Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is “an alluring feminist fairy tale” (Kirkus Reviews) 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.
About: Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a young adult fantasy retelling written by Melissa Bashardoust. It will be published on 7/7/2020 by Flatiron Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, hardcover, 336 pages. The genres are young adult, fantasy, LGBT, and retelling. This book is intended for readers ages 12 to 18. The author’s debut was Girls Made of Snow and Glass. According to the publisher’s website, “Flatiron Books is committed to publishing intelligent fiction and nonfiction with commercial appeal by authors with distinctive voices.” It is “named after the historic building in which the company is housed.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Girl, Serpent, Thorn on 6/21/2020 and finished it on 6/30/2020. This book was an excellent read! One thing that stood out right away was the character’s love of rooftops. It reminded me of the author’s debut where the main character of that book also had a fond for rooftops. I enjoyed this author’s writing and right away the story was a page turner and I couldn’t help but felt for the girl with the curse. The story flow smoothly and it seemed predictable until something unexpected happened or a big surprise revealed. I loved that I got surprised every time.
This book started with a prologue about a girl, 13 who wandered too far into the forestland and encountered a div (demon) who ended up cursing her first born. Her first born daughter is now poisonous. Whoever touches her will die. Then the story began, told in the third person point of view following Soraya, 18, Princess and Monster. She lived her life in hiding from the public while her twin brother Sorush, 18, shah of Atashar, a Prince, shine front and center. Soraya didn’t like her curse and wanted to remove it. She encountered a someone who might know how to lift her curse but the bargain was that Soraya would have to give something away and in the process it could hurt her family.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn was well written and a fast paced read! I enjoyed the fantasy because it’s different and unlike any others I’ve read. I thought some part resembled Rapunzel but I couldn’t tell about the Sleeping Beauty and the Persian myth until author’s note explained it. It grossed me out a bit that Soraya would be willing to kiss some over 200 years old someone. I like the personal fight Soraya and Azad went through and the difficult decisions they made. The title was not in the story but I hope I understood correctly that it was intended for Soraya and Azad. This book was a great read and I recommend everyone to read it.
Pro: fast paced, page turner, roses, family, queer, retelling
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Author:
Melissa Bashardoust 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. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is her first novel. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).