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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent, Dark and Enthralling Read
Like a lot of adults, I don't usually read fairy tales. However, due to the popularity of shows like Grimm and Once Upon A Time, fairy tales are now once again in vogue and are being read not only by children.

In the first of what is a trilogy of adult fairy tales, Sarah Pinborough has written a version of Snow White that has enough elements in it to appear...
Published 15 months ago by Pablo Cheesecake (The Eloquent...

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book up to about page 191 (pretty much ...
I really enjoyed this book up to about page 191 (pretty much near the end) then it took a huge nosedive into a complete disaster! What on earth was the author thinking writing that sort of ending?! I'll not say anymore as I don't want to give away what happens at the end, but after reading this I hope you won't buy this awful book and therein saving yourself the...
Published 12 days ago by S. Sweeney


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Intelligent, Dark and Enthralling Read, 17 April 2013
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This review is from: Poison (Hardcover)
Like a lot of adults, I don't usually read fairy tales. However, due to the popularity of shows like Grimm and Once Upon A Time, fairy tales are now once again in vogue and are being read not only by children.

In the first of what is a trilogy of adult fairy tales, Sarah Pinborough has written a version of Snow White that has enough elements in it to appear familiar to those of you who read this as a child, but is retold in a way that will open your eyes to questions that your younger self never knew it had.

The story is set in a timeless fantasy world of multiple kingdoms that we expect to see in a fairy tale. The king goes to war, leaving behind his beautiful young queen alone with her step-daughter. The queen decides the key to making her new life bearable is to get rid of the beloved Snow White.

For me, the most interesting aspect of this story was the queen. Pinborough successfully gives this often flat character some much needed dimension, and her motivation to destroy Snow White is more profound than pure vanity. The queen does not hate Snow White, not initially anyway. Snow White represents the freedom that the queen never had growing up in a strict court environment, before being forced to marry a man twice her age. Jealousy and resentment blossom in the queen's heart.

The queen's nemesis is not the Snow White you've seen before. Put aside the twee images of a pretty maid frolicking with rabbits, fauns and bluebirds. Instead, you have a raw earthy heroine, who prefers breeches to dresses, rides like a man and likes nothing more than drinking and singing bawdy tavern songs with dwarfs.

I actually found myself empathising with the queen far more than with Snow White. Her evolution from an insecure new wife to a cold and malevolent antagonist is completely plausible. The story elegantly tracks the transformation of the queen, even illustrating moments of potential redemption, but ultimately reveals the path leading to her eventual corruption

There is a danger when writing something set in a faux medieval fantasy world that the speech could appear formal or overly archaic. It is a demonstration of Pinborough's superlative control of the English language that she comes right up to the line, but does not cross it.

This re-telling is definitely adult in nature. There are a few swear words scattered about but, speaking as someone who has followed Ms Pinborough on twitter and Facebook for some time now, not as many as you would expect. There are some sex scenes, and while they are not quite PG13 `cut away to billowing curtains', the portrayal is by no means overly explicit. I guess if I was pushed to find a criticism with the book, a more explicit description of the sex scenes is the only thing I would ask for, but that is just because I'm an old perv. It does not detract from my enjoyment of the book in the slightest.

Not wanting to give anything away, I would also add that the ending caught me completely by surprise. It didn't feel like the end of the book. Pinborough has very deftly woven in elements of other fairy tales, so I can't help wondering if this is not the last we will see of Snow White.

It's a short novel (just over 40'000 words), and I whizzed through it in two readings. I was delighted to find beautiful little illustrations from the cover artist, Les Edwards, scattered between the chapters. Poison proves that fairy tales are no longer just for children. This is an intelligent, dark and enthralling read. I am absolutely left wanting more, so it is fortuitous that there are two further re-tellings due from Pinborough and Gollancz called Charm and Beauty.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As dark, as dark can be., 19 April 2013
This review is from: Poison (Hardcover)
I purchased this at the hardback book launch last night and made the mistake of starting it on the way home. It hooked me so fast, I really had to carry on reading from 4am this morning.

It's a fairy tale, which takes the familiar and adds poisonous twists in the telling. These are the characters and stories which most of us will know, given a psychological depth and then woven together. And it is fun; in a darkly, sexy, way.

As a child, I distrusted illustrated books, as those pictures often gave the game away. Here, Les Edwards's illustrations illuminate the text without being spoilers.

In this instance, I think reading it in the beautiful hardback edition, really adds to the experience. At 200 pages, it's light and easy to carry, and the turning of the physical pages took me back to the experience of reading books as a child; when stories were set in far off kingdoms, with kings, queens, princes, princesses and delightfully malevolent witches--and there was magic in the dark forest.

This adult child wants the next two books in the trilogy. Now, please.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed this book up to about page 191 (pretty much ..., 10 July 2014
By 
S. Sweeney (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Poison (Hardcover)
I really enjoyed this book up to about page 191 (pretty much near the end) then it took a huge nosedive into a complete disaster! What on earth was the author thinking writing that sort of ending?! I'll not say anymore as I don't want to give away what happens at the end, but after reading this I hope you won't buy this awful book and therein saving yourself the frustration of contemplating the awful ending...pretty much like I am right now. Or buy the book then rip out all the pages after 190 and make up your own ending, much more entertaining that way!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Give me more!, 12 April 2014
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This review is from: Poison (Kindle Edition)
What a wonderful book, taking all the fairy tales of childhood, some in detail some just a snippet here and there, and turning them into a fantastic read! Thoroughly enjoyed it and am certainly going to read the other books in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 5 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Poison (Kindle Edition)
This was an interesting twist on a classic.

I enjoyed the re-telling of the story very much, as an adult it was much more statisfying to read this version!

The story felt a little flat to me and when watching it in my head the pictures were almost 2D and a little dull. I don't know whether this was due to the nature of the book - it being a shorter novel and me being used to epic serie or whether it was the writing style.

I didn't give it 5 stars because I found it easy to put down - it didn't make me want to spend that extra 10 minutes reading.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gift, 10 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Poison (Hardcover)
My eldest stepdaughter loves to collect series of books with matching covers therefore this was part of a set, great
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5.0 out of 5 stars New Twist, 15 Jan 2014
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J. Miller "Jesselizbeth" (St. Anne's-on-the-Sea, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Poison (Hardcover)
This was a great little ready. Nifty twist on a classic tale. Can't wait to get the other books in the collection.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Snow White retelling at its wickedly sinister best., 4 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Poison (Kindle Edition)
Disney's `Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs', is so entrenched in the memory that it's almost become the definitive version of this fairytale. Sarah Pinborough has stripped away the layered years of convention and built an adult story from the foundation of the Brothers Grimm tale(s).

There are no clichés here. The Queen's wickedness is fleshed out from a character so rich in depth as to feel sympathy on occasion. The dwarfs daily life and characteristics read like real working people in this fantasyland; altruistic in their relationship with Snow White.

Along came a handsome Prince: I've always found something creepy in the notion of pinning over an unknown, inanimate princess for her beauty alone. It's an idealised image of a woman in a glass case, re-animated into a person compliant and as pure as her skin. The twist near the end is disturbing as this situation unfolds.

Snow White herself is indeed beautiful, loyal and can drink and be merry with the best of them. This is a contemporary Snow White; fiercely independent and comfortable with her own sexuality. There's a very sensual scene in this book that not only feels naturalistic but also serves to further character behaviour and motive.

Wonderfully written and interwoven with recognisable characters, it's a fresh take on this fairytale with strong female characters battling against their environment. At 200 pages, no word has been wasted in this wickedly sinister tale.

I'd recommend the HB if possible as the publisher, Gollancz, have provided much care, with beautiful illustrations by Les Edwards, and a shimmering cover that an image cannot convey. Confidently written: Poison shows an author right at the top of their profession.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A grown up's Snow White, 5 Nov 2013
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BookBliss (UK) - See all my reviews
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Having read a couple of books which were based on the traditional fairytales I had a good idea that this would have a very tenuous link to the original story of Snow White but still be an enjoyable book. I was wrong. Pinborough has written a story in the style of the Brothers Grimm but for adults. Poison doesn't stray far from the tale of Snow White that we all heard as children but it is infinitely darker.

I'm a big fan of ABC's Once Upon a Time and I could see a definite similarity between how this book was written and that series.

The first few chapters focus on the relationship between Snow White and her step mother. I was instantly drawn in to the storyline and almost forgot that I was in the office and meant to be working! I loved the way the conflict felt by the Evil Queen was shown, there's a part of her that is jealous of Snow White and wants to get rid of her but there is also a part of her that wants to be loved in the same way as Snow White and her mother are.

For all that this is close enough to the original storyline that it's instantly recognisable - the evil queen, the poisoned apple, the 7 dwarves, the Huntsman, True Love's kiss. There is none of the living with the dwarves and being a friend to all the animals that was evident in Disney's Snow White. There is a lot that happens before Snow White is taken in by the dwarves and an equal amount after the waking of Snow White.

Throughout, I struggled with hearing Dwarves come out with expletives and with images of Snow White naked. I loved the occasional appearance of other fairytale characters - Aladdin, the witch from Hansel and Gretel.

Another thing that I need to mention is the music, at the change of chapter there are a few seconds of music, ordinarily this just washes over me and I don't pay much attention but the music on this audio book is so perfect, I loved it! It was like a mixture of fairytales and darkness and magic. It sort of reminded me of the Nutcracker.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Tale like none other, 4 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Poison (Hardcover)
A fairy tale told like none other I remember reading, basically everyone is corrupt. There you have it, oh and ad sex to the equation and you have yourself an entertaining story.
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Poison
Poison by Sarah Pinborough (Hardcover - 18 April 2013)
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