“Flame and Crystal Thorn reminds me of Margaret Rogerson, among other modern fae fairytales.”
Review by Erin Phillips
She vowed she’d never return to Faerie…
But vows were made to be broken.
As a human girl, Chloe is perfectly happy being back in the mortal realm where she belongs. She’s even become the town apothecary. When a fae from her past shows up begging her to return to Faerie, she utterly refuses.
But then she finds out an angry group of mortals are using iron to hold an entire castle full of fae hostage. And of course, the hostages include Chloe’s older sister and her sister’s beloved.
Reluctantly, Chloe packs a bag for what is supposed to be a short trip to Faerie.
But the mortals are more powerful than she expected. To fuel them, they have weapons, flames, and revenge. They won’t stop until they control every court in Faerie.
With the help of a new and mysterious magic and a too-handsome-for-his-own-good fae companion, Chloe has to save Faerie before her sister and the other fae are killed.
I received this book from the author for free. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.
Right off the bat, Flame and Crystal Thorn reminds me of Margaret Rogerson, among other modern fae fairytales. There is a distinct air of magic and whimsy as well as plenty of mystery and intrigue. Chloe is very much a damsel in distress, never quite finding her courage but learning to at least confront the fears in front of her. I was curious as to why Quintus insists she is the only one who can save Faerie in the beginning, but her character really starts to take form once she discovers her magic. Quintus, on the other hand, is your classic heart-throb fae. He was very quirky, charming, and intriguing, and I felt like we were constantly learning new things about him. Plus, he has Mary Poppins pockets. Chloe and Quintus relationship is definitely complicated and very back and forth between fighting and flirting. The pacing is an odd mix of frantic and slow, an adventure that takes its time but is still filled with plenty of action. While the strange sickness at the start of the story is intriguing, I was instantly itching to get to Faerie, where I was certain all the answers would be provided. There are a lot of surprises in the story and little twists, without ever feeling too suspenseful or like all hope is lost. The writing style is very easy to read, and all of the information is freely given, so readers don’t have to put pieces together alone. While it is for the most part accessible for younger teens, there are few instances of more graphic violence than some young adults may prefer. It also contains a story of kidnapping (and possibly sexual assault, although it was unclear) that may be disturbing for younger readers. At the heart of Flame and Crystal Thorns is a message of putting oneself first. You can’t take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. While true, it also seems to shun selflessness and sacrifice as foolhardy, which are admirable traits, even if held to a fault. Instead, I offer that Chloe’s lack of wisdom, not her selflessness, is her true weakness within these pages. I give Flame and Crystal Thorn 3.5 stars, perfect if you are looking for another fae epic with a dash of former lovers to enemies to lovers and plenty of magic.
Action & Gore:
6. Strong action & gore (most action sequences describe blood loss and the injury to a clear picture, albeit brief or infrequent).
Romance & Spice:
2. Mild content (holding hands and mild kissing)
Cursing & Vulgarity:
1. Infrequent substitute cursing (less than 10 "craps" etc. and/or book-specific curse words).
Other Trigger Warnings:
While it is for the most part accessible for younger teens, there are few instances of more graphic violence than some young adults may prefer. It also contains a story of kidnapping (and possibly sexual assault, although it was unclear) that may be disturbing for younger readers.
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