Upcoming: Sarah Pinborough’s FAIRY TALES Trilogy (Titan US)


I am a big fan of Sarah Pinborough‘s writing — especially the upcoming The Death House (Gollancz), The Language of Dying and Mayhem (Jo Fletcher Books). Already available in the UK, Pinborough’s Fairy Tales trilogy of updated, alternative interpretations of classic stories — PoisonCharm and Beauty — will be published in the US by Titan Books. The books will be published over three months, March-May 2015. Very few details available at the moment on Titan’s US website, but Poison is a retelling of the Snow White tale, Charm is a retelling of Cinderella, and Beauty a retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

I quite like the new US covers — quite different from the original UK hardback and paperback covers (published by Gollancz):


Quick Review: “Poison” by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz)

Pinborough-FTN1-PoisonAn intriguing tweaking of the classic Snow White Fairy Tale

A beautiful, sexy, contemporary retelling of the classic Snow White fairy tale, illustrated by Les Edwards.

POISON is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the Snow White story which takes all the elements of the classic fairytale that we love (the handsome prince, the jealous queen, the beautiful girl and, of course, the poisoning) and puts a modern spin on the characters, their motives and their desires. It’s fun, contemporary, sexy, and perfect for fans of ONCE UPON A TIME, GRIMM, SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN and more

This book isn’t very long, so it’s a little tricky to review at any great length without ruining the whole story. Pinborough has taken this classic story and approached it with a modern sensibility, tweaking the tale here and there to make it a little more edgy and fresh. I must admit that I’m not the greatest fan of fairy tales to begin with, which probably makes you wonder why you should care about my opinion on this book. My lack of familiarity with the source material will also have had an impact on how much I got from this novella. I can see why people will enjoy this, though. I liked it a fair bit, too.

Poison is basically a story about two young women: one an evil step-mother (Lilith) and the other a princess (Snow). They are the same age, more or less, with the King having decided on a younger model after the death of Snow’s mother. They are also, of course, very different. Snow is carefree, confident, and quite fun (she can often be found drinking and hanging out with the dwarfs, pulling practical jokes), and she’s a bit of a tomboy. Lilith, on the other hand, is cold, calculating, self-conscious, surprisingly insecure, and highly resentful of the male-dominated world in which she lives (understandably – she seems to be better suited to ruling than her warmonger, imperialist husband). She yearns for power and the ability to wield it, and takes her husband’s latest campaign abroad as an opportunity to wield it in his name.

Pinborough’s characters are interesting – they are clearly identifiable as those in the original, but updated and a little more modern. At times, the dialogue and writing felt a little archaic, which was at odds with the contemporary feel I think the author was going for. Nevertheless, they’re all pretty interesting. Lilith controls a psycho-Aladdin, for example! That was a very cool development, I thought. That’s also all I’m going to say about it, lest I ruin that darkly delightful character for you. Lilith’s grandmother, the old crone of the story, is as wicked and devious as the Queen. She’s also a bit dotty, which added some extra levity (she mothers Lilith a bit, and her first scene made me chuckle). The Huntsman seems to be the typical manly-man of fairy tales (who seems to have some magical stud-powers…).

Despite not being the biggest fan of fairy tales, I thought this was a pretty interesting, quick read. I didn’t love it, unfortunately, and there were a couple of fleeting lulls in the narrative, but it was still a good read. If you’re looking for a new, fresh and modern take on this classic fairy tale, and enjoy the swathe of fairy-tale-related reinterpretations (Grimm and Once Upon a Time in particular, I think), then Sarah Pinborough’s Poison will be right for you.

A quick, fun, diversion; an intriguing contemporary take on one of the all-time classic stories. I’m looking forward to seeing what the author’s done with Beauty and Charm, the other two novellas in the ‘series’ (also published this year by Gollancz).


The Complete Covers for Sarah’s three Fairy Tale reinterpretations

Upcoming: “A Matter Of Blood”, “Mayhem” & More by Sarah Pinborough (Ace/Gollancz/Jo Fletcher)

With a number of exciting releases on both sides of the Pond, it looks like 2013 is going to be a very good year for British author Sarah Pinborough.

Pinborough-FG1-AMatterOfBloodUSFirst up, and already out in the UK for ages (published by Gollancz in 2010), we have the author’s critically-acclaimed A Matter of Blood will now be hitting shelves in the US.

In a world steeped in darkness, a new breed of evil has fallen…

London’s ruined economy has pushed everyone to the breaking point, and even the police rely on bribes and deals with criminals to survive. Detective Inspector Cass Jones struggles to keep integrity in the police force, but now, two gory cases will test his mettle. A gang hit goes wrong, leaving two schoolboys dead, and a serial killer calling himself the Man of Flies leaves a message on his victims saying “nothing is sacred.”

Then Cass’ brother murders his own family before committing suicide. Cass doesn’t believe his gentle brother did it. Yet when evidence emerges suggesting someone killed all three of them, a prime suspect is found – Cass himself.

Common links emerge in all three cases, but while Cass is finding more questions than answers, the Man of Flies continues to kill…

This is the first novel in Pinborough’s Forgotten Gods series (which I shamefully have not yet read). In the UK, the series title was The Dog-Faced Gods. A Matter of Blood is followed by The Shadow of the Soul (August 2013) and The Chosen Seed (December 2013). As a bonus, here are the three UK covers for the series:



Pinborough-MayhemWhile North Americans will be able to finally get their hands on this trilogy in 2013, Brits will also be treated to Sarah’s latest novel, Mayhem (April 25th, published by Jo Fletcher Books)

When a rotting torso is discovered in the vault of New Scotland Yard, it doesn’t take Dr. Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon, long to realise that there is a second killer at work in the city where, only a few days before, Jack the Ripper brutally murdered two women in one night.

Though just as gruesome, this is the hand of a colder killer, one who lacks Jack’s emotion.

And, as more headless and limbless torsos find their way into the Thames, Dr. Bond becomes obsessed with finding the killer. As his investigations lead him into an unholy alliance, he starts to wonder: is it a man who has brought mayhem to the streets of London, or a monster?

This sounds really cool, so I’m going to try to get a review done A.S.A.P.

And finally, Pinborough also has three novellas – Poison (April 18th), Charm (July 18th) and Beauty (October 17th) – coming out this year in the UK, to be published by Gollancz. Here are the complete covers for the three, which have been described as “absolutely superb, fun, mischievous novellas”: