Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust (336 pages)
In Girl, Serpent, Thorn Soraya’s Secret Forces Her to Live a Cloistered Life
Though Soraya is a princess, her life is not nearly as regal as you might think in Girl, Serpent, Thorn. Cursed at birth with a poisonous touch, Soraya has been hidden away most of her life. Not only is this crippling for Soraya but it has also led to relentless gossiping by the people in her kingdom.
Soraya longs for physical contact of any kind but only finds a bit of solace in her rose garden. With her older brother’s approaching wedding, Soraya yearns to be free of her curse.
With wedding planning distracting most of the castle, Soraya sneaks down to the dungeons to talk to a mysterious prisoner who may have the answers to her questions. The demon gives her some surprising answers, and along with a supportive stranger, Soraya begins to unravel the mystery of her past and her poison.
Not Your Typical Fairy Tale
Although Soraya is a princess in a castle, her story definitely isn’t enviable. She’s lived a secretive life and craves the types of things we all take for granted, like hugging a loved one or holding someone’s hand.
Following Soraya as she learns more about her past and her curse is both gripping and exhilarating. The fantasy elements are integral to the story but what’s most intriguing is Soraya’s very real desperation to find her place in the world.
The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars
Bashardoust’s story has a little bit of everything: some fantasy elements, a twisty plot, and a complicated relationship. The fantasy elements are light and readers won’t be bogged down by world-building.
What’s really interesting here is watching Soraya adapt to each new situation and come to terms with the repercussions of her actions. While the plot can be a bit easy to predict for careful readers, the story is fun and was hard to put down. Also, can we talk about how gorgeous the cover is?
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Rachel Gomes is a 30-something high school English teacher who lives with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their son. Rachel is a voracious reader who loves to learn and has her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. She’s happiest listening to podcasts and talking to friends about the latest news in nerd culture.
Favourite book: Don’t make me choose between A Song of Ice and Fire and Harry Potter
Favourite brunch spot: The Farmer’s Table