Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Narrator: Helen Duff
Audiobook Length: 10 hours 35 minutes
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.
It feels that I had Poisoned on my TBR forever, so I was very excited to try this version of Snow White. 17-year-old Sophie is the princess with a kind heart and on her way to ascend the throne. She is constantly told that her kindness will not make her a good ruler, so she struggles with wanting to please those around her, but also not wanting to become colder. The story opens from the Huntsman’s POV where he is taking Sophie into the forest to kill her on the orders of Queen Adelaide, Sophie’s stepmother, who has been ruling the kingdom as regent for six years.
When the Huntsman steals Sophie’s heart, she is found by seven brothers: Jakob (blacksmith), Schatzi (tailor), Julius (herbalist), Jeremias (hunter), Joost (carpenter), Josef (farmer), and Johann (clockmaker). These brothers were kind and were dealing with traumas of their own. While they were likable, there were moments where I could not tell them apart. I get the concept of keeping seven of them to keep with the source material, but their personalities were not distinct enough. They help Sophie by replacing her missing heart with a mechanical one and Sophie’s main quest in the story is to recover her heart.
There are some romances in the story as Sophie was supposed to marry Prince Haakon before she was taken into the forest. Their relationship is interesting as she thought he would immediately rescue her, but she had to figure out another way at first. The characters in the story all interact well with each other as I enjoy that the villains are not completely redeemed nor are they completely evil. There is an interesting back and forth that is very simple in its design and writing yet kept the reading experience motivating. Will, Greta, and Oma were all fun secondary characters and I love how they played roles in the story.
Overall, Sophie’s story arc was the star of the story as she does go through a lot from start to finish. She accepts help to accomplish her quest where she is not rescued because she is incapable and instead rescued a times because it is the best way to win. While this part of her was enjoyable, the characters needed a little more as they all felt incomplete in some way. There were some moments where the plot felt a little choppy, but it was still easy to piece together. I enjoyed the general concept, but I needed a little more to love it. There does seem to be a set-up in the epilogue where this universe can further expand with more characters and their stories, so it will be interesting to see if this becomes a reality!