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.
Review: 4 Stars
I had been looking forward to reading this book for a while now and I’m so thrilled that it did not disappoint. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a fairy tale re-telling of some Persian myths. It had some dark lush vibes and was unlike most fairy tale re-tellings out there. I found myself absorbed in the world Melissa Barshardoust created and I really loved the characters and this story. Girl, Serpent, Thorn was filled with atmosphere and folklore that I want to know more about.
The world built in Girl, Serpent, Thorn is incredible. I loved all of the myths and all of the different divs. The entire story has a lush vibe to it and the descriptions made the world easy to visualize. I loved reading the acknowledgements and learning about which bits of Persian culture and mythology inspired this tale that felt wholly original to me. I really found the descriptions of the pariks fascinating, they kind of reminded me of fairies, but darker.
The characters and their personal struggles are what made this book so compelling. Each character struggles with their personal morals and trust. Soraya’s struggles were easy to empathize with and I loved that Melissa Barshardoust explored how the absence of touch and affection really impacted Soraya. I absolutely loved the enemies to lovers romance, it truly got my heart and I felt like it was done so well. I feel like most books focus more on lust, but the romance in Girl, Serpent, Thorn felt so much deeper than that.
I will admit that I felt like this book started kind of slowly, but after about a quarter of the way in I was completely hooked. In the beginning I didn’t know what direction the book was really going in, but then when a twist was revealed I couldn’t stop reading. There really was a lot that happened throughout this book. While the pacing was slow at times, I really loved the plot and the characters. I want to read the original myths that inspired this novel because it was just so fascinating.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is everything a reader could want in a fairy tale retelling. It had beautiful writing, fascinating magic and an original feel. I am truly impressed with this book and will definitely be watching for Melissa Barshardoust’s next novel.
About the Author:
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. Melissa is the author of Girls Made of Snow and Glass and Girl, Serpent, Thorn.