In this City of Thorns book review I am sharing my thoughts on the first book of The Demon Queen Trials series by C.N. Crawford. As usual I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum however, there may be some small spoilers in this review.
“Well, you have magic, and I have my own superpower. It’s called anxiety.”C.N. Crawford, City of Thorns
City of Thorns and The Demon Queen Trial series are all adult fantasy and I actually found out about this series because I started following the authors on Tic Tok. It is a Kindle Unlimited read so if you have Kindle Unlimited it’s going to be free to read.
Since we don’t always get trigger warnings on books I like to give trigger warnings in my reviews. This can help people avoid certain triggers that could hurt their mental well being.
Possible Triggers in this book are:
- Attempted Rape
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexually Explicit Scenes
For a list of the triggers I look for you can check out this link here. This may or may not be a complete list of triggers for this book, I do my best to make sure I mark anything that could be a potential trigger but I may accidentally miss triggers.
Synopsis and Author
City of Thorns follows Rowan, a 22 year old at a university in Massachusetts. She’s hoping to transfer to the university within the City of Thorns, a city of demons. There she hopes to find the demon that killed her mother. With large student debt and the cost of tuition her goals look like they are never going to happen.
While out celebrating her birthday the Lord of Chaos, Orion, shows up at her bar. In a case of mistaken identity Orion kidnaps her. Once she’s in the City of Thorns though, Rowan will do anything she can to stay and find her mother’s killer.
First, she must survive this city where if her secrets are found out she will be killed. C.N. Crawford does an amazing job of introducing us to a world within our own in City of Thorns. We meet new and interesting characters and have a story shrouded in mystery.
C.N. Crawford is not just one author though. They are two authors who write and send the books back and forth for editing. It’s an interesting concept and I gotta say, I like the results in their books.
City of Thorns Reading Experience
City of Thorns takes place in modern day Massachusetts with one exception. Centuries before our story takes place the Demon War and peace treaty was put into place with the Puritans. Since then Demons have been confined to their own cities located all across the world. These cities are bound only by the treaty but governed by their own kings.
Our main character is Rowan and the entire book is from her point of view. She describes her style as Puritan Goth and is currently going for a degree in Psychology.
The plot was an interesting one for me, even though I typically prefer high fantasy, I was immediately sucked in to reading the first book and couldn’t put it down. I finished the book in just a few hours. The story moved in a fast paced way with plenty of action.
With 302 pages and 38 chapters this isn’t a super long book to read. I read it in just one evening so it’s great for people who want to get through a story in their off work hours.
I found it easy to read and the story moves quickly because there is just enough detail to bring you in but it’s not filled with fluff at all. The main character is relatable with high anxiety and I’m pretty sure some social anxiety as well. She’s extremely awkward and I love how Rowan was written.
It was a bit difficult for me to put this book down because it did move quickly and I wanted to see what was going to happen next. There was a portion of the story that I did find a bit predictable, however, I don’t think that predictability took anything away from the story.
City of Thorns Book Review
Right off the bat Rowan became a favorite character. She’s awkward and relatable on so many levels for me personally. I found her to be believable, because even with her anxiety she finds ways to block out her fears to achieve a goal.
I really like Orion but only because I see amazing character growth potential in him, and he’s sexy.
Shia is that supportive best friend that will help you bury a body if you need someone and I love her for that.
Jack is a piece of garbage and I hate him.
Part of me feels bad for Nama because she’s viewed as being out of her mind when she’s mostly correct about a situation. However, after what she pulls in Chapter 36 all that empathy goes right out the window. I also feel like her behavior doesn’t fit with what she is, but I’m not going to dive too much into her issues.
Lydia is horrible and while she claims to “not be like other women” she’s exactly like other women. She’s annoying and overly dramatic.
King Cambriel is exactly what I would expect a Demon King to be so it’s hard to hate him all that much because it feels like he’s just doing what nature expects. However, he is an arrogant ass with an entitlement problem.
The City of Thorns is well formed and described, the plot moves quickly, and the writing is good. I would have liked to have a little more descriptions, but overall it was still a book that pulled me into the world and left me wanting more.
If you like fantasy based in our world with demons, the occult, mystery and enjoy some spice this might be a book and series that you’d be in.
Before I rate this book I want to give you a bit of background about what my rankings mean. I typically read books that I check out through the Libby app with my local library or through Kindle Unlimited.
I rarely buy ebooks unless they are cheaply priced or on sale. I also very rarely buy physical copies of books. I’m a bit of a minimalist so I have to absolutely adore a book to buy a physical copy that will be proudly displayed in my home.
So my ranking system is as follows:
- 5 Stars equals I am buying a physical copy of this book. I will read this book at least 10 more times, it is the best ever.
- 4 stars equals a great book. I might buy an ebook version when it’s on sale so that I can re-read it at least one more time.
- 3 stars equals a good book. I likely won’t read again but I appreciate the story.
- 2 stars equals “Meh.” I will not read this book again, it had a lot of problems and I did not care for it.
- 1 star equals a bad book. I barely finished this book and I will never recommend anyone waste valuable book reading time on this book.
- 0 stars is a did not finish book. I will never finish that book and it is banished.
City of Thorns gets 4 stars from me. I think C.N. Crawford did a good job on the book and with the story. It didn’t really shock me or pull any strong emotions at this point but I think there is potential in the remainder of the series for that to happen.
- I love our main character, her awkwardness, smarts, and ability to kick some butt is a fantastic blend.
- The sexual tension in this book is really good and I love the whole enemies to lovers trope.
- I actually really loved how C.N. Crawford ties in our current world in this story.
- I did not like the bullying and stalking that our main character received and the fact that nothing was being done about it. Realistic, yes, but I still felt like Rowan would have dealt with it better.
- I would have liked to have a bit more world building and character development. Our main character goes from awkward to super spy in zero time and I would have liked to see that play out a bit differently. Maybe more urgency or stronger feelings would have worked.
Final Thoughts on City of Thorns
I recently did re-reads of ACOTAR, Crescent City, and Blood and Ash so going from a long epic fantasy series to this was actually a nice change in pace. It’s an easy read series that changes things up so I can ease myself out of the reading hangover that was about to hit.
City of Thorns is a good book and I’m looking forward to reading the remainder of the series. I hope it continues to get better because I see a lot of amazing potential in this story line.
Have you read City of Thorns? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments below. Follow me on Pinterest for more like this and pin this to your favorite book boards.