Girl, Serpent, Thorn
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.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn Details

TitleGirl, Serpent, Thorn
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 12th, 2020
PublisherFlatiron Books
ISBN-139781250196149
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, LGBT

Girl, Serpent, Thorn Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    A poisonous girl threatens the peoples lives who dare to touch her (intentionally or accidentally) Poor Soraya suffers from loneliness, is exiled from her inner circle, living in the shadows because poison flows through her veins and she can kill somebody anytime. But a mysterious boy gets interested with her situation and he seems like he is not afraid of her. You may think what a great pilot, the boy will break the curse, fight with the demons and ride to the sunset singing take my horse to A poisonous girl threatens the people’s lives who dare to touch her (intentionally or accidentally) Poor Soraya suffers from loneliness, is exiled from her inner circle, living in the shadows because poison flows through her veins and she can kill somebody anytime. But a mysterious boy gets interested with her situation and he seems like he is not afraid of her. You may think what a great pilot, the boy will break the curse, fight with the demons and ride to the sunset singing “take my horse to the Old Town Road, duct taping Billy Ray Cyrus’ mouth not to join him singing! Nope, when you reach half of the book, you just say “oh, I didn’t see it coming, it just moved to the different direction! Actually this book makes you feel like you read more than one books (I think a trilogy is hidden inside of this story and I wish the author told Soraya’s beautiful, emotional, awakening, self-discovery story in more than one book.) So this fairy tale mixed with Persian culture and magical elements kind of story. A girl does not want to use her curse to gain power and threat people’s lives. She accepts her unfair faith and we catch glimpses from her early life and witness that she had a crush to a girl which is reciprocated. (Yes, we have a bisexual heroine on the board which is a different and unique touch) And yes, Soraya loves to see the roses’ growing because instead of killing or hurting any living thing, she wants to give them live and see them grow. Second part, we just realize, main love interest of this story is f/f relationship. But as I said from the beginning, this is not romantic fantasy about a girl who needs to love for breaking her curse and having her HEA! When we learn more about both of their skeletons they hid in their closets, we may see they are so flawless, pure, golden-hearted characters. So we have two realistically developed female characters’ uniquely developed story, are ready to atone their sins because they are not the villanelles. They are just humans who made mistakes and wrong choices in their pasts and now they want to correct them. Overall this book is definitely not only a love story, it’s about a girl’s evolution, learning from her mistakes, choosing what she wants from her life, discovering her own strengths, sensibilities and forming her own path story . World building with Persian cultural elements and magical touch is also one of the best parts I truly enjoyed about the book.I have to admit longevity of this book made me a little hesitated before I decided to start it. I still wish the story could have told in more than one book because the writing is intriguing, characters are easy to connect, pacing is balanced ( not too fast or slow).If you keen on reading some original, different approach with feminist vibes to the fairy tales, this book is definitely a great choice. I gave 3.5 stars and of course the author’s hard efforts and lyrical, magical story-telling forced me to round it up to 4 stars.So much thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for sharing this unconventional, unique ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review.bloginstagramfacebooktwitter
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  • Ꮗ€♫◗☿ ❤️ ilikebooksbest.com ❤️
    January 1, 1970
    Pages: 336 Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by Flatiron BooksDark, Unexpected and Completely Original!This book was totally different than I thought it would be. I expected something along the lines of Rapunzel, with a princess locked away in a castle only to be rescued by a prince who is able to see who she really is despite her differences. However what I got was a girl who didnt just sit in her room locked away and waiting to be rescued, but one who did what she could to rescue herself and Pages: 336 Expected publication: May 12th 2020 by Flatiron BooksDark, Unexpected and Completely Original!This book was totally different than I thought it would be. I expected something along the lines of Rapunzel, with a princess locked away in a castle only to be rescued by a prince who is able to see who she really is despite her differences. However what I got was a girl who didn’t just sit in her room locked away and waiting to be rescued, but one who did what she could to rescue herself and she didn’t always do what was right or proper. She makes mistakes, big mistakes with far reaching effects. I couldn’t always tell who was good and who was bad in this fairytale and it made it truly suspenseful and original. Soraya is the lead character and she is a twin to Sorush, the current Shah of Golvahar. She is cursed with poison in her veins and is unable to touch any living thing without killing it. She longs to get rid of her curse and be normal. Her family travels every summer and she is left behind, only able to watch them return each fall from her tower where she is hidden away. After their return one season she sees a new face, among her brothers guard and looks to the tower and sees her as well. His name is Azad and he is a commoner that has become a royal guard because he saved the Shah when a div attacked him. Div’s are from Mount Arzur. Everyone there knew never to go wandering too close to the mountain, because it was the home of divs—the demonic servants of the Destroyer whose only purpose was to bring destruction and chaos to the Creator’s world. Soraya learns that the div that attacked her brother was caught and now resides in the dungeon. She believes that the div might have the answer to reversing her curse. Soraya uses the tunnels in the castle to sneak down and speak to the div. she meets Azad who helps her and she finds information that may help her. I don’t want to give any more away than that. However Soraya, the div named Parvenah and Azad become entangled and what happens after that is quite a tale. There are many other characters is this story and the character development and world building is terrific. This was a dark fairytale with monsters, curses and evil, but the Soraya’s journey is quite different than I have seen in other fantasy novels and fairytales. Sometimes it is hard to tell if she is good or bad, and the same is true for many of the other characters.Though it wasn’t the best I have read, it was definitely very good and worth reading. I have this book 4 stars for all the things I truly liked about it. I would definitely watch a movie of this one! I love fantasy and fairytales and this is one of the most original I have read, though it is a retelling. I’ve never heard the fairytale before. It is nice to see a flawed heroine, especially one as strong as Soraya. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Blog|Goodreads|Facebook|Amazon|Twitter|BookBub
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  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    ME: "Alright, I think I have enough snake covers on my book she-" Girl, Serpent, Thorn sashaying onto Goodreads:ME: "There's always room for more!!"*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    This was so. Good. If you love queer fairytales, especially of the non-Western variety, do not do not do NOT miss this Persian-influenced bisexual one.
  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    A fairy tale that takes inspiration from ancient Persian/Zoroastrian mythology. A princess is cursed to be poisonous to the touch and explores what inherent power might lie in such a curse. thanks for saving the YA retelling genre Melissa Bashardoust
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  • mahana
    January 1, 1970
    review on my blog ✧ "You could kill me with a single touch. Why should you ever be afraid of anyone?" Soraya is cursed with a deadly touch, where poison flows through her veins and any living thing to come in contact with her dies. Isolated from her family and ruminating in the shadows, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands. Her brother's upcoming wedding to their childhood friend and a div (demon) imprisoned underneath the castle inspire her to make her move, while a — review on my blog ✧ "You could kill me with a single touch. Why should you ever be afraid of anyone?" Soraya is cursed with a deadly touch, where poison flows through her veins and any living thing to come in contact with her dies. Isolated from her family and ruminating in the shadows, she finally decides to take matters into her own hands. Her brother's upcoming wedding to their childhood friend and a div (demon) imprisoned underneath the castle inspire her to make her move, while a mysterious boy in the azatan (army/guard) takes an interest in her. It's very difficult to summarise the basic plot because none of it seems relevant when you reach the middle. The beginning feels like a completely different book to the second half. Which I'm not complaining about. It's like a trilogy condensed into a single book, which is excellent since the plot didn't need to be dragged and the action was plentiful. Let's start with the diversity because it's what everyone will be curious about: the setting, story/fairytales, and the world are all based on Persian culture, while all the characters are (obviously) Persian. There is Persian dialect - such as royal titles, places, names - used throughout that are explained in detail by the author at the end of the book. In addition, the glossary has explanations for the Persian stories/fairytales they're based on. It's really thorough and interesting, which only adds to the excitement when you read it. The main character, Soraya, is established as bisexual early in the story. When they were children, she and her brother Sorush had a best friend who she had a crush on, but it wasn't reciprocated. Soraya additionally has a brief flirtation with a member of the azatan - who's a male - and it's established she was attracted to him. However, her main romance is with another girl, who I won't disclose because I think it's better to experience yourself instead of knowing who it is prior to starting. Their romance is definitely a subplot and not integral to the overarching plot, but it's an established, developed relationship. Girl, Serpent, Thorn's writing is engaging and enthralling from beginning to end. There wasn't a single moment I was bored or waiting for something to happen, even if the beginning lacks similar action to the last section. As I mentioned, the story twists halfway in a completely unexpected way (for me, at least). I remember reaching the moment, remembering the foreshadowing, and then smacking myself on the forehead because of course. Everything is meticulously plotted and you don't notice the intricacies until you're way past those moments. The worldbuilding was easy to grasp from the beginning, and not too complicated to follow as the story progressed. It's established in an interesting way through the fairytales, but also through the perspective of our main character Soraya. Since it's based on Persian mythology, it's imbued with language and terms from that culture, which isn't a complaint. I really enjoy reading fantasy books set in non-Western settings because you can almost feel the happiness radiating off the page from the author. Also, it's just an educational experience and allows you to learn about the mythology in cultures you're not a part of, while you also enjoy a unique story at the same time. Soraya is such an interesting, different main character, particularly to the Young Adult genre. In the beginning, she's isolated and lonely because of her poisonous touch. She appears meek and small, always in the shadows watching others. The story isn't exactly about her using the curse to gain power in the court as others have expressed, it focuses more on accepting what you've perceived as flaws and realising they're what makes you unique. Soraya's love interest can't comprehend why she doesn't admire her ability to kill with a touch and wants her to wield it, not cure it. Soraya learns not to feel ashamed of the poison in her veins and accepts that it's a power, not a curse. Moreover, I loved how she went from a lonely, isolated girl desperate for company to someone who makes her own family, relative or not. My friends were all in shock when I said the f/f relationship took over half of the book to begin developing, and I wasn't complaining. That should indicate how enthralled I was with the plot and story in general. I'm familiar with Bashardoust's writing and anticipated the f/f romance being a subplot, especially with the misleading synopsis and beginning. However, the story definitely focuses more on Soraya's character development and the strife in their world more than romance. That being said, the romance was wonderful. There's a lot of lingering gazes, light touches, and UNBELIEVABLE TENSION (in the beginning of their relationship), where you're desperate for them to be together. I love that despite it developing in the latter part of the plot, we were still given a solid resolution and direction for their relationship in the future. Something I found particularly engaging about this book was the exploration of what it means to be moral through the main characters. Soraya can kill any living thing with a touch but doesn't wield that power for evil. In fact, she grows roses in her garden because she wants the ability to give something life, instead of taking it away. The symbolism through her roses is additionally brought up again towards the end of the story, proving that every little thing is meticulously plotted and well-thought-out. Though, Soraya definitely isn't a moral character (which I, unfortunately, can't go into detail about because of spoilers). Her love interest also has a dark past she's attempting to atone for (again, more spoilers). Basically, this book has two morally grey women falling for each other, but they aren't clean-cut villains. It feels like, in the background of the main meaning of Girl, Serpent, Thorn, Bashardoust is suggesting not all of us are perfect or moral. We all have our flaws, and we're all capable of doing immoral things. Girl, Serpent, Thorn was a delight to read. That's the only way I can explain it. It was enthralling, fun, romantic, interesting, intricate, and just perfect. I highly recommend reading it when it comes out because this is a YA fantasy you don't want to miss. rep: Persian inspired setting, story, and full cast of characters, bisexual main character, sapphic side character, f/f romance
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  • ʙᴇʟʟᴀ.: ☾**:.☆*.:。.
    January 1, 1970
    Girl, Serpent, Thorn tell us the story of princess Soraya cursed to be poisonous to the touch. Soraya grows up locked away from her family and friends with only brief visits from her mother. One day her brother takes a demon prisoner and in the very same day, Soraya comes to know a new soldier boy who seems to take an interest in her. I really enjoyed the flawless, lyrical writing of the author. It was really beautiful, told like a very old fairytale. The mythology was Persian inspired and I had Girl, Serpent, Thorn tell us the story of princess Soraya cursed to be poisonous to the touch. Soraya grows up locked away from her family and friends with only brief visits from her mother. One day her brother takes a demon prisoner and in the very same day, Soraya comes to know a new soldier boy who seems to take an interest in her. I really enjoyed the flawless, lyrical writing of the author. It was really beautiful, told like a very old fairytale. The mythology was Persian inspired and I had little knowledge about it so it was a breath of fresh air in YA fantasy.What I loved more about this book was not the romance, but the character development of Soraya, she really matured as a character through the story. Soraya is a bisexual heroine and I loved and hated both of her romantic interests, and those characters are those I most enjoy reading about: those who make me conflicted. I'd say that Beauty and The Beast fans will surely love this tale because there are some similarities (parallels). The worldbuilding was lush and beautiful and inspired in Persian Culture which I loved.My only complaint would be that I did find her romantic interests to have much less depth than she had, and I was hoping they could have more layers of complexity regarding their feelings for Soraya. However, it was a wonderful fairytale-ish read and I'll definitely read what the author writes next. Fans of non-western fantasy, LGBTI romance and old fairy-tales might enjoy this. ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review (Thank you!)
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  • Emily Duncan
    January 1, 1970
    Utterly perfect.
  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    WE HAVE A COVER!!!I have been anticipating this release for such a long time. I absolutely adored Bashardoust's Snow White retelling, Girls Made of Snow and Glass. It is actually one of my favorite retellings ever. This sounds equally incredible and I cannot wait for it!
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  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    Superb writing but I just couldnt get into this one. 😩 Superb writing but I just couldn’t get into this one. 😩
  • Dannii Elle
    January 1, 1970
    I would frame this cover and hang it on my walls for all eternity. I hope the story inside is just as good!
  • Sana
    January 1, 1970
    Bashardoust out here single-handedly revolutionizing fairy tale retellings 💪
  • Vee_Bookish
    January 1, 1970
    I'm also a book blogger: Vee_Bookish(ARC provided by NetGalley, my opinions are unbiased)This was one of two books I read at the same time, that I found difficult to finish because I was just so incredibly bored (the other one was Havenfall). Originally I thought that this may because we've just hit the Coronavirus epidemic, but after finishing the books I realised that they both have major issues that affected my reading.This book sounded so, so good with hella Medusa vibes. It's based around I'm also a book blogger: Vee_Bookish(ARC provided by NetGalley, my opinions are unbiased)This was one of two books I read at the same time, that I found difficult to finish because I was just so incredibly bored (the other one was Havenfall). Originally I thought that this may because we've just hit the Coronavirus epidemic, but after finishing the books I realised that they both have major issues that affected my reading.This book sounded so, so good with hella Medusa vibes. It's based around Persian mythology about a princess that cannot touch anyway cos they drop dead, presumably dramatically. It sounded cool as hell and I wanted to read it for a couple of months before it made an appearance on NetGalley.This just did not have the kick that I wanted. Like many readers, I'm tired of woe-is-me main characters that spend most of their books moping about how hard their lives are. I'm sorry, it just doesn't make for interesting reading. This character is supposed to be embracing her darker and lighter sides and she just came across as pathetic. And really, really annoying.The plot was both fairly easy to guess and overcomplicated, as well as all over the place. The various demons needed a full colour illustrated guide because I could not picture them in the slightest. The plot weirdly reminded me of Labyrinth in some places and it's really hard to discuss it's issues without giving major spoilers, as the second half is where everything happens and the first half is Soraya just mooching about the castle, moping about the one time she poked a butterfly and it died.Azad? Annoying and almost cartoonish. Soraya? Annoying. Parvaneh? Honestly kinda cool, the book would have been better from her perspective. The world building... honestly outside of Soraya's immediate area I have zero clue how that world functions and the harmony between the creatures and humans (or lack of it) is kinda glossed over. It was an interesting book with maybe a few too many things thrown at it.
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  • Rec-It Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    PERFECT. NEW ADDITION TO ALL TIME FAVES. I AM OBSESSED. WHAT A BOOK.
  • Cindy ✩☽ Savage Queen ♔
    January 1, 1970
    Synopsis and cover have me even more excited than I already was! Synopsis and cover have me even more excited than I already was! 🥰
  • Lia
    January 1, 1970
    I. NEED. IT.
  • aarya
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars Excellent YA fantasy with shocking twists and turns. I would recommend it with one caveat: the romantic endgame doesnt work as well as I wanted it to because 1) the heroine spends WAY more time with the villain (terrific, nuanced, monstrous, and semi-sympathetic villain) than with the love interest and 2) the romantic development needed to simmer more due to the comparatively smaller on-page interaction. I adored what existed of the romance; I just needed more of it so I could buy the 4.5 stars Excellent YA fantasy with shocking twists and turns. I would recommend it with one caveat: the romantic endgame doesn’t work as well as I wanted it to because 1) the heroine spends WAY more time with the villain (terrific, nuanced, monstrous, and semi-sympathetic villain) than with the love interest and 2) the romantic development needed to simmer more due to the comparatively smaller on-page interaction. I adored what existed of the romance; I just needed more of it so I could buy the HEA. I would’ve enjoyed the book more with the mindset of “read for the fantasy, not the romantic endgame.”Caveats aside, I enjoyed the book immensely and would rate it as a B+. I’ll write a longer review closer to release date. Way too exhausted to do a deep dive now.Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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  • ;3
    January 1, 1970
    MAY????????? :/
  • Kilikina
    January 1, 1970
    This is easily one of the my top 5 most anticipated books for 2020!!
  • USOM
    January 1, 1970
    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I fell in love with Girl, Serpent, Thorn from the very beginning. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a story about possibility, power, and responsibility. It's a story about stories themselves, the danger and bravery of hope, and the possibility in each word. Soraya tugged at each of my heart strings. Faced with the pain of wanting something we cannot have, Soraya feels the ache and the (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) I fell in love with Girl, Serpent, Thorn from the very beginning. Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a story about possibility, power, and responsibility. It's a story about stories themselves, the danger and bravery of hope, and the possibility in each word. Soraya tugged at each of my heart strings. Faced with the pain of wanting something we cannot have, Soraya feels the ache and the fleeting whisper of touch. She has imagined dreams that end in isolation. The world moves without her, leaves their tracks for her to gave upon behind bars. Her whole life has been shaped by the question of her own monstrosity. With one touch, Soraya can kill instantly. Craving not only touch, but the comfort of a shoulder to lean on, Soraya is convinced of her curse. The curse of her parents which was laid on her shoulders. Focusing on what she is missing, Soraya is unable to see her own power, a weapon hidden in plain sight.
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  • Ellie (faerieontheshelf)
    January 1, 1970
    Did someone steal this cover from the National Gallery or something
  • Stephanie L (catteabooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Girl takes control of her "curse" and uses it to rule the world instead of wallowing in self-pity. Or at least that's how I'm imagining this to turn out.
  • Bonnie Wells
    January 1, 1970
    The beginning of this was a little shaky for me and I think it had a bit of a pacing problem, but once things got moving and the predictable part revealed itself, I really found myself sucked into this story! I'll admit that the writing was kind of hit or miss for me, sometimes it was really pretty, other times it felt a little clunky. I enjoyed the characters, although I think sometimes the writing kept me from fully loving them as much as I might have wanted to.But this was such a unique story The beginning of this was a little shaky for me and I think it had a bit of a pacing problem, but once things got moving and the predictable part revealed itself, I really found myself sucked into this story! I'll admit that the writing was kind of hit or miss for me, sometimes it was really pretty, other times it felt a little clunky. I enjoyed the characters, although I think sometimes the writing kept me from fully loving them as much as I might have wanted to.But this was such a unique story and it really does feel like a fairytale. I also really appreciated the author's note at the end that explained the Persian backgrounds of the mythical aspects of the book. Beyond that reputation wise, our main character, Soraya, definitely reads as queer (even though it's not explicitly stated) as we see her have attraction to both men and women. Despite one big thing, there were a lot of other aspects of the plot that took me by surprise and I really enjoyed how this story wrapped up. It was a fun, mystical little tale with solid characters and an overall lovely message, everything a good fairytale needs.
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  • C.
    January 1, 1970
    I received an uncorrected e-arc to review to provide an unbiased opinion from Edelweiss. True rating is 3.75. First I want to point out how beautiful the cover for this novel is. It ties in perfectly with the storyline and fits the eye-catching, photo worthy book covers everyone jumps for to hoard on their bookshelves. This is a fairy tale with elements based on ancient Persia. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the authors notes on where inspiration was derived from and seeing that play throughout I received an uncorrected e-arc to review to provide an unbiased opinion from Edelweiss. True rating is 3.75. First I want to point out how beautiful the cover for this novel is. It ties in perfectly with the storyline and fits the eye-catching, photo worthy book covers everyone jumps for to hoard on their bookshelves. This is a fairy tale with elements based on ancient Persia. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the author’s notes on where inspiration was derived from and seeing that play throughout the pages. I was also pleasantly surprised to find myself wrong with the direction the story took as everything progressed. I enjoy an unpredictable read when it comes to context. I fell in love with the world and the Pariks overall. I did have some difficulty finding a character connection with Soraya until she blossomed in the final stages. Overall I was fascinated to learn of new folklore and see the author bring to light the power that can be found in a curse such as the one in this novel. There is violence and minor lgb aspects.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    Looking forward to reading this. When I saw part of the premise of this, admittedly thought of "Code: Realize."
  • Julie
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, what a book. This was so beautifully written, so heartbreaking. The story itself was incredible. Soraya was a remarkable, complicated character who had a lot to learn. The writing was luscious and addicting and God do I wish the story was 500 pages longer so I wouldn't have to leave the world so soon. The romance was so gorgeous and devastating. I just. Loved everything about this. But I'm so mad that I'm out of Melissa's books again.
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  • ☾ h a d e e r ☽
    January 1, 1970
    I think this is the first time I've ever appreciated a snake on a cover
  • *mk*
    January 1, 1970
    Full RTC but on a general note this book was compelling with interesting twists and a great lead character who really grappled with issues but was weakened by a stupid initial twist and undeveloped relationships with other characters. It felt like the first portion of the book should have been longer for the later portions to hit harder.Great opening chapter though.
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  • ♛ Garima ♛
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know when I would stop falling for such tropes, maybe never...only if NetGalley grants my wish
  • A.R. Hellbender
    January 1, 1970
    I was sent an arc of this book for review. I was so excited to get to read a Persian-inspired fantasy book, and it did not disappoint!There are so many twists and so much suspense right from the start, and I could hardly put this book down. And I love the fact that we have a protagonist who is attracted to both women and men throughout the course of this book.
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