“When the leader of this kingdom treats women as property, it sets an awful precedent. People think it’s okay to do the same.”
― Kalynn Bayron, Cinderella Is Dead
I read Cinderella is Dead as part of the Read Harder Challenge 2022. The prompt was to “Read a queer retelling of a classic of the canon, fairytale, folklore, or myth.”
Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron is set 200 years after Cinderella’s fairy tale in the kingdom of Lille. People still talk about Cinderella’s story. Although many of the citizens are trying to keep the fairy tale alive for their daughters, there is no happy ending for anyone that doesn’t fit a certain mold. Anyone who is independent and/or in the LGBT community is sent away from the kingdom.
Sophia is 16 years old and hopelessly in love with her best friend, Erin. There is a ball where all eligible young women and suitors are supposed to be matched for marriage. The story of Cinderella is supposed to be the blueprint for the young ladies to get a marriage proposal. The king has basically made following in Cinderella’s footsteps into a law. The punishment for not following the law or attending the balls is very harsh. People disappear quite often following the ball each year.
Sophia wants Erin to run away with her so they can be together before they have to marry anyone. Erin doesn’t want to shame her family or be ostracized. She probably doesn’t love Sophia in the same way. So Erin accepts the marriage proposal from a suitor who happens to be cruel and abusive.
Sophia escapes from the ball and the kingdom. She has some assistance from Constance, a descendant of Cinderella and the step-sisters. Together, they work to form a plan to change things in Lille. They meet the Fairy Godmother, who is much different than the character in the fairy tale. She is much less Bippity Boppity Boo and more Bada Bing Bada Boom. The Fairy Godmother will probably remind you of someone that you know. I cannot say if that is good or bad. She just seems familiar.
If you like retellings of fairy tales or books where being Gay is ok, then you will love Cinderella is Dead because it’s a combination of both. Personally, I love Cinderella is Dead because it is an LGBT+ retelling of a classic story. Also, I love the cover. It is so beautiful! What do you guys think of the book or the cover?
If you are a jerk like the king, then you probably don’t like change or anyone that is different. So for you jerks, this might be a good book to start with to learn why change or being different is not so bad.