Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly on blue background with Halloween squash surrounding it.
Book Review

Poisoned – Jennifer Donnelly

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 is always an author I get excited about. Her books are always incredible and always make me happy to read. She’s an incredible writer and I love reading her work. When I found out she was doing fairytale retellings I knew that these would be perfection too. 

Poisoned is the fairytale retelling of Snow White. It has some of the darkness associated with the original Grimms Tale and some of the beauty of the Disney version. But its definitely not suitable for kids. It is scary in places and I loved the darkness threading throughout. I’ve never read the Grimms tales version of Snow White but in this version Sophie, the name Jennifer Donnelly gives to Snow White, is 18, she is about to be crowned the queen when her stepmother has her Huntsman kill her and take her heart for the King of Crows. What follows is 300 pages of Sophie defying death. Some of the ways she defies death are unbelievable but as a fairy tale I can let that go. The dwarves that you know from the Disney version of the story are completely different to what you’ll remember but are still kind. And they still help massively. 

The book features romance, as so many YA books do. But its built up slowly and nothing really comes from it. It’s there in the background. The main aspect of the story is Sophie finding out about herself, who she really is. And that’s a theme I can totally get on board with from YA books. What better lesson to learn than to be true to yourself and find out who you really are before falling in love. 

I think my favourite part of this story was the King of Crows and his family. It’s such a small part of the story, its hardly anything really. But I loved it all the same. I don’t want to say too much because its a bit of a spoiler but I loved the humane aspect it portrayed. I think that part of it is all from Jennifer’s imagination judging by the acknowledgements in the back of the book and its genius. The story is the tale of fear and how it devours our hearts. And I couldn’t think of a better story to read in the run up to Halloween. 

If fairytale retellings are your thing then you need this book in your life. If they aren’t, but you love magic, the story of a girl learning who she really is and a little bit of love then you need it too! 

Poisoned was published by Hot Key Books on 20th October 2020. My copy was sent to me in exchange for an honest review as part of the Poisoned Book Tour. All opinions are my own. 

For more info and to buy the book (affiliate link used) please visit:

Amazon | Hive | Goodreads | Authors Website

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