Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Spoiler Free Review

It’s been a minute since I posted a review. Exactly a month to be precise, whoops. Anyway, I finally finished a book that I actually want to review!

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Girl, Serpent, Thorn Book Cover

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

By Melissa Bashardoust

Published 7 July 2020 by Flatiron Books
fantasy | young adult | LGBT

My rating: ★★★★☆

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.

What I Liked

“Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not. There is possibility in those words, the chance for hope or despair.”

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a short book full of Persian folklore. If you have read/are going to read this book, be sure to read the author’s note at the end that explains so much about the world and the legends it’s based on. All that to say that I love books that have elements of real folklore, especially if I’m not yet familiar with it, so that was definitely a point in favor.

I actually read this book right after finishing The Empire of Gold, which in hindsight was great because even though the stories are completely different, I still recognized some names and terms. I really enjoyed this story. It was fast-paced, which is good because the book is only a little over 300 pages big. So no endless waiting for the plot to actually get going.

I also liked the characters. Soraya is a little naive, but that’s definitely a product of being locked in the castle for too long. The other characters inspired the exact right feeling in me. You know how sometimes your gut tells you “don’t trust this person” and you end up being right? Yeah, that’s how I felt with this book. I was very pleased with myself that I can sense danger… even if it’s fictional.

What I Liked Less

“To anyone who has ever felt poisonous or monstrous or bristling with thorns.”

Like I said, this book is very short. That means you always sacrifice some world building in favor of pace and plot. But still, there are some things I would’ve liked to see more of in this book. I would’ve liked to see more of Soraya’s relationship with her twin brother Sorush. I’m a big fan of literary siblings because you don’t see them super often anymore, so I was a little sad this relationship wasn’t explored that much.

The entire book is told from Soraya’s POV, and while I didn’t find any of her chapters boring, I personally am a fan of multiple POVs. So it would’ve been fun if there were a couple of chapters offering a different perspective.

In all, Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a really enjoyable book full of real Persian folklore! It’s fast-paced, and full of action, so you won’t be bored.

You can find more of my reviews here!

3 Comments

  1. July 15, 2020 / 2:42 pm

    Can’t wait to get around to reading this and the Daevabad trilogy – really excited to explore some new folklore!

  2. July 15, 2020 / 2:43 pm

    Can’t wait to get around to reading this and the Daevabad trilogy – really excited to explore some new folklore!

    • simonevanheijst
      Author
      July 15, 2020 / 6:00 pm

      I really enjoyed both! The Daevabad trilogy is obviously a little more deep, because they’re three books instead of one, but I recommend both!

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