Title: Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: 4 out of 5
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.
I liked the premise of this: a princess who has never had human contact because her skin is poisonous makes a terrible mistake, endangering her family and her kingdom and putting them at the mercy of evil…but a sort of charming evil.
It was cool to see a fantasy culture like this—I thought it was very well-done—and I enjoyed the layers of details, like the stories from the past and the legends from Soraya family. Deception and secrets are threads running throughout the entire novel, and sometimes the reader is deceived just as much as Soraya is.
Melissa Bashardoust lives in California. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.)