Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Released: October 20th, 2020
Warnings: Animal death, abuse, violence
I received a copy of Poisoned in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Jennifer Donnelly is famous for her retellings of classic fairy tales, and her writing adventure is far from over. Most recently, she’s taken to retelling Snow White, in Poisoned.
Sophia has always been told that she would make a horrible queen. That she was too emotional, too kind, too caring, to do what was needed. So she wasn’t surprised when one day, her death had been ordered. By her stepmother.
What did surprise Sophia is the adventure that followed. She may have had her heart stolen – literally – but that wasn’t enough to keep her down. Thanks to a seven kind strangers, at least. Now she’s on a quest to get her heart back, and save her kingdom.
“Mirror, mirror on the wall…who will bring about my fall.”
I adore fractured fairy tales and retellings, so naturally when I heard of Poisoned, I just knew that I had to give it a try. Snow White has always been one of those stories begging for a retelling, at least in my mind. But I had never dared to dream of seeing a feminist spin on it.
In hindsight, that is exactly what the tale needed. More than that, Poisoned heightened many, if not all, of the messages within the original tale. It speaks of kindness, doing what’s right, bravery, and love. All while also teaching about how to be a confident woman, with a feminist undertone to boot. It’s perfection.
I will confess, the beginning of this book was a little rough for me. It starts off with the threat of animals getting hurt and killed (a threat that is later followed through on, though thankfully not shown). Once I got past that scene, things got a little easier for me.
The infusion of new elements, lore, and character depth was a great decision on Donnelly’s part. It made the world feel larger and so much more realistic, all at the same time. Well, realistic in the fantasy sense.
There were a few things I wouldn’t have minded seeing done differently, but then again, there was certainly a fairy tale feel to the way things fell in place for Sophia. Given that this is a fairy tale retelling, I can’t complain too much about that!
Admittedly this is the first novel I’ve read by Jennifer Donnelly, but I will say that I am over the moon with her story, and will be checking out the rest of her backlog in the very near future.