‘Cinderella is Dead’: a book you won’t put down

Dark, twisted, addictive


Fair use from Bloomsbury Publishing

Tednaisha Satterwhite.

With a dark take on a classic fairytale, “Cinderella is Dead” by Kalynn Bayron is astounding. In a world 200 years after Cinderella finds her happily ever after, women live in fear, at the whims of men. Encouraged to follow in Cinderella’s footsteps, young girls are forced to attend the ball to be selected as wives. Not being chosen is bad but being chosen can be even worse — with the high possibility of ending up with an abusive man. Sophia, who’d rather marry her best friend Erin, flees from the ball and stumbles upon Cinderella’s tomb where she discovers the truth behind the fairytale. 

The book follows Sophia as she works to uncover the truth of the past, while trying to break apart the current system of abuse. She also deals with her lingering feelings for Erin along with the pain that comes with them.

Kaylynn Bayron is outstanding when it comes to writing about major issues. She tackles what it’s like to live in a heteronormative and patriarchal society and the impact that it has on both men and women. She also captures what it’s like to be queer in that type of society — demonizing your own feelings, feeling like an outsider and fearing what other people think. 

One of the smaller themes which is how history can often be distorted because it’s written by the victors. The losing side’s voices are silenced. The victors shape the future, they often become idolized no matter what they did or the damage they caused to win.

I loved the amount of queer and POC representation, I feel like it was really well done. My favorite part is the take on the fairytale within the story itself. Also, the hinting that other fairy tales were also changed to fit a certain narrative is something that intrigued me, and I hope it gets explored more later on. Overall, this book gained an emotional reaction from me — it made me angry, it made me feel fear and it made me want to cry. There is nothing better than a book that invokes that from me.

“Cinderella is dead:” ★★★★★