Cinderella is Dead, but I'M FEELING VERY ALIVE RIGHT NOW | Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

3:54 PM

Young Adult Fantasy in 2020 continues to be the only saving grace of an otherwise shit-tastic year. I stand by that and am listing Cinderella is Dead as a leading example. (ALSO!! That cover!!!)

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 . . .

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.

Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Rating: ★★★ 
As always, a copy of this book was provided by the author or publisher in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.    

Quick Note: I'm a little later than I wanted to be reviewing Cinderella is Dead, but I've been feeling overwhelmed and honestly the passing of Naya Rivera really threw me for a loop last week. So, I unfortunately had a little, "How do I write?" moment. Thankfully, the memory of this book, and the energy it gave me when I read it, influenced me to get back into the swing of things.

So, here's the truth on Cinderella is Dead: this book is brilliantly fun. Something about it made me grin (a bit maniacally) from start to finish. Truly, I am smitten.

Cinderella is Dead was thoroughly entertaining. Completely compelling, easy to get lost in, and just plain fun. Normally, I'm not altogether big on Cinderella retellings (both because it isn't my favourite fairy-tale and because they are undeniably common) but, naturally, Kalynn Bayron had me at the premise and the simple notion of a queer fantasy. And kept me in place throughout the duration of the novel.

(Seriously--this book was so fast paced, I felt like I need to slow down and drink some water. I love it.) 

That's right, kids! This was another case of, oops, Jessica didn't move for hours and now her limbs are rebelling against her. I almost forgot I was a person while reading Cinderella is Dead. I'd say I'm sorry but, you know, I'm not. This is exactly the kind of spin on Cinderella that I didn't know I'd been aching to read. All the ties back to the original story (and just how it fits into the narrative, and the world, set within Cinderella is Dead) just... worked.

The possibilities for this novel were endless and enthralling, even in its flawed moments. Admittedly, there are weaker points in Cinderella is Dead, but no more than any story I've read. So, I still don't really understand the disgruntled reviews that found tiny threads to tug at and complain about.

Maybe it's true that Cinderella is Dead could have done with more world-building and character development, but, for me, I think this was more of my own greediness in wanting to get lost just a little bit longer in Bayron's prose and less about the way the story was woven together.

Ultimately, Cinderella is Dead is one of those books that I went into thinking, "This is going to be GOOD." And then it, somehow, blew my expectation out of the water and knocked me straight on my ass. In terms of this year's YA fantasy infused retellings, this is one of my favourites right up there with The Princess Will Save You.

This whole damn book was a total mood boost for me.
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