Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust; A Five-Star Book Review
I love fairy tales. The magic, the romance, the monsters, the inevitable battle between good and evil… I’m here for all of it. And retellings are just as good in my mind, when they’re done well.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust is a fairy tale loosely based on Sleeping Beauty with folklore from all different cultures woven into this magical story in which the princess isn’t just the lonely girl locked in the tower. She’s also the monster who unwittingly releases chaos on her kingdom. I listened to this YA fantasy novel as an audiobook and was wholly obsessed with the story.
What I Loved about Girl, Serpent, Thorn
The Premise: Golvahar, where Soraya is kept at the top of of her twin brother the Shah’s palace, is a mysterious city because she has yet to discover much of it, being allowed only to watch from the roof where she grows her roses. Her brother and mother travel from palace to palace, but Soraya is cursed and must stay away from everyone because whatever touches her bare skin dies instantly. She forces herself to be content with this life until she learns that her brother will marry and that a mysterious demon is kept in the dungeon, one who might have answers to free her.
The Love Stories: Love is a build-block for much of Themis story, from the love of Soraya’s mother, Tahmineh, for her twin son and daughter to the love that Soraya feels for others throughout the book. It is love that spurs her decisions, both good and bad, and that is the essence of a good fairy tale, in my opinion.
The Creatures and World-Building: From Soraya’s curse to the evil divs (demons) to the pariks (fairy-like creatures), this is a story filled with fantastic characters of all kinds in all shapes and colors, and the world they love in is vivid, both beautiful and dangerous at the same time.
The Resolution: While I will do my best not to spoil the ending of Girl, Serpent, Thorn, I must say how much I loved its resolution. The characters, especially Soraya, found what was necessary. It’s not the traditional fairy tale ending, but it is one for the current times and one that made me smile.
Do you like fairy tales or retellings?
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