Today, I have the immense honour of being a part of the closing day for the blog tour for Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly. Thank you so much to Blue Rogers at Kaleidoscopic Tours and Hot Key Books for inviting me to take part.
Beautiful Sophie, with lips as red as blood, skin as pale as snow, and hair as dark as night, is about to come of age and inherit her father’s throne. But Sophie’s stepmother wants rid of her – beautiful she may be, but too weak and foolish to reign. And Sophie believes her, as she believes all the things that have been said about her – all the poisonous words people use to keep girls like her from becoming too powerful, too strong.
When the huntsman carries out his orders of killing Sophie, she finds a fire burning inside her that will not be extinguished, and sets off to reclaim what was taken from her.
Jennifer Donnelly turns her feminist eye to this most delicious of fairy tales and shows Snow White as she’s never been seen before.
Poisoned offers up a darker, insightful and timely take on a tale that we all think we know and love.
Both here and with Stepsister, Donnelly allows the darkness of the original tales to take centre stage – holding nothing back in her tales. I love how both incorporate feminist themes and discussion at the heart of their stories, truly updating these tales for the 21st century. Particularly in Poisoned, Donnellly delves into subjects of manipulation, gaslighting and patriarchal control/expectations over women. Both the main female characters in Poisoned are trying to survive and claim their place in a world built to oppose them. She allows her characters complexity, growth and depth in a way that makes them all the more vivid and less like the cartoonish caricatures that we may expect. There’s no clear-cut dichotomy, as there are moments of empathy for each side. This is clearly one of Donnellys strengths, as she allows her characters to shine through.
Indeed, the interaction between characters often brings some levity into the often dark and twisted world she’s weaved. The ragtag feel of the eventual found family of characters felt so tangible, with their chemistry often making me laugh. Some characters you will recognise, whereas others are new, again demonstrating that original stamp Donnelly is determined to make on the story. However, all of them are ones you will remember after the final page.
I really enjoyed the twists she threw in, as they kept reminding me that this isn’t the tale I know and therefore I should never expect to know precisely what is going to happen. Similarly, I was impressed by the sheer levels of creativity Donnelly employs throughout the book, fleshing out this colourful world full of magic and danger. I felt completely swept up and away into this new land, which is always a wonderful thing in 2020.
Poisoned is a complex tale that pays homage to its grotesque origins, while also adding a unique touch that comments on the pressing issues of today. It brings old stories new life and therefore provokes new discussion, all with a heavy dose of Donnelly’s rich imagination.
Thank you again to Blue and Hot Key Books for including me and please make sure that you check out the rest of the incredible blog tour posts.
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