It’s time for Cinderella with a very different twist.
Which I am so here for! Also completely in love with this cover (both editions really) and I just realised that furious women in beautiful ballgowns ready to destroy the patriarchy is actually very very lovely. 😭 I also read this in just one evening and loved being able to be submersed in the world. It reads easily, but with leaves you with themes to deeply mull over.
let’s talk about the story
First off, it wasn’t what I was expecting (not a bad thing!) but I think you should go in knowing what type of story it is! I was expecting just a dark fantasy, but it’s more like a dystopian fantasy. It’s set in a fairytale kingdom style world…but with this dystopian twist. And I so appreciate how unique this was. It also took the perfect, pretty imagery of fairytales and showed us the warped twisted undercurrent of it: here the king is a monster, here the women are items to be owned, here there is no freewill. I’d pitch it as fairytales meets Only Ever Yours and The Jewel.
Women are treated horribly, abused and forced to attend the annual ball to find a “match” (aka a guy will choose them). If they don’t, they’re considered undesirable and go “missing”. There’s also magic. Witches in the woods and a bit of necromancy too. Literally has it ALL.
“What do you think needs to happen in Lille?” I ask.
She stares at me, her brown eyes glinting, a deadly serious look on her face. “I think we need to burn the whole thing to the ground and start over. The entire system, the ideals that have been woven into this society. It all has to go.”
the characters were so perfect!!
Sophia chose to breathe, and I chose to adore her. 😭😭 She truly is an excellent heroine. From muttering her opinion on the idiotic rules of this world under her breath, to questioning everything, to refusing to be crushed — she’s the kind of heroine you can’t stop cheering for. And she is an unapologetically lesbian. Even when her mother says to forget Erin and look for a boy, Sophia is like: “Okay. I have obtained A Gay Boy, is this how we do it.” Bless Sophia 😭😭(and Luke honestly, what a dumbass but I appreciated he tried to help).
Then we have Constance! She’s this vigilante who Sophia stumbles into, and they quickly decide running away isn’t enough: they want to burn the patriarchy down. Constance liked sharp things and had a sharp mouth, and honestly these two together were perfect. It didn’t feel instalovey either, and though the book is face-paced, their relationship felt natural. They found the same spark in each other, the inability to let things go, and they clicked.
Also Constance: *brandishes a knife*
It is bursting at the seams with ballgowns and defiance, of challenging the status quo and asking why again and again and again, until change is made.
It’s definitely a societal critique, and I loved how it unpacked the discrimination women face every day in our reality. It calls out men who say “I’m one of the good ones” but they still stand there and do nothing, and it doesn’t scorn feminine women, but loves on all types of girls. This whole book is a challenge to the world, and we love to see it.
With soft sapphic love and quips and triumph, it really was a fantastic read.
I don’t want to be saved by some knight in shining armour. I’d like to be the one in the armour, and I’d like to be the one doing the saving.
Thanks Bloomsbury AUS for the review copy! Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron cam out Sept 1, 2020.
It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.
Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball … are forfeit.
But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world …
An electrifying twist on the classic fairytale that will inspire girls to break out of limiting stereotypes and follow their dreams!
what are your favourite retellings? 😍have you read this one yet? what did you think?