Cover Image: Cinderella Is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This was such a strong Cinderella retelling (in a post-Cinderella story world). We get some amazing queer girls overthrowing the patriarchy and a strong battle against the misogyny and homophobia that exists in this dystopian society. 

I loved that this book was gay right from the start. Sophia knows who she is, knows what she wants, and she knows that she's going to try to get it. Her society expects her to attend the annual ball where girls must be chosen by men to become their property/wives, but Sophia sees how wrong this is and knows someone must do something or more and more girls will be hurt. 

I really loved the fairytale twists in this. This story takes place 200 years after the Cinderella story we know, but that story holds weight in this society and there's lies to what actually happened. The plot of this was what really made the story stand out for me.

The writing was easy to follow, but it was a bit slower paced at times it felt like. I loved the story and characters, but didn't feel the high-stakes pressure in the pacing of the plot.

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this one for someone looking for a story with sapphic girls explicitly fighting a patriarchal system.
Was this review helpful?
Wholly original continuation of the Cinderella story. Some twists I saw coming, and others I very much did not, so I appreciated those surprises (though there was also a bit more on-the-page violence than I was anticipating; specifically the market scene). And of course, the fact that the main character is a Black lesbian was another bonus.
Was this review helpful?
I really wanted to love this book but honestly, I just couldn’t. The world this was set in was by far more interesting than the actual story. 

The beginning was super fast paced but nothing happened at all during that time- we went to the ball and then we left the ball. That was it, in 130 pages, that was all we did. Furthermore, the instant love in this book was more like instant lust, which is totally fine, but honestly, how?? Two hours earlier, Sophia was BEGGING her “love” to actually love her, but sure, she’s very attracted to Constance. 

We have very little character descriptions by the way, all I know about these characters is hair colour, and I honestly only know that about Constance because it’s a huge part of her family and that story line. Because of that, the characters were very one-dimension and I just couldn’t get into them. I had no interest in their story, nor in the fight they were on. 

Furthermore, the story in itself was very convenient. “I don’t like the ball so I’m gonna stop it. Oh look, the “fairy godmother” isn’t what we thought, the whole tale isn’t what we thought actually. Oops, the godmother is actually evil but through her I can kill the king”. Nothing exciting actually happened and the ending was predictable (would it have killed anyone to not have a happily ever after?). 

In general, the story had a great premise but the execution could have used some more thought.
Was this review helpful?
Cinderella retelling? Sign me up. But then you tell me it’s a black lesbian “Cinderella” (Sophie), and she’s going to take down the patriarchy? I had to read this and I’m so glad I did. I absolutely loved this book. And am I the only one that kept picturing Constance as Merida from Brave? This needs to be adapted into a movie. Now I have to read everything by Kalynn Bayron
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for a gifted copy of this ARC. All opinions are my own.

I went into this only knowing that it's a Cinderella retelling featuring a BIPOC character. It has been described as queer black girls overthrowing the patriarchy and I think that's pretty accurate! I LOVED the twist on the beloved Cinderella fairy tale. I thought the author did a fantastic job with that - it was very creative! I love a good dystopian novel and this YA version was very easy to read with kick ass female characters! 

If you liked A Curse so Dark and Lonely I think you will be a fan!
Was this review helpful?
I loved this! I will for sure be buying it. It was new and interesting. The book was just different then other stories I've read. The sass levels were great. I thought it was very smart and easy to read. It moved fast and kept me wanting to read the next part without trying it seemed.
Was this review helpful?
This incredible work from Kalynn Bayron takes the Cinderella tale and turns it into a resilient story of oppression, strength, survival, queer Black love, and feminist revolution.

I cannot recommend this young adult book enough. Feel free to continue to read my review but please know that you should just buy it now.

Sophia, a young Black woman, lives in Lille within Marseilles under the tyrant of King Manford. She has come of age and is now to report to the Ball: where all women of age come in their finest wares to be presented to the king and all eligible men. Any man of any age may choose a girl to become his wife (and property) and every girl gets just three chances at the Ball to find the happiness that Cinderella modeled 200 years prior. If they are failed to be picked for marriage, they are forfeited by their families and sent to work for the kingdom. Or so they are told. 

Sophia does not want to go. She does not want to be trapped in the oppression of their kingdom and most of all, she wants to be with her best friend Erin. But they are forced to the ball and chaos reigns. Erin is picked to be someones wife and Sophia manages to escape the castle where she meets Constance. Constance is intriguing to Sophia: Constance is beautiful, smart, strong, and wearing pants. They team up to tear down the system and learn that the King, the story of Cinderella and the evil stepsisters, and the Fairy Godmother are not what they seem.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars—I wanted to love this book based on the description and cover (5 stars there), but the whole first half of this book was kind of a mess. I felt like something, or some part of the story, was missing, and it all felt very rushed. It wasn’t until about halfway through that I actually started to like the book. As we start to learn more about Sophia and the history of Mersailles, the strangeness of King Mansford’s laws and the way they basically worshiped Cinderella, the story actually starts to make sense. Once you’re able to grasp the absurdity of how people could live this way, (yes, I know it is a fantasy world, but it still didn’t feel even a little realistic how complicit these people were) the underlying plot is actually pretty good. I loved the unique retelling of Cinderella and most of the characters (minus Erin, yuck!). Overall, I think the story just needed a little more development and detail up front. I’d still put this in my classroom because there is someone, somewhere that needs this f-the patriarchy version of Cinderella in their life!!
Was this review helpful?
**Free E-ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

I was originally drawn in by this cover and title, they gave me the impression that this was going to be the book for me. I am happy to report that I was 100% correct, and even before I finished the book I was already making my friends sick by talking about it so much (JK they are excited to read it too). 

The story is about Sophia, a 16 year old girl who is preparing to attend the annual ball at the palace. While in most fairy tales, the young girls would be excited to get to dress up and attend the ball in hopes of finding love, in this story it is every girls nightmare. In their land, women are forced to be married by a certain age or else become a forfeit. What that actually means is unclear, as they are never seen or heard from again. All the Sophia wants is to run away to be with her bestfriend Erin, but her family, society and even Erin tell her it's impossible. On the night of the ball Sophia makes a desperate escape and ends up running into Constance, the great granddaughter of one of the Evil Stepsisters. As she gets to know more about this strange girl she learns that there is much more to the legend of Cinderella than palace approved story book has led everyone to believe.

I truly enjoyed this story and loved these characters Kalynn Bayron has created. My official rating for this book is 4.5 stars, but I have rounded up to 5. I would like to have seen a bit more depth to the characters, and I felt that the end was wrapped up a bit to neatly. I am looking to reading more work from this author in the future (keeping my fingers crossed for another fairy tale remix).
Was this review helpful?
Cinderella is Dead breathes new life into a classic fairy tale that everyone thinks they already know.  Kalynn Bayron completely flips the story and will keep readers engaged through every page of this book. Sophia lives in a post=Cinderella world where the fairy tale is used to control young women and marry them off. Bayron uses the classic story to create something entirely new and it works so well. The twist near the end of the book is perfectly pulled off and will catch readers off guard. Fans of Cinder and A Blade So Black will love this book!
Was this review helpful?
Cinderella is Dead was a highly anticipated book for me, I absolutely love retellings and was quite excited when I was approved on NetGalley for an eARC. Well, it wasn't what I had hoped for, I thought the plot was very bland and reminded me of every other YA fantasy plot. I didn't see anything unique about the storyline and the main character drove me up the wall. Like, I get that she wants to over throw the patriarchy and I'm all for that, but it just wasn't believable and she was not that developed. I wasn't angry with her about what was going on like I should have been. I mean this world is super messed up, and the idea of women going to this ball to be picked by old men to marry is gross. It just didn't wow me though.

Another thing that immediately threw my off and made me roll my eyes was the insta love that goes on. I'm not for it and now I'm really irritated with the main character. I get that insta love is a thing and it's my opinion to love or hate it, but at least make it somewhat believable. Our main character loves her best friend and wants to run away with her before the ball happens, but the minute she meets another girl she is smitten with her. No thank you.

I really think a lot of people will like this book, I think after reading so many fantasy books, this one just fell flat. It needed so much more world building and characters being fleshed out. It also needed to be a little more believable throughout the story.
Was this review helpful?


What do you expect to read with a title and cover like that?! To be honest I thought Cinderella was going to be a zombie 😅 Even though that is not what happened we did get to experience some necromancy in this book (slight spoiler, sorry!). 


I have to say, this book took me for a ride! It reminded me so much of how important it is to speak up and use your voice (so relevant to current times!). Our main character Sophia is in love with her best friend Erin which is against the law, and they both are forced by the law to go to the annual ball so they can get picked as an eligible suitor from a crowd of men. Sometimes these men are wonderful men, sometimes they are greedy and pick more than one female, other times there are men that are mean and hurtful and just plain abusive! Regardless this annual ball is mandated by the king for all women in Lille to attend. The women of Lille are judged by their dress and their knowledge of the Cinderella story. One thing I learned from this retelling of Cinderella is that not everything is what it seems. 


Overall, I loved it! CINDERELLA IS DEAD taught me the importance of standing up for what’s right, and to love myself and my imperfections. This book is also perfect for #pridereading as there’s a f/f romance. I would consider CINDERELLA IS DEAD a very #feminist book, and I love it! Because of the tyrannical rule of the king, Sophia is concerned and outraged by the mistreatment of women in the kingdom due to the law and she’s inspired to do something about it!


These are just some of the reasons why you need to pick up this book! The rest, you’ll have to find out for yourself! My words and this picture can’t express how exciting this retelling is. If you’re a fan of fairytales and retellings, this one’s for you. Thank you to @bloomsburyya and @netgalley for an e-galley copy. 


#netgalley #netgalleyreads #netgalleyreview #bloomsburyya #bloomsburypublishing #cinderella #cinderellaretelling #retellings #ireadya #yalit #bookstagram #booknerd
Was this review helpful?
200 years ago, Cinderella fell for her Prince Charming at a ball, and their courtship was so romantic every girl in Lille is required to reenact it on pain of death. It's a horrible meetcute: financially ruinous, degrading, and generally resulting in abusive marriages. The whole country is a misogynistic nightmare. Everyone submits out of sheer terror, but sixteen-year-old Sophia's love for Erin is so great she will tear down a regime to be with her. Sophia is a painfully generic dystopia heroine compared to her revolutionary ally, the stabtastic warrior Constance.
Was this review helpful?
In this dark retelling of Cinderella’s beloved fairy tale story we follow 16-year-old Sophie as she unfolds the infamous Cinderella’s story (which is more than it seems and is presented) and brings down the king and the kingdom’s patriarchal society. Every year all girls are required to attend an annual ball  in which girls are married off and disappear if they do not find a suitable match. Sophia is also in love with her best friend, Erin so obviously finding a suitor at this event is far from anything she desires. Everyone tells Sophia to conform, to hide who she really is, but she refuses to back down, not until the king is dead.

This book easily sucked me in and I found myself routing for Sophie every step of the way. Though I found it extremely enjoyable there were some plot holes scattered throughout that I couldn’t ignore. There was a bit of insta-love which can be quite annoying, and certainly could have been done better in this scenario. Some surprises at the end really pleased me, the plot twists were done excellently.

I had never read a retelling of the sorts before and I was very pleased to have my hands on it, especially with such diverse characters. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars, but it was damn close to perfection.
Was this review helpful?
A unique and original spin on fairytale classics. Riveting storytelling and stellar three dimensional characters that pop off out of the pages. I really enjoyed reading this novel from start to finish. Loved the fact that the characters were diverse in every way possible. Representation matters. I will definitely be letting my niece read this when she gets older and recommending this to teen patrons at my library.
Was this review helpful?
Between the gorgeous cover and this pitch - “queer black girls team up to overthrow the patriarchy in the former kingdom of Cinderella" - I knew I had to read Cinderella is Dead. I’ve always been a fan of fairytales and retellings, and this one has made it onto my list of top favourites.
All the girls in the kingdom of Lille are forced to attend the annual ball, during which the goal is to be chosen for marriage. They have three chances, after which they’re considered undesirable and are often forfeited to the palace, never to be seen or heard from again. In Lille, women are little more than possessions, and men are allowed to treat them however they see fit, which is often with abuse and absolutely no respect. Sophia doesn’t want any part of that for herself or anyone else; she knows things should be different, and she wants to live a happy, free life with her girlfriend. Disgusted and disheartened, Sophia flees her first ball and ends up at Cinderella’s mausoleum, where she meets the only living descendent of Cinderella’s stepsisters, Constance, and begins to learn that the true tale of Cinderella is far different from the palace-approved version known to everyone in the land.
I loved so many things about this book. As I was reading, I saw countless parallels to today’s reality, and I loved how the story was a commentary on modern society and the issues many people face while also incorporating magical elements that managed to feel realistic. The world Sophia lived in was bleak and heartbreaking, but she was such a bright light. She wanted to live in a world where women weren’t possessions and couldn’t be forfeited for things beyond their control, where they were able to choose who and what they wanted to be - and who they wanted to be with. When she met Constance and saw how brave, tenacious, and determined she was, she realized it was possible for her to be like that too. Those things had been in her all along, despite being told she wasn’t entitled to happiness or freedom, and Constance helped her see it was possible to do more than just wish things were different.
I really loved how Cinderella is Dead turned the familiar tale on its head in so many ways. A lot of people have an issue with the Cinderella story because they don’t like the idea of the prince ‘saving’ her or the insta-love aspect, or, in the case of the live-action Disney remake, the fact Cinderella’s motto was “have courage and be kind” but it led to her being a pushover. Sophia and Constance knew courage was necessary, but they put actual action behind it too. They were a fierce pair, and I cheered them on every step of the way. Sophia challenged the status quo and knew things should be different and could be, and meeting Constance helped her see how she could act on that desire for change and equality.
Full of fierce, kickass characters, an engaging plot, and enough magic to completely enchant you, Cinderella is Dead is a hopeful, inspiring modern day fairytale that should be on everyone’s TBR.
Was this review helpful?
200 years after the death of Cinderella, the kingdom is gripped in the iron fist of King Manford who uses and abuses his throne and power to control the girls in the French country of Lille and the surrounding towns of his kingdom. The laws put in place make it so that all girls must follow in the footsteps of Cinderella, but the laws are really meant to keep women silent and afraid. Sophia would much rather marry her best friend Erin than some prince or man of higher standing who will abuse and use her. When the annual ball, a mandatory event to reap and sell off the young women of Lille goes sideways for Sophia she makes a run for it. This running sparks the rebellion in her and she makes a plan to save all the girls and women of Lille who have been suffering for two centuries under the reign of kings who want to keep them down.

I absolutely adored this retelling. I literally cannot think of a single issue I had with this book. The twists were really strong and unexpected. I loved the fact that there was light and dark magic in the book and it truly illustrated how people could be comprised of both. The story itself was beautifully written, smooth to read and I was honestly hooked from chapter 1. As a fairy tale and retelling junkie I can easily say that this was the best one I've read in several years. I honestly hope she comes out with more retellings in this style with other tales. 

This text is very empowering for young women to read. I love that it shows that a single voice can spark change in a kingdom, with help of course, but our protagonist does a really great job of illustrating that change begins with the individual. Also gotta love the representation of a black, lesbian main character. Not gonna lie, LGBTQIA+ in fairy tales makes my heart sing and I loved this book all the more for it.
Was this review helpful?
Cinderella has been dead for 200 years. That might make you wonder how this story has anything to do with Cinderella, but JUST YOU WAIT.

It all starts with Sophia and the ball. Lots of girls in the kingdom are excited to go to the ball, but Sophia is dreading it. She doesn’t want to end up with some man she doesn’t know. She’s seen what women in the past have had to deal with when they are “chosen.” Abusive husbands are almost expected. Not to mention, she wants to be with her friend, Erin. But as Erin will not run away with Sophia and Sophia won’t leave all the girls in the kingdom to their fate, she lets her mother prepare her for the ball.

When the girls arrive, it’s worse than any of them could have imagined. Men leer and coerce and barter for the girls they want for themselves. But it’s the king himself who is the worst of them all.

By some stroke of luck, Sophia is able to get away from the party and ends up in Cinderella’s mausoleum. It’s there that she meets Constance, a girl who has been running from the King and his guards all of her life.

They make a plan to meet up and Sophia does something she never thought she’d do. She leaves Erin behind. She says one last goodbye to her parents and then finds Constance at the meeting place.

Who is Constance? She is a descendant of one of the original step-sisters. After Cinderella married Prince Charming, her stepmother and step-sisters had to run from the kingdom or risk being disappeared or killed. Why?

They weren’t like what we’ve been told all these years. They weren’t evil. They deeply cared for Cinderella and were helping her seek revenge.

Cinderella went to the palace that memorable night not to experience what it was like to be a royal or win the heart of the prince. She went there to kill someone (really trying with no spoilers here lol).

And her step-mother and step-sisters helped her with her plan! When the plan didn’t work out, they had to run.

It’s been 200 years, but the descendants of those three women are still in hiding, trying to escape the long arm of the palace and the King and Constance is one of them.

So, Sophia and Constance escape the kingdom and after some thought, decide they need to find Cinderella’s fairy godmother to figure out what exactly is going on.

What they find out on this journey and during their fight to free all the women of the kingdom will blow your mind. They do find the fairy godmother, but….you will not believe what happens next.


That’s all I’m saying and I’m not giving any context. If that doesn’t draw you in, I don’t know what to tell you.

Let’s talk Sophia and Constance. OMG I love their relationship. Sophia may start the book being madly in love with Erin, but as they spend more time together, Sophia and Constance form a almost unbreakable bond. Yes, this is a f/f book and it gives me life. The development of their relationship was one of my favorite parts of the whole book.

I also really liked the juxtaposition between how Erin treats Sophia versus how Constance treats her. Erin is very scared of breaking any rules and is not willing to run away with Sophia. It also seems like maybe Sophia’s love towards Erin is stronger than  Erin’s is for Sophia.

With Constance and Sophia, their love for each other is strong and equal.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen two romantic relationships presented in this way and the first relationship not shown as a bad thing or the person as a bad person. It’s made clear that Erin is a good person. We (the reader) never think of Erin as bad or wrong. She’s simply stuck in an impossible situation. Saying you’re strong enough to run away from all you’ve known and actually doing it can be really tough. Even when Erin ends up in an awful marriage, she still doesn’t see running away as an option. She doesn’t want any harm to come to her family. You can’t blame her.

In their situation, who knows if we would be Erin or Sophia?

But Erin isn’t the only character that is well-developed; all the characters are. While the evil characters are definitely full-on bad, the reveal of their secrets is done in such a way that they never seem boring or one note. Their secrets come out a little at a time and each time one is revealed…just picture me yelling WTF at my computer screen.

Trigger warnings: mentions of domestic abuse, sexism, misogyny

Cinderella is Dead is one of my favorite books of the year. I’ve read a lot of retellings of fairy tales and classic books and this is by far one of the best. Every time I think about what might’ve gone into thinking up the different parts of this book, I’m just even more in awe of it. I cannot wait to see what else Kaylnn Bayron creates.

I am giving Cinderella is Dead 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting read, events move quickly but are well developed. Students will be drawn in by Sophia and her desire to want more of her own life.
Was this review helpful?
I received an e-arc through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

3/5 stars

I was very intrigued by the idea of this story and turning the fairy tale of Cinderella on its head and creating something completely new from it. I don't believe that I have read any other Cinderella retellings in the past so I was very curious to see how the author, Kalynn Bayron, would go about it. The  retelling aspects of the story were probably my favorite parts in the book. 

Overall, I thought that the story was good. It was interesting enough to keep turning the pages but I never felt fully drawn into the story. I never really had that moment of connection with any of the characters in the story to truly feel compelled with the events that were happening. At the beginning of the story, the main character is in a secret relationship with another girl in her town and she seems to really care for her and wants to find a way that they can escape and be together. But after some events happen in the book and our main character manages to escape but not with the girl she loves, she ends up running into another girl and seems to have feelings for her almost immediately. While the main character doesn't forget about her old love interest, it still seemed like she moved on rather quickly and was not as heartbroken as I would've expected her to be. 

I felt like the beginning of the book was a little more dragged out than it needed to be and that the ending could have used a little more action and been a little more drawn out to really feel the full impact of all of the events that happened. To me, the middle really seemed to be the strongest and most intriguing part of the book. I really enjoyed seeing as things were coming together and the plan was evolving. I was still mostly intrigued through the ending but I felt like the section that was meant to be the most action packed was just a lot of talking and very little action was actually done so the pay off for the end of the book didn't seem to be as climatic as it should've been.
Was this review helpful?