Hello everybody! It feels like forever since I blogged even though it’s been just over a week. I’ve been so busy with work, my post-grad studies and actually being able to go out and do things since the lockdown in Melbourne has significantly eased. I don’t feel like I’ve read a whole lot in November so far but I’m taking it easy.
Today, I’m bringing you a little mini-review for my first read of November – Girl, Serpent, Thorn! I purchased this a few months ago for my birthday (a present to myself hehe) and I’m so happy to have been able to pick it up so fast – I’m making progress on my huge physical tbr!! This book was talked about so much in the online book community as it had a STUNNING exclusive cover from a Fairyloot box and was part of Book of the Month’s monthly selection. I wish I had that pink cover; it is simply beautiful~ anyway, let’s get onto the review!
But first, here is what it’s about ~
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…
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.
My initial thoughts on this book was that it was interesting and it is timeless. It very much felt like a lost fairy tale as we meet Soraya, a princess who is kept in the shadows because she was cursed so that she kills anyone she touches. During a seasonal event and around the corner from her brother being wed, a demon creature is captured and kept in the dungeon. This demon is apparently the same kind of demon that cursed her, so in an attempt to gain a more normal life and get rid of her curse, she attempts to meet with the demon. Whilst this is going on, she meets another young man who seems to truly understand how she feels and sees her for who she is. But of course, not everything is as it seems as she begins to unravel what really happened in the lead up to her curse and how she can truly achieve freedom.
I loved that this book was so original yet reminded me of City of Brass and ACOTAR in the best ways. It incorporated similar mythology and world-building in my mind of the City of Brass, yet had such a strong female protagonist and plot as ACOTAR. Soraya was such an interesting character that underwent a LOT of character growth, more development than I expected. Her relationships with other characters, including her family, were created and explained so well that you could really empathise with her situation and her decisions. In my mind, I kept thinking that I’d personally be angrier if anything. I do wish we could’ve seen some more character development from the main male love-interest, the sapphic relationship brought great diversity but also felt a little rushed.
The story in this novel also always kept me on my feet, I was never truly sure what was going to happen although the main downsides I found were that sometimes things seemed to happen a little too conveniently. The world-building wasn’t super extensive, but it also didn’t need to be in how cohesive and succinct Melissa’s writing was. It felt like a much bigger book than what it really was because I was flying through the book 50 to 100 pages at a time, and happily doing so. Overall, it was a really enjoyable and immersive read with many twists and turns. I’d highly recommend it for those looking for a fairytale-like standalone fantasy which much diversity.
Until next time,