Cover Image: Girl, Serpent, Thorn

Girl, Serpent, Thorn

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Member Reviews

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. If you like fairytale retelling, this might be a great choice for you. I loved this story, but especially the originality of the story. I read a lot of fantasy and fairytale retelling, and Girl, Serpent, Thorn was a a creative and refreshing change of pace.
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I saw so much hype and love for Girl, Serpent, Thorn and when I was offered an ARC, I couldn't pass it up. Oh my gosh this book was fantastic! I'm so happy I read this and was given an opportunity to receive an ARC!
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This book was okay. It wasn't really anything special to me, and I wasn't able to resonate with the characters. However, I really did enjoy the story, and it has kept me going throughout! All in all I can still recommend it.
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Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust is a standalone young adult fantasy novel. The story within is a loosely based retelling of the tale of Rappaccini’s Daughter, the daughter of course being poisonous to others but this definitely takes on a life of it’s own.

Soraya has led a life of loneliness after being cursed at a young age bringing on her deadly touch. Always dressing with care to stay completely covered and going out of her way to never touch another for fear of harming anyone.

Now as the wedding of Soraya’s twin brother is quickly approaching Soraya finds that she needs to seek out a way to break the curse. Soraya thinks that a demon she’s heard is in the dungeon may hold the knowledge to how she can be freed from her curse and hurries to find the answers.

I should start with hey, look, a young adult fantasy I’m not complaining about for anyone that follows my reviews will know I often find myself not impressed. Melissa Bashardoust was not a new author to me though when picking this one up as I did read her debut which was a loosely based Snow White tale and I enjoyed it. I love finding an author that can take a thread of a story and weave a whole new world and that’s what I’ve found here yet again. I was also impressed with just how much is fit into one book not dragging out the story which is often my complaint. Overall, this one came in at a rating of four and a half stars and I will certainly look forward to more from this author in the future.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.
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I wish this was a bit longer than it was. I feel like another 100-200 pages could have been good for this book. I enjoyed the characters and plot, but everything happened too quickly for me. It was an enjoyable read, enough to get a 3.5 star rating.
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This is a book that took a few tries to get into, and I was worried I wasn’t going to mesh with Bashardoust’s writing, but once I got into Girl Serpent Thorn, this book was phenomenal! I loved the way Soraya was poisonous and lack of human touch had made her lonely, but with the progression of the story she comes into her power and strength. The magic and interpersonal dynamics were some of my favorite elements, and did so much to draw me into the book. Soraya is such a fascinating, complex character. She has been kept isolated and feared most of her life, and so it’s understandable that she’d fall prey to someone offering her softness and affection. But that in no way makes her weak, because she still fights for herself and for what she believes is right. I loved the romance and it made me clutch my chest in glee several times. Like, this is such a wonderful book and I’m so glad I didn’t completely write it off after struggling with the beginning!
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I loved how you thought you knew exactly where this book was going, until suddenly, it wasn't going that way anymore. This one takes a bit to stick with, but once you do, the plot takes off and there's absolutely no going back.
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The introduction is perfectly written with its foreboding and ominous tale that happens to be true.
Soraya and Sorush are twins. Soraya is hidden away because her touch is fatal. Sorush is the heir next in line to rule the kingdom.
On the day of Sorush and Laleh’s wedding announcement, Soraya meets Azad. He’s been awarded by Sorush for his bravery and for saving his life. Azad is immediately taken with Soraya even after he finds out about her fatal touch. The two of them sneak through secret passages to get into the dungeon so they can ask the prisoner div for help in breaking Soraya’s curse. A div is what gave her mother the curse years ago. The div tells her not to believe her mother’s story. As Soraya discovers the truth about her curse, her family becomes endangered and she has to do some clever thinking to save them. Soraya searches for allies and truths throughout the story as everything changes for her. Beautifully written and based on Persian mythology to give us this unique fantasy, 4 stars!
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Thanks to Edelweiss and Netgalley for a digital copy of this book.

This was a great book to start out my year.  It was beautifully written with an engaging story.  All the characters had pull.  Two out of two for Melissa Bashardoust!
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Initial reaction: Finally finished this as my first read of 2021. Beautiful fairy tale that had me hooked from beginning to end. So much of the rolling conflict of the novel and lore really fascinated me. I enjoyed the complex relationships of the characters, the twists that kept me guessing, and rooting for the MC throughout. Probably rating this between 4 and 4.5 stars.

Full review:

My first read of 2021, and I loved just about every bit of this Persian/Zoroastrian inspired blended with a bit of Sleeping Beauty among other fairy tales. I had mentioned in my initial assessment of this book that the premise reminded me of the game "Code: Realize" where it centers around a girl who carries poison in her veins and the cursed existence she lives. It made sense that coming from that story that I would love something like this, though this was a very different experience. In "Girl, Serpent, Thorn", Soraya is a cursed princess, confined to wearing gloves and garments that cover her skin because of the poison that runs through her veins. Her twin brother is getting married soon, the chosen aspiring ruler, while she hides away from everything and everyone. Soraya wants nothing more to than to be rid of the curse within her. She finds a potential solution with the demon recently imprisoned in her Palace's dungeon, as well as the mysterious young man she's caught the eye of. However, things are not what they seem in the tales that she's been told all her life, and events that transpire cause her to question the people she trusts.

Soraya is a wonderful heroine to follow - complex because of her upbringing and wanting something more than the confined existence and fear of killing those around her. But it seems like every single time that she makes progress towards something she wants - like breaking her curse - it creates a rift between the situations and relationships that she already has. I loved her dimensional growth throughout the story and how she ultimately rises to the challenges she faces. I also really appreciated the dimensions of development in the surrounding characters, even the villains. You really feel like they have strong motivations for all the decisions they make, whether tentative alliances or betrayals. Soraya's situation is especially complicated because of the series of deals that she has to make and break in order to determine the truth of how her curse came to be and how she should break it without hurting the people she loves. I really liked the lore and expansion of the world based on the mythology as well.

It's a story that really carried through the motions with the overarching plot and conflict, leading to situations that surprised me when they hit. Overall, I fell in love with the way this story was told and the journey it took me on. Definitely a new favorite and I'm glad to have it in my personal library.

Overall score: 4.5/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley from the publisher, and I also purchased a copy of the book.
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I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest review. There is a power to this book that can't be denied. Reading this book and getting to see Soraya journey to discovering that line between princess and monster. Her life is that something out of a fairytale. They dark and scary ones. She was born with poison under her skin that can kill human and div alike. This is her journey to get answers and help. She is trying to find the confidence and will to come out of the shadows to find her freedom, but the price that is offered might be more then she is willing to pay. It is a beautifully written story and has a poetic flow to it.
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Soraya is the younger sister of the Shah, but she was cursed at birth with poison in her skin. Her family keeps her hidden away in the Spring palace, where she basically lives alone skulking around passages so she doesn't accidentally touch people and kill them. When her brother returns with a div, Soraya starts to see a way to end her curse and hang out with people the way she craves. Of course, things don't work out as she had planned.

One of the things I really loved about this one was the exposure to new mythological stories. This book uses Persian mythology and stories, and part of the book takes place at Nowruz. I love that the audiobook includes that author's note at the end.

Some parts of the book were predictable, and I agree with Renata that I'm not sure she had to be completely hidden away to not be touched, although I do get that part of it had to do with their fear that the Shah would be overthrown. Overall, an excellent read.
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Very interesting to get the chance to read about a take of stories/fairy tales from other cultures. Was immediately sucked in! Unfortunately for me I was not in love with the main character - Soraya. I couldn’t get behind her but I did love the other characters.
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Ok so I was so excited for this but I had a really hard time with the prose. The style just didn't work for me? It all felt kind of on the nose, not very subtle or sophisticated writing, and also moved too fast. Like the pacing felt way off. 
This may just be me, I didn't read far enough to talk too much about the story because the writing didn't pull me in unfortunately. But maybe this could still work for other readers.
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I have been super into YA fantasy this year...I guess as an escape from 2020. This book, however, just didn't resonate with me. I wanted to love it, but I was just never super invested with the characters. The story lagged in places and I thought about giving it up several times. I did end up pushing through, but it just wasn't one of my favorites.
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I didn't know I needed a Persian retelling of Sleeping Beauty until I read this book. It was the perfect mix of magical aspects, family dynamics, and romance.

What I loved about this book:

1. I find a book to be a lot more entertaining when there is great character growth and this book definitely didn't let me down when it came to Soraya. I felt this book was mainly about Soraya's character's evolution as she discovers her own strengths and learns from her mistakes.

2. I love a good fairytale retelling and this one was done really well. It was a fresh take on a well know classic with the infusion of the Persian culture that I don't read about often.

3. This one had the perfect amount of magical elements woven throughout the story.

Overall I found this to be a quick, enjoyable read that I highly recommend to all retelling fans and lovers of magical stories.
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I was so excited for this book and I’m so sad that I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. The writing style just wasn’t for me and I found the pacing to be super slow
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I LOVE books that feature twins, so this one was immediately on my list. It didn't hurt that the cover was absolutely beautiful. This was very enjoyable and I loved that it drew from cultures that we don't see often in fantasy works. Highly recommend this book!
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Girl Serpent Thorn 
Melissa Bashardoust

A Persian inspired mythology that is a fantastic read as is magical and captivating that I loved. Bashardoust captured and told a story that is needed for young adults of any age – with a heroine that is bisexual and colored, this book is a must read. 
The story is centered on Princess Soraya who is cursed and is poisonous to the touch. She learns that a demon in the dungeon may save her from this awful curse. This amazing fairytale story, YA fantasy and romance, and queer fiction is such an enjoyable read that was written so beautifully. 
I highly recommend this amazing book.
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I received a complimentary copy of Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust from Flatiron Books through Netgalley. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Girl, Serpent, Thorn came out in July 2020!
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Princess Soraya has been hidden away her whole life. Cursed to be poisonous to the touch, she has always been kept separate from her family and the outside world. As her brother's wedding approaches, Soraya learns there is a demon in the dungeons who might know how to cure her curse. She knows seeking her freedom might come at a high cost, but she could never foresee how far the consequences can reach.
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A queer fairytale inspired by Persian mythology is undeniably a concept I couldn't resist. I haven't read anything inspired by Persian myths before even though I adore mythology-based books, so I was ecstatic to get a chance to read this one! Like any good fairytale, Girl, Serpent, Thorn is dark and full of choices with terrible consequences. Soraya is a complex character and a compelling heroine because she's morally grey and doesn't always do the right thing. I LOVE a good dark heroine! I only wish that some of the other characters and aspects of the story were fleshed out more, but overall this book was fantastic! I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a unique dark fairytale!
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