I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This story comes out in 6th August 2020!
Here’s the synopsis:
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 probably one of my most anticipated reads of this month and I think it lived up to the hype! This story took on a very unique and unconventional twist from the Disney film we all know! Before this I wasn’t aware that a) this story has many variations with earlier versions were found in Greece, China and then the story was also later adapted in Italy and the more recent and popular version emerging from France which is where this story is based! The second thing this book brought to my attention was how different the Disney story I grew up watching was from the actual original story and just how dark the original story actually is! If you’re interested here’s a post about some of the differences between an earlier adaptation and the Disney version: 9 Things About The Original Brothers Grimm Cinderella Story That Are Nothing Like The Disney Version.
I’ve seen this book described as queer black girls overthrowing the patriarchy and that’s pretty much exactly what the story is! We follow the story of Sophia who is about to attend her first annual ball, unlike the magical fantastical balls we’re accustomed to, all girls of age in Lille are required by law to attend this ball. At this event men from the city are encourage (but not forced) to attend where they essentially get to pick their wives. Girls that are not chosen in the first ball, have the chance to attend two more before they are forfeited, some go to work in factories and some are never heard from ever again…
What I loved about this book was the pacing, rather than have back to back intense scenes for chapters and then info-dump the reader with dense scenes for the next chapters there was almost a perfect balance. I literally read through this in 2 days? As someone who isn’t a fast reader that says a lot! The characters are likeable and are well developed throughout the story and so are the relationships. As a fantasy reader the magical system could’ve been improved, there was very little focus on developing the basis for the some of the magic in this story. A lot of emphasis was put on establishing this alternate history of a story we’re all familiar with which was also necessary. Having said that I did feel like some of the magical aspects were just glossed over.
I’m not sure if this is a stand alone book or a series, but I would definitely be interested in reading more! If you’re looking for a very interesting take on a classic I highly recommend you give this a try!