Following last year’s successful release of Cinder & Glass, Melissa de la Cruz has once again graced everyone with the release of her latest novel, Snow & Poison. Both have a relatively similar premise: What if a beloved fairy tale was rewritten with a dash of historical detail, a sprig of young adult romance, and a pinch of death?
Snow & Poison follows Lady Sophie (also known as Snow White) as she is led away from her former life in a maelstrom of bejeweled glitz and glamour. No longer does she live a sheltered life in the gilded cages of Bavaria. Instead, as her widowed father finally marries once more, Lady Sophie at last makes her debut in high society, and it is anything but dull.
As her debut coincides with her father’s illustrious new marriage, everything is expected to be lovely in every way. But when Claudia, her father’s bride, falls victim to a fainting spell, things seem like they’re going the opposite route. All that changes, though – at least, in Sophie’s eyes – when she meets Prince Philip, the heir to the Spanish throne.
Their meeting thrusts Sophie into a world where enchantment abounds. Everything is going well until Philip’s father, the king, grows outraged at the match. It’s here where everything is plunged into uncertainty. With death wished upon her and duplicity swirling about, along with Philip’s alleged clandestine entanglement with someone else, Sophie must leave all that she knows for something so positively new and dangerous.
As she learns about the intrigue surrounding the court and the plots at every single turn, Sophie loses the veneer of a naive, innocent girl and begins anew as a fiercely independent woman capable of making even fate bend to her will. The thing is, her determination might not be enough.
Once again, de la Cruz spins a wonderful tale from what we already know, filled with immersive characters and delicately gorgeous worldbuilding. Though the story isn’t the most innovative (considering it’s an adaptation of a well-known tale), it was a brilliant read. I particularly enjoyed how the women in this story were written.
Set in the 1600s, these women could not be more caged by the patriarchy if they tried. That said, though, de la Cruz, once more, manages to captivate the reader with details of how frustrating that oppression could be. I won’t say much, but think of women pushing back against it without truly realizing it, and these actions causing tumultuous ripples. I especially adore how women utilize their own tools and gifts to forge their own paths, be they roads that lead to them being heroines or villainesses.
While it was not quite phenomenal, Snow & Poison is a lovely read if you love fairy tale retellings, and I would most definitely recommend this book – 7.8/10, I’d say.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher, Penguin Random House, for review.