Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 2069
Girl, Serpent, Thorn
(Updated: March 25, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
GIRL, SERPENT, THORN is a YA fairytale retelling by Melissa Bashardoust. The story follows Soraya, a princess who is cursed to kill any breathing being, human or insect, by mere touch. To stay safe, Soraya’s family has made her hide away for most of her life, scared that the public would question her family’s reign if they knew of the princess’ evil ability. Soraya, though, is tired of hiding in the shadows, and a boy, Azad, newly brought into the castle for heroically saving the shah’s life, thinks she shouldn’t. With Azad’s help, Soraya begins to search for a way to undo her curse. However, she’s not operating with all of the facts, and the wrong choice could cost her everything.

According to Bashardoust, this novel has a variety of influences, including Sleeping Beauty and Rappaccini’s Daughter, but is primarily drawn from the legendary Persian epic, the Shahnameh, a book written in eleventh century CE that details the shahs of Iran. As such, this story feels both familiar and exotic, and I love being introduced to lore from a non-western culture. Because I was learning new words and customs, my imagination was fully invested.

This book has many fantastical elements, such as magical beings known as Divs. These beings are so interesting, particularly the Pariks, and I would love to read more stories set amongst them. With that being said, for as much richness that the magic brings to the book, Soraya’s magic in particular took me out of the story. For the longest time, I didn’t know that someone would only die from touching Soraya’s bare skin. Instead, I thought they just needed to touch her anywhere, so Soraya going out into a crowd on Nog Roz seemed much more dangerous than I originally thought. Also, if Soraya could do that, risky or not, I don’t understand why Soraya’s mother never found ways to lovingly touch her own daughter, or why Soraya couldn’t keep company beyond Laleh and her brother. If Soraya’s curse parameters had been clearer, and more dangerous—she only ever accidentally kills one person as an infant—then, I would have been able to get into the story much faster. Instead, this fostered a disconnect that continued for the rest of the book.

After establishing the setting, Bashardoust successfully breaks expectations in a very fast and inventive way. The major twist is amazing and sets the story on a very different path that I enjoyed. Soraya is put in the most difficult circumstances and it is fun to see how she finds her way out of them. The plot is smart and lush with detailed world-building that makes it easy to picture. However, the relationships feel weak, which seems to be a consequence of Soraya’s curse not being fully fleshed out.

With that being said, GIRL, SERPENT, THORN is an inventive tale that will appeal to anyone who likes stories about royalty, characters who are all good and bad, and magical creatures.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Cousins
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of One...
A Curse of Roses
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
Based on Portuguese legend, this #OwnVoices historical fantasy is an...
I Don't Want to Wash my Hands!
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
From beloved children's author and illustrator Tony Ross, comes a...
Dance Like a Leaf
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
As her grandmother's health declines, a young girl begins to...
The Bitterwine Oath
 
3.3 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
San Solano, Texas, is a quaint town known for...
Sing Like No One's Listening
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
A moving YA debut about a talented young singer...
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The first book in an epic and romantic YA...
The Good Girls
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
One of Us Is Lying meets Sadie in this...
Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Iduna harbors a dark secret. On the surface,...
The Camelot Betrayal
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
The second book in a new fantasy trilogy from...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Every summer, they say goodbye. Dorit goes to Tel Aviv...
Incredible Animals
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this illustrated guide, discover fascinating and unusual information about...
Special Delivery
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
A lovely book to share with children in an expecting...
Eyelike Stickers: Trains
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hundreds of irresistible, reusable, and collectible stickers to mix, match,...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
It is twenty years since the events of La Belle...
Winter Light
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
WINTER LIGHT is the story of 15-year-old Mary Donahue...

Latest Member Reviews

The Cousins
 
5.0
"THE COUSINS is a highly devourable and engaging family drama/mystery. The Story family is very wealthy, running a bunch of..."
Golden Curse (The True Story of Rapunzel)
 
5.0
"This beautiful story is highly enjoyable. The writing flows easily, and the characters feel relatable. The main conflict was interesting..."
The Raven and the Dove
 
4.0
"An intriguing tale of forbidden love as two young lovers fight to stay together. Well written and entertaining. ..."
The Devil's Apprentice
 
4.5
"This was actually a pretty interesting story. At first I really wasn't sure how it was going to go so..."
A Curse of Roses
 
3.7
"A CURSE OF ROSES is an intriguing YA historical fantasy based on a Portuguese legend. The book tackles themes of..."
Speechless
 
4.7
"this story is amazing! i have a project for honors english 10, and this is a great story to chose..."
I Don't Want to Wash my Hands!
 
3.0
"I DON'T WANT TO WASH MY HANDS is a picture book about the need for frequent hand washing. The little..."
Dance Like a Leaf
 
5.0
"DANCE LIKE A LEAF is a beautiful book about grief and loss of a loved one. A young girl loves..."
The Bitterwine Oath
 
3.3
"THE BITTERWINE OATH is a YA fantasy and light horror read. Nat is the descendent of the girl who put..."
Heart Sister
 
4.8
"The story: When Emmitt’s twin sister Minnie dies in a tragic accident, it cripples not only him..."
Incredible Animals
 
5.0
"INCREDIBLE ANIMALS is a fascinating collection of animals by special skills, including clever camouflage, devoted parents (such as penguins), and..."
Special Delivery
 
4.0
"SPECIAL DELIVERY is a delightfully silly picture book. A little duck is eagerly awaiting the delivery of her baby brother...."
Eyelike Stickers: Trains
 
5.0
"EYELIKE STICKERS: TRAINS is an unbelievably cool collection of stickers. These 400 stickers include many photographs of trains, as well..."
 
4.3
"If your expecting the same type of books that you’ve been reading in this series, you’d be wrong. This whole..."
The Kinder Poison
 
5.0
"From start to finish I absolutely adored this story. The opening scene was so much fun to read while Zahru..."
Heiress Apparently (Daughters of the Dynasty, #1)
 
5.0
"HEIRESS APPARENTLY is a YA rom-com with deep themes that make it such an engaging and captivating read. Gemma is..."
The Good Girls
 
4.0
"THE GOOD GIRLS is an enthralling read. The book begins after the disappearance and seeming murder of the police chief's..."
All our Hidden Gifts
 
4.0
"Maeve finds a pack of tarot cards while cleaning out a closet at her school. What starts off as curiosity,..."
Frozen 2: Dangerous Secrets: The Story of Iduna and Agnarr
 
4.7
"DANGEROUS SECRETS: THE STORY OF IDUNA AND AGNARR is a great MG/YA fantasy romance. Based on Frozen, this book tells..."
Hot British Boyfriend
 
4.0
"When Ellie is completely humiliated by her best friend an crush, she decides the best way to escape her jeering..."