Title: Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Page Count: 325
My rating: 4 1/2 stars
About the book:
Melissa Bashardoust’s Girl, Serpent, Thorn is “an alluring feminist fairy tale” (Kirkus) 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.
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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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. Melissa is the author of Girls Made of Snow and Glass and Girl, Serpent, Thorn.
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