There are no spoilers in this review.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn, Melissa Bashardoust
Published on July 7th, 2020 by Flatiron Books.
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…
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.
☂️ TRIGGER WARNINGS: click here to see them.
imprisonment, murder, death, violence, blood, mention of past torture.
☂️ DIVERSITY: bisexual main character, sapphic side character, f/f relationship, Persian cast and setting.
- After falling for Girls Made of Snow and Glass, I was eager to read Melissa Bashardoust’s sophomore novel, Girl, Serpent, Thorn and I have to say…. I found myself loving this just as much!
- One of the strongest suits of Girl, Serpent, Thorn, is its writing style. I love how simple, yet whimsical, in a way, the author’s writing is. I felt it when I read Girls Made of Snow and Glass and felt it again here: it’s like reading a little bit of a fairy tale and I love it.
- Girl, Serpent, Thorn is inspired by Persian mythology and I loved this so much! Our main character, Soraya, is cursed: she is poisonous to the touch, killing almost every living thing by one single touch.
- I really liked Soraya thorough the entire book. If you’re into morally grey kind of characters, you should really love her. I loved seeing her struggle with her curse, her life. I was hooked as she changed, her thoughts and actions making her slip on the edge of a darker side. Seeing her grow and accepting herself thorough the story was stunning, really.
- Talking about the darker side: Girl, Serpent, Thorn gives us a terribly compelling villain and I, wow. I just loved hating the Shahmar. I loved how we got to know the backstory, understand his motivations and actions and it was so, so compelling to read.
- The romance in Girl, Serpent, Thorn is perfect for those of you enjoying fantasy with a side of romance (as opposed to what you can see, sometimes…. romance with a fantasy world surrounding it, but it’s all about the romance, really). Here, I could see the romantic attraction slowly unfolding, the characters getting to know each other, wary of each other, developing attraction, feelings, little by little and step by step. It was really wonderful to follow and I rooted for them, for sure.
- The twists and turns! This book was thrilling to read.
I HAD A HARD TIME WITH…
- If I really liked a lot of things about Girl, Serpent, Thorn, one thing I missed was a little more romance. I know. I just said I appreciated it slowly unfolding, and that is true! I just felt like it was missing some, depth somehow and wanted a little more interaction and a little more from Parvaneh, the love interest. I liked it, but wanted more of it all, basically?
If you’re looking for a Persian inspired story with complex characters and villains, a beautiful world-building and writing and a side of sapphic romance, you should give Girl, Serpent, Thorn a try. I know I’m going to read more from the author as soon as possible, because I love her stories.
Final rating: 4 drops!
Thank you to the publisher for inviting me on the Girl, Serpent, Thorn Blog Tour. This did not, in any way, influence my thoughts and rating.
About the author, Melissa Bashardoust
Melissa Bashardoust (pronounced BASH-ar-doost) received her degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, where she rediscovered her love for creative writing, children’s literature, and fairy tales and their retellings. She currently lives in Southern California with a cat named Alice and more copies of Jane Eyre than she probably needs. Melissa is the author of Girls Made of Snow and Glass and Girl, Serpent, Thorn.
Did you read Girl, Serpent, Thorn? Do you want to?
What was the latest retelling you read and enjoyed? Let me know in comments!
Personal note: I will be on a little bit of a blogging hiatus from this Sunday, July 12th, 2020 to Sunday, July 26th, 2020. Meaning: I won’t be answering to comments or/and blog hopping and visiting blogs and be very active until then, with the small exception of a couple of reviews scheduled I had to put out. Thank you for understanding and take care, love you all!