A retelling of the original Cinderella story with Ownvoices representation
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Cinderella Is Dead has been one of my most anticipated novels of the summer. With its retelling of a classic tale and the inclusion of Ownvoice representation, I knew I didn’t want to miss out! I read this as a buddy read with the lovely Nora over at Rating My Reads!
Cinderella Is Dead
Published June 7, 2020 by Bloomsbury YA
Data from Goodreads
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.
My Review: Bland Retelling
No one was more disappointed than me with this book. I wanted to love it so badly! And yet … it just wasn’t good.
The Pros: What worked for me
- Great representation: the MC is Black and lesbian, and there are side characters that are gay in this story.
- I actually liked the refreshed version of the original Cinderella tale – I just wanted more of it than what I got
- The main message of this novel is to support feminism and critique patriarchal societies and homophobia. I cannot support this message enough and it was a very consistent theme throughout the book.
- There was a twist in the story that I wasn’t expecting so I found that to be a nice little surprise.
The Cons: What I didn’t like
- The story was so heavy-handed with its message that the actual plot fell through. Cinderella Is Dead became a vehicle to promote the views and ideologies of the author and the story suffered for it.
- The actual plot was bland. There was nothing new being brought into the story and most things were easy to guess.
- There was very little (if any) character development and worldbuilding. Absolutely no work was put into making any of the characters have a fully fleshed-out personality.
- I didn’t like Sophia’s character, mostly because I didn’t know anything about her except that she thinks men are trash and she is a lesbian. Her actions, frame of mind, and planning made absolutely no sense to me because it was never properly explained to the reader. For me to love a book, I need to have a main character I can get behind. I couldn’t do that with Sophia
- SO MANY PLOT HOLES! There are so many things that just don’t make sense. For example,(Click to reveal spoiler) Sophia and Constance find out about Cinderella’s journal that apparently reveals things about Prince Charming; Cinderella was going to give this journal to her step-sister. Well, then why didn’t she hide it in the area where she was going to meet her? Why would it be back at the palace? There are so many of these little instances that it took away from my enjoyment of the story.
- Characters were conveniently brought into the story to highlight the suffering of the people and then just as quickly forgotten about. This is something I really don’t like because it doesn’t allow me to feel as if the story is ever fully resolved.
- I was so looking forward to seeing a sapphic romance. However, the romance between(Click to reveal spoiler) Sophia and Constance was forced and unbelievable. How could you so quickly fall for someone else and forget about your childhood love?! I’ve never liked insta-love and this was the biggest case of insta-love I’ve ever encountered
This story had all the potential to be a great novel. But the author’s desire to use the story to promote their views regarding misogyny and homophobia let down the quality of the storytelling. For those reasons, I’m giving this 2/5 stars.