It’s risky…But sometimes that’s the only way to get things done. Take the risk, light the fuse. Onward.

Kalynn Bayron, Cinderella is Dead

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication year: 2020
Page count: 389 pages
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 3.5 stars

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 . . .

Okay, first and foremost, we must address the cover because it is absolutely stunning!

This book started out super strong. I remember actually posting somewhere that this may be a new favorite book of the year for me. However, after about the halfway point, the story fell flat for me for a couple reasons.

I genuinely enjoyed Sophia as a character. I thought she was strong and empowering to read about. At the beginning of the novel, Sophia is head over heels in love with Erin, her best friend since childhood. While Sophia is convinced that her life will amount to more than being the property of some man, Erin has accepted her fate and refuses to believe anything can be done about it.

Then, comes along Constance. Constance is the last known descendant of Gabrielle, one of the evil stepsisters. I liked Constance as a character as well, but I was not a huge fan of the romance between Sophia and Constance. It felt a bit insta-lovey to me and I didn’t see much of a buildup to their relationship. I felt like it was a bit too easy. With Erin conveniently out of the picture, Constance swoops in and woos Sophia in just a few nights. Sophia doesn’t even mention Erin again (except once very briefly) until a few chapters after she solidifies her relationship with Constance.

At one point in the novel, Sophia does try to get closure from Erin, but to no avail. At first, this bothered me because I felt like there was no reconciliation between the two characters and the Erin plot-line just dropped, but after reflecting a bit more I kind of liked this aspect. You don’t always get closure from your ex’s, but it’s okay to move on. It’s real life, and I think this might have been what the author was trying to show.

My favorite part of this novel was definitely the world it was set in. This was such a fresh take on Cinderella, twisting the original tale in such a unique way. The author really made the story her own, putting in characters who we don’t usually see in fairy tales. It was unlike any other fairy tale retelling I’ve read before, and I’m so happy that minority authors are taking back these stories and creating new ones out of them.

Overall, I am happy I read this book, even if it didn’t quite live up to the hype for me. There are rumors of a sequel, and if they prove to be true, I will definitely be picking it up!

What were your opinions on this book? Leave them in the comments below!

5 thoughts on “Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

  1. Fab review! I totally agree about the romance… the relationship with Erin just ended and swept under the rug and then Constance just swooped in


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