Girl, Serpent, Thorn Readalong: Day 1

Beautiful photo by @mayushiibooks

Hello Fairy Friends!

It is day 1 of our readalong of Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust and I am SO ready for this one!

Before we start on today’s chapters though, how is everyone? What have we all been reading, anything I should be adding to my already excessive tbr? ? Let’s catch up in the comments!

Alright, now that we’re all caught up, let’s get on with the readalong!

Today, we start from the prologue and we will be reading to the end of Chapter 6! Grab a beverage of your choice and some snacks and snuggle down for a reading session and then join me in the comments to chat about it!

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Girl, Serpent, Thorn Chapters 1-6! Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!


We begin with the prologue which has me feeling ready to snuggle down into this fairy tale.

“Stories always begin the same way: There was and then there was not”

We are told a story about a young girl who saves a woman trapped by a demon and how the demon or ‘div’ enacts revenge by placing a curse on her. This girl one day becomes Queen and gives birth to twins, a boy and a girl and to her horror discovers the curse is real, her firstborn daughter is born poisonous to the touch! I’m already so intrigued!

We meet the cursed princess Soraya looking over Golvahar. She watches the royal family return to the palace where she is kept hidden away, a shameful secret even though her twin brother Soroush is the young Shah of Atashar. Her family have their reputation to protect and her secret can never get out as poisonous creatures are said to belong to the Destroyer. Ooh I’m excited to learn more about this!

Ooooh who is this man she spots travelling with them, could we be meeting a love interest so soon?

I’m already feeling so sad for Soraya, due to her curse she is hidden away and can’t even embrace her mother in greeting. And now her brother is betrothed to her childhood best friend causing her to feel bitter and resentful. Oh wow her veins turn green when she’s upset, that’s pretty cool!

Wait her ancestor is a bird?!

We learn of the first shah in her family’s dynastic line, who overthrew the wicked Shahmar and ascended to the throne over two hundred years ago.  The simorgh—the legendary symbol and protector of Atashar—adopted him as her son and gifted him a single feather, which would keep him his descendants safe from the Destroyer’s forces.

We are already learning so much! But this is pretty sad no? Soraya seems to see herself as the monster in her own story and she seems desperately lonely.

Enter this mysterious young man…

Oh wow did Soraya have deeper feelings for Laleh? It would explain her reaction to the news of the upcoming marriage.

It turns out the mystery man saved her brother’s life and for his bravery Sorush made him one of the azatan!

The captured div is down in the dungeons and Soraya is feeling hopeful that this div may know a way to break her curse…

Too bad her mother forbids her to speak to the div insisting that she can’t trust anything it says. Understandably her mother is cautious, she has dealt with a div before, right?

Oh wow this mother daughter relationship is clearly under a lot of stain, they must both feel a tremendous amount of guilt. Soraya is cursed because of the choice her mother made and they never talk about it.

We find out more about the Shahmar and how he was once a prince who had become so twisted by his crimes that he had transformed into a serpentine div. Soraya has nightmares about him and fears that her curse will one day transform her too!

Oh okay so she’s going down to the dungeons anyway as she’s far more afraid of herself and of what she might become than any div.

Ugh this Ramin guy is the worst huh? What’s his deal? Oh and it turns out he is the reason for Laleh distancing herself from Soraya, wow I repeat this guy is the worst.

She holds back her rage and urge to kill him telling herself that she is not the monster from her dreams but boy I understand the temptation here. Will she always be able to keep her emotions in check?

Let’s hope she has better luck getting her brother’s permission than she did her mother’s!

Soraya is feeling a lot of envy when she sees her family with Laleh, her being dis-included as always ?

Oh here he is! Azad knows who she is from a story his father told him and there’s definitely some chemistry here…

Damnnn she’s his ‘favourite story’ as pickup lines go, that’s a good one!

For the first time, she sees herself as Azad had imagined her—”the heroine of a story, not the monster.” But she can’t let herself enjoy the fantasy, she can’t let herself hope.

But of course Ramin shows up and after being rude to Soraya Azad punches him!!

But oh no the cat’s out of the bag as Ramin exposes her curse! What is this guy’s deal? Why does he hate her THIS much? Does he truly think her evil when they knew each other as children-there must be another reason surely?

Okay so he’s not put off apparently “You’re better than any story,”

She tries to warn Azad away but he says he’s not afraid of being near her, this guy is truly smitten, huh? But she’s been hurt before, she can’t trust he will stay.

Ooooh he might have access to the dungeons? She can use him to get to the div?

The secret passageways sound cool just as a side note ?

We learn some more about the divs and “Esfand,” which when burnt weakens the divs. This is being used to subdue the div in the dungeons so they are able to follow the smell…

Oh wow the div is a girl, I wasn’t expecting that!

Oooh the div already knows who she is, not just her title but her name too! Does she know of the curse though?

Interesting so her name is Parvaneh—moth or butterfly. And her people the Pariks all know of Soraya, “The human as dangerous as a div.”

We learn that Pariks look the most human, so they are able to blend in and they work as spies but spies for who?

Parvaneh asks why she would want to end her curse when she could wield so much power but unlike a div, she refuses to enjoy being deadly.

Wait she’s saying the Queen lied about how Soraya became cursed?!

Was it possible that she forbade Soraya to visit the div because she feared what Pravaneh would reveal? Or is the div lying and is their nature?

She does make some very good points though! Why did the curse not manifest until a few days after her birth? And why the firstborn daughter? Why not simply the firstborn child?

And the clincher! Why would a div curse a child to be poisonous even to divs? “Why create a weapon that can be used against you?” Okay I’m beginning to suspect her mother has been lying to her…

Ooooh Paravaneh may know how to break the curse! THINGS JUST GOT INTERESTING!

Ah man guards have arrived leaving our questions unanswered for now!

I can’t wait to see if Soraya will confront her mother about this! Did she lie and if so why? Is her mother keeping the truth from her to protect her maybe? Was Soraya given this curse to become a weapon against the div? Or is Parvaneh just toying with her?  She made some really good points and it doesn’t add up hmmmm

I need to know! Do you have any early theories folks? Or general thoughts on the story so far? I’m loving the world building and fairy tale elements and I’m also excited to see how this potential romance develops!

Let me know all your thoughts and I will see you all tomorrow!


91 thoughts on “Girl, Serpent, Thorn Readalong: Day 1

  1. That prologue was just the cutest thing ever. I was confused by it at first but once I realised what it was, omg!

    I feel like her mother may have made a bargain with a div and the price was this curse, or maybe she’s the daughter of a div and it’s not a curse but inherited?

    I love the characters so far, except Ramin! He’s just mean

    1. I agree! I think her mother maybe made a different deal with the div, possibly that one of her children would be part div? Or your inherited theory!

      Also I wonder if she could learn to control her poison since it seems to get stronger when her veins go green, maybe she can hold it back to be able to touch without killing?

      So far this is a really interesting book! I’d love to learn more about the Div culture.

      1. Soraya being able to control her poison would be the best thing ever! All of the power and none of the curse ?

        1. Her veins turning green is really interesting and does make me wonder if she may be able to control it.

          The intrigue with her mother is driving me mad. I had to stop myself last from reading further last night and didn’t get much time to read this morning but I gots to know! I don’t trust her mother. If it was a deal she made, it could have been for a good reason but after seeing how happy her mother was with her ‘normal’ family, I get the feeling it could potentially have been malicious or a selfish move

          1. The mother potentially making a deal with a div and Soraya potentially being able to control her poison are both strong theories I hope to see played out later in the book.

        2. AGREED! That would be so cool 🙂

    2. Bargain wit he div sounds reasonable! I’m curious whether her mum will tell her the truth

    3. Yes! I loved the prologue too, it set the story up perfectly 🙂
      Oooh I love the inherited theory, that would be so cool if she has family that are div!
      Yeahhh Ramin is THE WORST haha
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and I hope you continue to enjoy 🙂

  2. This book already speaks to me on a very intimate level.
    Long (very long) story short: during high school I’ve spent a whole year locked in my house due to illness, so I know the gnawing feeling of wanting to go out, but also dreading it the most. I relate to the frustration this mixed feelings cause, and I understand Soraya even if obviously my problem wasn’t the curse of a magical being ? (side note: I’m doing really good nowadays, so no need to worry about my health ?)

    Getting into today’s chapters: Ramin getting punched by Azad made my day. Sorry dude, Soraya isn’t responsabile for your inferiority, nor for your frail masculinity.
    And most of all: is Pravaneh telling the truth or just playing with us? I need to know!
    I can’t wait to read tomorrow’s pages…and by “tomorrow” I mean “this afternoon” ? this book has a high “peanut factor”: you keep saying “just another one, then I’ll stop” but it never happens ? just like with peanuts ??‍♀️?

    1. Azad just seemed childish to me at first but I fell in love with him when he punched Ramin! I hope to see more of him. He’s so lovely!

    2. I just finished ‘Clockwork Prince’ by Cassandra Clare, loved it! Next book I’m gonna read after this readalong will be the last in ‘The Infernal Devices’ serie ?

      I feel so so so sorry for Soraya, my heart broke for her in the prologue, not being able to hug your mom ??
      I hope Azad is the nice guy he seems to be, she definitely could use some kindness!
      Why her mother may have lied…..I hope i’s because she thought she was protecting Soraya but sadly I don’t think so ?.
      I’m also wishing her brother will be kind to her and that their bond as twins will still be there, although he doesn’t seem to be bothered to keep in touch with her.
      The story so far made me sad, but Ramin getting punched brought a big smile to my face ?

      1. Oooh I loved the Infernal Devices series! I hope you will too ?
        I feel so sorry for Soraya too and I really hope we get to see her rebuild her relationship with her brother ?
        Same! Loved seeing Ramin get punched not gonna lie ?
        Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and I hope you will continue to enjoy ?

    3. Loved the punch ?

      Totally understand why this would speak to you. It is such a good character exploration for the start of the book.

    4. oh 100% this book has high peanut factor ? yessss Azad punching Ramin was so satisfying! Glad to hear you’re doing well too my love and I hope you’ll continue to enjoy this story ?

  3. So far, I haven’t read any book with this “poisonous-to-the-touch” premise. I’m already enjoying the book and am eager to discover the origin of the curse—I trust the intentions of the div, Parvaneh, more so than those of Soraya’s mother.

    While reading, I was in disbelief how neglectful Soraya’s mother is to her daughter even though the curse was from her own actions.

    I’m curious to see how tomorrow’s chapters play out and if Soraya confronts her mother about the curse.

    1. So happy you are enjoying it so far 🙂
      Yes! I feel the same way about the Queen, she’s very neglectful considering and I really hope she confronts her too!
      Thank you so much for joining in and for sharing your thoughts! 🙂

  4. Oh! This seems very promising so far. I think still too early to have any theories, but somehow I don’t think Soraya was the one that was supposed to be the cursed one. Hmm.

    Recently finished the 2 books in the Nevermoor series that are out (middle grade), if you haven’t read it. HIGHLY recommended. Beautiful enchanting story!

    1. Oh interesting, maybe she wasn’t supposed to be the cursed one.
      Oh my god yes I love the Nevermoor books! I second this recommendation 100%! One of my favourite series EVER 🙂
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and I hope you will enjoy the rest of the book!

  5. I’m already so invested in this book and it was hard to stop myself from reading on! I love the fairy tale elements and world so far! I think Parvaneh will play an important role in the book, especially since she featured on all of the art for the book, I think she’ll reveal some things that Soraya’s mother may have been trying to hide from her. I’m definitely suspicious of her mother. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s chapters!

    1. I’m so happy you’re enjoying it. it’s definitely been hard not to read ahead 🙂 I’m so suspicious of her mother too, I need to know! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and theories my love! 🙂

  6. This is my first readalong for quite some time and I’m glad I picked this book to join in on. I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump since work became crazy busy. I love a good fairytale and I think the premise of this one is so intriguing. I kind of don’t want to theorise what might happen, just want to get swept away with the story as I read. A very strong start to the book, wanted to keep reading so that’s a good sign. Let’s hope it finishes strong ?. If a could jump into the book, I’d have punched Ramin much earlier !

    1. Oh yay I hope this book is the one to break the slump! I relate and I’m hoping it will be the same case for me ? I love that, if I could jump in to the book I would have done the same ?
      I hope you continue to enjoy and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!

  7. I have a really bad feeling about Azad, purely based on every YA fantasy I’ve ever read where things are never as they seem. I’m curious about the history with Ramin, I mean there has to be a reason why he’s so cruel, not just that he wants to protect his sister (which I get, but he goes about it with such cruelty). And my theory is that Soraya might have been created as a weapon against the div.

    1. I think he is in cahoots with Parvenah!

    2. Agreed! Azad is too good to be true right? I wonder what his deal is, Ramin’s too!
      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and theories 🙂

      1. Definitely have a bad feeling about Azad – especially as she told him about all the secret passageways about 20 seconds after meeting! I feel like that can only end badly…

        1. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  8. Wow loving the start of this book. Already getting such great fairytale vibes such a magical atmosphere to her writing.

    Soraya is making for a fascinating protagnoist. I like her internal conflict and think it’s going to make for a good story arch.

    Not feeling the romance with Azad though, I’m here for a Soraya/Parvenah subplot. Although think there is more tp Azad than immediately obvious. He just came on so strong that I’m hoping that there is something more to it.

    Early theory – Soraya is part Div. Her mother had an affair with a Div and concocted this story to explain it away. Why else wouldn’t she want her daughter to try and find the cure. There is no cure.

    I have a feeling something bad is going to happen and Soraya is going to be blamed for it.

    Ooh what’s going to happen next. Can’t wait to see.

    1. Also… Anyone else getting a little thrown by the word Div. In local slang it is used to call someone stupid so every time they say it I’m a little pulled out the story.

      1. Haha I was exactly the same with the word Div! I had to check I read it right then thought what a strange thing to call them

    2. I’m so happy you’re loving the start! 🙂 I’m excited to see Soraya’s arch and I have my suspicions about Azad too! He just seems too good to be true right? I wonder if there’s more to the story there? hmmm
      Ooh i love that theory! What if there isn’t a way to break it and her mother is trying to protect her after all?
      i hope you continue to enjoy this one and thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and theories! 🙂

    3. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  9. This book is so good so far! I really struggled to put it down today. I feel so attached to Soraya already and love the amount of emotion and character building that we’ve had in such a short time. I feel like something isn’t quite right with Azad… it seems too good to be true and he came into the story so quickly that I have a bad feeling about him, but at the same time I feel like there might be a hate to love romance with Ramin? I don’t know what to think! And the whole mystery behind whether her mother is lying about the story is so intriguing too!

    1. I’m the same with Azad. He felt so out of place and accepted her too easily. I think there’s more to him than we currently know. Maybe he’s a spy? He knew a lot about Soraya so perhaps his job is to infiltrate, get her trust and then either stop her removing her powers or encourage her to use them?

    2. I don’t know what i should think of Azad. I think he’s suspicious to know about Saraya and not be afraid or confused with her beeing poisonous

    3. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  10. I love this first part!! But ending it here before chapter 7 with the revelations of the div… If Soraya’s mother is a liar… Could she be cursed because her mother trade her with her marriage with the shah (soraya’s father) ?

    Have to wait until tomorrow to see if i’m right… Urrrrr Can’t wait!!

  11. Ending with that revelation just before chapter 7. Soraya’s mom is a liar ? So the story she been told all her young days would be false ?
    Could it be that her mom trade her life and curse with a marriage to the shah ? Soraya’s Father ?

    It’s so sad she’d been always hied away…

  12. This book was so easy to get into. I am already in love <3
    I loved the little "Fairytale" kind of start, awesome way to start a book like that. Very fitting.
    I was very happy when Ramin got punched in the face, so satisfying.
    I like Soraya and Azad as characters a lot. Really curious what is going on with Azad. The way he saved her brother and the way he reacted to her is a little suspicious, so we'll see.
    I already read a few theories that there is so much more Sorayas mothers story. So either it's a deal or a forbidden romance for sure, or something like that.
    Can't wait for tomorrows chapters.

    1. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  13. So far I liked the book and it was hard to put away.

    Of course I already found someone to hate. But Ramin is such an obvious choice. Is it just his male ego that’s hurt because a girl is more dangerous than he is? I’m also curious about the first meeting of brother and sister. Wonder how he behaves towards her.

    After the last chapter I immediately distrust the mother now. Of course, divs are liars. But it was the potential liar who warned Soraya that somebody else might lie to her. So it’s not the most credible source, I’d say.

    Sometime during the description of her curse and the secret passageways throughout the whole palace, I started to wonder, why Soraya was never trained as an assassin. She’d be perfect. And I doubt that the royal court of this country is just flowers and butterflies with no intrigues and murders going on. The idea of actually using the girl as a weapon never occurred to anyone? Well, that’s good for Soraya, sure.

  14. I am already soooo in love with book! I feel really bad for Soraya, I got quite emotional when she saw her mother with her brother and best friend, and was feeling like such an outsider, seeing them all so happy and not seeming at all bothered that she’s missing.

    Ramin is a nasty piece of work, glad that Azad punched him. But I don’t quite trust Azad, either – he seemed very keen to get into the tunnels as soon as he heard about them, and I’m sure most people would be at least a little hesitant at getting too close to someone that they’ve just found out could kill you with even the lightest touch.

    I believe Parvaneh, when she says that Soraya’s mother has lied to her all her life, and am intrigued to know the truth behind Soraya’s “curse”.

    1. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  15. I am loving the fairytale feeling of this book. I really feel for soraya! I do think her mother is lying to her and that there is more behind the story ?

  16. There was and there was not.
    Such a good start for this story! I really enjoyed the prologue. The world we are in sounds so magical. I think we will meet more divs in the future. I’m expecting a serpent-div because of the title ?
    Soraya is an interresting character. Hidden away for most of her live. Hopefully that’s going to change now. As most of us i don’t like Ramin. And i absolutely did not understand why he told Azad that she is poisonous. Is he allowed to tell? I don’t think so
    what will her mother tell her when she confronts her?

  17. I honestly loved how it started. A story being told that turns out to be her life. It’s a very nice touch to hook the reader.
    I sympathize a lot with how she feels about herself and I am looking forward to a bunch of character development from her because she has so much to love and learn about herself. Expectations that I hope are not too high lol
    But this whole romance aspect has me shook. “You’re my favorite story.” Like wow, what a man. It’s such a sweet and romantic thing to say. I am instantly interested in Azad. I pull a lot parallels between my husband and male interests in stories. My husband is just the standard I except characters to be at. To love and cherish someone like mine does. So I hope our beloved Soraya gets that.
    I am definitely reading ahead. But just Day 2. I can’t wait to see what happens because the div left so many questions open for me.
    Especially regarding Soraya’s mom. She’s shady and I do not like that lol.

    1. See, I feel like Azad is slightly too smooth, especially for someone who just met her. I dunno if I love the concept of someone being obsessed with the idea of her rather than the actual person… It makes me a bit nervous about his intentions.

      I love how already there’s so much tension about who to trust!

      1. Continuing reading, I’ll have to agree with you. He’s been way too smooth. Too good to be true. But I just wanted her to be loved lol

        But yes, I love me a book that doesn’t allow me to trust characters. Makes me question everything. It’s awesome!!!

      2. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  18. Hmmm this book is already soo good I’m probably going to read ahead! But I do have some theories:

    Her mom definitely lied about how she became cursed. Maybe her mother messed with something more dangerous than a div, which resulted in Soraya’s ability even affecting divs; the only purpose I could see in her doing this was to marry the Shah and become royalty? Because it seems like her mother grew up as a commoner and maybe even poorer than a commoner, but all of a sudden the Shah is interested in her and boom happily ever after? Doubtful. Also, if she was created to BE a weapon, why not have her be in sight as a show of strength and not hidden like some horrible secret? I understand they think (or as far as Soraya’s been told) that the public would see her as evil and part of the Destroyer, but since politicians and royalty always spin things the way they want, couldn’t her family have spun her ability into a “gift” bestowed upon her to help protect the Shah?

    I hope Soraya interrogates her mother to see if she could’ve been lying (because I really think so). Now that she knows where the key is to the hidden corridors to the dungeon, I have a feeling that she will be down to see the captured div later on but a bit more stealthily.

    Also, my heart breaks for Soraya since it seems like she was in love with her childhood best friend and it seems as if she wouldn’t have reciprocated those feelings. I hope that throughout the book Soraya gets to get out more and see more of the world because being hidden away all the time has completely killed her self confidence, and I hope to see that grow as she learns more about herself and her past that culminated into her deadly abilities.

  19. Great start! I was engrossed in the story from the start and want to continue!

    Her mom definitely didn’t tell her the truth or whole truth of what happened. Not sure if Pravenah can be trusted, but I believe her when she says the story isn’t completely true.

    Ramin is the worst. Azad might have fairytale goggles on, but he’s the first person since her childhood to be potential friend.

  20. I’m liking it so far! The first few chapters were really good. I think there is a lot of things Tahmineh is not telling Soraya about the curse. Which makes sense if she has something to hide (I believe she does at least). What doesn’t make sense to me is how anyone took care of Soraya as a child if she killed her wet nurse. Like someone had to feed her, bathe her, dress her, and make sure she fell asleep when she was younger ??.

    As far as the div, I’m pretty sure she’s skirting around the truth. Like giving Soraya just enough truth to trust her. Something seems fishy there.

    Azad is going to be an interesting character. It’s adorable how he grew up hearing her story. Definitely going to be the love interest for sure. I just feel sorry for him because it doesn’t seem like he really understands Soraya’s curse. I’m worried something is going to happen to him before the end of the novel. Fingers crossed the love interest doesn’t die!

    I’m excited to read tomorrow’s chapters, especially to find out more about her mother lying and the curse in general. Maybe we’ll meet the shah as well!

    1. The innuendo about the curse and lying is so interesting! It makes me think that there’s the potential for something worse– something Soraya could control even– that would really elevate the plot and fit in well with the fairytale self-fulfilling prophecy trope.

      1. That does make sense! I think there is something in the first few pages (where she’s talking with her mother the first time) that being calm makes her veins less green. I think her emotions seem very tied to the presence of the poison.

  21. Now, I’m intrigued! I’ve been in a huge reading slump for months and this might be the book that pulls me out.

    I need answers! Has her mother been lying to her all this time or is Parvaneh trying to trick her? I’m interested to know how div society works. My mind is racing with questions. I think her mother lied to her about the true nature of the curse and why Soraya is the one dealing with it. I just can’t seem to figure out a motive to why she would want to do that to her only daughter. Hopefully, I’ll get my answers soon.

  22. Azad seems a bit too perfect his ‘falling in love with a story’ feels very Sleeping Beauty ‘we met once upon a dream’ buuut I’m wondering what his connection is to the Div because I’m suspecting (hoping) Azad capturing the Div is a trap or that there’s something more going on here at least than insta-love; either way I’m not trusting the boy.
    Azad has put himself in a really interesting position here, he has befriended a Princess who is desperate for company (very Anna and Hans moment here) who has shown him and happily informed him about all the secrete passages in the castle, potentially leaving the royals inside vulnerable.
    At first I thought who the Div locked up may have been Azad’s father (since his father told him the story about the Princess locked away) but the Div being a girl obviously (unless they can shape-shift) changes that guess but either way I’m thinking there’s something here.
    I’m interested in knowing whether or not the mother is going to fess up, her preemptively warning our heroine to *not* speak to the Div got my Spidey senses tingling and to hear she probably lied…. also maybe Ramin knows the truth maybe Soraya is part Div and not cursed. What truely caused her dad’s death, natural causes like she was lead to believe or something else?
    Really intrigued with this story, it makes me wonder what I would be like if I was in Soraya’s shoes, would I be so scared of touching anyone/thing alive that I would cower fearful of myself… or would I let the whole world burn (or something not so dramatic) just because I could.

    1. Yeah, I’m definitely wondering g if Azad is part of some kind of resistance wanting to take the Shah down. Would be interesting if he and the div are in cahoots to do so as well.
      As soon as she took him in to and told him about the passageways I was thinking she’s giving away far too vital information too quickly.

    2. Ana and Hans comparison is perfect. That’s exactly how I feel about them right now!

  23. I’m definitely loving this story so far. The prologue seemed sweet to me, a bonding moment between mother and daughter. I am a bit scared this will be ruined when Soraya ultimately confronts her mother about the truth of her curse. I believe Parvaneh, that there’s more to the story Soraya has heard growing up, but can she be trusted?

    1. I think it’s more likely the mother can’t be trusted!

      1. Agreed! Maybe she made a deal of some sort and is protecting herself or hiding the truth to protect someone else? I guess we will see.

  24. Omg this book is so good so far! ? my heart is actually breaking for Soraya to feel excluded and alone all the time and not being able to hug her mother! ☹️ I already love Azad the moment he punched Ramin literally sold me, but he was literally so accepting of her curse- so I am a bit suspicious! I am so intrigued into her relationship with her brother considering we have seen little insights and interactions between all other immediate characters her mum, best friend, and Ramin! And the div, I feel like she is telling a mixture of both truth and Lies but deciphering what is true or not is hard! ? I hope she questions her mother though I am here for the drama!

    1. I’m on the same boat regarding Azad! On one hand, love him for being kind and accepting, but on the other he just met her and doesn’t know her all that well. But I can’t say I didn’t enjoy him standing up to Ramin without a second thought.

  25. I’ve been reading The Saxon Stories books, DESTINY IS ALL! Also An Ember in the Ashes for the Penguin readalong, an entire month for that book is some serious rationing of chapters.
    Very cute prologue but the exact kind of thing telling you it will be more complex than the storyteller wants you to know. Getting real Sin Eater’s Daughter vibes.
    The mother definitely did something dodgy, something to a divs daughter maybe? Or maybe it was the Shah but it was more acceptable for the woman to take the blame.
    Overall in these six chapters I don’t think there was anything unexpected yet, it’s been quite typical of a story for this kind of character so far.

    1. I agree, it feels like the calm before the storm. We haven’t even seen an interaction with Soraya’s brother yet. I wonder what he’s going to say and/or do about Soraya’s actions and her new friend, Azad. Will Soraya tell him about her conversation with Parvaneh, about their mother?

      1. I’d guess she will because he seems to be slipping into this “well you haven’t abandoned me” gap that makes me really nervous for Soraya and suspicious of him.

  26. I love the story so far! Poor Soraya’s story is heartbreaking, I hope we’ll get to know the real story of her curse.
    All those YA books with betrayal plot have corrupted me and I can’t trust Azad just yet. 😀 I hope he won’t break Soraya’s heart, but I have a bad feeling about him.
    Mom is definitely hiding something and I think it’s not just the curse.

  27. Ahhh I already love this!! I had a distinct feeling that this story might suck me in as much as The Shadows between us and I was right!! This is so good already. The mystery with Paraveh! I really think the mother is the one who cannot be trusted and I want to just binge this entire book right now, but obligations…
    Also I really like the “no touching” trope apparently, because that was the same in the shadows between us? lol

    Anyway! I am intruiged! ?

    1. So, apparently I can’t stop thinking about this book, but I just had something else cross my mind that’s really weird. Soraya and her brother are twins. And aren’t twins supposed to be super close and all that? But he doesn’t seem to care about his twin sister and how she’s faring at all, which seems a little odd to me..

  28. I’m loving this book! The prologue is so interesting and I think it does a good job of setting the foundation but also giving us hints on things to be suspicious of– I definitely don’t trust that the mother was just randomly cursed. I feel like there’s so much strain in the relationship and guilt and it’s setting off alarm bells.

    Another big alarm for me is Azad, who is interesting but not nearly surprised enough to not be Super Suspicious. I mean, getting promoted so quickly and gaining access, the apparent interest in immediately looking for her and trusting her… I think Soraya literally might be falling into a “he’s someone who showed me a bit of kindness so I think he’s basically better than sliced bread” trap and I’m nervous about it.

    I absolutely LOVE the writing and Soraya’s perspective… Imagining the green of the veins and how they move and spread makes me imagine that there’s possibly more to her curse or that she’s in the process of becoming something more.

    1. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  29. I already like this book so, so much! Usually it takes a while for me to get into a book, which is why the first chapters are always the hardest because everything is being set up and prepared for the real action and that’s the hardest part for me to stay with it. But with this book, I didn’t have the constant feeling of “when does the real action start“ – it was interesting and easy to read from the very start because we get new and essential information on almost every page!
    But if Azad and Soraya are really the OTP of this book, I feel like their relationship is just going too fast – yes, I’m not the biggest fan of the love at first sight trope! ? There’s just much more suspension and depth when characters develop their feelings over time and based on shared experiences but like this, it’s just “ok here’s your new bf. Btw, you love him now, bye.“
    Guess we’ll see what becomes of the two – don’t get me wrong, Azad‘s a sweetie but I would’ve liked to find out about that on a slower pace. ??‍♀️
    In a nutshell: I’m really excited and looking forward to reading the next chapters!

    Happy reading everyone!

    P.S.: Can someone tell me if this book is a stand-alone or if there will be a sequel? ?

    1. According to Goodreads it is a standalone 🙂

      1. That’s good to know!

  30. I already love this book SO MUCH. I have no idea why Ramin is so mean though. I thought he maybe liked her at first. Maybe he’s jealous and possesive? He sounds like an abuser. I’m glad he got punched xD.

  31. Ramin is so freakin mean lol I cheered when he was punched, and what if her mother made a deal with a div to become regent? Maybe say, exchanges her daughter as a weapon for the div possibly in the future if they kill her husband?

    I can’t wait to read today’s chapters!

  32. I’m loving this story so far! Can’t wait to get on with today’s chapters after work!

  33. This beginning is very promising. I enjoy it !!
    And I have e feeling the mother might know more about the curse or might hide something about it…I don’t trust her.

  34. Already very intrigued and interested!
    Super intrigued as to how the dynamic between Soraya and Parvaneh and how that might develop! We’ve been told enough that divs are all bad and liars, so guessing that perhaps we’ll see this isn’t as true as certain characters might like us to believe…

  35. Started the readalong late, but I’ll catch up with day 2 later today!
    I am already intrigued! Why would Soraya’s mum lie to her about her curse?
    I actually found it weird that the first person she “killed” was a few days after her birth but didn’t think much of it.
    I don’t like Ramin, why is he so mean to Soraya???
    I don’t know if we can trust Azad, it seems like it but I don’t know..
    Can’t wait to keep going!

    1. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl

  36. Okay, first of all, I know this book is f/f but when Azad told Soraya “You’re my favorite story” I was blushing and feeling giddy lmao. And the curse…I believe Parvaneh is telling the truth about Soraya’s mom lying. Maybe she wasn’t cursed when she was young. I think she had an affair with a div. We already know they can disguise themselves as human according to Parvaneh, so…

    1. Wait, you know for sure that it is f/f. Not a bad thing by any means lol it just squashed some hope that’s all. I wonder if it will be Parvenah or Lalalana? (I am listening to the audiobook so I don’t know how to spell her name).

  37. This got me going straight away and I am loving it! I love the premise of this book and I’m hoping for some real self-rescuing princess i’m hella powerful vibes as she comes into her own. I reckon the Div isn’t actually as bad as Soraya has been told, def more to this than meets the eye. Liking Azad too, think he’s going to help her on more escapades but essentially she’s going to have to withold the truth or lie to him maybe? Do not trust Ramin or her mother.

  38. I am enjoying this already! I really like Soraya. I definitely suspected she had feelings foe her childhood bwst friend who is now marrying her brother. I don’t think the feelings were ever reciprocated though.

    I think Azad is a neat lobe interest for her instead. He is one of the only people who treats her like a person instead of a walking death trap.

    I like everyones theory about why her mom might be lying. I didn’t think of anything that clever but I definitely feel like she made a deal with a div and didn’t keep her end of the bargain.

    I also think ther is more to the div than we know yet. I feel like Soraya is going to help her escape at one point and then the two of them and Azad are going to run off on an adventure together; not sure what the purpose would be though.

    I also want to know what the real story is that her mother is keeping hidden. Also is the person uniting the the div’s the simorgh?

    Also I HATE Ramin! He is so awful to Soraya.

    1. I can’t stand Ramin either. It doesn’t make sense why he is so cruel to her for virtually no reason other than fear. It is infuriating! And what does he gain by making her miserable???? NOTHING

  39. You guys are killing me with all this suspicion of Azad! I think he’s darling. And that line: “am I still your favourite story?”, don’t ruin it for me!

    I’m excited that Parvaneh is going to be a main character, judging by the artwork we got. And she has wings?!

    I also really love Soraya’s green veins in the artwork, it’s totally helping me imagine how her look changes with her emotions.

    Now on to the next chapters!

    1. I love that you are rooting for Azad, now watch, later on you will be the only one that was right about Azad lol (I don’t know anything, just a guess), and we will all look back at these comments going…. we should have listened. lol

  40. I think that Soraya really has no idea what is really going on in her own life. I doubt that the story her mother told her is true. At this stage I don’t really trust anybody but I trust Azad least of all… he seems to be saying all the right things to get close to a very isolated, vulnerable girl. Think Azad and Parvaneh were somehow working together to get themselves into the palace & close to the royal family but I some how feel that Parvaneh is more trustworthy than Azad… couldn’t even say why I feel this way at this stage.

    1. See I am greatful I am not the only one. Looking at all these comments it really sounds like Azad is sits uneasy with everyone’s mind.

  41. Alright so first off, I am loving how this book is starting out. I am listening to the audiobook (dyselxia and new fancy words don’t mix well). I can’t believe how much world building has already happened.

    Second of all… I am so scared that Azad is going to be some sort of betrayer. Something about him knowing who she was based off a story doesn’t sit right with me. I am afraid he is going to betray her because he knows something that all of us don’t. Like maybe him and the Div are in cahoots? I have never really had a strong feeling against a character before but this guy is giving me real do not trust him vibes.

    Parvaneh is kind cool. I like how in the audiobook her accent is completely different from everyone else (hers sounds very American unlike the other characters where the narrator tries to go for the more middle eastern accent) I love that. I don’t know why they went for something as boring as American (the middle eastern accent is WAY BETTER, but I diagress).

    I honestly think that Soraya is a div and her mother is hiding it from her. I also think that she could control her power with training but the fear her family gives off makes me believe they didn’t know that either.

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