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Sugar & Spice by Sarah Sanders

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This one is super short, super cute and super hot. Princess Aurora has just been formally made the Crown Princess of her c...

Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron


⭐⭐⭐☆★
Reimagined fairytales has become quite a thing now but this one does much more than just reimagine Cinderella and the premise is super exciting.

In Lille, the city of the almost mythical Cindrella, Sophia is a sixteen year old headstrong young lady in love with her friend, Erin. Since the fabled Cinderella's ball, things have devolved in Lille. The tale has become a religion and following Cinderella's footsteps has become the law. The year a girl turns sixteen she's expected to attend the annual ball with the hope that someone will choose her. Each girl is allowed three balls and if she's not chosen, she becomes 'forfeit' i.e. she's claimed by the palace never to be heard from again. This is just one of the many, many horrible rules governing the land and subjugating women. 

Sophia attends the ball but doesn't play ball and runs away from there setting in motion many events with her determination to end the restrictive and destructive regime of cruelty. 

Every character, no matter how tiny their appearance, is finely defined and etched. The atmosphere is evocatively described. The dark reimagination of the fairytale is unexpected and detailed. We were shaken by the ruthlessness with which Bayron did away with characters and the physical abuse against women, but it all goes towards creating the circumstance, the society and the king's character. The take on the benevolent fairy godmother is unique. Sophia's and Cinderella's stories are excellently interwoven and superbly narrated. 

The book draws the horrors of patriarchy very effectively but doesn't quite pull off overthrowing patriarchy. It is more a fight against the King -- his megalomania, his corruption and his cruelty -- than against patriarchy. 

This was an engrossing, though rather disturbing, read which kept us awake and involved an entire night.

PS: There is a huge list of trigger and content warnings for this one starting with homophobia, toxic masculinity, physical, verbal and emotional abuse and going on to encompass many, many more issues.

⭐⭐⭐☆★

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