Poisoned By Jennifer Donnelly, #77 review

Publication date : 20 October 2020

From Jennifer Donnelly, author of the acclaimed New York Times bestseller Stepsister, comes a fairytale retelling that’ll forever change the way you think about strength, power, and the real meaning of “happily ever after.”
Once upon a time, a girl named Sophie rode into the forest with the queen’s huntsman. Her lips were the color of ripe cherries, her skin as soft as new-fallen snow, her hair as dark as midnight. When they stopped to rest, the huntsman took out his knife . . . and took Sophie’s heart.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Sophie had heard the rumors, the whispers. They said she was too kind and foolish to rule — a waste of a princess. A disaster of a future queen. And Sophie believed them. She believed everything she’d heard about herself, the poisonous words people use to keep girls like Sophie from becoming too powerful, too strong . . .

With the help of seven mysterious strangers, Sophie manages to survive. But when she realizes that the jealous queen might not be to blame, Sophie must find the courage to face an even more terrifying enemy, proving that even the darkest magic can’t extinguish the fire burning inside every girl, and that kindness is the ultimate form of strength.

Jennifer Donnelly took the most original grotesque Snow White fairytale written by the Brothers Grimm and retold the story around it, spinning it into her feminist version of Snow White with the gore and cruelty that reflects reality in a parallel fairytale. Reading it is like returning to a childhood home that felt familiar and new at the same time.

I adore retellings, especially dark ones. You do not need to read Stepsisters before reading this book. However, if you enjoyed Stepsisters or Poisoned, I suggest you give the other one a try.

This retelling features a ragtag group of friends making their way across Greenland on a mission to retrieve Sophie’s heart from the King of Crows. A Princess presumed dead by the Kingdom after a Huntsman secretly ordered by the Evil Queen to cut out Sophie’s heart, an archer with the will of iron and a heart of sunlight, a grave robber with a tragic past trying to do some good in the bitter world. Sophie was told her whole life by her stepmother and the court that her heart was too kind and foolish to be Queen. The pure soul believed all the corrupted words twisted people used to poisoned girls with minds like her in order to make them wilt from power.

“Sometimes the thing that makes us all wrong is the thing that makes us perfect”

Poisoned By Jennifer Donnelly

I like how the story was woven by outermost forces like Jennifer’s first book. Also, I love how each character in the story had their own moment in the limelight and their own backstory to match their personality. Especially the Evil Queen. When reading retellings of Snow White, I’ve always wanted to know more about her character. No one was born evil, something unfortunate had to happen to them for their soul to turn dark. “Poisoned” tells the story of how the Evil Queen came to be just as much as it tells the might and main journey of how the Princess found the power of her voice and heart.

You’re probably wondering; What about the Seven Dwarves?

OH, MUCH TO MY DELIGHT. The Seven Dwarves are true lively folk that dance in lucid fairy dust thanks to Jennifer. They are homely creatures that live in The Hollow – a magical whimsy cornucopia. There is delicious food at every meal made by their spider chef – Webber. He’s an affectionate dear who sleeps in a hammock made by spidersilk. The dwarves are compassionate cinnamon buns that grown to love Sophie as their own family and she in return. I would like to embrace the entirety of The Hollow if I can. It trumps a Hobbit Hole and we all know their reputable hospitality towards their guests.

“Love is a soft thing. It smells like woodsmoke and sounds like rain. It tastes like sugared apples. It costs nothing to give yet it is more precious than a sea of diamonds”

The Hollow, Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

To people unknown of the fairytale “Snow White” as it once was before all the adaptations. The Evil Queen tried to poison Snow White three times, ending with the poisoned apple. Picking the apple as the book cover was a smart metaphor choice. The Snow White in Jennifer’s book, Sophie has a wonky clockwork heart in place of her shattered heart. The book cover is a fragile glass apple that is shattered. Upon looking at the cover, most may think that the glass shards are spreading outwards. After reading the book, I now see it differently. The shards of glass are piecing themselves together. A broken heart makes a tough heart was trialled and broken over again and again. It is perfect, it is loved.

Thank you so much to @definitely.books for sending me this ARC. “Poisoned” is now available in all good bookstores. #Pansing #HappyBookBirthday 😘

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

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