GIRL, SERPENT, THORN by Melissa Bashardoust

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Soraya has spent most of her life in hiding in the palace. While her twin brother prepared for his future as shah, Soraya tended her secret rooftop garden, watching the poison in her veins flow beneath her skin, wishing she had never been cursed. But when a captured div, or demon, reveals that her mother lied about the nature of the curse–that it wasn’t a punishment for her mother’s carelessness, but rather a poison the shabanu requested the div bestow upon her daughter, Soraya leaves her isolated garden and accepts the help of a new guardsman to find a cure. Unfortunately, her plan backfires. With her brother deposed and her own power drained, Soraya hopes there is enough monster left inside of her to defeat the div that now holds the key to her freedom.

An exciting fantasy in a masterfully-built world, GIRL, SERPENT, THORN plays with the tropes of the princess and the monster by combining them into one, intertwining poison and strength and exploring the gray area between good and evil. Highly recommended to YA fantasy fans who like fast-paced yet character driven adventures.

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