Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

Cinderella Is Dead
by Kalynn Bayron
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication date: July 7, 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

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 . . .

This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.


I really wanted to love this story. A Cinderella retelling with a dark, mysterious twist? Not to mention a gay black heroine. I felt like this would be a dead ringer of winner. However, this just didn’t work for me and I struggled with finishing it.

While as a whole this is a really unique concept, I just had a hard time grasping the world and the characters within the pages. I never fully understood Sophia. I get that she doesn’t want to be forced into this awful system of going to a ball only to become someone’s chosen bride. Especially given the fact that women are viewed as second class citizens. However, that’s all I got from her. I never truly felt like I knew who she was as a person. We meet her and she’s in love with her best friend who clearly wants to follow protocol and find a husband. Then she meets another girl, who she seems to immediately fall in love with, and the two of them team up to overthrow the king. I also didn’t understand the king and his motives. Actually, I don’t think he even had any motives other than he could, so he did. I just felt like a lot of the development was focused more on the misogamy and Sophie’s sexual preference, rather than the fantasy world and the characters themselves. Which is a shame because I think I would have enjoyed this story so much more if it focused on the fantasy aspect and dove deeper in character development.

I was so looking forward to this story. I immediately bumped it up on my reading list when I got it. However, I just found myself bored during it and could never fully latch onto the characters or their motives. Even though this was a miss for me, I could see a lot of people liking this story.


2 Thoughts on “Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

  1. It doesn’t sound like my kind of story but I can understand why you thought the premise sounded good. Too bad it was a miss for you.

  2. I am sorry to hear you struggled so much with this one, that is always a pain especially when you want to love a story.

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