Cover Image: Cinderella Is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead

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Member Reviews

Please note: I received a digital ARC of this book (via NetGalley) from its publisher in exchange for an honest and fair review. 
 
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron is a fantastic, fierce, feminist reimagining of the Cinderella fairytale. In this patriarchal world all girls must attend a ball to be selected as a wife. This was a super fun and fast read. What originally pulled me in was the cover art. The cover is eye catching and immediately lets me know i'm going to be immersed in a world of intrigue with a gorgeous female protagonist. 

Kalynn Bayron has really created a wonderfully lush world with multi dimensional characters. Sophia is such a great heroine. And Constance! What can I say but WOW! She really evoIved throughout the course of this book! We get great female representation, and enough of a backstory to make all of the characters feel real and let you want to root for them to win. It kept me flipping pages all the way through. I have been loving all of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy YA coming out lately, there are so many top notch gems to pick from and Cinderella is Dead is another contender...purely badass! Readers of varied backgrounds will enjoy and be able to relate to this book. 

I recommend this book for anyone interested in action, adventure, and queer girls of color smashing the patriarchy! Published by Bloomsbury YA, Cinderella is Dead is available for pre-order from all major booksellers. I give Cinderella is Dead 4 out of 5 gems. I really hope there will be more books set in this universe.
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A well written take on an old classic.  Unexpected twists and turns abound in this updated fairy tale..
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The idea of this book was really intriguing, but the writing style was not for me. Some bits of the plot were kind of cliche too--even though many books do it I guess, but I was not really captured by the beginning of this book and ended up unable to finish through to the end.
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This was one of the most original fractured fairy tales I have read. I loved how inclusive the cast was and the author's clever twists on the classic Cinderella tale. Definitely pick it up for the young or the young at heart.
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You had me at "Queer black girls overthrowing the patriarchy."
I love fairytale retellings and imaginings and this was such a fresh take on a beloved classic. I flew through the book and thought the twists with the stepmother and stepsisters were so compelling and fun. It was a feminist revamp of the classic "women hating women" trope that's still all too common. It fed into the greater theme of stories and history - who gets to tell the stories, history erasure, and propaganda in exchange for power are a few of the topics touched on in this story. They all continue to be relevant today.
The beginning confused me a bit, but the story was off before I knew it, with Sophia revolting against the outdated rules of her patriarchal world. She was a great character to follow throughout the story, full of fire, grit, and flawed emotions. 
It's the perfectly standalone and I had to read the last third of the book all in one sitting because the tension was would so perfectly and the stakes were so high. I highly recommend this debut!
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Review will be available on my blog July 2nd, 2020:

Disclaimer: I received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. Any quotes used may not match it's final copy. 

TW: Physical Abuse (Mentioned & Shown), Homophobia, Death of a family member (mentioned), Poverty,  Bullying, Death, Execution, Necromancy, Death of an animal, Assassination Attempt, Torture, Misogyny (Comment & Society), Sexual Harassment 
Rep: Lesbian Black MC, Gay Side Character

"Do not be silent.

"Raise your voice.

"Be a light in the Dark."

I'm a huge fan of retellings in general, but I think I can finally die happy. I was always a huge fan of fairy-tales-but they were always straight, white people. What about the queer people, what about the POC fairytales? This book was filled with it, and honestly I love this Cinderella retelling the best. 

I loved the feminism in this book! I'm not just saying that because I'm a feminist-but the message of this book on how women could be the heroes of their story and how they don't need a handsome knight to save them. How women don't need men to feel complete, and I really want more girls to realize that.

Right from the very first page-I could feel the misogyny world and how society has believed it. There was nothing more that I could than want to scream at everyone that women could do anything men can do. And having a MC that's a feminist? I was crying 😭, because she hated the society she grew up in, and wanted something more. 

Anyways, I loved Sophie and her attitude. I loved her from the first page because she grew up, forced to listen to the "Cinderella" story about how she had a wicked stepmother and stepsisters-I'm pretty sure you all know the story. She has a fiery spirit that could probably be summed up in this gif.

Her attitude is what made this book unique, and I'm just sitting here saying 'yes girl' to her actions because she is the voice people need. She is a strong character who wants to make her world a better place. 

"I don't dare tell him that once while I sat in her lap she told me that if I ever went to the ball I should set the palace on fire and dance on the ashes."

This sounds exactly like I'd do if I was forced to get married. Sophia is an awesome character that all I wanted to do is bow down to her. I'm not worthy of her presence. She can step on me or do whatever she wants. I'm not worthy of her presence.

This book is seriously amazing with its plot. It's the exploration of the Cinderella Story and making the world a better society. And honestly, its so worth it!! This book is so freaking good and the plot was so nice! It was also a nice exploration what was the real story of Cinderella and how she mysteriously died 200 years ago.

That exploration made me appreciate the story! This retelling was what made think of a better way of Cinderella instead of the ones that we're told about how she falls in love with Prince Charming and lived Happily Ever After. This story was so freaking good and I still don't think I'm worthy of this presence!

Now, let's get into the not so good stuff that I have found-The Ending. What was happening with that? Because while it was good, it was so rushed and made it feel incomplete. I expected a better ending with how there were subtle changes made in the society. The end needed a lot more work.  

At times, there were a few predictable plot-twists that were really obvious and could have been a little better.
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What an outstanding book! I loved the hook!! The premise really draws you in and Sophia is such a fun character. I loved being drawn into the story with it's unique worldbuilding. The story is set in and wrapped around the Cinderella tale, most likely Disney's version. It shows the messed up story and the cruelty of others. Sophia is unlike almost all the other girls. She's bold, knows what her standards are, and hates the Cinderella story. She also only likes girls, not boys, and therefore is an outcast, because she wants to be with her girlfriend.
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DNF at 25%

Such a disappointment. The premise is fun, but I was not impressed by how quickly the heroine forgot her first love and made googly eyes at a new girl. Love triangles are not my thing, and I'm not interested in reading about fickle relationship development. It's not for me. DNF.
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This book was interesting, but ultimately, I'm giving it 3-stars. It was a decent reimagining, but for me, the plot was too slow and there were places where things could have been built up a little better. Cinderella has been dead for 200 years, but what happens when the fairytale isn't all that it's cracked up to be? Especially if you're 16-year-old Sophia, who would rather have Erin, her childhood love, than a life where she isn't even considered a second-class citizen. It is so hard reimagining a story that's been handed down through the ages, but I wish there has been a little more world-building and better pacing. This book contains a lot of misogyny, physical abuse and  talk of suicide, so beware if you are sensitive to these subject matters
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What if everything you knew about Cinderella was wrong? In this dystopian fantasy, Cinderella’s story has become a twisted tool to subjugate women and children. The kingdom of Lille strictly and harshly enforces laws to ensure that girls participate in a warped version of the Cinderella ball and accept their submissive and controlled roles in life, even when maltreated and abused.

Sophia, the protagonist, rejects these inequalities from a young age. She hates that women are “at the mercy of the fickle whims of men.” Sophia dreams of a life where she can be free – free to make her own decisions, free to love any girl she desires, and free from the unbelievable constraints put upon all women. See witnesses the burdens that women in Lille carry, and she hopes for something better.

Her dreams become a possibility when she escapes from the clutches of the kingdom and meets Constance, the last known relative of Cinderella’s step-sister. With Constance, Sophia learns the true Cinderella story, not the flowery glorified version she learned in Lille. She also meets someone from Cinderella’s past who can help her figure out what is really going on in Lille.

Cinderella is Dead is an entertaining and immersive story that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The vivid setting and dynamic characters captivated me from the start, and I was curious to see how the author could “retell” this classic fairy tale.

She did it perfectly.

Bayron took what we know of the story and turned it on its head. Was the fairy godmother really benevolent? Was Prince Charming really Charming? How did Cinderella’s parents really die? The story answers all of these questions and more in a way that creates a fantastical, action-packed read filled with vivid imagery and strong symbolism.

The protagonist is a fabulous young heroine. Independent and strong, Sophia is fearless in her quest for equality. She is young, fierce, and occasionally impulsive, which leads her into some interesting situations.  She also refuses to believe that her feelings are wrong. She loves a girl, which is prohibited in Lille, and Sophia rejects this prejudice. She knows her worth and fights to save herself from societal oppression.

Sophia won’t rest at just saving herself, however. She wants to save the kingdom and invoke change in this harsh and cruel society. She wants all women to be free from fear and abuse and to control their future. She wants the boys to grow up knowing that abusing women is wrong and to teach them honorable ways of living and respecting people.

When women in Lille go missing with no explanation, Sophia is even more determined to get answers and invoke change. Ultimately, she wants to stand up for what is right and convince others to stand with her to fight the misogyny of Lille.

Cinderella is Dead is a captivating feminist retelling of the Cinderella story with a cleverly constructed dystopian twist. A wonderful blend of action, romance, mystery, and suspense, this exceptional and fantastical page-turner is a must-read!
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This book is not your mother's Cinderella retelling. Combining classic fairy tales with a dystopian future and revolution brewing, Kalynn Bayron combines some of the best storytelling tropes into this futuristic take on the consequences of that night long ago. 

In Cinderella is Dead, we see girls forced to relive and repeat the traditions of the past without agency and without hope. All of that changes with Sophia and her chance encounter with Constance, the last living heir of Cinderella, and they vow to bring it all down. 

The best description of this book I have seen is, "queer black girls team up to overthrow the patriarchy in the former kingdom of Cinderella" and if that doesn't hook you I don't know what will!
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Rating: 4

This book was really entertaining and engaging. I felt pulled into the world and shared the opinions of how messed up the world was with the main character. The characters were very developed and I found them believable. The setting could have used more descriptions, but it was still fairly easy to imagine what the village looked like. The ending of this book was amazing as well!

Sometimes the main character did seem a bit naive and the romance felt kind of sudden. It was a little jarring at times how infatuated the main character was because the romance was so sudden.
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A new interesting and unique story about an LGBTQ MC dreaming of change and freedom. It's interesting twist on one of the most beloved fairy tales of all time. This version reminds me of a time in our own society where women were treated more like property and currency than people. The author takes the fiction of the story with our own historic events to tell this story. What if all we know of Ciderella is nothing but a twisted lie used for manipulating young woman and society alike into submission and much more? I really enjoyed the description and premise of the book, however, the execution was lacking. The is a small air of mystery, but it reads predictable, and is missing discovery and revelation. Overall it's an entertaining read, but I don't think I would continue the series if there is one.
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This ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA.

A very fun read! I enjoyed the twists and elaborations on Cinderella's tale, and how it was used to build the world Sophia lived in. The cruelty inherent to the system was truly pushed about, and those who saw the jagged edge felt fleshed out enough, not mere caricatures for cruelty. 

I enjoyed the twist, and I hope to find other similar stories written by the writer in the future!
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I adore retellings of fairy tales. Add in a mystery and a feminist POV and I'm totally there for it.
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Oh, Contrived. How saddened I am to see how large a role you played in this book. <em>Cinderella is Dead </em>by Kalynn Bayron turned out to be a strong fizzle if I ever saw one. And it's a <em>massive</em> shame, really,  because this book had too promising of a start to fall apart just as all the action begins. Once my most anticipated book of the year, it kind of broke my heart when I added <em>Cinderella is Dead</em> to my 'wasted potential' shelf on Goodreads.

Now, don't let that turn you away, though. While I say that this book is contrived and flop-ish, <em>Cinderella is Dead</em> is actually pretty brilliant on an ideas level. The plot? Phenomenal. The setup? Brilliant. The execution? Well, here's where we get a little off. What I mean to say is, <em>Cinderella is Dead</em> began so beautifully. It was kind of exceptional. Had the same level of writing quality existed throughout the course of the entire novel, this would have easily been a five star read for me.

So, what happened?

The Cinderella of this story is actually not the protagonist, rather we meet young Sophia who lives in a world where an extremely patriarchal society controls the lives of women entirely. They are worth little more than property, bought at a ball under the guise of getting their very own "Cinderella" stories. After which they are no longer their father's property, but rather they belong to their new husbands. Sophia, who has been in love with her best friend Erin for the majority of her sixteen years, wants nothing to do with the ceremony that will give her away to whichever man chooses her.

Sounds brilliant, right?

And it was. The novel quickly introduces readers to this disturbing world of Sophia's. Everywhere she goes the Cinderella story is touted in a biblical manner. Girls regularly conform themselves to the patriarchal laws of the land, piously living their lives in the hope that a fairy godmother will visit her and bestow the same glamor Cinderella once had bestowed upon her. The ugly stepsisters are to be feared. Men are to be worshipped and desired. At the age of sixteen, all women are expected to attend a royal ball in which they will be chosen by one of the men of their society. Some of these men have even forfeited their wives to come for a new, younger one. And Sophia is having none of it.

When the night of her ball arrives, Sophia finds herself dreading it more than anything in the world. And while the arrival of neighbor Luke, who shares a secret similar to Sophia's, presents the opportunity for relief from some of the societal expectations, that relief is quickly dashed by the claim of a more prominent male member of society. Within moments, Sophia is running--an act that will be punished greatly--and soon finds herself in Cinderella's tomb. It is here that she meets a young woman descended from Cinderella's family with secrets of her own about the truth behind the Cinderella story everyone thinks they know.


Bayron actually does a pretty exceptional job with the start of her novel. Readers quickly become immersed in the world, thoroughly invested in what happens to the characters. There's a dark mystery behind Cinderella that leaves you hanging on the edge of your seat as you work to decipher the clues the book sets forth. The biggest one, admittedly, I found out very early on and you will, too, so long as you're paying close enough attention. One thing, however, did genuinely surprise me.

What went wrong, then?

Where everything really flopped was at the inclusion of the fairy godmother. To keep this spoiler-free, I will merely say that every instance in which the fairy godmother came up in the story after Sophia's ball was <em>terrible</em>. It derailed the story so many times that I honestly, at times, felt like I was reading a fanfiction of a series in which the first part was the novel written by the author and the middle was someone's attempt at completing it.

Sophia and Constance's journey really spoke of two girls with <em>no idea</em> where to really begin their quest. A shot in the dark that made only some sense works out in the end and ultimately leads to a lot of poorly written scenes. Both of our leading ladies enjoy a depressingly irritating loss of character development. Where I had <em>loved</em> Constance initially, after a certain point her commentary became annoying. Where Sophia seemed strong at first, she loses some of it as the novel shifts to focus on her being soft and empathetic (and "special" as another character says).

Also, I'm sorry, but what in the hell was the ritual in the woods about?

High-quality writing returns as we near the end.

In many ways, the plot of this story is wonderful. It's just the right amount of dark and mysterious mixed in with some adventure and romance. The secret behind Cinderella's truths was sufficiently creepy and devastating. The final battle, while definitely employing a little deus ex machina, was not altogether unenjoyable.

The finale was actually quite good. I had a great time reading it. It's dark and disturbing but, best of all, it's suspenseful. If this story is to shock you, the culmination of the entire story is where you are most like to find it. Sophia does not disappoint once throughout the entire thing. I even stopped finding Constance increasingly irritating and started to like her again.

Then, in the last few pages, it disappears again.

The fight is over, the conflict ends. Suddenly we're back to characters who <em>have no idea </em>what to do.

There's a reason, to write well, you should write what you know. Melding the politics of a kingdom into some perfect ending is difficult in the best of circumstances, but it was immediately clear to me that the author had no idea how to conclude her story with regards to the world she had built. Realistically, it never would have ended as cookie-cutter as she made it to.

Frankly, I could have done without the confrontation outside of the palace and the poorly written, child-like all-is-well epilogue that came next. The story suffered for having it.

<em>I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.</em>
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WHAT AN AMAZING STORY!!!!!! YES!!!! You won't regret picking up a copy!!!! My attention was held the entire time. Strong characters. Great plot. Amazing imagery. Everyone should read it!
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Cinderella is Dead. The title alone is catchy. It was a retelling of the age old story.  With that title you wonder who killed Cinderella.  Was There no happily ever after for her and Prince Charming?  From the beginning I became vested in all of the characters.  I however was a little disappointed at the end. I felt that the ending was rushed.. Not a cliff hanger kind of rushed, but I have hurry and finish this book kind of rushed. 

I will  purchase this book for my students. And I will include this title in my back to school book chats.
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Wow. What an amazing read. I loved the characters and the writing really surprised me.I highly recommend this one.
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This was a great feminist YA retelling of Cinderella. This gives voice to young women and puts a spin on the traditional Cinderella. I loved the strong female characters and the setting of the story. This was written well and beautifully done. If you love retellings, pick this one up.
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