TW: Mentions of suicide, misogyny, homophobia, physical and sexual assault, death, domestic abuse, graphic animal death, corpse description, sexism, violence, forced marriage, murder, human trafficking, toxic masculinity, ableism and classism.
Set 200 years after Cinderella married Prince Charming, all that’s left of that fairytale only exists in the book every household is required to own and read in the Kingdom of Lille where Cinderella once lived and died. The tradition of hosting the Annual Ball every year has continued, evolving into men of age and above (even the old) selecting teen girls based on their beauty to be their wives. Girls not picked are considered unsuitable, never heard from again. Sophia has loved her best friend Erin for a long time, her feelings reciprocated. But when Sophia’s desire to flee from this jail-like, oppressed life, collides with Erin’s resigned acceptance of the life they are enforced to live by the King, Sophia hurts and in the spur of events in the Ball, she makes a split-second, desperate decision to flee. She finds herself hiding where Cinderella’s tomb lies and comes across Constance, the last living descendent of Cinderella’s stepsister Gabrielle. Sophia learns that there is more to Cinderella’s story than the fantasy sprinkled fairytale that King Manson’s predecessors had woven.
I was pretty excited about getting into this book. A lesbian, woman of color is definitely the kind of representation we need in books, especially in a fairytale retelling. The interesting aspect of this was also that it was set after Cinderella had died. I really wanted to give this book 5 stars because the premise and the ideas were so good but unfortunately was rendered a little too predictable. If worked upon better, it would have really good twists. Another thing that needed work was the worldbuilding and character developments. Throughout the book, there was a lot of telling rather than showing and that’s what stunted the growth of this book to a fully-fledged master retelling. Nevertheless, I really liked the concept.
Qotd: Do you like fairytale retellings? / What is your favorite fairytale retelling?