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Book Review: GIrl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 07:00
Book cover - Girl, Serpent Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

Not only did my reading get thrown for a loop this year, but I still have a bunch of reviews to write for things I finished in the past. This one is jumping the review queue because I just finished it and figured it was best to write something while fresh in my mind. I know, I know, I'm the one who made the rule about reviewing everything I read. But I know how important community reviews can be to a book, so I do my best.


Girl, Serpent, Thorn is a Persian-based historic fantasy with casually queer relationships that felt very integrated into the cultural setting. The fantasy elements are drawn from Persian mythology and Zoroastrian motifs, backing up a coming of age story involving curses, family secrets, and the desperate ends to which loneliness will drive you. The writing style fits well into a YA classification, focusing on themes of self-knowledge and finding one's place in the world. The imagery is delicious and the characters all feel solid and well motivated. I'd love to say something more lyrical about the book, but I"m just coming out of my quarantine-driven reading slump, so "I picked up this book and read it all the way through and enjoyed it" is pretty high praise for the moment!

This is one of those books where it took some independent confirmation to clarify the queer content. (The blurb leads one to expect a m/f romantic thread.) Glad I didn't miss a lovely story because of the coyness of the publicity!

Major category: 
historical