Review: “City of Thorns” by C.N. Crawford

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Two weeks in a row I have to admit that I was sucked in by a pretty cover. I know, I know, I know. Okay! I know. But it was just so pretty. I couldn’t help myself. I’m a magpie in a flesh suit!

Anyway, credit where credit is due, “City of Thorns” by C.N. Crawford was amazing. It’s the first book in the Demon Queen Trials. The next book, “Lord of Embers” is due to come out January 15, 2022 and I’m already chomping at the bit for it. 

Before I get too far ahead of myself, let me tell you about the book. Our heroine, Rowan, is a doomsday prepper in a ginger-goth-puritan costume. She’s a bit nutty, a lot nerdy and has baggage that would buckle a luggage conveyor. She’s become obsessed with the City of Thorns – a demon city located barely a hop-skip-and-a-jump away from where she lives. Her intention has always been to find a lawful way to enter the city so she can find the demon responsible for killing her mother. As fate would have it, she doesn’t need to worry about entering of her own accord. The Demon Lord of Chaos — Orion — mistakes her for a Succubus named Mortana. Someone he hates.

Once her humanity is revealed, the two realize that there are advantages to the mix-up. Orion allows her to stay under the pretense of her weaseling information out of the King. And she, secretly, starts investigating the death of her mother in earnest. 

I devoured this book. This isn’t something I would have picked up on my own under normal circumstances, but I’m so glad that I did. I am desperate to see what happens next!

I loved the characters. I personally related to Rowan. I, too, am a ginger-goth-puritan with an obsession with psychology and borderline doomsday prepper tendencies. So, maybe that’s just confirmation bias. But I found her real. Even as she was slipping into a role that seemed antithetical to the socially maladjusted person we met at the beginning of the book.

I enjoyed the storytelling. The pacing was great, allowing me to really fall into the world she created. I set the book down once – I finished it all in a day. It was a cute read and definitely what I needed after the lingering burnout I felt from reading something as heavy as “Gild” only a few hours before.

I also enjoyed the world-building that went into this piece. It was a nice, refreshing look on demonology. I feel like there was just enough to make me feel like I was in another world, with the appropriate level of familiarity that there weren’t overly large lore dumps to trudge through.

If you’re looking for something to turn your brain off to with a dark, supernatural twist, “City of Thorns” is definitely the one for you!

You can find C.N. Crawford on her personal website, Instagram, Goodreads, and Facebook.


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