And here is the third review! We have made it! I’m so surprised! WOO. See you later this week!
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Synopsis From The Book
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.
Fantasy | YA – E |CONTENT WARNING | Coming of Age, Secrets, Acceptance of One’s Self and One’s own Power, Rage for Good
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
This book is so pretty. I have been holding off on this for a long while mostly because the title is like the one book I read (Boy, Snow, Bird) and the covers are even similar. I can’t say I’m biased, but it has been stopping me. That is, until, I remember that this book is a fantasy novel and then I’m good to go again. Its a vicious cycle, but here I am actually reading it.
It has taken me time, but I am here. I have finally picked up this book with the full knowledge that I am going to read it. It is a short book and I am not expecting it to be too long, tbh. I know that this is another retelling in a way. I don’t really care tho, because I like retellings. Lets go!
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
I won’t lie, I really wanted her to go all evil for a moment there. This is not to say I wanted her to pick Azad (cuz Pravaneh is superior) but that I wanted her to become the div queen after killing him. In a way this sorta happened, but she’s more neutral than flat evil. I think this is okay, but it would have been interesting to see a villain origin story. I think I just want to read more stories about bad guys, which probably means I need to read Vengeance lol.
Soraya has grown up on stories of her own curse. When her mother was a child, she went into the forest of divs – demons – and freed a woman. When she freed her of a divs trap the div claimed her first born daughter to be deadly to the touch. Soraya has had to hide away and not touch anyone her whole life.
Her brother, the shah, comes back home with her mother and Soraya finds out that her twin is getting married to her best friend. She discovers that a div is being held in the dungeons and she asks her mother, but her mother refuses. When she goes to ask her brother in public one day, she almost passes out in panic at the idea of touching someone by accident and a boy named Azad saves her. Azad gets into a fight for her and together they get to the dungeons.
It is there that she meets Parvaneh, the captured div, who tells Soraya that her whole life is a lie. Soraya and Azad are captured and placed before Sorush, her brother and Shah. He publicly declares she can not talk to the div but privately tells her to keep investigating for her own sake to break her curse, and to find out about the recent div attacks for him. She tries to learn more but Parvaneh says she must get a sacred feather to her, before she’ll tell Soraya more. Soraya and Azad go to locate the feather and he asks her to tell him het favorite story. She told him of Shahmar the evil king who killed his whole family and became a div.
They find the man who knew of the feather and he tells Soraya that it will cure her poison. She talks to Parvaneh who explains further. Soraya finds out that her mother cursed her. Angry, Azad and Soraya kill people to get to the feather and douse the fire and the used the feather to heal her poison. She kisses Azad and he turns into Shahmar and takes over the palace. Everyone kneels and Soraya escapes to free Parvaneh and then finds out the whole truth that her mother had cursed her to protect Soraya from Shahmar. Shahmar claims her as his queen and takes her away. Parvaneh and Soraya kiss after saving the other members of Parvaneh’s family but then she finds out that Parvaneh is the one who told Shahmar how to be a div. Soraya feels betrayed on all fronts and is tempted to become what Shamar wants. Parvaneh is captured again at Soraya’s deceit. She finds the legend bird that protects her family and can not release her but fake promises Shahmar to kill her family.
After arriving back home, Soraya bathes in the water tainted in the blood that had made her poisonous to begin with. She had used her old baby blanket to do it, and dumped the water. She is not poisonous but when she wakes up, she finds that her garden is. She releases Parvaneh who saves the bird and stops Soraya before she’s forced to kill her brother. Her poison returns to her and they are able to stop Shahmar and kill him. Parvaneh and Soraya are happy together and Soraya joins their family, a place where she more fully belongs.
What I Liked:
Soraya; She is RAGE and that is okay. I really love poison and poison princesses? Sign me UP. Poor girl was lied to so much, I’m happy she found a group that she can be a part with.
Parvaneh; Moth girl? YAS. She made one mistake and she made up for it. I wish her all the happinesses in the world. ALL OF THEM. She deserves all of them.
Azad/Shahmar; I really love those seems good, but is actually terrifying villain switches. I knew he was evil, I won’t play. But I liked seeing how he tried to convince her that he wasn’t and how he manipulated her. It was great.
Family and Friends; I did like Soraya’s family and friends for what it was worth.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
I was hoping this would go down the whole villain origin story path, but I’m not angry.
“Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not. There is possibility in those words, the chance for hope or despair… because it means anything is possible. There was and there was not. She is and she is not.” -pg 1