Book Review & Buddy Read – Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

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.


Buddy read time again! Susan and I have a ridiculous amount of unread books/arcs in common so we’ve just decided to roll with it. I think we have another 3? planned for this month, plus one backlist book we both want to get too. With time zones etc Susan’s review will be posted later than mine but I’ll link to it as soon as its live.

Soraya just wants to be normal, she craves being able to touch the people she loves, wants to be able to live outside of the cage her family have created to keep her and everyone else safe. Being poisonous to the touch is something she has always lived with, but that doesn’t mean it gets any easier. When a strange boy saves her brother and gets brought back to the palace, Soraya feels a strange pull towards him, and when they meet he doesn’t seem afraid of her, he seems in awe. He agrees to help her find if there is a way to fix herself, but in fixing herself Soraya unwittingly allows a great evil back into the world. To save herself and her family Soraya will have to make a hard choice. One that will define not only the outcome of her family but the future of her country.

This book is wholly Soraya’s story. She is at once fierce and compliant, deadly and afraid. Her internal fear is such a contradiction to her deadly exterior it should be funny, but its just sad. I couldn’t help but feel for her, the one thing she wants in life is the one thing she has been denied, and though there is a strength in that, one we see her utilise later in the book, when it starts she is simply a sad girl in need of human contact. Because of this her character growth in the book is impressive and I adored seeing her realise that what she thought a curse could actually be an effective weapon. We get introduced to a multitude of other characters but the simply do not get enough page time for you to bond with them. I’m big on characters when I’m reading. You could give me the worlds worst world building and a terrible story line, but if the characters are strong I would still read it. And this is my one failing with this book, whilst Soraya was a fantastic character, the author gave little strength to her side characters. There were parts were certain people were in danger and I just… didn’t care. Whether this is because I have a thing for literary gangs I don’t know, I just felt she could have built them up a little better.

Now you know me and mythology/folklore, so when I read this was set around a Persian fair ytale I had high hopes and honestly this book is like multiple fairy tales all woven together. I’m not knowledgeable of the original fable but the author weaves so many different layers together I found myself easily swept away. Her writing style is lush and immersive, she definitely drags you into the story and from the first line I knew I would enjoy it.

Now when it comes to plot twists this book has plenty, however Susan and I guessed them in the first 30% or so. Now this isn’t a negative, there are two types of guessable plot twists; one where the book is simply predictable, where they include ALL the tropes and we know how it will end from the first page; and then there are the ones where the author feeds us little bits of information, leaves us as the readers little hints to pick up on, and luckily Girl, Serpent, Thorn fell into the latter. When I say we guessed what would happen I mean in the most general of terms, there was a character we didn’t trust and the our ideas kind of spiralled from there (trust me you do not want to read our conversations!). But there were also multiple parts of the book that surprised me and with the authors writing style and general pace of the book you can’t help but fly through the pages.

This book has certainly made me a fan of the authors writing style, and with it being fast paced made for an easy and quick read. My only minus is that, because she didn’t build her side characters enough I just didn’t feel the emotional parts of the book as much as I was supposed too…. and I cry and TV adverts. Perfect for lovers of fairy tales, lush writing and anyone who wants a quick and entertaining read.

Question Time!

Describe this book in 3 memes/Gifs

Describe your feelings in 3 memes/gifs

Describe your book chat in 3 memes/gifs

Describe your next Buddy Read in 3 memes/gifs

3 replies »

  1. I love the this isn’t the happy ending we were hoping for gif… I need to find that lol

    The whole character thing still blows my mind because I didn’t even occur to me… that’s disconnected I was. Thank God you said something! #palmforehead

    Liked by 1 person

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