My Rating ~ Three and a half Stars
RELEASE DATE: 6 August 2020
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
Thank you so much to Bloomsbury for providing me with a copy of Cinderella is Dead, in exchange for an honest review!
Cinderella died 200 years ago, but the people of Lille are forced by the King to not only memorise, but live by her story. He arranges balls each year, with mandatory attendance for all girls over a certain age, where they hope to be chosen as a wife by one of the men of Lille. If they are not chosen, they may be forfeited to work in terrible conditions. Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen by a future husband at the ball, in fact she doesn’t ever want a husband at all. She’s in love with another girl, but the rules are absolute and she must attend. When the night of the ball goes terribly wrong, Sophia finds herself on the run with one goal – stop the king and change the ways of Lille. But in order to do that, she’s going to need to learn the real story of Cinderella.
I wanted to love this book. I was sure I would. The concept is brilliant – how do the fairytales we learn as children shape our thoughts? I adore retelling spinoffs and it had all the elements that would usually make me fall in love with the story, but unfortunately it didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had. I found the extreme ‘the patriarchy must die’ theme to be a bit over the top. I mean, clearly, the way the women were treated and the ideals of the people were absolutely awful, but they were a little too extreme and I felt like we were beaten over the head with how awful every male character was – but were then peppered with a constant stream of ‘but not all men’ comments. It just felt a little forced. The fact that Sophia was so in love with her friend, but as soon as she met someone else fell instantly in love with them instead, was also not my favourite thing. It made her seem fickle and I found myself in the position of not being able to care all that much about either of her relationships. I also don’t particularly enjoy the “teenage girl from nothing suddenly becomes absolute hero who will save the world” trope. Look, I know that forms the basis of so many YA fantasies, but I often just find it a hard pill to swallow, so if you love that trope, as I know a lot of people do, you may very well adore Sophia’s story!
I will say that the actual story and unexpected twists were intriguing and fun, I enjoyed the way Cinderella’s story was revealed bit by bit and there was a big yay from me for Sophia actually having living parents 👏 . I think this book is a fun fantasy for a light read and I’m sure many people will absolutely love it, so please don’t let my personal opinions put you off picking it up!