Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
I wanted to love this book, I really did. It had all the elements that I love, a fairy-tale retelling bringing down the patriarchy, magic, and strong female characters. This book was pitched to me via the socials and Goodreads as “queer black girls overthrowing the patriarchy” and that’s what it did. I was expecting more, and I think I let the hype of this book get to me. You would think by now I wouldn’t give into the hype, but I fell hard for it this time!
However, it fell flat for me. Maybe the world building wasn’t there for me, or there was too much of a fantastical element. I’m not sure but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. I felt that this book was a bit too predictable, though the twist at the end made me shriek in surprise. I had a hard time concentrating on this book, I kept getting distracted by what was around me and I found that I kept making excuses to not read this book.
The romance wasn’t overpowering in this novel which is a plus for me! I do not like romance novels, and this was the perfect balance for me.
I think what really got me into giving this a 3 star was the world building. That’s a big thing for me, I want to get sucked in the world of the characters seamlessly, but I was left questioning it. There wasn’t enough depth or explanation of why things were the way they were. I wanted more imagery; I felt like I was led by the hand the whole time and told exactly what was happening instead of letting my imagination fill in the rest. That’s the best part of story-telling, letting the reader’s imagination run with the story, show me what you mean, don’t explicitly state what’s happening, leave some intrigue for me to figure out.
Overall it was a good novel; maybe I’ll go back and re-read it one day or maybe not. This book was too hyped up and I was disappointed.
Will I still recommend this book? Maybe. Depends if you’re into retellings and want a “queer black girls overthrow the patriarchy” novel. Maybe you’ll read it and love it, if so let me know in the comments below!
Cups of Tea: ☕☕☕
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Published: July 7, 2020