Cover Image: Cinderella Is Dead

Cinderella Is Dead

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Member Reviews

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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Pros

-Having a black girls and guys be apart of this Cinderella fairy tale world.
-The author came through with gowns and fairy tale for me. 
-Fantasy- when we finally got to the fantastical it was very interesting. 
-The world it was fascinating to read about. 
-Queerness-  One of my favorite parts of the story because the message about queerness is shown layered into the story and not heavy handed. There is an added layer to story because the conformity is also about not presenting queerness.
-The little bit of adventure aspect to the story.
-That the story had a definitive ending- there are threads for a series but this book can be a standalone. 

Cons

-Feminism is weak- there is no argument this is my least favorite part of the story.
A. Feminism is heavy handed & not explored deep enough

B. Is this feminism black feminism or white feminism applied to black girls?

For example, I don’t like the damsel in distress being seen as a bad thing when being applied to black girls because black girls have never been  allowed to be damsels in distress…

C. I’m over the whole character telling me they are feminist without characters being about it- actually showing their feminism

D. Main character veers into not like other girls and girlie girl-ness is bad

E. This was built up to be this hardcore take down of patriarchy (look at the cover and the marketing) when it is not. 

-There was not enough fantasy. 
-Telling not showing is bunk- bunk=wack
-Convenience- the king seemed to not be trying that hard  to find Sophia because she would be in the most obvious places, the story wrapped up too easily
-Angry girl- I’m not feeling this new trend of the girl who is angry as a personality trait. I am seeing characters who are brash without the proper characterization to back up their anger/brashness. What makes it even worse is they seem to be missing common sense (for lack of better word) that would make them more intriguing characters to follow. It just seems they go from plot point to plot point based on either convenience or stupidity.
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I went into this book knowing only that it was a sort of Cinderella retelling. And while it is that, it was so much more. Ultimately, this is a book about one girl's mission to overthrow an oppressive patriarchy. 

She lives about 200 years after Cinderella. She is in love with her best friend, Erin. But, she is required by law to attend a ball at the palace where men of all ages choose their wives. She goes, rather unwillingly I might add, until it all becomes too much for her and she runs away from the palace without a suitor. 

Its full of magic and mystery and hella plot twists. 

I would totally recommend if you're looking for an LGBT and super feminist fairy-tale retelling.
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I loved this book so much. I read it in one night, it caught my attention and was thrilling. There were a lot of surprises and loved it. .
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I liked this book a lot!

It has some flaws. There are a few coincidences in the plot which could have been products of skill and determination instead, if the author put some more thought into it. But mostly my problem was was that the writing of the Horrible Oppressive Patriarchal Kingdom was So Obvious. It conveys the horror of the setting, but at the cost of more subtle and evocative writing. I think the misogyny and hopelessness and horror could have been conveyed with writing more like a scalpel instead of a pick axe, if you get what I'm saying. On the other hand, the straightforwardness of it means no one could be dense enough to miss the message. And with its retelling angle and not having sexual content but with the same message, it might be a fantastic The Handmaid's Tale for younger audiences.

I also wanted more fleshing out of the fairy-tales-are-state-propaganda angle! The treatment of Cinderella this way is the basis of the entire book, but the mention of Snow White caught my interest so hard, I wanted to know how so many other tales would go if they got the same treatment. Hoping this was left to be fleshed out in sequels!

Though I wish the flaws were fixed, I am very happy with this book. We got gay girls. We got queer characters supporting each other. We got morally gray characters and heroes and villains. We got a million different ways people crumple under and quietly resist and loudly revolt against the patriarchy, and incredible character development as Sophia learns not to judge people who go quietly because they just want to survive, even though she is a different kind of person. And she does it all while kissing girls.
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If you love fairy tale retellings you should read it. There so many twists and turns that this book kept my attention and I didn’t want the book to end. Loved this book!
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This Book was in short great.
If you love fairy tale retellings you should read it I absolutely loved the original twist that Kalynn Bayron provided to Cinderella.
It starts out with us learning about the ball and that 200 years after Cinderella and Prince Charming have lived their “happily ever after” and now everyone is under King Manford's rule. Sophia is defiant and doesn't want to complacently follow the king's backwards way of living. So after the ball she meets Constance and they make plans to find out the truth.
There were so many twists and turns that I didn't see coming.
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I was hyped for this book as soon as I saw it advertised and immediately logged on to NetGalley to request an ARC. I was so thrilled when I received my e-copy and immediately started to read. This book did not disappoint!!

Retellings are extremely popular right now, so figuring out a story to stand out in a genre so saturated is an extremely difficult task. However, Bayron proved why we all needed one more cinderella story. This retelling is full of female empowerment, a queer black character, adventure, romance, and suspense. Literally everything you could want in a fantastical Cinderella retelling.

The novel is in first person POV, narrated by Sophia. Sophia lives in a repressive society where men are in charge of their daughters and wives. Women have no rights or say in the world. They can work, but all the money they receive has to go back to the head of household. Women are expected to memorize the Cinderella tale and be able to recite it upon request if asked. This was a really interesting part because it was like Cinderella was viewed as a goddess and all of the women are expected to strive to be just like her in order to get their happily ever after.

Well Sophia is in love with her best friend Erin, who is also a female. Erin, though fond of her, is too terrified of the king and his laws to really act upon these feelings and makes that clear before the night of the ball. At the ball, all eligible of aged girls are expected to attend. This is where men find the girl they wish to marry. If a girl does not get chosen, she has the ability to attend another ball or her parents had the ability to "forfeit" their daughter. When a daughter is forfeited, no one hears from her again.

Sophia is defiant, as well as she should be, and doesn't want to complacently follow the king's backwards way of living. This is where the story truly begins. I loved how Bayron structured her plot and how we learned the true story of Cinderella and her step sisters. I typically have a hard time with first person POV, but I found myself loving the writing style and unable to put this book down.

The plot flowed smoothly and I did not anything was pieced together awkwardly. There was even a plot twist that I did not see coming, but loved it. The only complaint I had was that the ending felt a bit rushed, but probably because I wanted more from Sophia and Constance (her companion in her journey.)

I ADORED how the book ended though. It could not have been a more inspirational ending.

Do not be silent.
Raise your voice.
Be a light in the dark.
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I'd never been a fan of the Cinderella story but this book made it all feel so eery and dark. There's such a beauty in this book. This breaks down notions and explores love that is true. Pick this book up if you're thinking about it.
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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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