Confessions of a Reader

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Book Review // Poison – Sarah Pinborough


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




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Scarlet – Marissa Meyer

Scarlet    Format: Paperback (Library)

    Published: 7th February 2013

    Publisher: Puffin

    Pages: 464

    Score: 3 out of 5

    Amazon | The Book Depository

Synopsis taken from Amazon:

This is not the fairytale you remember. But it’s one you won’t forget.

Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. The police have closed her case. The only person Scarlet can turn to is Wolf, a street fighter she does not trust, but they are drawn to each other.

Meanwhile, in New Beijing, Cinder will become the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive – when she breaks out of prison to stay one step ahead of vicious Queen Levana.

As Scarlet and Wolf expose one mystery, they encounter Cinder and a new one unravels. Together they must challenge the evil queen, who will stop at nothing to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner…

My Thoughts:

Firstly, I enjoyed Cinder, the first in the Lunar Chronicles series when I read it last year. I liked Cinder and thought her character was strong, her relationships with Kai and Iko were also well developed. I had high hopes for this novel – a continuation of Cinder’s journey with new, fresh characters thrown in.

I liked it, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as the first. However, it was a light, easy read which provides a fairly good sequel to the previous story. I enjoyed how the two stories intertwined, the plot was cleverly developed and the attention to detail was impressive. The action builds up gradually in this novel, this became a little frustrating for me. The last portion of the book proved the strongest – it’s where all the action happens and the story really begins to unfold.

I did not find Scarlet’s story or her character nearly as likeable as Cinder’s. I wasn’t overwhelmed by her plight. Wolf was very stereotypical, although I liked the air of vulnerability that surrounded him. I found myself wanting to get on with Cinder’s story – I wasn’t really that fussed about Scarlet and her love affair with a ‘monster’.

One character I really loved was Thorne! If the story had not included Cinder, Iko or Thorne it would have been a pretty dull read. These characters are far more interesting, the growing relationship between Thorne and Cinder was great. I really enjoyed his wit and humour thoughout too. I hope that his character will appear, and be developed even further, in Cress.

Overall, an okay read – I liked it. I am interested in what happens to Cinder and Thorne, so will probably pick up the third novel soon.

‘A good read for those that enjoy YA fiction and fairy tale adaptations. Some great characters that you will grow to love and adore.’