Book: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Release Date: July 7th 2020
Tags: Fantasy | Young Adult | Standalone | Persian Mythology | Persian Inspired | Royalty | Magic | Demons (Div) | LGBTQ+ | F/F Romance
Trigger/Content Warnings: War | Violence | Mentions of Torture
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.
I picked this book up on a whim. It is not every day that you find a Young Adult fantasy standalone. Or a fantasy standalone at all. So I am always willing to give those a try. And I am very glad I did just that with Girl, Serpent, Thorn.
The book introduces us to Soraya, one half of a twin. But where her twin brother is the king, Soraya is hidden away. Her skin is poisonous to the touch. As so many feel her family is already in disgrace from the touch of the divine, she is hidden away from all. Very few people know who she is.
It wasn’t so much the plot itself that drew me in here. Some of the twists were predictable. But that isn’t what was important in this book. This book is all about Soraya who thought she knew who she was and where she fit into the world. She is the monster, she was sure about that. Instead the arrival of a new boy triggers events that push her forward in a journey of self-discovery and acceptance of who she is. While some of the twists might have been predictable, the way Soraya is written and her entire process is what completely pulled me into this story.
Bashardoust also has a great way with words. The way she writes about Soraya’s self loathing, her thought process and emotions were great. This book is barely 300 pages but that was great for this story and Soraya’s self-discovery.
The only thing I’d say that could have used some work was the romance. I wanted to be a 100% on board for the relationship between Soraya and Parvaneh but I felt that we didn’t get enough time with them together to really feel their relationship. It is a shame because it could have really added something.
As a whole though Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a great read.