Poison, Sarah Pinborough

Sooooo remember when I said that I was concerned that Poison wasn’t going to work out for me? Poison…didn’t work out for me.

By rough synopsis, Poison should have worked flawlessly for me. It’s a dark retelling of the “Snow White” story (if you’re thinking, That story doesn’t need to be retold dark; it was dark when we got here, I feel you) that deals with the complicated relationship between Snow White and her stepmother and the expectations men have of women.

Except it doesn’t really deal with those things, at least not in any way that’s convincing or surprising. It looks like it’s going to, but we never really get a grip on Snow White’s stepmother’s true feelings for Snow White, or learn in any depth how she became the (evil) way that she is. Instead, Poison tells the Snow White story pretty straight. Which, if I’d wanted the story told straight, I’d just have read the story, in Grimm or Andrew Lang or whatever.

Now, I will say that I loved the ending. It’s no darker than the foregoing events of the book, but it twists the fairy tale in a way that the rest of the book fails to do. When I realized the book was over, and that was genuinely the way it was going to end, I was delighted with Pinborough’s audacity. Whether that will be enough to make me pick up more of her work — we’ll see.

I am participating in Carl’s Once Upon a Time challenge, and this has been my Fairy Tale book for it. Yet to come are a mythology book, after which I will have completed my Quest! Visit the reviews site to see what other people have been reading.