City of Thorns by C.N. Crawford
The Demon Queen Trials #1
August 13, 2021 Self Published
Review by Jen
City of Thorns by C.N. Crawford plays in my reading sweet spot. I’m a big fan of A Court of Thorns and Roses, Blood and Ash, Red Queen, and the Throne of Glass series. The first fantasy series I fell in love with was The Fever Series. I’m still very much Team Jericho Barrons. Swoon….
This book is the first one in the Demon Queen Trials series. Rowen is a very poor college student with big time loans, her mom was murdered by a Demon, and Rowen is determined to find her killer. She was very young when it happened and all she remembers is a bright shining star on the Demon’s forehead. While some Demons live around humans, most of them live in a forbidden city (The City of Thorns), where there is a university that teaches magic. Rowen’s bestie goes to college there and Rowen hopes to go there eventually, too. By enrolling at the college- which is very selective- she’ll gain access to the city and can search for the killer Demon. At a bar, one night, Rowen and her bestie see one of the most elite Demons, known as The Lord of Chaos. What a title, talk about pretentious!! His real name is Orion. He sees Rowen and their eyes lock, he looks angry, they’re in a staring contest. It’s odd because she’s never seen him before, and he’s a VERY DANGEROUS AND TOTALLY HOT DEMON. Kind of hard to forget. Rowen observes a group of guys. One she recognizes as a total jerk who constantly bullies her in school. They’re harassing a young woman. Rowen is a total badass, she goes in to save her, and while she’s able to buy the young woman time to escape…Rowen’s not able to get away quite as easily. Luckily for her, Orion comes to the rescue.
But…and it’s a big but….
He kidnaps her and throws her in a nasty moldy dungeon. Rowen looks like a Demon from Orion’s past, one that he hates and is responsible for a lot of death and general ugly times in Demon land. Orion wants to kill her. Rowen can’t figure out what the heck is going on. She’s human and hasn’t done anything wrong.
There’s a lot more that happens. All is not as it seems. And it ends in a cliffhanger. The second book is set to release in January 2022.
Rowen is a fabulous character. She’s quirky, has mad survival skills, can fight like a pro, is sexy and self-aware. Orion is the arrogant, rude, mysterious stud of the Demon world. There’s a crazy rule among Demons and they can’t talk about where they’ve lived before. No trash talk about other towns. Orion’s past is somewhat hidden. He’s got a pretty big secret he’s keeping from everyone. I enjoyed reading about the other Demon characters. There’s a part in the story where Rowen competes in a Hunger Games like event. She is BRILLIANT. This is a girl who has the survival mindset nailed and a very specific set of tools at her disposal. Even without Demon magic, she is amazing! The Demons are hilarious. They’re just so petty yet powerful beings, and I love the author’s descriptions. My only criticism is that Rowen, while very funny, was lacking some sophistication. She’s quirky with some odd fears and traits, but it could be dialed back just a bit. She came across as a little juvenile in spots. It was minor and didn’t take me away from the story at all. Great world-building, fun story and I’m excited to read book two.