On My Bookshelf: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

April 27, 2020

I love twists on fairy tales and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust blends together elements of Persian culture and myths to create a story where the princess is the monster. After spending much of her life in isolation because of her curse, Soraya falls in love and breaks her curse, but ends up cursing her family instead. As she struggles to outwit her captor, she falls in love again and realizes that perhaps her curse was actually more of a gift. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: 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.

I love twists on fairy tales and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust blends together elements of Persian culture and myths to create a story where the princess is the monster. After spending much of her life in isolation because of her curse, Soraya falls in love and breaks her curse, but ends up cursing her family instead. As she struggles to outwit her captor, she falls in love again and realizes that perhaps her curse was actually more of a gift. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
Why I liked it: I love twists on fairy tales and Girl, Serpent, Thorn 
blends together elements of Persian culture and myths to create a story where the princess is the monster (I just love that tagline "sometimes the princess is the monster").

After spending much of her life in isolation because of her curse, Soraya falls in love and breaks her curse, but ends up cursing her family instead. As she struggles to outwit her captor, she falls in love again and realizes that perhaps her curse was actually more of a gift.

I appreciated that Soraya was a bisexual character, but that her sexuality wasn't the center of the plot, and was instead seamlessly a part of the story. The characters in the novel did not balk (and neither should readers) at the fact that Soraya first falls in love with a (male) newcomer to her brother's army, but then develops feelings for a (female) fairy-like demon.

Classroom application: I would recommend this for one for high school and up because of the darker content. Students who like retellings of classic fairy tales like the Lunar Chronicle Series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, will enjoy this book, but even more so, it's a book for fans of darker fairy tales like The Hazel Wood and its sequel, The Night Country. This list from Book Riot is a great place to find even more retellings.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Girl, Serpent, Thorn for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

I love twists on fairy tales and Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust blends together elements of Persian culture and myths to create a story where the princess is the monster. After spending much of her life in isolation because of her curse, Soraya falls in love and breaks her curse, but ends up cursing her family instead. As she struggles to outwit her captor, she falls in love again and realizes that perhaps her curse was actually more of a gift. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

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