Title: Cinderella Is Dead
Author: Kalynn Bayron
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, High Fantasy, Romance, Retelling, LGBT+
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication date: July 7th, 2020
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 . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.
“Do not be silent. Raise your voice. Be a light in the dark.”
I was so excited to read Cinderella is Dead because I love me a good retelling, and I haven’t read many Cinderella’s, and after knowing it was gay I immediately added it to my TBR. I had such high expectations, and overall I have to say that even though it didn’t meet my expectations, it was a fun and fast paced read.
The main issue that I had with this book was that the plot was pretty generic and basic. I felt like I read a few books that had a similar distribution of the story, and because of that I found that I wasn’t as engaged as I wanted. Most of the time I couldn’t tell what the book was about, because I think there were a lot of subplots that it disappeared at one point. Also, because it had the same structure as other YA books I’ve read, I didn’t find anything surprising, and the little revelations made towards the end were pretty predictable.
The world building was a bit lacking, and though there was a bit of a history lesson at one point in the story, it didn’t seem integrated with the other parts of the book, and it felt more like the author was telling us what happened with Cinderella because that was going to be relevant later on. I think if we’d known a little bit more about the world and the magic, the story would have been much more unique and complex.
“All fairy tales have some grain of truth. Picking apart that truth from the lies can be tricky, though.”
On the other hand, I really enjoyed the spin the author did of the original fairytale. I think that made the book much more unique and interesting, and I enjoyed how the original story blend with the new one.
One thing I just wasn’t a fan of was the characters. They were all pretty bland and generic, and we didn’t get to see a lot of them throughout the story. Though our protagonist had a solid development and I could she how her arc grew as I kept reading the book, there wasn’t anything about her that made her stood out to me. She was such a simple and lackluster character and I was pretty disappointed with how rushed her interactions with other characters were (also, that romance literally came out of nowhere and there was no build up or chemistry between them).
Another issue that I had was with the pacing and the ending. I feel like the middle of the book was so uneventful and not much was happening that was relevant to the plot, and once we reached the ending, everything was so incredibly rushed that the climax of the story that was supposed to be shocking and intriguing flew by, and I wished the author would have taken a little more time to build that climax so the reader would be pretty surprised.
Overall, Cinderella Is Dead was a very fun and fast paced read. It wasn’t the best book I’ve read, and I definitely had my issues with the world and the plot, but I think if you’re looking for something light and that you’ll fly through, I think this might be it.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.
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2 thoughts on “Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron| ARC Review”
Oh nooooo. I’m so excited for this one, but I’m definitely concerned on some of these things that you mentioned. I will definitely be more cautious going in. Great review, Nia!