Girl, Serpent, Thorn was a book I got awhile ago and have been looking forward to reading it. If I remember correctly, the release date got moved back again, but this week was finally time to see this book in the world! The last month or so I’ve been seeing a lot of positive reviews about this book, so when I started my buddy read. Did Girl, Serpent, Thorn live up to my expectations? Keep on reading to find out!
A big thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an ARC on Netgalley to read and review.
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.
“She has read enough stories to know that the princess and the monster were never the same.”
I’ve been wanting to read something by Melissa Bashardoust since Girls Made of Snow and Glass was released (that has been sitting on my shelf since releases, I know, I should be ashamed, haha). Girl, Serpent, Thorn caught my attention when I saw the cover. It’s stunning even though I didn’t quite understand it at first. After reading I can tell you that the cover makes so much sense when I finished the story.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a Persian inspired retelling mixed with mythology and fairy tales. This author’s writing is beautiful and magical and kept me reading. Her way with words really flowed, which made this book a really fast read. Our main character lives her life in a very isolated way in her brother’s court. If Soraya touches any living thing, it dies. This makes Soraya’s life very lonely, because friendship or even love is out of the question. Especially when her brother doesn’t want the people to know of her curse. So when a demon was captured and rumors arise that this could be the answer to her curse, Soraya has to find out if this is true.
“Are they truly your family if they’ve failed to accept you as their own? If they cast you out and treat you with disdain?”
Once she’s free of this curse, she comes to find out that this may not be a great thing after all. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is filled with a lot of twists I didn’t see coming and is really fast paced. For me it was too fast at times. I loved all the twists and the events that lead up to the ending, but I needed more time to build up to everything playing out! At times it felt like I blinked and something big happened. For me, I would’ve loved to have just one more big so things could’ve had a little more time to develop. Same for the romance, I loved the f/f relationship, but it barely gets any time to develop and is kind of just there all of a sudden. I mean, I don’t need the whole book focused on the romance, but I need a little more than this.
That being said, I still enjoyed this story. And Soraya ended up being a character I really enjoyed. I loved how strong she becomes. She starts off as not really having an opinion or place in the world, but fights for what she thinks is right. Finding out the secrets of her family was really interesting and how everything played out with Soraya was awesome. She becomes so powerful, because she stands up for herself and finds out what she needs to fight.
“If I am being cruel, she decided, then it’s because he taught me how.”
Even though I did have some issues, I loved the Persian folklore and mythology in this story. Girl, Serpent, Thorn has such an interesting concept, but it kind of left me wanting more. All in all, I will be keeping an eye on this author to see what she gives us next.
Even though this book didn’t live up to all of my expectations, Girl, Serpent, Thorn was an enjoyable read. I loved the author’s writing and the world she created. I’m definitely curious about her debut book that I still need to read. Let me know if you’ve read this book. I’d love to chat about it!