Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: July 20th, 2020
Synopsis: 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 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, who’s 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.
When I first heard about Girl, Serpent, Thorn, steeped in Persian culture and featuring a bisexual protagonist, I immediately said “Count me in!” I’m happy to say that for the most part, it’s entirely deserving of the pre-publication hype.
By far, the strength of this tale lies in its exquisite world building. Melissa Bashardoust truly has a beautiful writing style that draws you in with its myriad of descriptive details, yet never overwhelms you. The character development and romance I’m a little more disappointed in. I loved the anti heroine aspects of Soraya, but I found myself wanting her drawn even darker, given what was done to her. I thought the f/f romance between her and Parvaneh sweet, but as I never really connected with Parvaneh, there was something missing. And finally, I loved the story, and I think Bashardoust has created something darkly magical, but at the end I wanted just a little more.
I think my minor disappointment with Girl, Serpent, Thorn could have been assuaged if this had been written as a duology. But honestly, this is more a reflection on how much I loved the story and Soraya. Overall, this is a captivating fairytale that I believe will have wide appeal among fantasy and fairytale enthusiasts. I’m looking forward to seeing what this author comes out with next.