Review: Poison by Sarah Pinborough


A beautiful, sexy, contemporary retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, illustrated by Les Edwards.

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.


I was swayed to request this book by the charming Jon at Gollancz when he sent me a quick message about it and I really liked the sound of it.  I love a good fairy tale and am wondering if this is one of the new trends in storytelling: taking a classic tale and bringing new life to it in some fashion.  I thought that Poison sounded intriguing enough to get my attention and make me want to read it.  It arrived safely and OH MY GOSH it is a stunning looking book.  It looks like a classic bound book and something you’d pull off a shelf and go “ooooo” over.  Plus it has a lovely holographic sheen to the poison bottle on the front.  So I was a happy bunny to just get a copy that looked so beautiful.  

I won’t lie either because I started reading this and by the end of the first chapter there is rather a clear description of the Queen….ummm….seeing to the King’s needs.  If you catch my drift.  *taps nose* I was shocked.  Not by what she was doing (although that was never in the Disney version for sure) but by how bold the writer is by putting it all right there in the first few pages.  Was I reading a border line New Adult book or a *gulp* Adult book and I hadn’t realised.  NA really doesn’t appeal to me and that’s why I haven’t read any as of yet but maybe I’d read one now by reading Poison.  I wasn’t about to put it down because the writing is good but it was a surprise.

I found Poison to be a nice shake up to the traditional Snow White fairy tale and had some real flare about it.  I loved the description of the dwarves and their home and how detailed Sarah is about even the sort of meals they eat and their relationships in the group.  Whereas the original tale as we generally know it is vague about the history of the world in Snow White, Poison is very clear about the details including the work and home life of the dwarves and the background of the Wicked Queen who might be evil but didn’t really have a real choice based on her upbringing.  It was also a nice touch having hints are other fairy tales sprinkled in the plot so it’s almost as if all these world’s interlock.  Very cool idea.

Overall I did like Poison and the little details that showed some real attention and care to the characters and storytelling but I think simply down to the brushes with the more grown up situations that it isn’t for me.  It’s a good book and looks divine but isn’t one I’d naturally go and buy in a shop had I known about some of the sexier moments.  I don’t mind sex in books at all.  Just this time I could have happily read it without it there.  Just my opinion but if you like a classic story with a grown up twist then grab this ASAP.

Published by Gollancz and is available from here and bookshops now


  1. Agh this sounds RIGHT up my alley. Just like Once Upon A Time! But.. sexier. Yes. I think I requested a copy from Gollancz Geeks but I'm going to go wishlist it now incase I'm imagining things!

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