Confessions of a Reader

'Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.' – Mason Cooley

Book Review // Poison – Sarah Pinborough

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Format: Hardback
Published: 18th April 2013
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 200
Series/Standalone?: Series (#1 Tales from the Kingdoms)
Genre: Adult Fantasy: Fairytale Retelling

BUY: Amazon | Book Depository

This book is counting towards my 2015 Reading Challenge & British Book Challenge.


Synopsis taken from Goodreads:

Poison is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairy tale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It’s fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of Once Upon a Time, Grimm, Snow White and the Huntsman and more.

My Thoughts:

I was SO excited about this book. I am a real sucker for fairytales and modern retellings, so was excited about this. And the cover is pretty! I discovered it whilst looking up Sarah Pinborough’s latest novel ‘The Death House’ on Goodreads, then realised I could use it towards my 2015 reading challenge.

I enjoyed parts of this book but parts of it didn’t work for me at all. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it either. Firstly, I really liked how the author has given these fairytale characters more depth, more human traits. The novel encompasses desire, greed, envy, isolation, depression and manipulation. The characters are more human, as opposed to just ‘fairytale creatures’. Snow White is a modern, independent girl – no longer doe-eyed and soppy. I liked this, she was gutsy and could drink the dwarves under the table, a great twist on the original.

Secondly, I enjoyed the integration of different characters, to create an entirely new tale. This really is creative storytelling in my eyes.


I was confused at times as to who the author was writing for. In some parts it could have been for a teen or young adult audience. Then a few pages in we get quite a explicit scene between two characters. I know this is labelled as an adult fiction, clearly due to the erotic scenes and swearing, but some of it could have easily been a YA novel.

The thing that really bothered me was purely down to my personal taste. I don’t enjoy reading particularly erotic and explicit sexual scenes in books. I don’t know why, maybe I haven’t found the right one? I find it very uncomfortable. This novel has a few scenes like this in, luckily not too many. I just found these awkward, I know they may be realistic but they just don’t sit well with me. I maybe should have guessed from the synopsis that it would include scenes like this, but I like to take risks with books sometimes.

So, although I did enjoy elements of this book I didn’t love it. I am hoping that the second novel Charm, may improve slightly – I really want to like this series. I have reserved book #2 from the library, and have already borrowed book #3. I will definitely pick up The Death House, as it has a completely different premise and I was impressed by the authors creative storytelling in Poison.

StarRating3 out of 5 stars

Have you read any books by Sarah Pinborough? Any you would recommend?

Twitter: @SarahPinborough




Author: Stacie

UK Lifestyle & Parenting Blogger. Dog Lover. Nutella Obsessed. Diet Coke Drinker.

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