Minda’s drunk review of Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly
What I drank prior: Red wine in our *new* home! Probably my new favorite wine.
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 pulled 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.
My Summary: An innovative retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves with a feminist twist. Princess Sophie has been told her whole life that her heart and her kindness will not allow her to rule her kingdom. Her stepmother rules with an iron fist and so must she. Until one day her stepmother sends the huntsman to steal her heart. Stuck in the forbidden forest, she’s found by seven brothers who save her but also know a terrible secret behind who wants her—and the kingdom—destroyed. Can she find her heart in time to save her kingdom?
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I seriously loved this. I read another of Donnelly’s feminist retellings about Cinderella so was super psyched for this one too and wasn’t disappointed. It had good morals, a sweet slow burn romance, just enough magic, and a feminist-powered story—what more could I ask for?
Characters: Sophie aka Snow White is of course our main character. Her big MO is being too kind, which ya know is just absolutely terrible. How can you rule a kingdom without being a total dictator? Brings us her to stepmom, Adelaide. Great name, but this woman is stone cold. Will and Arno—Sophie’s partners down the line—were also great in their own ways. The seven brothers were a little basic, but seven is a lot.
Plot: Aided by her proverbial mirror (heh) Sophie’s stepmother has ruled with an iron fist since King Mr Nice Guy died. However she’s also crazy paranoid and top of the list is Sophie as enemy numero uno. When Sophie is about to be wedded off, Queen Stepmother decides to take a different route and has her secretly murdered and her heart stolen instead. Unluckily for her, but luckily for Sophie, she is discovered by seven brothers who are not down for what when it comes to murder. They save her with clock magic, but plan to hide the truth from her. Eventually Sophie puts two and two together and sets out to rescue her heart before it is too late. Oh, and did I mention the clock magic amplifies her emotions by like 100x? Not her best situation considering she’s a woman—yikes! I like how the end tied up and that the stepmother isn’t the whole story, though I mean I think she dsleserved more blame than the book wants to give her. I get life is hard out there for a bitch, but still.
World Building: So enjoyable! It’s not totally well explained, but didn’t have an issue with it in this case. I could have had more with explaining the kingdom, forest, magic(ish) system, and other kingdoms, but I thought the limited worldview made sense for Sophie’s naïveté. The retelling aspect also kind of makes it less necessary in my mind, but let me know what you think in the comments. BUT secretly hoping all her (the author’s) worlds are interconnected and we’re going to get a great pay off. Asking too much?
Writing Style: Nothjng stands out here, so that’s good enough for me. I think it was second-person besides the narrator (which now that I’m thinking about it was a little weird) but don’t quote me.
Drink Pairing: Definiteky something sweet and apple-y. Cider and caramel apple vodka sounds right.
Rating: 5/5 shots