{Review} Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Posted June 29, 2020 by Leah in Reviews / 7 Comments

{Review} Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

by Melissa Bashardoust
Published on July 7, 2020
by Flatiron Books
Genres: Fantasy, LGBT, Mythology, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Won in giveaway
Amazon | B&N | Goodreads

Also by this author: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

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.

I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

3 Stars

Once upon a time, a princess was cursed with a poisonous touch. She is raised at arm’s length on a litany of stories while finding solace in a hidden garden in a palace. At first, she’s resentful of her family for the things her family can’t (re: don’t) provide her: true connection and acceptance. But the more she learns, the more the princess will realize that sometimes poison is a good thing. What follows is a tale that will take the princess, Soraya, on a journey of self discovery, where she will meet the creatures that live in her childhood stories.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn reads like a dreamy fairy tale. Bashardoust creates Soraya’s lonely world expertly. Her isolation, her want for connection, create empathy in the reader. It’s also a story of shattering truths and the lengths people will go for the ones they love. There are no easy answers, and consequences for actions are high. This is a place where magic breathes life into the landscape.

In a YA market heavily saturated by heroines who must be good, kind, and understanding on every single page or else, Soraya shows readers that that’s not true. No one should have to be liked all the time. Love should not be conditional. She knows that touch is beyond her, but that doesn’t stop her from wanting it. Being poisonous also doesn’t mean she has to has to see herself as a threat. There’s power there. She comes into her own through both fortunate and unfortunate events. She’s not always nice and understanding, and she doesn’t mind.

However, even with this refreshing take on a female character in YA fiction, my biggest concerns prevent me from ranking Girl, Serpent, Thorn higher than it could be. The plot is somewhat predictable and thin. There was a lot of room to build more on why, exactly, one of characters did what they did to set things in motion. It’s all forgiven (?) quickly. The second half of the book feels rushed and meanders in places. More concrete buildup with a clearer A-B-C outline to the ending was needed to make that finale explosive. I liked that ending. I really wanted more to make it a true stand-up-and-cheer moment.

The book shies away from the makings of a wonderful anti-heroine story. There were times when I thought it was going to happen– I wanted to happen! I don’t know what prevented the anti-heroine story from happening but I am crushed it didn’t unfold that way.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is an ambitious book. If Melissa Bashardoust continues to write stories like this, I’ll keep reading them.



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