Poison by Sarah Pinborough

May 26, 2013
Poison by Sarah PinboroughPoison by Sarah Pinborough
Also by this author: Mayhem
Published by Gollancz on 2013-04-18
Genres: Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy
Pages: 192
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gollancz Geeks

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POISON is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairytale 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.


Poison by Sarah Pinborough will take you for a wicked ride through fairy tales as you have never before imagined them. It is a fresh, and slightly naughty twist on the stories we all know and have grown up with. It has a comfortable familiarity as many different characters, tales and settings are twisted, bent, and woven back together with Pinborough’s signature on them. A signature that brings the characters to life and makes them much more real and relatable while retaining their fantastical traits that have always defined them.

No longer are the dwarves a people happy to mine all day for the benefit of others. Now they are lower class citizens, enslaved by the kingdom, taking on a rougher, dirtier appearance than we are used to. But Pinborough manages to still portray them as a people full of fun and camaraderie. And of course, their beloved friend, the princess called Snow White is still much loved by people and nature, but now she has a more carefree, reckless way to her fun in the forest. And a penchant for enjoying all of the earthy pleasures afforded her.
What fairy tale could be complete without an evil, wicked witch of a stepmother? The evil Ice Queen out to destroy the innocent little princess? Well, maybe not quite so innocent in this tale, but you get the idea. Her part in this is quite enjoyable as we get more insight to her motivations and evil ways than in fairy tales.  No longer is the evil witch just evil for the sake of being evil. She becomes a real character, who is self absorbed and loveless, traits that have caused her to resort to her slightly evil ways and decisions.
Pinborough’s twists also provide cameo appearances by a number of familiar characters after they have been through her wicked fairy tale reconstructive process.  I don’t want to include any spoilers, but will mention Aladdin! His appearance and contribution is by far my favorite of these cameo transformations.
So in a version like this, the reader can’t help but wonder will Prince Charming show up to save the princess and sweep her off her feet? What will she make of him if he does? I can only recommend you read to find out for yourself, because while everything is so familiar, the characters have been redefined in a way that will leave you guessing. This is not your Disney fairy tale. It is much, much better. And much more wicked.


  • lynnsbooks March 20, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    I love Sarah Pinborough’s work. These fairy tale retellings were all brilliant – did you read the other two? They all link in together.
    Lynn 😀

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) March 20, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      I read Charm and definitely enjoyed it. I meant to write a review for it, but haven’t gotten to it yet. I have Beauty waiting to be read (and am looking forward to it. Also plan on reading Mayhem. Will be interesting to read a book by her that is not one of the fairytale retellings.

  • lynnsbooks March 20, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Mayhem was good. On reflection I don’t know whether I liked it as much as the three fairytales but I’m still really looking forward to Murder. Mayhem has some really creepy bits in – particularly one part that gave me the chills!
    Lynn 😀