Cinderella has been dead for 200 years. The kingdom has turned her story into a religion, and girls are required by law to go to the annual ball to be chosen by a prince. Sophia, terrified of the idea of marrying an abuser, runs away and meets Constance, who is a direct descendent of Cinderella’s stepsisters. Together, they free themselves from the constraints Cinderella’s story has put around them and expose the truth.
Queer, dystopia, 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 was a fast and entertaining read. The idea of a fairy tale turning into a religion is an interesting premise. The book could read as a metaphor for how having non-diverse stories that show everyone following the same path can force people into boxes they can’t escape.
Unfortunately, the romance was insta-love and there was no time for it to develop. It was written well and the characters have chemistry (not to mention I loved the two leads and they were very easy to root for), but I would have liked more time spent on development rather than having an established romance in a matter of days.
I also wish there had been more worldbuilding. I wanted to be shown more of the society and the way it operates. Instead, the plot rushes along, with little time to flesh out the world.
I loved the theme of how not everyone can or wants to follow the same path as others, and how society makes us think there is only one way forward that leads to happiness. This is very relevant to many marginalized people, and the book handles it with care and deep understanding. It feels validating to read books with representation to show you’re not alone in feeling like the current world doesn’t fit for you, and how you can be empowered to find your own way.
This is a lovely fantasy that kept me entertained throughout. The premise is awesome and I wished for more exploration of it, which would have made the book phenomenal. However, I would still recommend it, as it’s highly enjoyable with important themes.