Happy Halloween everyone! We are back today with our second book club post! Today’s book is Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust. I legitimately picked this book because Audible recommended it to me while I was listening to the Dark Artifices Trilogy by Cassandra Clare and I thought the cover was interesting… yes… the choice was that superficial unfortunately. I did read the synopsis though before actually committing though. Don’t worry, I would not choose a book without reading the synopsis.
*** SPOILERS AHEAD ***
To be completely honest, I had a difficult time getting into this book. The beginning was incredibly frustrating because from the third party perspective, I could see the mistreatment unfolding and the neglect Soraya was experiencing even if she hadn’t clued in yet. Once the background had been established and the narrative shifted into Soraya’s journey of self discovery and acceptance, and she began to fight against the neglect her family was showing her the book become a really enjoyable read following a strong female character.
Set in a mythical Middle Eastern country, with ties to Persian myths, legends and fairytales, this story was such a lovely departure of the fantasy genres’ portrayal of fairytales with a heavy European tilt. Not to mention that it’s a female driven story in a Patriarchal society, woot! Most of my book choices do centre around a strong female lead though, but I think the cultural context adds another layer of “woot” to it. Soraya, as the lead is a wonderfully strong and flawed main character. She is written beautifully with her moments of doubt, anger and helplessness juxtaposing her drive to free herself from her curse and her pursuit of acceptance and love. I also loved the Soraya’s love story wasn’t the “traditional” princess meets handsome stranger, meet cute, their relationship evolves in two days and then *boom* happily ever after. She does meet a handsome stranger, but she’s also coming to terms with what her feelings are (and mean) for her brothers fiance.
Overall I loved the book and I also loved the added representation for both West Asian culture and the LGBTQ+ community.
Next Book: Red Sparrow
Length: 434 Pages
The start of a major career! A gripping, highly commercial espionage thriller written with the delicious insider detail and up-to-the-minute insight only known to a veteran CIA spook.
In today’s Russia, dominated by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, state intelligence officer Dominika Egorova struggles to survive in the cast-iron bureaucracy of post-Soviet intelligence. Drafted against her will to become a “Sparrow” – a trained seductress in the service, Dominika is assigned to operate against Nathaniel Nash, a first-tour CIA officer who handles the CIA’s most sensitive penetration of Russian intelligence. The two young intelligence officers, trained in their respective spy schools, collide in a charged atmosphere of tradecraft, deception, and inevitably, a forbidden spiral of carnal attraction that threatens their careers and the security of America’s valuable mole in Moscow.
Seeking revenge against her soulless masters, Dominika begins a fatal double life, recruited by the CIA to ferret out a high-level traitor in Washington – hunt down a Russian illegal buried deep in the U.S. military and, against all odds, to return to Moscow as the new-generation penetration of Putin’s intelligence service. Dominika and Nathaniel’s impossible love affair and twisted spy game come to a deadly conclusion in the shocking climax of this electrifying, up-to-the minute spy thriller.