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 . . .
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review and can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Black queer Cinderella takes down the patriarchy?? Yes please! For over 200 years the girls of Lille have been expected to attend balls where men will decide whether they are worthy of marriage or not, said to go back to Cinderella finding her Prince Charming at a ball. Only Sophia doesn’t want to marry, at least not to marry a man, and she believes that attendance to the ball shouldn’t be mandatory. But in Lille those thoughts are classed as treason, and when Sophia causes a stir on her first ball she just about manages to escape the kings clutches, but her journey takes her down a path she never expected, and she may just realise that everything she has believed to be fact is indeed a lie.
Sophia is such a kick ass character! She fights the patriarchy in every way she can, putting herself at risk along the way, but she just wants a life where women can choose for themselves. Choose who they want to love and marry, what life they want to live and to be able to move freely without fear of death. She goes above and beyond to achieve this, knowing it might end in her life being forfeit, but if her death effects the change that is needed then she feels it is worth the risk. Pretty much all the main characters in this book are women, in fact the only male MC is the antagonist and man is he creepy, he is pretty much the antithesis of Prince Charming, and this was one of the reasons I found it so easy to bond with Sophia, I was completely behind her take down of the patriarchy.
This book was extremely fast paced, I felt that it could have been made into a duology? However, the authors writing style and general pace of of the story line meant that I polished this book off in a matter of hours. There is no good place to put this book down, every chapter ending is its own cliffhanger. There were plenty of twists and turns in this book and even right at the end I still wasn’t 100% sure who we could trust.
I love that this book gave us the Cinderella story we all know and love, but gave it a massive twist. The King uses the story, Cinderella finding her Prince Charming and living happily ever after to create the conditions the women live in, however, there is another story. One that only a few people know. One that shines a whole new light on the tale we all know, and it’s only when that story comes to light that Sophia realises how wrong Lille is, but even then, she can never imagine the true depravity that runs at its heart.
There is a great f/f romance that runs through this book as well as a few other queer characters. The romance was fast paced, mainly due to the pacing of the book, but I loved how it very fast, could have been a series, but i liked how fast paced it was and flew through the interactions between the pair, both snarky and sweet.
This is a book about revolution, about how not everything is always as it seems, and all it takes is one person to question those in charge, one person to spark a revolution and change the world as we know it. Filled with brilliant and powerful women of colour. I will certainly be picking up any other works by this author.