Soraya, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch, has lived 18 years in the shadows. But as her twin brother's wedding approaches, she faces choices with unimaginable consequences for herself, her family, and her kingdom.
First and foremost: the prose of Girl, Serpent, Thorn is sprawling, luxurious, and handsome without ever sacrificing the fast-paced narrative tension it constructs via constantly evolving intrigues. Bashardoust combines evocative, mythopoetic description with an intimate point of view that links the personal, emotional experiences Soraya has to the wider world she inhabits ... I’m pleased with this novel’s willingness to engage ethical complexity, the labor of atonement, and the damage well-meaning people do to one another ... a delicious tale of desire, mistakes, anger, violence, and growth ... Women don’t get to be this kind of messy often in fiction ... Girl, Serpent, Thorn balances a raw, human core of emotion with a fast-moving, intriguing plot that draws fresh inspiration from Iranian culture past and present. Soraya is a fascinating protagonist whose approach to the world is always-engaging, even as her constant missteps drive the novel forward.
This opulent novel, inspired by traditional Persian stories, combines all the romance and intrigue of high fantasy with a deep exploration of the main character’s emotional world and relationship to her own strength ... The story is sexy, bloody, and luxurious, but perhaps the most interesting part is the way Soraya slowly begins to see the things that have always made her different as not a weakness, but a strength ... In a story about a protagonist who experiences attraction to more than one gender, this character arc is especially affirming.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn is YA literature at its best. Characters suspended between two forms—here, human and demon—are ideal metaphors for the half-child, half-adult nature of adolescence. The book’s queer romance conveys the headiness and sensuality of falling in love for the first time ... Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a richly metaphorical story of a teen claiming her identity and her place in the world.