and queer
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This book was exactly what the 14 year old in me needed! Brimming with classic Cinderella references while exploring a world after her, Cinderella Is Dead was addicting and enthralling. 

The characters were easily my favorite part of this book. The layers of complexity woven within each made me think about them far after I had finished the book!
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Back in the day – there was this cover trend of girls in beautiful dresses for young adult books. However, basically none of the books featured girls of color. Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron features desperately needed representation. Also, change in cover trends, but that change still isn’t quite enough. I love that there is a Black girl on the cover in a stunning dress wearing her natural hair. How wonderful that teenage Black girls who like to read fantasy will get to see themselves in this fairytale re-working. I just genuinely loved this book so much.

Set two hundred years after Cinderella infamously meets Prince Charming at a ball and falls in love, Cinderella Is Dead follows Sophia, a teenage girl who isn’t interested in finding a prince. In fact, Sophia has feelings for her best friend Erin. Unfortunately, the town of Lille in the kingdom of Mersailles, keeps women and girls subjugated. King Marchant is a royal jerk. Girls must attend the ball to be chosen by a man who will then marry them. The girl then goes under the control of the man who is the head of the household. Sophia chafes against this. So much so that she runs away from the ball and happens to run into Constance, a descendent of one of Cinderella’s stepsisters.

As it turns out, perhaps the story Sophia has heard all her life about Cinderella is wrong. So, together, Sophia and Constance must find answers. Also, they need to take down King Marchant. Along the way Sophia and Constance fall in love. Revolution and overthrow are imminent.

Cinderella Is Dead captivated me. I can see why this book trended on booktok. Sophia is a character that kind of frustrated me at first because I am old and compliant. And I really had to deconstruct why I found myself frustrated with her. But then, I started to see her boldness as an asset. I think another part is that I was so worried for her and nervous that she’d end up really getting hurt. Y’all, I was so invested. I wanted Sophia to win so bad. I found the storyline to be really satisfying. Again, I think I was frustrated too because I was so invested. Also — I loved Sophia with Constance over her with Erin. It just made sense. This book was a great fit for me personally and I cannot wait to read more from Bayron. Love to see the representation too!
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An engaging new take on twisting faerie tales. Bayron uses the story of Cinderella as historical background for an oppressive society built around her story. The lead character Sophia is headstrong and determined to live her life in a manner counter to what society says she should, which leads to adventures and attempts to bring the who misogynist society down. I appreciated that the final fight sequence was a lot longer than what these books normally use, and that it had several parts to it rather than a page of threatening, a page of fighting, the end. The only reason I can't give it fully five stars is that it felt a little too long, but I've been getting that a lot lately so it's probably just me.
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HELL of a book. As a lover of queer fairytale retellings and smashing the patriarchy, this book made me feel personally attacked. But in the best of ways.
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I've been struggling to read during the pandemic, and this book broke through my fog. If you've watched Cinderella recently and were rankled by the themes in the Disney version, this book is your antidote. There's queer representation, a smart and brave Black main character, magic, and LOTS of action. 10/10 you should read.
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Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

By all means, this was not a bad book. But it wasn't a great book either. 

It had good aspects like the every changing plot, and the fact that it took a spin on a classic story and made it into something entirely different and some of the characters were enjoyable!

But there other aspects that I didn't enjoy as much, like the predictability of the story. While I enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot, once I was able to predict them, it became less and less enjoyable

Another random thing I didn't enjoy was the gore? It was written well but I didn't feel like the description of it was needed or was relevant to the story, but this is just a personal opinion and not one that, if different, would've made the story better or worse in my opinion

The characters were both enjoyable and not. I liked Constance.. but that was about it. The main character was honestly kind of annoying and Erin.. oh my god, do not even get me started. I can look past the fact that Erin is awful because that is her purpose for the most part. But the main character being annoying and irritating and just dumb sometimes? I understand liking a bad main character if that is purpose of the story, but it clearly wasn't meant to be that way in this story. She was just arrogant and childish and it made following the plot less fun.
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This is the retelling we all need. It is dark and twisty, it has a sapphic romance, and it has strong women taking down the patriarchy. What else could you ask for?!
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Cinderella is dead, but her story lives on as a national treasure 200 years later. In the kingdom of Lille, little girls dream of their own balls, fairytale books of Cinderella's story reside in every household and trinkets relating to the tale are sold in the marketplace. But the mirroring of her story is not a game for her kingdom's citizens; it's actually a matter of life or death. There are many retellings of fairy tales today, but not many explore what a nation might look like if it lived under the tyranny of a legend.

For young women like Sophia, a majestic ball where you'll meet your future husband is not a dream, but a future set in stone. Every young woman from the age of 15 upwards is required to attend an annual ball held by the king, where men of various ages and stations will select brides. Each girl gets three chances in three years to be selected, and if they are not they will be considered "forfeit" and generally consigned to a life of labor in workhouses. All of this is done to supposedly honor the former queen Cinderella, who the first king of Lille fell in love with at a ball and chose to make the symbolic goddess of the rest of the kingdom's love lives. While many of the girls act like dutiful followers to this kingdom-wide practice of systemic mating, Sophia has never been one to blend with the crowd and, secretly, doesn't have an interest in any man. She dreams of a future with her childhood friend, Erin, and when the book opens, she's living the last moments of youthful freedom before her first ball.

Sophia, Erin, and their friend Liv all show different reactions to the ball, based on their circumstances and personalities. Sophia dreads the day it comes and speaks out to any who won't harm her for doing so, while trying to obey her parents' wishes as they risk debt to ensure her a lifetime of security; Erin seems to return Sophia's feelings of romance, but has resigned herself to her future and knows the risks of even verbally defying it. Liv is eager for her second year at the ball and hopes to win a good match by virtue of being "like Cinderella", good and faithful to the kingdom's edicts and an obedient daughter. Sophia feels the pressure on all three of them even when her friends don't speak of it, and her view of things is quite different from most heroines facing a ball; rather than dreaming of waltzes and the gaze of a true love, the sense of polished walls closing in on a wild bird becomes stronger with each passing day in her life. When the night of the ball finally arrives, it becomes clear to Sophia as well as the reader that the opulent palace is hiding something more evil than most of the kingdom's citizens could imagine. 

The night of the ball changes the lives of Sophia and both her friends, in ways very different from the fairytale they were taught. Sophia is confronted with the worst of the monarchy's tyranny and abruptly separated from everything she knows, forced on a path that even her rebellious nature hadn't prepared for. As she finds herself fleeing for her life in every sense of the word, she's led to forbidden places few have ever witnessed, each of which reveal dangerous truths about the history behind the fantasy story every girl has been forced to live. Abandoned tombs, forgotten chambers and wild forests all become important keys to any hope of survival Sophia might have, for both herself and many others. 

.Author Bayron builds her characters as well as the plot masterfully, making Sophia's journey resemble a climb through steep hills or a descent down a dark staircase at different times. I was distracted a few times by the dialogue, which was occasionally too modern for the setting, and my only annoyances with Sophia were how easily distracted she became from Erin when another girl came into her life (this was compounded by her acting like a lovesick boy a few times, most jarringly while she was training to use a weapon). Another young girl in the story grated on my nerves a bit by picking a fight with an older character almost every time they were in the room together, an immature and petty trait that contrasted with her usually measured personality. Overall, though, this is a masterful and carefully built novel that presents vital questions and issues every human being should consider.
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Finished in a day! I can’t wait to read her other works. I love a good retelling and a dark one?! Sign me up every time. I loved the twists she added to the story and the strength she gave the female leads that so many fairytales lack.
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This was the first book that I read last year, and I loved it so so much! I am now a lifelong fan of Kalynn Baryon's books!
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This was a very good book. It’s a great retelling of the Cinderella fairytale from a queer feminist standpoint. It includes wonderful world building and I’d recommend it. 

I received an ARC of this book in return for a fair review. .
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I love diving into a fantasy world. The author did a great job worldbuilding and the plot just sucked me in. This was a fresh take on a classic tale and I LOVE the author using the source material to fuel the book. In this story, the tale of Cinderella is legendary. Definitely recommend reading this book and grabbing an extra copy for a friend!
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I love the retelling of classic stories and CINDERELLA IS DEAD is no different. Bayron updates and reinvigorates the tale we have all come to know so well. A uniquely fabulous way to show that not every happily ever after is the same for everyone.
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I am a sucker for a good retelling. This is a slow burn on the Cinderella retelling. It does take a while for the action to start happening. I almost DNF’d this book but I kept going because I just new it would off in the end. I was not disappointed. Huge thank you to Netgalley, and Bloomsbury YA for the advance copy.
Everyone knows the story of Cinderella and how she married the prince and lived happily ever after. But this version of Cinderella does not quite go that way. Our main character Sophia grew up in a town two hundred years after Cinderella went off with her prince. Ever since the town has been obsessed with Cinderella’s story. Every year there is a ball just like the one Cinderella went to and danced with the prince. Every girl between sixteen or seventeen are required to dress up and attend the ball. Failure to attend is a death sentence to you and your family. The ball is a way for girls to be parted off to future husbands whether they want to or not. Sophia hates this tradition and because she would prefer to be with her best friend Erin instead of marrying a man she cares noting about. The night of the ball Sophia makes a dangerous decision which forces her to run. While on the run Sophia meets Constance, who is the last known descendent of the true Cinderella and her stepsisters. Together these girls must find a way to fight against the societal norms or die trying to bring it to its knees. 
To really get through this book you have to suspend your disbelief. Just given in and enjoy the book as a whole. I don’t think there was enough worldbuilding and background information to support the misogynistic society. Because this town is very misogynistic. Once you just go with it everything just clicks into place and works really well. By the end you will root for Cinderella to get her princess. Thanks again to Netgalley, and Bloomsbury YA for the advance copy.
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A refreshing look at a classic tale. In a world where Cinderella is more than just a legend, she is a true part of history. Bayron captures the fairytale aspect with her insight into Cinderella, Prince Charming, and the townspeople. A village filled with monuments and statues keeps the legend of Cinderella alive, but the story is only half the legend, Every year, young girls between the ages of 16-18 must attend a ball, where eligible men will choose their bride. The girls are required to be present, while their male counterparts may choose to attend or not. Young Sophia has already found love, must still attend the ball and have her fate chosen for her. 
Characters and their offspring from the original Cinderella make appearances, contributing to the world building and reimagining of one of the most popular fairytales. Readers will be drawn to the classic fairytale elements, mixed with modern ideals, and a fight for love, and a voice of your own.
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I flew through this book. It is gripping and empowering to all girls and women to fight for what you believe in even if it is dangerous.
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This sapphic Cinderella retelling was *everything.* It turned the fairy tale on its head in the best way and had the perfect ending. Highly recommend!
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This book is amazing! I love the idea of examining our fairy tales and what they do to us as people. And the girls in this are kickass! Are you ready for the revolution?
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This book has such a cool premise, I really loved the idea of this spin on a Cinderella retelling! For me the pacing was a bit off and I didn’t get as invested in the characters/world as I wanted to though! I’m excited to see what the author comes out with next as maybe I didn’t like this as much because it was a retelling.
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