ARC Review Book Review

ARC Book Review | Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Title: Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Author: Melissa Bashardoust 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published On: July 7, 2020
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: physical
Pages: 336

Synopsis:

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.

My thoughts

(Spoiler free)

I had been admiring this cover from afar for months, having had a not-so-great track record with young adult fantasy lately. But when an advance copy was included in my latest subscription box from The Strand AND I started seeing all those glowing reviews, I was excited to pick it up. 

Bashardoust has created an elaborate and unique world inspired by Persian mythology. I was very surprised to discover it’s a stand-alone, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if more books from this world pop up. While I was surprised, it was also refreshing to know all my questions will be answered by the end of the book.

Soraya is an intriguing main character. I love that the reader is kept in the dark. Will she stay loyal to her family or will she finally embrace the power she’s been cursed with? For the first time in a long time, I was unsure which way this story would unfold. And I enjoyed the morally gray areas of her character. I would have enjoyed more of her backstory. Maybe more about her childhood and her relationship with her brother and closest friend?

“In their glowing smiles, she saw the truth: that she always would have lost them, because they were meant to know joy. And no matter how much she wanted to deny it, Soraya knew that a part of her would always resent them for that joy, for having even the possibility of it.”

Melissa Bashardoust, Girl, Serpent, Thorn

It’s hard to get too into the plot without giving away spoilers. It’s twisty and surprising, with a few predictable turns. What I most enjoyed was being in a world so different from my own. The writing is lyrical and enchanting. I’ll be anxious to hear what my fellow book friends think, as well!

Thank you to the publisher, Flatiron Books, and The Strand Bookstore for providing me with an advance copy.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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About the Author

Melissa Bashardoust
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. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first novel.

A Song For A Book

On Bookstagram I created a hashtag for when I include a song that reminds me of the book I’m sharing, #ASongForABook, I thought I’d make it a regular feature on my reviews, too.

As I read Girl, Serpent, Thorn, I had Ruelle’s music running through my head. It’s powerful and mysterious like Soraya.

And I feel it running through my veins
And I need that fire just to know that I’m awake
Erased, I missed till the break of day
And I need that fire just to know that I’m awake

Have you read Girl, Serpent, Thorn? Did you add it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wandering!

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