My Thoughts on A Taste of Poison (Entangled with Fae, Book 4) by Tessonja Odette

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Who doesn’t love a good fairy tale/folklore retelling? Tessonja Odette is back at it again, this time with a Snow White retelling. But instead of seven dwarves and a magic mirror, there are a few twists to how these are incorporated into the world of Entangled with Fae. I did receive an advanced reader copy (ARC) of this book, so it’s not out quite yet. But I didn’t want to hold off on sharing my thoughts on the latest standalone novel in this series.

Synopsis

A runaway princess wanted for murder.
A deadly huntsman who’s after her heart…

Half-fae Astrid Snow is used to being disliked. With magic that makes her mirror back one’s worst qualities, she has more enemies than friends. And when she’s accused of poisoning her father, her stepmother—the formidable Spring Queen—becomes her greatest enemy yet. Forced into hiding, she finds solace at the Seven Sins Hotel. It provides the perfect subterfuge she needs. For who could ever find an outlaw in a hotel famed for sin?

Bear shifter Torben Davenport lost everything to the gambling halls. To pay off his debts, he serves the fae royals as their personal Huntsman, locating hard-to-find fugitives with his scent-based magic. When the Spring Queen offers him a bargain that will erase his debts for good, he’s willing to do what it takes—even if it means finding the queen’s runaway stepdaughter and cutting out her heart.

Astrid won’t go down without a fight, even if her assailant is a strikingly handsome Huntsman. If she can evade the bear-shifter’s claws, maybe she can make him an ally. It’s easier said than done, especially after she accidentally gets herself handcuffed to her infuriating captor.

Can Astrid cut through Torben’s icy demeanor and convince him to help her find the real killer? Or will she lose her heart in more ways than one?

ACOTAR meets Kingdom of the Wicked in this standalone fairytale retelling of Snow White. If you like brooding heroes, just one bed, and grumpy sunshine romances, then you’ll love this swoon-worthy story in the Entangled with Fae series.

Book Details

  • Published: August 10, 2022
  • Page Count: 414 pages
  • Genre: YA Fantasy and Folklore
  • Trigger Warning: Drug addition (present and historical), manipulation, moderate violence and gore, upper YA/NA sexual content, and adult language.

Thoughts on A Taste of Poison

The moment I got this book in my inbox, I immediately started reading it. I loved all of the other Entangled with Fae novels that were released and wanted to know how Tessonja Odette was going to adapt the tale of Snow White. While it’s not my favorite of all the Disney movies (like Beauty and the Beast, Little Mermaid, or Tangled), I have still watched it numerous times. And I was curious how various elements were going to come up in the world: the seven dwarves, magic mirror, poison apple, huntsman, etc. Especially when the romantic interest was going to be the huntsman instead of Prince Charming. Luckily, none of that’s a spoiler, so here is how those classic details of the tale are translated into A Taste of Poison:

  • Seven dwarves: Seven Sin Hotel – Place Astrid fled to where it’s overseen by seven sisters that each embody a different sin. Though she doesn’t interact with all of them.
  • Magic Mirror: Astrid – Her power allows her to reflect back either the best or worst qualities of a person based on their first impression and her mood. She doesn’t know how to control the power, so no one knows what Astrid truly looks like.
  • Poison apple: Poisoned pie using a fae fruit that looks like an apple, which also can be turned into a drug that Astrid is addicted to.
  • Huntsman: Torben Davenport – he may have been sent by Queen Tris to get Astrid’s heart and just like in the original tale he’s unable to go through with killing Astrid as he feels protective of her.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Queen Tris – she married Astrid’s father and was envious of Astrid, but she only sent the huntsman to get Astrid’s heart when Tris believed that Astrid was responsible for his death.

I won’t share more details beyond, especially with Queen Tris as it would spoil the ending. It takes a unique twist there is all I’ll say.

If you like grumpy/sunshine characters then Astrid and Torben are 100% that. Astrid is sunshine through and through, she doesn’t stay mad or upset for long when there are animals involved. Or the poison that she takes to avoid her grief. She doesn’t stay on the drug the entire time, but she does go through a journey with it. Torben, on the other hand, is grumpy. He had a gambling addiction that resulted in him being forced to become a bounty hunter for 100 years to pay off the debt. He also has given up on love after his previous paramour betrayed his secret about using scents to sense lies while he was playing cards to win enough money for their engagement.

The two end up agreeing to prove Astrid’s innocence and finding the real individual who poisoned the pie crust that killed her father. Astrid believes that Tris was responsible due to the jealousy the queen had towards her as a result of the magic that Astrid couldn’t control. But Torben is not convinced seeing as Tris cannot lie. Though he does agree to help after they learn a female in the Spring Court is behind several events that happen during Torben’s capture of Astrid. This turns out to be Astrid’s lady maid, who stole a chariot that Torben needs as part of his bargain with Queen Tris. And the maid admits she was forced to poison the pie, but she doesn’t say who forced her to do so, only that it was someone in the Spring Court. This leads them to investigate several individuals including Queen Tris, and the cousin of the lady maid who once attempted to kill Astrid. That attempt was what started Astrid’s addiction to the poisonous fae apple.

There is also a one-bed scene, but don’t get your hopes up as it doesn’t end up romantic. But there is plenty of tension in that scene between the two.

A Taste of Poison is engaging throughout the book with a lot of character growth. Astrid learns how to be comfortable in her own skin and learn how to control her magic, so people can actually see her. Only Torben and her father were able to do that previously. She also works through her drug addiction to face her trauma and grief with the help of Torben. As she didn’t realize it was an addiction until it was pointed out to her, and she was kind of forced to deal with it. While Torben learns how to let people in after swearing never to let anyone close enough to him again where they might interfere with his sense of smell.

I really enjoyed this book (literally couldn’t put it down and read it in a day). It might be one of my favorites from the Entangled with Fae series. It’s got a bunch of my favorite tropes, a soft spot for furry animals, and is beautifully written. Normally, I’m not a fan of reading about addictions since they remind me of my father, but the way this book handled it was done in a way where I was never taken out of the book due to those triggers.

Overall, I would give A Taste of Poison a 4 out of 5-star rating.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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