Flame and Crystal Thorns is a suspenseful, and entertaining YA fantasy filled with danger, intrigue, and an epic enemies-to-lovers romance! This series is a spin-off of Moody’s The Fae of Bitter Thorn series, though you don’t have to read the original books to understand this one. The story follows Chloe, a young woman perfectly happy to never return to Faerie again after the dangerous, frightening, and life-threatening events of the past, not to mention the betrayal of someone unexpected. However, Chloe learns that a group of mortals threatens her sister and the other fae, and she may be the only one who can save them. With a frustrating and annoyingly handsome fae from her past, Chloe returns to Faerie intent on saving her sister and the others and finding a cure for an unusual illness plaguing the humans in her town.
Every time Kay L. Moody comes out with a new book, I do a little happy dance. I love her writing, which immerses you so easily into the story. Moody is such a great storyteller! The worlds this author creates are vivid and unique, the characters are brilliant, and the author’s writing style really captivates me. I started reading Moody’s YA fantasies in 2020 and have been hooked ever since.
Chloe’s such a fantastic character! A skilled apothecary, Chloe always puts others’ needs before her own. She is so selfless and caring, and her love of reading and learning is very relatable. I also love that, like Moody’s other protagonists, Chloe is not without her faults, yet she owns them, faces them, and grows. She learns a lot about herself as she fights to help others, and her journey, both physical and emotional, is compelling.
“Why did she want to strangle him and kiss him all at the same time?”
And the relationship between Chloe and Quintus is AMAZING! Quintus is more mysterious than Chloe, and he isn’t as open as Chloe. His actions, on the other hand, often show exactly how he’s feeling. He and Chloe have so much chemistry, and their banter is soooo good! The way they snip and gripe and antagonize each other but are still so drawn to each other – ugh, I just love it. It’s like they don’t want to have feelings for each other, but they do. It makes for a lot of angst and tension between the two, and I’m eager to see how their slow-burning romance plays out.
The intrigue, action, excitement, and morally gray secondary characters are other elements of the story that stood out for me. This is the type of story that you lose yourself in to the point that you stay up until the early hours of the morning reading the book in its entirety and wake up the next day with no regrets. And by you, I mean me. lol I mean, I wasn’t happy the next morning when my kids got up extra early, but it was totally worth it!! And the ending!!! After that cliffhanger, I can’t wait to find out what happens next!
Everything Kay L. Moody writes is pure genius and I am so glad she returned us to this world with Chloe's story. It was like rejoining an old friend to pick back up several years after the last series, yet also a completely new experience as we got to witness Faerie through Chloe's eyes instead of her older sister's.
Chloe and Quintus were introduced in the Fae of Bitter Thorn series as side characters. They stepped into the stage in this book and took control.
Chloe, happy as an apothecary in a small town in the mortal realm, initially refuses to speak to Quintus who's come to ask for her help in rescuing Faerie. Only when she has no other option does she agree to help, reluctant as her own self-worth is very low.
I absolutely LOVE the themes of selflessness and selfishness that are so crucial to this plot. It's so subtle at first but looking back, absolutely everything the characters do or think can be broken up into that spectrum and when you get to the climax of the book, it all comes together into one decision.
I am so excited to read the rest of this series to see how Chloe and Quintus' relationship will evolve but even more, how Chloe's confidence will grow.
Oh how I loved being back in Faerie! I love Chloe and Quintus. I loved that Chloe wants to do anything to help others. This was full of unexpected twists and I loved it. I loved the chemistry between Chloe and Quintus. I loved seeing old characters from the bitter thorn series. This one kept me reading and then what an ending! Definitely made me need book 2!
Kay L Moody has a wonderful way of writing about coming of age in every novel I have read. It is special to read about someone, Chloe, who discovers their inner strength. Chloe managed to fight past her debilitating fear to not only succeed but put me in awe at how far she passed her limits and still didn’t collapse.
The world of Faerie was under attack by mortals with iron. In the human world, Chloe, who trained in healing with fae methods, was seeing the effects of iron poisoning in her village…and she was unable to find enough ingredients for her poultices. People she knew were dying with sores and necrosis. How could she be expected to listen to the fae Quintus, who was also asking her for help? That was another world away.
Every time she exited her house she was expected to act selflessly, so she was exhausted. Yet she finally relented and accompanied Quintus to faerie with her favorite (spelled) book.
“You wake up from near death, and the first thing you want to do is read?”
I think every author wants this 😂.
Chloe and Quintus were sooooo wonderful together with their snappish dialogue! I know this is YA, but every time he loomed over her and she noticed his muscles, his chest hairs, his breath, it was HAWT. Yet despite her attraction, Chloe kept fighting him. So imagine her horror when she accidentally created a bond between them? Oopsie.
The mortals that were freed in the previous series? They were not so grateful, but they offered to rescue her. But what kind of rescue requires a bribe? “We are having a party tomorrow night. You can join us if you let us rescue you.”
“Yes, a party with food and dancing.” The golden-haired mortal rubbed his belly…”
Can you tell the plot was clever?
• This is YA. I was angsty all the way to the end because, well, Quintus and Chloe had that enemies-to-lovers or forbidden romance thing going on.
• Don’t expect any hot chimales, but the climactic fight scenes and finale were worth the wait.
• Cliffhanger ending!
• Novelette length
• Single POV
• Cross-cultural kind of romance
• Total 5 star read!
Faerie is a wonderful, magic realm. Usually a place of beauty, lavish parties, and the little tricks Fae are known for, but now something is very wrong. It is like the essence of the land itself is dying. The Fae are slowly fading and none who have tried to stand against the sickness seeping through Faerie have had any success. In the human world, there is a sickness, too. One that is killing the residents in the town where Chloe lives and works as the apothecary. A Fae she met during her sister’s adventures in the Fae of Bitter Thorn series insists she is the only one who can heal Faerie, but she is very dedicated to helping the people of her town and appears to be the only healer they have access to. She knows better than to enter a bargain with a Fae but Quintus is persistent and her sister’s life is at stake. This story is a sort of spin off of the Fae of Bitter Thorn series but you could easily read this book and love it without having read that series. It does help to know the backstories a little better and you will love that series, too. I really enjoyed seeing Chloe and Quintus become fuller characters, learning more about their little quirks, their banter and interactions, Chloe’s steadfast loyalty despite crippling anxiety (she is not your typical heroic female lead), Quintus’ devotion despite the cold shoulder he gets over and over. Moody’s words bring the world to life and I thoroughly enjoyed this read for the prose alone. But oh, the cliffhanger at the end!!! I’m ready for the next book to be released!