Poison: Tales From the Kingdoms Book 1 by Sarah Pinborough

I remembered seeing this book in the bookstore, and thinking it was interesting. I skimmed the first few pages, looked up some reviews on Amazon, and decided to skip it. It’s not a long book, may 25o pages or so, and I didn’t think the price was worth it. So I skipped it.

A few weeks ago, the kindle ebook version was on sale for 99 cents, so I thought I’d give it a try. For that amount, if I didn’t like it, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. So I downloaded it, and read it in one sitting. Like I said, its a short book, so it only took maybe 2 hours, at most. I’m not crazy thrilled with it, but its alright.

The story is a very adult take on the classic fairy tale, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I’ll say it again, this is a very adult take on the story. It is not for children. At all.

The story starts of with the point of veiw of the Evil Queen, Lillith. Fitting name, huh? Anyway, we see very quickly that she hates Snow White (more like intense jeaolusy) and pretty soon she’s trying to get rid of her. We also get a point of view from the huntsman and the dwarves. We don’t meet all seven dwarves, but we kind of get to know a couple. That was my problem with the story, we only “kind of” get to know the characters.

Yes this is based on a fairy tale that’s a very short story, but I think this story would lend itself better to a longer form. Maybe I’m just used to epic fantasy and scifi where I get pages and pages of world building and character monologues, but I really missed that while reading. The author gives us just enough of each major character to move the story along. And of all the major characters, we never even get a point of view from the focal point of all these characters: Snow White. She is in the forefront, but we never know what she thinks. We are never inside her head. There is a scene early in the story where Snow plays a practical joke on the Evil Queen. We know, and Snow White knows, that the Evil Queen, is well, evil, so why on earth woud Snow White think that this joke of hers would make the Queen laugh? If we were inside her head, maybe we’d understand. In that moment, I felt bad for the Queen, not Snow White. I know that part of the purpose of the story is to turn classic fairy tale tropes on their heads, but I need to know why Snow White does some things she does at the end. I don’t know what she’s thinking, or how she comes to the decisions that she comes to. I want to know! The twist at the end would have had more impact if I had more background. Maybe the reader is supposed to be as shocked as the other character, but, it just left me bewildered.

I will say, the one part that I did really enjoy were the tie-ins to other fairy tale characters. I actually think if this was a more fleshed out longer novel, it would have made for a more engaging story. I won’t say what those tie-ins were, but they had the potential to make the story fuller.

I will read the next book in the series, Charm, but only because its 99 cents, too, in kindle ebook format.

If you are looing for a quick read, and not wantting to get too invested in a story, I would suggest this book.

Goodreads Link: Poison by Sarah Pinborough

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