My Thoughts on City of Thorns (The Demon Queen Trials, Book 1) by C.N. Crawford

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City of Thorns by C.N. Crawford came up under my recommendations for Kindle Unlimited when I was looking for something new to read. The description seemed interesting and was recommended for readers that liked Laura Thalassa, Sarah J. Maas, and Jennifer L. Armentrout. All authors that I have enjoyed reading in the past. So, I thought I would give this book a go while I wait for new releases to come out that I’m looking forward to.


I never thought I’d be singing happy birthday to myself in a dungeon. And yet when a sinfully sexy demon crashes happy hour, that’s exactly what happens. He’s known as the Lord of Chaos, and he’s mistaken me for my succubus doppelgänger.

Happy birthday to me.

When he tastes my blood, he finally understands I’m mortal. And I realize we have something in common: we both crave revenge. So we make a deal: I can stay in the forbidden city to hunt for my mom’s killer. In return, I’ll help him get the vengeance he craves. I just have to pose as a sexy succubus. One problem–he’s my number one suspect.

And that’s increasingly hard to remember as he teaches me my role: seduction. With each heated touch I drift further into peril. And if I fall under his seductive spell, death awaits me.

Book Details

  • Published: August 13, 2021
  • Page Count: 308 pages
  • Genre: Paranormal Romance

Thoughts on City of Thorns

This book follows Rowan Morgenstern, a college student whose mother was killed years ago by a demon with fire magic and a star mark on their forehead. She’s planned for years to get into the City of Thorns, a demon city, to find her mother’s killer. On her birthday, her path crosses with the Lord of Chaos (Orion) who mistakes her for a powerful succubus named Mortana. Who has sworn that he will kill Mortana and all her relatives if their paths ever crossed again. Before he can make good on that promise, Rowan manages to convince him that she’s mortal. The two end up coming to an agreement that he’ll let her stay in the City of Thorns provided she discover King Cambriel’s weakness, so Orion can assume the throne.

However, Rowan isn’t Mortana. So, she isn’t comfortable in her own skin and is no master of seduction. Nor does she have any powers. First, the two work together in order to get her passable on before they can meet the King, they manage to get her to walk correctly. So, she appears as Mortana. The latter, they can’t fake since she literally has no magic. This becomes a challenge when Rowan must take the trial all demons that enter the city must take in order to stay. However, Rowan comes up with a way to survive the hour against all demons in the city that are hunting her in the woods using fire-resistant gear, fox urine to disguise her scent, glass breaking knife, mustard gas, and a flame thrower. Considering she manages to keep a distance from the other demons, no one suspects a thing.

Over time, Orion starts to like their agreement less. He gets jealous of Cambriel spending any time with Rowan, as it puts her in too much danger. Especially since other female demons are jealous that Rowan/Mortana might become a candidate for Queen. Not to mention another demon doesn’t like that Rowan is close with Orion. Since the two males are the most eligible, powerful, and rich bachelors of the city. Orion reconsiders their bargain and states he’ll help Rowan discover who killed her mother provided she leaves the city soon thereafter.

However, things are not as they seem on that forth. Especially when Rowan’s only clue is a skeleton key to a location in the City of Thorns. Specifically to Mortana’s father’s estate. Where Rowan finds several things. I won’t spoil things here. If you want spoilers, expand the next section. As they also go over my thoughts on those items.


Rowan finds a spell that locks away demon powers making them appear as mortal as well as a poem that might be a prophecy regarding the Lightbringer. Rowan hides both of these details from Orion out of fear that he will kill her. However, as she attempts to escape the two are captured by several dukes, a duchess who wants Cambriel for herself, and a demon who wants Orion. This scene is where two major things are revealed:

  1. Orion is an incubus with fire magic and a star demon mark. I wasn’t surprised by any of these things, since Rowan suspected him from the very beginning once learning he had fire magic. The incubus piece also wasn’t a surprise since Rowan pointed his influence over her often even before that detail was revealed. And we learn prior to the scene, when he reveals the truth to Rowan about his past. He was locked in a jail at the age of five, then forgotten about after Mortana disappeared 200 years ago. Which is why he wants Mortana dead, since she’s responsible to some degree for the death of his entire family and kind.
  2. Rowan is a succubus with fire magic and a star demon mark. She might actually be Mortana, but her memories have been wiped. All we know for sure is that her mother looks like Mortana’s and her power was locked away by a spell at some point, which made her appear as a mortal including her blood. Again, it wasn’t completely a mystery because Rowan could figure out what Mortana would think in situations a little too easily. And she even thought at one point, she was possibly responsible for her mother’s death. Though that doesn’t explain why she has members of growing up as a mortal or why she’s missing a scar Mortana had. It’s likely they are related, but aren’t the same person.

So, both Orion and Rowan are the Lightbringer. I have a feeling it’s destined that they’re supposed to rule together. Orion even admits he can’t kill Rowan. Even though he vowed he would. The moment they are free, he is unable to go through with it. Though Rowan flees back to the mortal world in case he has a change of heart regarding that.

Overall, I would give City of Thorns a 3.5 out of 5-star rating. I enjoyed this book, and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series called Lord of Embers which comes out in January. I’m curious where the next book is going to go considering how this book left off. Things definitely took a turn within the last few chapters of the book. Not that those things were completely out of the blue. I kind of guessed at those things while reading. It was still good, but it wasn’t a total secret going into the conclusion of the book.

Love ya,

Mae Polzine

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