Every single part of the premise of Cinderella Is Dead sounded right up my street and I was massively intrigued. Luckily for me, the wonderful Namra Amir at Bloomsbury Children’s UK sent me an eARC and then, in collaboration with the lovely Faye Rogers, invited me to be a part of this stellar blog tour line-up.
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 . . .
TW: racism, homophobia, misogyny, implied suicide, execution, implied sexual abuse, physical abuse, ableism, death, animal death, classism, human trafficking
Cinderella is Dead burst into my life and found a special place in my heart. It’s just such a phenomenal book in every way and has easily found itself high up in the running for one of my favourite books of this year. Bayron’s prose just exudes such an entrancing, magical atmosphere that you can’t help but get wrapped up in.
Right from the start, Bayron is not here to mess around with an incredibly strong opening that had me hooked. The writing style just flows so well; it felt like hundreds of pages just flew by in a blink as I became completely wrapped up in Sophia’s story. She is such an incredible protagonist, who I deeply empathised with and wanted to succeed. It’s so powerful to have a story centred around a Black, LGBT+ protagonist, which is sadly a rare occasion. Her and Constance team up to quite literally smash the patriarchy and I was loving every second of it.
Fairy-tale retellings are something that I’ve loved for a very long time and this really felt like a fresh and original reclamation of an antiquated, age-old tale. For far too long, those types of tales have excluded and marginalised anyone who didn’t fit their perfect mould and Bayron smashes this idea to pieces. Anyone and everyone not only can be the hero of their own story, but deserves to be.
I would be remiss to not mention the gorgeous writing and vividly imagined world hidden within these pages. It felt so rich and evocative that I could easily picture myself there and the exquisite writing would easily lend itself a cinematic adaptation. Rarely have I been quite so captivated or transported by a story. Bayron has conjured up a dark, twisty and wholly original story out of the dusty ashes of the tales we grew up with.
Cinderella is Dead is an empowering, brilliantly imagined story that I couldn’t help but become obsessed with.
Thank you again so much to Namra Amir, Bloomsbury Children’s UK and Faye Rogers for sending me an eARC and including me on this blog tour! Don’t forget check out the other amazing posts from these super talented people as well.
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