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 . . .

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Photo by Suliman Sallehi from Pexels

Trigger & Content Warnings:

Misogyny (central theme)

Racism

Queermisia, specfically lesbomisia & homomisia

Nonconsensual and coerced marriage of teenage girls to adult men (theme), including ‘corrective’ marriage & nonconsensual polygamy

Sexual assault, on-page

Sexual harassment

Physical & financial domestic abuse, on-page & off-page

Child abuse

Implied suicide

Food deprivation mentioned

Blood & gore depiction

Grief & loss depiction

Death of a friend

Murder & attempted murder

Knife violence

Explosion

Imprisonment

Fire

Animal death

Animal attack

trigger warning database
Photo by Lum3n from Pexels

This was one of the first books I saw trend, on Booktok, back when I joined in late 2020. As a fan of retellings, I knew that I wanted to read it but I decided to hold out for the paperback version. Then like the mood reader, who has ADHD, that I am I bought it placed it on my bookshelves, and forgot I owned it. As I’m trying to read more of my physically owned TBR I was looking through my bookshelves and this stunning cover reminded me that I still needed to give it a read.

This is a fast-paced YA fantasy full of finding your strength, fighting the establishment, and fighting the patriarchy. I love that it’s set in a world where Cinderella did live, 200 years ago, and we learn how much people allowed the story, that was presented to the public, to control their lives. Just because the powers that be tell us a story doesn’t mean we should question it or show resistance if we find something to be unfair or cruel.

Much like reality the people of Mersailles blindly follow their King regardless of how harmful his rules and laws are. Even faced daily with the suffering of others they blindly believe their King only has their best interests at heart. Anyone willing to stand up against those beliefs is told to be silent or, in most cases, handed over to the King for punishment. The few who are willing to speak their minds often disappear or are executed in public as an example for the rest to stay in line.

I really enjoyed reading this story and seeing Sophia find her strength even when it felt like no one else supported her. Sophia kept her hope of a better future where she could be herself and actively fights to make it a reality. If you love a good YA fantasy that is about finding your strength and not being afraid to fight for a brighter future and is also Sapphic…this is a story for you!


Published by Noelle Loves Books

Growing up, Japanese and Indigenous, it was hard to find books that showcased stories and worlds that accurately portrayed Noelle’s experiences. Fantasy quickly became her main love, as you could really be anyone, anywhere. As the years went on, and technology grew, Noelle was finally able to see more stories and authors that looked and felt like her. Noelle is open to all genre’s though she can mostly be found reading own voice, fantasy, and romance. Ratings: 5 Stars: Completely blew me away 4 Stars: Loved the story but didn't feel completely blown away by it 3 Stars: Liked the overall concept of the story but either had poor execution, had a lot of plot holes, or was written poorly 2 Stars: I struggled to understand the plot, poorly written, or just had really unlikeable characters along with a poor writing 1 Star: Horribly written, major plot holes, or extremely unlikeable characters and plots.

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