Cover Image: Cinderella Is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead

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Member Reviews

I've never been a fan of the Cinderella fairytale. It's a lovely fairytale, don't get me wrong. And I certainly appreciate it. But it's not one of my favorites. “Why then would you read this book?” I too would ask. Well, it's a retelling, right? Retellings build upon the skeleton of the original and from there, the writer can go anywhere, do anything—create something new on that foundation. It's why I enjoy reading retellings. Cinderella Is Dead went past the early stages of the story we all know, and gave us a picture of the setting 200 years after Cinderella dies.

My biggest disappointment with this novel is how shallow it is as far as development. There is not enough depth to the world-building, or to characters, or to their actions. We know the bare minimum so that we can follow along with the storytelling. After Cinderella dies, Prince Charming angrily decides that women will stop having any rights because Cinderella did not love him as he saw fit, men will control them, and he gets his pick of the lot whenever he wants. These rules follow every king hereafter. In short, he's a spoiled brat and that's his drive. And by his decrees (because in this world it seems that most men are shaped with the same cloth that shaped Prince Charming) almost every male that our lead comes across (with the exception of just three of them) are all horrible human beings who just want to inflict pain on women, use them, and discard them as they see fit.

That line never sits right with me whenever an author uses it in a story.

Sophia, our lead... Well, I still don't know her. I know that she doesn't want to marry a man just because her king demands it (which is valid) and that she wants to get out of this situation. She's headstrong, and stubborn, and most of the time does whatever she wants without regard for anyone else, or much thought to her actions. That's all that I know about her. I neither liked her, nor disliked her, except to find her instant lust/love towards Constance to be one-dimensional and unbelievable. Sophia swears that she's in love with Erin, her sweetheart, and yet after just one night in Constance's presence, she starts thinking to herself

"Her body, backlit by the flames, is like a vision. She is tall and strong. She's got her sleeves pushed up; a wide, jagged scar runs over the muscles of her upper arm. They flex as she stokes the flames. I imagine how they might feel wrapped around me, and I wonder if she can tell how enthralled I am with her."

You just met this girl. How can you be enthralled by someone that you know nothing about? Sophia's feelings towards Constance's and Constance's immediate reciprocation and constant flirting (see what I did there?) was hammered into me from their first meeting. And during moments when I wanted to be focused on the story, it would rear its awkward head up again and detract from the bit of plot that I wanted to follow.

It felt forced.

After a few chapters that dragged, and some planning by the characters to figure out how to beat the backwards system in the world of this novel, we finally come to the end of the story. It involved a lot of Sophia (who has run away from the “kingdom” so that she's not killed) waltzing right back into the palace, without any guard recognizing that this is the girl they're chasing after. Once that's done, and the king most obviously sees her among the other girls, the two engage in fairly poor comebacks against each other until she gets locked in a pantry-sized room to await his evil deeds against her.

I wanted to like the ending, because it was to be the saving grace at this point. But it was as bland as I found most of the rest of the story and ended in a predicable manner. King Manford doesn't really have a reason to be the way that he is, there's no point to his villainous nature, and I felt like the author kept pulling twists and turns and reveals from her sleeve at random to help make sense of things but they didn't add up. Sure, Sophia and Constance get what they want at the close, but we expect it. Nothing that came before it left a lasting impression.

Despite everything that I didn't enjoy, the twist given to Amina's role—our “fairy godmother”—was great. No, she does not have much development either, but I'm glad that her character was different from what we expected. I like that it drew from a darker source and gave her a slightly more sinister veneer. Who she is to Manford came out of nowhere, but I suppose it works. And while the king's history before Cinderella is flimsy at best, the way that he keeps himself going was intriguing, and definitely fits his role of antagonist, even if it's something that has been done many times past.

The writing touched the mere surface of the story and a lot more life could have been imbued into every aspect of it. It unfortunately fell very short from my expectations.
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It’s hard to resist a twist on any classic fairytale, especially when it features the type of representation that Cinderella is Dead has to offer. I knew that this book featured a woman of color as the protagonist, but didn’t realize until starting the book that this story would have strong LGBT representation as well. 

Sophia has lived her entire life in Mersailles where an evil patriarchal ruler holds all women to the strictest of laws in the name of Cinderella and her 200-year-old legacy. In this kingdom, all girls must attend the king’s ball when they are of age, including Sophia who would much rather live her happily ever after with her friend, Erin. When it comes time for a man to claim Sophia as his wife based on her looks and his entitlement to a women’s life, Sophia flees the ball, making her the king’s most wanted rebel. 

While the story started out slow, I was hooked the moment we met Constance and learned who she was. I enjoyed the dynamic she had with Sophia and following their journey together. My only wish was that we got to see more of Luke. I really loved what little we saw of him and was disappointed when he was taken out of a majority of the story, though I also understand the choice to keep women at the forefront of Sophia’s adventure. 

I also didn’t feel there was enough chemistry between the two love interests, but they were still cute enough together that I enjoyed reading it and wanted them together by the end of the book. 

Overall, this is definitely a book I would add to any classroom library. It’s written for a younger audience for myself and I could see many of my students really loving it. 

Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I knew I wanted to read this book the second I saw it. I mean, a black Cinderella? We have not been this blessed since the Brandi movie. If that wasn't exciting enough, after reading the description I found out it also had lgbtq+ representation. I was 100% here for this story.

Like most fairytales, this one begins with romance, a wish, and a ball. Only, Sophia, our wonderful main character, wants out of this twisted tale. Sophia has grown up in the patriarchal kingdom of Mersailles and is about to come of age. She must attend a ball where, assuming she looks beautiful enough, a man will select her as his wife, just like Cinderella was chosen 200 years ago. However, Sophia would rather marry her girlfriend Erin, and when someone tries to claim her Sophia flees and finds herself enmeshed in a far more deadly story than she ever thought was possible. 

I really loved this story. Sophia is one of my favorite characters of the story, besides being a black lesbian (hell yeah) she's also brave, outspoken, and determined. Sophia speaks her mind throughout the story, often causing tension between herself and her friends and family. Sophia sees the way women and anyone considered "abnormal" is treated within society, and is vocal in her admonishment of such behavior. While Sophia revels in small acts of defiance, she doesn't truly start trying to take action until there is no other choice, which is something I really enjoyed. Her original goal was to simply leave, to get herself out of a bad situation. Sophia feels like a real person. She's not power hungry, she's not brave for the sake of being brave; instead, Sophia is just a person who is doing her best to exist, and wants to make the world better for everyone else in the process.

The second Constance showed up I knew I would love her. Constance is a descendent of Cinderella and her stepsisters, and while I won't say who she's descended from, I will say I adored the twist. Constance is a great balance to Sophia. She's brash, and loud, and intelligent in a different way. Constance is quick to make jokes but carries the weight of her ancestors. She has been trying to save Mersailles for as long as she remembers.

The other side characters (and main characters that I'm not talking about because of spoilers) are just a varied and wonderful. I wished they had been better integrated into the story, as I wanted to know more about them. While Cinderella is Dead is clearly a standalone, I would have loved to learn more about the side characters. (Looking at you Luca).

My only complaint about the book is the pacing of the plot and the world building could have been better integrated. The story itself is wonderful. I like the idea, it's unique and not something I've heard of before. However, sometimes I felt like the tension was just starting to build when the scene would be resolved, and I would have liked a bit more detail about the world in general. I had a few questions left at the end, and most of them were regarding the world. As I did read an arc, I'm not sure if the published edition with have a map (it would help). I would also like to know more about the witches and magic in general within the world.

Overall, I really did enjoy the book. I do have really high standards, and this book was a solid four stars. I will always be here for queer women of color taking down the patriarchy in a fairytale world!
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Many thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for the ARC!

I approached this book hoping to find some unique concepts and new twists on “Cinderella,” and it didn’t disappoint! 200 years after her death, Cinderella’s story has become almost like a religion and a method to keep women subservient to men. Girls try to emulate the heroine in hopes of earning a visit from a fairy godmother and families bankrupt themselves paying for gowns so their daughters will be chosen as brides at the annual ball. But it turns out the story they (and we) all know so well isn’t quite the truth. I read a lot of fairy tale retellings and many authors take on “Cinderella,” so I’m always impressed to find an author who does something completely new and different. Bayron definitely manages to do this. I loved how she twists the tale and incorporates it into her dystopian society. 
  
I also appreciated the representation in the book. Sophia, our protagonist, is a lesbian woman of color. Anyone who has read some of my Fairy Tale Friday posts will know I always love finding LGBT+ retellings. In addition to Sophia and her love interest, there are also a few secondary LGBT+ characters. Fairy tale retellings tend to be a very white genre, so it’s also great to see some racial diversity. 

My main issue is the lack of character development. I’d say it’s probably most noticeable with Sophia, Constance, and King Manford. Sophia’s personality boils down to outspoken and rebellious. That’s all I really know about her, and I had a similar problem with Constance. King Manford as a villain suffers from a lack of clear motivation. As the story unfolds we learn what he did, but we never learn why he did any of it. It seems that he just does evil things because he’s evil, and I prefer complex villains with more nuance than that. 

Another result of the lack of character development is that relationships between the characters come off as incredibly rushed. Trust, anger, and love all come out of nowhere at various points. This isn’t helped by the fact that more than the first half of the book takes place over just a few days. The romance developing so quickly was particularly disappointing to me because Bayron does a great job deconstructing the love at first sight trope when revealing the true story of Cinderella.

Overall this a fun spin on a classic fairy tale full of fantastic and creative concepts.
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So I love a good retelling, and I thought the plot of this one would suck me right in, but I just thought it was okay. 
There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed, like when Sophia ends up meeting Constance, a decendant of Gabrielle one of Cinderella's "evil step-sisters." Or when they find the fairy godmother and learned the truth about the King, Cinderella and her not evil stepmother and step-sisters. and necromancy!   um also the ending when Sophia and Constance try and stop the king, and sophia ends up finding some of the forfited? girls in the dungeon, and find Luke again. I really liked him. He was doing is best, and trying to help Sophia so she wouldn't end up with some random guy that would probably beat her. So Im really happy that he survived. 
This had a really slow burn romance that also seemed to happen kind of fast. if that makes sense. Sophia is in love with Erin, and wants to run away with her before the ball, and during the ball.  But she ends up having feelings for Constance pretty quickly after escaping the king and fleeing into the forest. 
So while I think the premise was good, I just found my self kind of bored with it. Especailly during the middle portions. With the occasionally tid bit that kept me interested enough to keep going.
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Cinderella is dead is a slow burn YA dystopian novel that I requested from netgalley.  I do love a good slow burn but this one may have been a little too slow for me. The climax of the story was a little anticlimactic for me I think the author could have really done so much more with this story then she did. I give this story ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 !!
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I saw the cover of this book and a brief synopsis on Twitter and it was enough for me to want to read it. I was fortunate to snag an ARC, and I’m glad I did. This is a really cool twist on the ‘princess saves herself’ trope, with a very unique callback to fairy tales, legends, and how they relate to society and culture. The points made here aren’t subtle, but frankly, they don’t need to be. What’s cool is that the narrative voice embraces it; Sophia’s inner monologue tells you what she’s thinking about her society and its problems, without sugar coating it. A lot of us will recognize the fear she lives in; it might be drawn out to the extreme in this fantasy world but it’s damned familiar. (I do wish I’d seen a warning about the level of domestic violence discussion in this book; while there is, of course, a happy ending, it can be harrowing to get there if this stuff impacts you at all.)

Without giving anything away, a title I thought was simply cool is actually extremely meaningful and has a lot to do with the twists and turns the story takes. It’s this kind of hidden subtlety that’s woven throughout the book; there are plot twists upon plot twists (some of which are predictable, some of which were a surprise) and a satisfying ending that takes on the nature of cultural change in plain language. This book has a lot to say, and it’s saying it on several different levels. 

I found the contrast of the plainness of the narrative voice to the subtlety of the plot structure and its many twists intriguing. I also loved the treatment of Cinderella; what a satisfying re-imagining of a problematic classic! This book takes some of what Mercedes Lackey did with her Five Hundred Kingdoms series and dives much deeper (and darker) into what happens when legends become rules, and how dangerous rigid adherence to charismatic leadership can be.

And yes, this is a book for young readers, but you know I can’t let the romance pass me by! The relationship between Sophia and Constance was charming. It’s harder to build realistic romance into a book like this (without explicit details and with a LOT of plot going on to take up real estate), and occasionally the romantic arc leaps unaccountably forward, but the two characters more than make up for it. The contrast between Sophia’s feelings for Erin and her feelings for Constance is carefully explored, with a resolution that explains – with Sophia’s characteristic plainness – the difference between the two relationships with a nod to self-worth.  I’m so glad to see more F/F relationships in YA!
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Thank you Net Galley and Bloomsbury YA for the chance to read and review this ARC. 

I give Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron 4/5 Stars. This retelling of Cinderella is a dark feminist spin on the famous fairytale. This fantasy puts unexpected twists on the well known tale and kept me hooked from the first page. This LGBTQ+ feminist fantasy is one you will not want to miss. The only issues I had with this story is I wish we had more back story on some of the characters. This book is perfect for girls who want to marry the princess rather than the prince charming. This is a story for girls who want to be their own knight in shining armor.
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First off, I love this feminist anthem. An all encompassing feminism sweeping through the land, in a place where women are seen as property. I thought the plot was not only unique, but exciting. I read this book in a single afternoon - I couldn't put it down.

The twists and turns of this story just prove how versatile the story of Cinderella could be. And I thought this was a great tale to tell. We have a POC main character who is also LGBTQIA+, because representation, and she is not a demure girl. She is ready to change the world. 

I really enjoyed this new take on a classic fairytale, proving that men are trash. Well, most men are trash. In this world, men have all the power. Women have no rights and are property owned by their husbands - if they can manage to be married. The king hosts a ball every year allowing suitors and girls to come together and get engaged. Except it's mandatory for the women to attend while it's optional for men. Also, women only get three years to go and find a husband before they are forfeited and forced to work in the castle as a spinster. 

Yeah - these men are TRASH. 

I thought the writing was great, the message was great, and we have some awesome representation for girls everywhere. I don't think there was anything I disliked about the story, except maybe Sophia's obsessed with her crush Erin at the beginning. It was borderline creepy how pushy she was, but it's as indicative of a man as any, so maybe just proves once again that men are trash. Besides her pushiness at the beginning, and her quick ability to fall in and out of love, this was an awesome story and I am going to scream about it for a while. 

Also men are trash lol
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A refreshing take on an old tale that we need right now. 

Cinderella is Dead is the gay, feminist, POC story that I've been waiting for. It is a standalone novel that hits all the marks without feeling forced.
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When I first head about this book I knew I wanted to read it. The synopsis complete drew me in and had me wanting to read this book. I absolutely adore retellings. For starters I want to point something out. From just reading the synopsis I didn’t realize this book was about queer girls. Now this doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but I just wanted to point that out because for some people... it might. (Which is really sad, but true) I even read the synopsis to my boyfriend just to be sure I didn’t miss it. But overall I absolutely loved this book and the romances. Sophia and Constance are just the absolute cutest, but I wish I’d of gotten to see that relationship grow more. I loved how fierce and strong they both are. I mean I love a fierce woman character, but to have 2 and make them queer??? I freaking adored it. This book had me on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. I never was able to guess what was gonna happen next. More then a few times I was completely shocked by how things turned out. I do think she kinda did Erin a little dirty tho. I would’ve liked to have known what had happened to her. At first I didn’t like the plot because I didn’t like the idea of Prince Charming being a bad guy! However, after reading the rest of the story... I was hooked. That was some insanely creative writing because I don’t think I would’ve ever thought to make Prince Charming a soul sucking, controlling, psychopath who was 200 years old. It was just a stroke of genius honestly. So once I put aside my view of the perfect Prince Charming, I couldn’t stop reading. I’ve never read a retelling with so many twists and turns! It was all over the place, but in a good way. If you’d have tried to explain this book to me., I never would’ve understood it. The concept is just so complex, but also so easy to follow. I found it hard to put this book down. The author did such an amazing job and I will definitely be buying the physical copy when it’s released. This book has nothing but my praises... bravo.
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This was a unique story concept about a POC, LGBT as their main character. I think the idea was very original and has big potential, but the execution is where it lost me. 

The writing style was good, the characters were unique and interesting. I felt like they represented a lot of people, and I loved that. I feel like the characters were supposed to be the strong suit of this story, but I found they got pushed aside for the plot to progress. It was disappointing to see. Sophia was a strong rebellious female character which I felt so connected to. Constance was such a badass character and I love the friendship/romance between them.

The pacing was honestly a little slow, I'm sure it would benefit the story if it was cracked faster, just a bit. 

The romance was hard to believe, there wasn't much build-up but at least it was cute? It was love at first sight, which is a trope I dislike, but eh that's just me. ( Maybe the author meant the romance to replicate those in fairy-tales, if so, then it's understandable ) considering its a retelling. I loved their romance tho- they're just so cute together. I'm so glad they ended up getting together. I loved the representation. 

 The building of the world, and really how deep they dived into the patriarchy was so interesting to read about. It was an exciting read. However, I feel like the villains were so shallow and unrealistic. I would have enjoyed if the book really explored the reasons WHY the villains were evil, not just saying that their evil. Because I feel like every villan has some reason for doing what they do. 

It was a good read, but I wouldn't say I loved it. I feel like the characters ( excluding the villains ), plot, and the world-building were the book's strong suits. 

( Thanks so much to netgalley and Bloomsbury YA for providing my e-arc, keep in mind that these are my honest opinions and that all of my opinions are my own. )

Instagram: @readwithemilee
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Thank you Bloomsbury YA and Netgalley for giving me the chance to read and review this E-ARC. I will be posting this review on my blog (abookishstar.blogspot.com), Instagram (@abookishstar) and Amazon on July 1, 2020. 

Kalynn Bayron has created a unique twist on the tale of Cinderella. I enjoyed the overall premise of this novel. I also love the diversity presented in this book. My favourite characters were Constance and the fairy godmother. I was fond of the interactions between the two of them and Sophia. 

Bayron did a good job of plotting and unravelling the truth behind Cinderella's story. I thought Cinderella's story was well thought out in this standalone The author has also created a scary dystopian world for women. Mersailles is a highly patriarchal kingdom where women are oppressed and forced into marriages at annual balls. 

I did not like Sophia at the very beginning of this story. However, she started to grow on me by the end. She is a very strong female lead and she starts off that way. She is not afraid to speak her mind and notice all that is wrong within Lille's society. 

This book was a bit slow, in pace, for me. The story, including the ending, was also a bit predictable.
 
I felt the romance and character development could have been a bit stronger. The romance, that appears later in the book, was a bit rushed. The characters fall in love, almost, instantaneously without really getting to know one another. 

I also felt that Sophia's relationships with her friends (Erin and in particular Liv) could have been stronger. I felt Liv, Luke, and even Erin to some extent were characters who were important one minute to Sophia and then forgotten a second later. 

Overall, I encourage fans of fairytale retellings to check out Cinderella is Dead on July 7, 2020.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this twist on the classic Cinderella tale. The author did an awesome job of keeping me interested and guessing until he very end. The characters were well thought out and rounded and all the lose strings were cleaned up by the end of the story.
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*Review will be posted on my blog on June 8, 2020*

Thank you to Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

Now this is an imaginative and creative retelling of the infamous Cinderella story. Cinderella is Dead is a big twist on the happily ever after story we’ve been fed since Disney created the Cinderella movie. Poor Cinderella loses her father, is raised by her wicked stepmother, meets a fairy godmother, a Prince and all is well in the kingdom.

Not so in this retelling. Prince Charming has left a legacy of oppression against women in the kingdom of Mersailles. Girls are paired up to be married to eligible men (doesn’t matter their age) and if they are abused, people don’t blink an eye. Everyone think it’s a man’s right to treat women however they want, but Sophia is not having it. Plus, she wants to be with another girl, and that’s not allowed in Mersailles so she flees. Sophia uncovers the horrible truth about Prince Charming and Mersailles, but can she help turn the tide and take down the king?

Likes:
*Talk about a twist! I love the way the Cinderella story is upended in this retelling. By the way, I do love the happily ever after Cinderella story I grew up with but this particular take is definitely reflective of our women empowerment times today. The girls in Mersailles have this legacy – to “be happy” and in love like the original Cinderella story, they have to follow the rules set out by King Manford. But it’s all a lie. Women are being abused, killed, mistreated and no one can do a thing about it – until Sophia tries. 

*Sophia knows she likes girls, and she tries to flee Mersailles the night of her pairing, where she is supposed to find her future husband. Sophia is a rebel and tries her best to uncover the truth about Mersailles and the king.

*There is a lot of diversity in this book, which is always nice. We have the f/f relationships going on and Sophia is a queer black girl. And let me say, it was awesome to see the girls in this book take this Cinderella story, expose it for what it is (a lie) and then take down the king. DO IT. They did. Haha.

*The fairy godmother’s role in this story is very interesting. When she tells the story of the true Cinderella it’s an eye opening tale. But there are more surprises in store.

Things That Made Me Go Hmm:
*I thought Sophia was so in love with Erin at first, to the point she begged her to run away with her. That ends quick in the beginning. Eventually something grows between Sophia and Constance but it may seem like insta-lust right after things with Erin have ended. Anyway it just made me go..🤔. The friendship between Sophia and Constance is strong though, so that was a plus.

*I did find parts of the book that lagged, especially during the explanations and the back story of the real Cinderella. Also I read an e-arc that was just formatted in a way that made reading not enjoyable. 🤦🏻‍♀️ So that is not something against the book at all.

*Triggers: violence, abuse

Final Thoughts:
I really enjoyed this dark retelling of Cinderella! The concept is creative and entertaining. The message is empowering. Not everyone wants Cinderella’s life and I’m glad this book tells girls they have plenty of other options out there. Everyone’s personal happily ever after is going to be different and that’s perfectly fine.
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Wow.

This is by far the best Cinderella retelling I’ve ever read, and that’s saying a lot.

Cinderella is Dead adds a powerful feminist twist to the fairytale we all know (or at least THINK we know) and love. It makes us question the stories we’ve grown up with, and encourages us to look beyond all the fairy godmothers, glass slippers, and ball gowns.

The world-building in this book was excellent. It helped create the very dark and oppressive atmosphere of the story. As a reader, you can feel how frightening it is to be a woman in Lille (the kingdom in which the story takes place). The treatment of women in Lille is beyond horrific. Women are considered property in every way: they are viewed as second-class citizens, they are punished or killed for resisting the men who control them, and they are OWNED by their husbands, who can treat them in any awful way they see fit. Sound familiar? The connections we can make between the oppression of women in Lille and the abuse and sexism of women in our world today and of women in history are truly disturbing. I applaud the author for not holding back from creating these dark metaphorical expressions and giving us such a raw, eye-opening read.

In addition to the world-building, the characters in Cinderella is Dead were fantastic as well. Our main character, Sophia, was tough, determined, and not afraid to stick up for what she believed in. We got to see the brave and feirce side of her, but we also got to see her vulnerable side. I think that the most badass female characters are the ones that have emotions and vulnerability in addition to bravery and toughness. Those traits add so much more complexity and depth to a character.

While I really liked Sophia, my favorite character was easily Constance. She was strong-willed, intelligent, selfless, and capable. I’m not sure if her romance with Sophia was completely necessary, as I think that I would have enjoyed the story just as much if they had just been friends. But I still think that they were really cute together! I was just more interested in the overall plot rather than the romance.

My only critique is that the ending was a little rushed. It’s complicated because we really didn’t get to see any resolution. There’s just a time jump to when things have all been resolved. Given the circumstances of the story, I get it, but I really would have liked to see a longer, further developed ending.

Taking everything into consideration, Cinderella is Dead is a spectacular retelling of Cinderella. It makes us question the stories we’ve been told, and empowers girls to overcome obstacles and break down the barriers around them.

I can’t recommend this book enough!
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Thank you to BloomsburyYA for sending me an e-arc of this book! 
I really enjoyed this alternative post Cinderella story. There were some parts of the book I felt were "too easy" but ultimately the book kept me engaged and I wanted to keep reading. The main character Sophia was likeable and rebellious, she would not go with the crowd and stood up for what she believed in. Who doesn't love a strong female character!?
The love interest was interesting but maybe a little predictable.
All in all, I enjoyed this book and think it was a good read 😊 
3 1/2 stars from me!
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Y'all this book is the feminist dystopia I've wanted for ages.

There's a hole in my heart, a The Grace Year shaped hole, that stems from wanting a YA dystopian novel about a girl who dismantles a deeply misogynist society with heroics and swordfighting, and failing so abysmally to find it thus far. People of the internet, that hole has been filled.

Cinderella is Dead follows Sophia, a girl born into a post-Cinderella nightmare, in which Prince Charming transformed the country into a misogynist's fantasy. She is forced to attend the annual ball, where a man may claim her as his bride. If a girl is not engaged after three years, her life is forfeit. Rather than allow herself to be claimed by an abusive bully, Sophia flees the ball and encounters Constance, a descendent of one of Cinderella's step-sisters, and the last remaining guardian of the true Cinderella story. Together, the two seek out the truth about Cinderella and their country, and fight for the freedom of all who live there.

It is admittedly true that the book industry is slowly diversifying, but that doesn't mean that this story of a black lesbian saving the world from an entitled white man isn't 100% necessary and 100% appreciated by this reviewer.

I'm a sucker for retellings, so I loved that Bayron managed to write a truly unique retelling that provides commentary on modern issues while still retaining the magic of the original story. Yes, Sophia gets a magical gown that disappears at midnight, and yes, she kicks ass in it. The action was exciting, and Sophia was such a fun, strong, lovable heroine.

I really only have one complaint about this book, and that is the romance. Sophia and Constance spend very little time getting to know each other, and while they are both really fun characters, I honestly didn't feel like there was much development for their relationship. That would have been fine -- there were about a million other things going on -- but it was very instalovey and honestly I kind of wished Bayron had focused on the main plot, and left the romance at its beginning, as a step towards a hopeful future.

Nonetheless, I could not recommend this book more. And was Bayron teasing us with the hint of other stories in the same world? Because I feel like I caught a whiff of a Snow White retelling coming next, but who knows.
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This book took a little bit to pull me in but when it did, I couldn't put it down. It is a ingenius retelling of the Cinderella story that takes on misogyny and toxic masculinity. Sophia is a fierce main character who, from the start, is not going to participate in the disgusting rituals of her world. She does not want to be chosen to be a bride to any man who wishes to select her at the ball and she fights back and in the process takes down the whole system.

Highly recommend.
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I chose this. Book based on the title and description.  I love twisted fairy tales and strong female characters.  Descriptions of the landscape were vivid enough from the beginning for me to quicken my breathing from the first conflict in the woods. With a diverse character on the book cover, I would have enjoyed more character descriptions to better place myself inside the characters’ lives.  Overall, a great read for me and Young Adult readers I know
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