Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Fantasy, 336 pages, published in 2020

Soraya has been hidden away from the world because of the curse that has made her so poisonous that anyone who touches her will die. She has become used to a lonely, secluded life, until her brother’s wedding, when everything changes. There is a demon in the dungeon who could have information to break her curse, but there is also a young man who isn’t afraid of her.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Content Warnings: imprisonment, mild violence/battle, mention of torture

I previously really enjoyed Melissa Bashardoust’s first book, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, so I was highly anticipating this book and it did not let me down!

As the book started, I was not sure how I felt about another book about a princess, but I love the direction this story took. Soraya was a really interesting character. She always has to be careful around others so that she doesn’t accidentally brush against them. This has caused her to shrink herself around others and get quite good at sneaking, but also increases her fear of her own power. Her family only resides with her for a few months a year and besides them, she doesn’t really interact with anyone else. She is quite trusting of other people, just because she doesn’t have much experience interacting with others. I loved seeing Soraya grapple with how the curse makes her act and how others have treated her because of it throughout the book!

The magic in this world feels quite whimsical and it is definitely a soft magic system. This story is rooted in Persian mythology, so a major part of the story are the div, which are demons. I definitely didn’t expect to see so much of the div, but I was really interested in how much was shown.

The plot of this book ended up being way different than I expected! It takes a turn near the middle that I wasn’t necessarily expecting, though I knew something was coming.

The themes of this book are what really stood out to me. Throughout, Soraya is faced with choices that would impact her family but would help her or would save her family, but condemn herself. She doesn’t really feel like her family loves her, especially when she finds out that her mother has been lying about how Soraya got her curse. She has to wade through her feelings of duty to her family, even though they lied, but also her feelings of bitterness because of those lies.

Another theme I loved about this book, that I also loved in Girls Made of Snow and Glass, was the importance of women’s relationships with each other. There are men in this book, like Soraya’s brother and the antagonist, but the most important parts of this book are based on her relationships with her mother, her love interest, and her best friend.

Overall, I just really loved this book! It wasn’t too complicated and it definitely got me fairly emotional. I think if you like Girls Made of Snow and Glass, you would also enjoy this book, and vise versa.

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