Publication: 7th July 2020 – Hodder & Stoughton
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 from everyone, 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.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is getting a lot of raving reviews and there is a reason for that. A captivating story mixing fairy tales, magical creatures, and Persian culture with well-developed characters and a fantastic world-building.
Soraya is a princess, but she is a princess with a curse. Her body is full of poison that can kill at the touch so she is kept isolated from everyone. Feeling alone and rejected from her family, Soraya tries to put an end to her curse, but the consequences are worse than she imagined…
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a compelling story of diversity and acceptance and also a story of self-discovery as Soraya’s search for normalcy and inclusion leads her to question who she is and who she wants to be. Soraya and the other main characters are deeply flawed and they make many mistakes that make them more human. Even the villain of the story, who makes horrible things, has its own humanity and the more you find out about him, the more you get to understand him and feel (a bit) sorry for him. I liked how the characters develop as the story progresses and they try to correct their mistakes, especially Soraya, whose choice at the end of the book I found perfect, emotional, and very well-thought.
Of course, there is romance, but not the usual love story you would expect. I won’t say much about it to not spoil it, but it’s full of surprises that you won’t see coming and it splendidly grows throughout the story.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a beautiful and addictive novel. It’s just a bit more of 300 pages, but a lot happens in those pages and you won’t regret reading it.
A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.
Melissa Bashardoust 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.