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 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. Image & Synopsis from Goodreads.
If you’ve read my blog posts over the last week or so you’ll know that I was really excited about Poison. I love fairy tales, I love retelling of fairy tales and this being an ‘adult’ version of Snow White appealed to me. Not to mention how awesome the cover is. Basically, I set myself up for a massive let down didn’t I? Damn, not again.
I didn’t hate Poison, but I didn’t love it either. Which makes me sad because it’s too pretty to get rid of.
We start with Lilith, Snow’s step-mother who we expect to be evil but she’s just kind of sad. As is traditional, she’s jealous of Snow White’s beauty and charm but also of how free and wild she is. Snow White is out partying with the dwarves and getting drunk whilst poor old Lilith is stuck in her castle being a lady. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to feel sorry for her with this new back story but it didn’t really work for me.
Snow White herself is fun. She drinks the Dwarves under the table and basically just does what she likes but I didn’t feel any investment in her or her well being. I was glad the huntsman didn’t kill her but not because I liked her but because I liked him. And the Prince…don’t even get me started on him. What a waste of space he turned out to be.
I did like some elements of Poison though. I liked that no one was quite what they seem, and definitely not what you’d expect them to be, Pinborough did a good job in that sense. And I liked that Snow White was just a normal girl. A normal beer-drinking, curvy girl who has family issues. But on the other hand, that realism took away a lot of magic from the story which is a shame. I guess you can’t have the best of both worlds.
I also liked that Pinborough took elements from different fairy tales and integrated them into this one story. Apart from the Aladdin part…really, what was the point in that??
Overall, I think Poison is a great idea in theory but just didn’t quite work, for me. Pinborough could have really taken ownership of the source material but it was just a bit too thin to really get your teeth into. I think I’ll give the next book, Charm a go just to see if she manages to do this…I still live in hope.
Plus, they really are very very pretty books.
I give Poision 3/5 unicorns…just. It was published by Gollancz, April 2013