“Sometimes the princess is the monster.”
Whew, life kept getting in the way and I didn’t think I would finish this book, but I’m so glad I finally did – it is SO GOOD! If you love twisted fairy tale inspired stories, then Girl, Serpent, Thorn (ISBN: 978-1250196149) is the book is for you!
Soraya grows up listening to stories – “There was and there was not” – including the story of a girl who was cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But that isn’t some fairy tale – that’s Soraya’s life. Cursed before her birth, or so the story goes, Soraya has never known another’s touch. She hides away, using secret passageways to maneuver around her palace home.
Upon learning of the shah’s, her twin brother’s, upcoming wedding to her former best, and only, friend Laleh, Soraya is overcome with emotion. That paired with years of longing, loneliness, and desperation, lead her to attempt to break out of the shadows she has long been confined to. She ventures to the dungeon below to speak to a demon for answers to questions she has long bottled up. Urged on by a handsome soldier, Soraya does all that she can to find answers and lift her curse – but she finds her choices have consequences she could have never imagined.
Who is she and who is she becoming? Is she who she wants to be? Is she powerless or powerful?
Bashardoust writes eloquently, and her words captivate the reader with every paragraph. And Soraya’s problems, though fantastical, are very much relatable. Problems with accepting yourself flaws and all? Struggles for finding your purpose and your place in the world? Issues with understanding and accepting your feelings? I think we’ve all been there. Soraya’s overall character arc is spellbinding, and the twists and turns keep you wanting more until the very end.
I also love the love story – it isn’t who you expect Soraya to fall for initially, but it is beautiful.
Overall, this is a fabulous book that blurs the line between princess and monster – in truth, aren’t we all a little bit of both? I give this book 5/5 stars. Readers of YA fantasy, fairy tale inspired stories, and LGBTQ+ romances will fall in love with Girl, Serpent, Thorn.
Order your copy of Girl, Serpent, Thorn here!