Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Published July 7, 2020
About Girl, Serpent, Thorn
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.
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…
I went into this book a little nervously because I’d read some mediocre reviews, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. The font on my ARC was also super small, so I worried that reading it might give me a headache.
Mainly I say all that to let you know that when I feel like I zipped through the book super quick and found it completely engrossing, you get the kind of obstacles it was up against. Ha.
First, the characters. I loved Soraya and her mom and the complicated relationship between them. The women in the cast absolutely shine, from Parvaneh and the sisterhood of pariks (winged demons) to Soraya and her mom, they were all complex and fascinating.
As far as the story, I enjoyed the story world, which is based on Persian mythology. Some of the titles are a little unfamiliar and confusing, but there is some explanation about them in the back of the book. I think a glossary would have been helpful, too. All in all, though, I as I got into the story, I was able to keep my bearings just fine.
The plot is very twisty. Less in terms of surprises (though every story has its share of surprises) and more in terms of the way things sort of loop back around, where the past connects to the present. I liked that a lot, and it gave the story a layered feel to it that I enjoyed.
One of the things that will stick with me, I think, is the way Soraya talked about making herself smaller early in the story– trying to keep others safe by shrinking herself as small as she could. I felt like that created this incredible picture of who she was at the beginning and showed such a contrast with who she became and how her courage changed her.
I feel like there are areas in our lives (especially as women) where we sometimes do that– make ourselves smaller to avoid conflict or hurt, even when it hurts us. So I loved reading this story about a young woman who comes into her own, learns to take up her space and be bold. It was both validating and freeing.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Based on Persian mythology.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used very rarely.
Kissing between boy and girl. Kissing between two girls.
In this story, the world is ruled by two gods: the Creator and the Destroyer. The Destroyer releases demons, or Divs, into the world. Soraya’s family is protected by a feather freely given to them by a powerful bird.
Some situations of peril. Battle violence and some brief gory descriptions of battle wounds.
Note: I received a free copy of GIRL, SERPENT, THORN in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.