Book Review: Cinderella is Dead

Kalynn Bayron

Rating: 2 out of 5.

published: 6th August 2020
spoilers? no


It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.

Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball . are forfeit.

But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world.

“It’ll be me,” I say. “I will find myself.”

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: misogyny, domestic abuse, racism, homophobia, implied suicide of a side character, death

Cinderella is Dead is a book that basically cements my belief that YA fantasy is not for me anymore. This book, for someone who is still into that genre (and maybe a few years ago that would have been me), is perfect. I am not that someone.

So. Firstly. Why you might want to read this book.

  • It is a book that uses a fantasy world to critique misogyny and homophobia and it does it well. I’ve read so many books that have worlds that are both misogynistic and homophobic and don’t even think to confront it. This one definitely confronts it.
  • There’s a really creative retelling of the Cinderella story, I actually enjoyed that a lot.
  • It’s sapphic! I mean, obviously, given the blurb, but it’s worth saying again. It. Is. Sapphic.

But if you’re interested in why I didn’t get along with it, here goes.

  • There is almost more attention paid to using the story as a vehicle to critique misogyny and homophobia than creating an engaging world. To be honest, it’s bland. Except for the whole Cinderella-as-a-creation-myth aspect, there is nothing that really stands out about the world compared to every other YA fantasy.
  • It wouldn’t have been a problem, but the plot didn’t really stand out for me either. I mean, I guessed pretty much everything that went down. I started playing a game with myself to see if I could guess right to keep myself interested.
  • I’m not a massive fan as putting a bigotry in a story to critique it. I definitely prefer creating worlds where it’s not even an issue and critiquing it that way. But. Each to their own.
  • The villain had zero motivation beyond he did it because he could. And okay, maybe that’s realistic, but I wanted more from him. He was very two-dimensional overall.
  • There’s not a whole lot of tension in the book. Not that there was no danger, but that I never felt particularly like they were in that danger. Like they went for a walk around town and they didn’t even try dodging guards or anything. There was never any chance they would get captured.

So yeah. While the premise and execution of it weren’t for me, they may well still be for you, so please, feel free to just ignore this review.


6 thoughts on “Book Review: Cinderella is Dead

  1. This is one of my most anticipated releases for the year but I still have hope. I’m so sad at your dislikes with this book because they’re things I don’t like seeing in a book either, but hopefully I’ll be able to ignore everything about it and still love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I ended up liking this book well enough, but I have to agree on many of your points! The worldbuilding took its Cinderella Propaganda Myth starting point and then went “hm, that’s enough originality, the rest of it can be YA Fantasy Standard” which is a real shame. I came out of it feeling like it had taken one step toward an interesting world and then two steps back

    Liked by 1 person

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