Title: Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Edition/Pages: E-book, 336 pages
I received an ARC copy of this from Flatiron Books via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review
Soraya is cursed to be poisonous to the touch. She has spent her entire life being hidden away, apart from her family. As her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya becomes desperate to release herself from her curse. With the help of a young soldier, who is actually not afraid of her, she enters the dungeons to seek answers from the demon held captive there.
Soraya thought she knew what she wanted. But her actions have dire consequences, and Soraya finds herself wrapped in dark web where she is forced to chose who she wants to be – demon or human?
➸ POV: 3rd Person from Soraya’s POV
➸ Soraya: Princess, Cursed to be poisonous to the touch, Stays hidden away at Golvahar – the families spring castle, Twin sister to Sorush – the shah of Atashar
➸ Content Warnings: Murder, Death, Violence, Torture, Abduction
This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and unfortunately it didn’t quite live up. This story was rich in history and fairytale-esque atmosphere, but ultimately the characters and relationships felt rush and underdeveloped.
I have some pretty mixed feelings about this book so I’m going to break this review up like I used to: into the things I love versus what I didn’t love
What I Loved:
1. The atmosphere and feel of this story was so rich. I felt like I dove straight into a Persian fairytale. This story is full of a so much folklore and mythology and it was so magical and haunting.
2. The world needs more standalone fantasies! And I love that this book delivers on that.
3. This book explores some really heavy and complex topics. Soraya’s struggle with accepting herself was so expertly handled. She struggles with romantic feelings, self-acceptance, family betrayals, and lots of other internal dilemmas. I loved her story and journey.
What I Didn’t Love:
1. My number one issue with was the pacing. While I love that this is standalone, I think this book ended up having more ground to cover than it could handle. This story is complex and deep. And personally I felt like too many things were rush and brushed over. The insta love so damn real with this one. I couldn’t connect to some of the intense feelings behind a lot of the decisions/actions because to the reader, these characters knew each other for all of a second. Everything happened so fast that I never had time to believe in the stakes. And unfortunately that is a big miss for me as a reader. I need to believe in and care about the characters in order to love a story.
Overall this book had aspects that I loved mixed with a few things that kept this from becoming a new favorite. I think where this book excels in it’s rich setting but falls short on the characterization and relationships. I still think this is a solid read that a lot of readers will love – especially if you are plot driven reader! It just wasn’t quite everything I had hope for. I am really excited to see what this author writes next – I love that she creates such unique (and dark) twists on fairytales and folklore.