Poison by Sarah Pinborough

9/10 An engrossing, intriguing and fun new take on an old story.

It’s Snow White, but not as you know her... Take a wicked queen, a handsome prince, a beautiful princess, and a poisoned apple... and now read the true story of Snow White, told the way it always should have been...

This is Snow White for a new generation: the dwarves are no longer simply creatures of fun, but a hard-working race whose lungs are scarred by the air in the metal mines; the young Queen rules with fear and dark magic from far off lands and is poisoned by jealousy and hatred for her step-daughter; Snow is as wild and untamed as the horses she rides in the forests...

The topic of Snow White is a hot one once again thanks to last year’s film ‘Snow White and the Huntsman 'and the television series ‘Once Upon A Time’. Sarah Pinborough’s novel is based on an old fairy tale and is very much aimed at a modern adult audience.

This is in equal measure erotic, darkly humorous, fresh and exciting. The focus is not on good versus evil; rather it puts the microscope up to our very human characteristics, wants and needs. Themes of desire, envy, manipulation, depression, loneliness and camaraderie are explored. This is a gritty, earthy treatment of the story. This is Snow White as a modern independent woman, not a doe-eyed innocent (far from it).

Pinborough injects proceedings with a knowing and wicked sense of humour. I found myself chuckling throughout, there are also some eye-popping episodes and revelations. She has taken the familiar and crafted it into something entirely new, quite a feat of creative storytelling.

I am a big fan of thrillers and action adventure, therefore probably not within the expected readership demographic for Poison. Yet I was thoroughly entertained and loved its irreverence and boldness. This is an engrossing, intriguing and fun new take on an old story.

Poison by Sarah Pinborough
Published 2013 by Gollancz
ISBN: 978 0 575 09297 6

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Poison reader reviews

from UK

Unfortunately I was less than impressed with Poison - it sounded like it should be a fun, sexy, adult fairytale but I found that it didn't live up to its promise. It didn't stray off the beaten path enough, and just wasn't witty or clever enough. I liked some of the twists, but overall I think more could have been made of it.

8/10 from 2 reviews

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