Girl, Serpent, Thorn
Author: Melissa Bashardoust
Rated M for monstrosity of desperate proportions that leads to redemption
Sometimes the princess is the monster.
There was and there was not. That is how the stories always began for Soraya. Even now that how they are, outlined with double and hidden meanings, just like her. Curse as a baby with a poisonous touch, Soraya has lived a life tucked away from the world. She can’t travel with her family let alone see them, not that they want to see her. Her friends have left her behind. Her mother can barely look at her.
Now, as her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya will decide if she’s ready to exit the shadows. Deemed a monster, she only wants to be rid of the curse. Be free of its restrictions. Getting set free has consequences and she learns that quickly when havoc is had and an old tale becomes real. Soraya thought she was doing something right but now she must fix it and to fix she must put her trust in a div, a creature of tricks and betrayals, in order to save her people and her family. When she does she wonders is she’s becoming more and more demon with every dreadful decision and less of the princess she wants to be.
I received this book in a giveaway from Goodreads and am super appreciative. This is an ARC and will be released on Jul 7th, 2020. I’m very excited to review it.
First off, the cover is simple, artistic to the story, and beautiful. The way the serpents intertwine, connecting with the thorns and roses says so much about Soraya and the deceiving Shahmar and how they connect. I’m not a fan of roses, but I am tossing that aside. Statuesque and such an entanglement to what this story means. How a person can be monstrous. How they don’t have to remain a monster. That sometimes you have to be a monster. That it’s not always a bad thing to be a monster. And that being a monster can be beautiful.
A fairytale of incredible proportions that I believe will be remembered for ages and should also be used in literature courses for school. This isn’t like one of the Grimm Brothers’ tales, but one extending from a Persian tale and it was elegant. I am no expert in Persian culture or its tales but this was just a tale of a princess believing she was a monster when in fact she was a strong warrior bearing thorns to protect those she loved. Soraya gave up and gained so much in her journey. The way Soraya’s struggles mirrored that of the Shahmar’s made me double-take many times. It showed Soraya a way to come out of the darkness she’d sunk into and brought into the light of accepting herself and feeling strength within herself.
The romance was as sweet and breathtaking as any flower blooming for the first time. Truly. And maybe that’s corny, but my heart was overwhelmed at Soraya discovering just how much she cared about Parvaneh. I love Soraya and Parvaneh. There was no rush or strange abrupt moment. A flow like a breeze in the trees. The touching moments that built up to such a subtle and accepting love that was all-encompassing. While I myself am not gay or bi, I have such strong respect and love for love. Soraya got to experience it for the first time after never being able to touch anyone and coming to the realization that she’s bi was sweet.
Bashardouost’s talent for storytelling is astonishing. You can tell the care she took with it. I was wrapped in color and culture is so rich. I really enjoyed getting to experience Persian tales in YA form. It was really interesting.
While this started out light, I really enjoyed this book and the way it filled me with joy. I am hyped about this one. Approaching Persian storytelling that I believe really breaks barriers. I can’t wait for this to come out so all of you can read this too. Was it action-packed? No. It was moving and left me smiling. A compelling story of redemption, acceptance, and love for oneself and others.
“Sometimes she thought she could easily float away from this life, like a tendril of smoke, and begin again, far away, without any regret.” (Soraya, p. 15)
“There’s much you don’t know, much I can’t tell you. But trust me when I say that if I were you, I wouldn’t shed my armor for the sake of a kind word or a gentle touch. That’s my advice to you, from one monster to another.” (Parvaneh to Soraya, p. 112)
“I’m your descendant. I’m your betrayer. I’m your rescuer.” (Soraya, p. 257)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? By Your Side by Lifehouse.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!