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The Fae of Bitter Thorn #4

Queen of Bitter Thorn

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Faerie itself is on the brink of destruction.

Alone and frightened, Elora must return to Bitter Thorn to share news of Queen Alessandra’s most recent victory. But the realm is crumbling before her eyes. Frost covers surfaces it should not. Defensive enchantments are not as strong as they should be.

Everyone in Faerie is falling prey to the Fairfrost queen’s manipulation.

Though Elora’s magic sometimes works, she still has no idea how or why. At every turn, Ansel impedes their progress and feeds the fear they can’t escape. Fairfrost Palace is now heavily guarded, which makes it nearly impossible for them to face Queen Alessandra.

To restore Prince Brannick to his rightful place as High King, Elora must learn to trust herself.

It might be easier if her victories would last. It might be easier if she lived.

Queen of Bitter Thorn is the 4th and final book in The Fae of Bitter Thorn series.

360 pages, Paperback

Published September 14, 2021

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About the author

Kay L. Moody

32 books702 followers
Kay L. Moody is the YA fantasy author of COURT OF BITTER THORN and THE ELEMENTS OF THE CROWN. Her books feature rich world building, slow burn romance, mythical creatures, and twisty plots.

As a lover of strong female characters, books, and the color pink, she enjoys diving into magical worlds where characters can overcome even their darkest struggles. She lives in the western United States with her husband and four sons. Connect with Kay directly when you follow her on social media @kaylmoody

Visit her website to learn more.
www.KayLMoody.com

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5 stars
199 (42%)
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151 (32%)
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87 (18%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 111 reviews
Profile Image for ~ Tara Bezeau ~.
63 reviews24 followers
October 21, 2021
I was slightly disappointed in this final book. I feel like the first 75 percent of the book was slightly boring and dragged on but the last 100 pages made me not want to put the book down. I wish she had Brannick out of jail for a lot more of the book then what she did. I bet I would have liked it better if she’d done that. Also I hated how repetitive the first half of the book was just re going over everything she had to do and placing her hand always on the hilt of her sword. I got real bored of that phrase fast.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Julie - One Book More.
901 reviews154 followers
September 13, 2021
Queen of Bitter Thorn is the fourth and final book in The Fae of Bitter Thorn series, and it is an action-packed, fantastical adventure. The world-building is amazing and immersive, and I love how vividly described everything is. The characters are also well-developed, especially Elora. She has come so far from the start of the series, and she learns so much about herself and her powers. She is more self-assured, and she proves intelligent, strong, and fierce throughout the book. I like how she slowly becomes a leader and relentlessly fights for the people and places she loves.

The romance is fantastic! I love how far Elora and Brannick have come, both as individuals and as a couple. There is nothing that this pair wouldn’t do for each other, and they prove it over and over again throughout the story. They both also have a deep love of Faerie, and they are as relentless to protect it as Alessandra and the other antagonists are to control it.

There’s so much action in the book! It is the ultimate battle of good vs. evil, and the nail-biting fight scenes are fantastic. There is never a dull moment in the story, from Brannick’s capture and Elora’s desperate struggle to rescue him to Elora and Brannick’s fight to save the kingdom from ruthless villains. Every moment is filled with tension and leads to an epic climax.

Overall, this is a great end to The Fae of Bitter Thorn series! It’s exciting and gripping, and I love the characters, the plot, and the setting. The world is so unique and immersive, and I was thrilled to learn this week that Moody has a spin-off series coming that takes place in the same world as this one. There are so many interesting characters, places, and situations that I’d love to learn more about, and I’m eager to see where the author takes us next! I’m so thankful to Kay L. Moody for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Mari_the_bookworm.
50 reviews17 followers
September 12, 2021
3.5 stars

Whew, where to start?

I have to say, my expectations for this book were super high. Book one hadn't made me fall in love, but it had hooked me onto Elora's world and I downloaded my ARC of book 2 thinking I'd like it—and I loved it. I read books 2 and 3 in a matter of 2 days and I anticipated book 4 with a lot of excitement... But this book just fell short of my expectations. Maybe they were too high? I don't know. I'm going to try and make a list of all the things I loved about it and all those I disliked to convey my feelings about this book.

What I loved
- The final showdown, finally!
- The Crown ended up in the hands I expected and I wanted that to happen so I'm happy
- Vesper FINALLY goes back home!!
- Happy Ever After for most characters
- Fae world was vivid and descriptions were great
- Some good quotes and swoony scenes

What I disliked
- Some romantic scenes were too close to steamy for comfort. Maybe it's just me, but some of them left me uncomfortable after and it felt like a turn-around after the first three installments being squeaky-clean...
- I was happy with the conclusion of the book, but I saw it coming since book 4, which admittedly removed a lot of the thrill.
- This point is entirely personal, but I just couldn't get sucked into the story here
- Some battle scenes had surprisingly gruesome descriptions or words used that generated gorish images that I didn't expect and kinda disturbed me

As you can see, I think the reason the book didn't click with me was that it just wasn't meant for a reader like me. I'm still very much looking forward to the next installment though (surprise surprise!)

Overall, because of the aforementioned elements, I'd push my recommended age range up to 17+ (being conservative)

I want to thank Kay L. Moody and Marten Press for the ARC copy they provided me with. All the opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Profile Image for chelsea.
354 reviews139 followers
September 13, 2021
i absolutely loved the queen of bitter thorn. i'm a little disappointed that it's the end of the series, but it was a good ending.

as per usual, i loved all the characters (the sisters were still annoying, but less so in this book). something i noticed in the other books but never really pointed out: i felt the cast was too big. there were too many people, making it hard to keep track of what was going on.

the plot was fast paced and engaging. the lead up to the "big plot point" at the end was well developed, and very well throughout. it was entertaining.

for a series finale, i felt that everything was rounded off nicely. it made me feel satisfied with the ending. the only thing i wish i could change is there being more development with the relationship between brannick and elora. otherwise, it was a fantastic book, and i'm going to miss all my favourite characters.
Profile Image for ♡ Laura ♡.
36 reviews2 followers
December 5, 2021
Honestly this series feels like it wasn't even edited at all which was super disappointing. All the errors were incredibly distracting and I put off finishing this book for quite a while BUT despite that it was a very cute series 😌
Profile Image for Rose Williams.
149 reviews3 followers
October 11, 2021
DNF- 64%

Let me start by saying that I read the first 3 of these books in 2 days. Absolutely sucked me in and I would read until my eyes couldn’t stay open anymore. I read them so quickly, I didn’t take the time to properly review them, which I’m gonna go back and do after this one.

I think that I kept pushing forward and hoping for something a little different, but I lost my motivation a little over a quarter through.

Each book seemed to just be doom and gloom and doom and gloom and doom and gloom and doom and gloom.

The romance felt forced, and yet… not there at all? I didn’t feel any tenderness or build up or anything. I didn’t read any scenes that gave me giggles or butterflies. I felt a little cheated about it, to be honest.

Because each book was just failure after failure, I really needed a good romance to keep me going.

I think that this series would have been better as a trilogy. I got so tired of reading the same story and didn’t have passion for the characters or the story anymore.

Profile Image for Amelia (booksandtheblacktea).
102 reviews33 followers
September 18, 2021
OMG I LOVE IT! 🥰

THIS IS THE FINALE OF BITTER THORN SERIES! After the last battle with High Queen Alessandra, Elora was being separated with Brannick (who was captured again by Alessandra) and her sisters and friends. She has to go through various obstacles to find them, and even after she was able to reunited with them, there were even more challenge to face! Not only she fought her way to share information with Brannick while helping him escape Alessandra’s dungeon, all in very tight and dangerous situations, but she also needs to help her sisters, her friends, and all the other fairies to overcome the severe despair feelings caused by Alessandra’s magic 🤯 And one more thing… Ansel the cruel fairy was planning something bad by using the ancient power of “creation magic” 😱 With the help of Alessandra’s brother Severin and his beloved Tindra, who didn’t stop perfecting their invention to dispel Alessandra’s despair magic, Elora and the others will face the unavoidable final battle to beat the evil High Queen and bring peace to fairy forever!

From all four books in this series, this was the one where I can feel the cute romance between Elora and Brannick the most, I’m so happy everytime their scenes appeared 🥰

Many of us LOVE nice character developments, and this book totally has them! I really enjoyed seeing the growth of everyone including Elora’s sisters and Quintus 😄

I’m really satisfied with the ending of this series! I’m looking forward to read Kay’s future series ✨
Profile Image for Katie Cherry.
Author 27 books337 followers
September 28, 2021
As always, Kay has blown me away with her writing! Everything has built perfectly to this moment. To Elora learning not only about dealing with the power of emotions and her magic, but how despite not being born to a great destiny, she can be great anyway. The love between her and Brannick is more evident than ever in this last book, and I'm again very impressed with our two villains, Ansel and High Queen Allessandra. They are truly terrifying in their own ways, and we can feel Elora's feelings throughout the book with absolute clarity. Crazy how a fantasy book can be so realistic, right?

My only complaint is that I feel we could- and should- have had a little more to the ending after the climax. Even just one more chapter. It wrapped up really fast, so wasn't quite as satisfying of an ending to a 4-book series we've been dedicated to for so long now. It was a great ending, of course, I just wish there was more!

Absolutely fantastic as always. I know endings are bittersweet, especially in such a great, fun series, but don't put this one off! Every bit of it is supremely satisfying. You don't want to miss out!
Profile Image for Devika.
359 reviews12 followers
September 15, 2021
Queen of Bitter Thorn is the fourth and final part in the Fae of Bitter Thorn series and the sequel of Crown of Bitter Thorn. What will Kay L Moody have in store for the reader in this fourth and final part?

With Brannick imprisoned by the High Queen, Elora will do anything to stop Alessandra. Meanwhile, she must learn her own magic and stay out of Ansel’s hands. Elora and her friends try to free Brannick, but will they get past the strict guards of Fairfrost Castle? Can Elora control her own magic and stop Alessandra?

Find out in my full review on my blog Boekensteeg
Profile Image for Aizlynne.
715 reviews5 followers
January 1, 2022
Great finish to this story. Epic final battle. I love Brannick's character growth throughout the series. Just overall a very entertaining story.
Profile Image for Demi.
197 reviews24 followers
December 18, 2021
I received a copy of this book from Kay L Moody as an ARC. This is my honest review.

What an ending!
This book was full of action and adventure. We got to watch Elora learn her powers, and with all her ability try to save Prince Brannick from High Queen Alessandra, and try to save Faerie itself.
These characters have really grown into themselves. They continue to grow and do better with each battle they encounter, and every obstacle they face. I went from not really liking Elora in the beginning, to loving her.
This series is definitely a must read. I cannot stress this enough!
Kay L Moody has yet to write a series I don’t love. I’m excited to see what she does next!
Profile Image for Lianne Vickers.
2 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2021
Disappointing

This is the story that would not end. It droned on and on. Very anticlimactic. The story should have been wrapped up with book 3.
606 reviews20 followers
September 3, 2021
Goodness gracious glorious me! What a fitting conclusion to a wonderful series! I was spellbound from the very 1st book and continued to be enchanted with each new book! So cool how Elora comes into her own, how she finally manages to understand her magic. It is emotional, at times tense as she tries to keep the despair from taking hold. Every time Elora got thwarted by Ansel, I was like, NOOOOOOO! My heart was pounding! That's how immersed I was! It is a tale of love and diversity, of preconceived notions and how Elora comes to dispel these notions. Faerie will never be the same again, emotions will not be feared and love will not be diminished. I loved the characters, I loved the plot and the different worlds are so magically beautiful, I have a hard time deciding which is my favourite Court! All I do know is that I loved being a part of this adventure! I felt a bit like Tansy, observing every event, feeling every single action and rejoicing in the outcome! Wonderful series!
Profile Image for Sara Lawson.
474 reviews45 followers
August 31, 2021
Wow! What a satisfying, action-packed finale to the Bitter Thorn series this was. As always, Kay Moody leaves hints and clues and still manages to throw in a number of surprising twists. And as always, it was a fantastic story.

Elora is on her own, her allies have been captured, and she is unable to use her magic. All the plans Brannick had made to overthrow High Queen Alessandra have failed and she has filled the land with despair. But hope is not entirely lost. There are some who still resist, who still choose to fight regardless of the dire circumstances. And Elora has a plan to rescue Brannick...again.

I'm sad that the series has wrapped up, but am excited to see that there is a spinoff series already in the works.

I received a free ARC from the author and have reviewed it willingly.
Profile Image for Kelsey Rhodes.
465 reviews4 followers
January 29, 2023
4.5/5 stars! What a conclusion! I love this series and have been drawn to Brannick and Elora from the beginning of book one. Watching Elora have to face her own self-doubts was painful but necessary. I appreciated the growth and maturity in this book. I've been waiting for a little spice for 3 books and am so glad we got some here. I also felt the character development across the board was really strong in this finale. I really enjoyed it and am just sad there isn't more Elora and Brannick in my future.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for Marie  Reed.
Author 2 books65 followers
August 31, 2021
I'm sure everyone saw the ending of Elora's story coming, even before this title was released. But the journey! This book gave me every feeling and about halfway though I had to stop just to process a single line.

"So you were not born for greatness. Who cares? Be great anyway."

I am also so happy to see a new series continuing in this world, even if some of my favorite characters may not be involved. I'm not ready to say goodbye to Elora yet.
Profile Image for Brenda.
134 reviews2 followers
September 18, 2021
" Be great anyway." The perfect analogy for this final book of the series. Fast-paced action, magic and adventure with a bit of romance make this a bitter sweet ending to this series. Sad to see it end.

I look forward to reading more from this author as I thoroughly enjoy her writing style.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for Katie Buckingham.
385 reviews
February 5, 2022
Great 4th installment

I've been waiting ages to find out how Elora would save fairy and stop the decay. This story is very clean and YA. It moves quickly thruout and ties up all the problems in a neat happy bow at the end. Lots of magic, love and emotion in this story. You will enjoy the action and fast pace. Lots of the same characters that you have come to know in the previous books in the series.
Profile Image for Chelsi Dawn.
389 reviews4 followers
August 24, 2021
This had to be the most perfect ending to a book I have ever read! Queen Elora!!! And finally Brannick got the place in his life he needed to have! And elora’s sisters! Oh man this was just such a journey and I’m sad it’s over but I have loved every second of it!
184 reviews2 followers
September 29, 2021
When I have time to process my emotions I'll come expand, but suffice it to say this is a series you NEED to read. Moody is a genius and I love the world she created here.

*deep breath* Okay. It's been a few days so I can now think straight about it. Let me start by saying that Brannick and Elora are one of my favorite literary couples ever. The unspoken trust they have in each other and the love that binds them even when they were apart is so beautiful. They have both come so far from where they were in the first book - a prince who refused to feel anything and was focused on a singular goal and a girl who just wanted to be allowed to compete in sword competitions. Brannick is truly worthy of what he achieves. Elora's ending couldn't have been anything else. I loved it.

And that's to say nothing of the side characters - Kaia, Blaz, Lyren, Quintus, Vesper, Chloe, Grace, Severin and Tindra, Fifer. They each have their flaws and issues to overcome as well. I tried to think of who would be my favorite and I don't think I could choose. I have a soft spot for Lyren though and I LOVE her character arc in this book in particular.

Alright, I think that's enough of my ramblings. This series will be reread many times and I will recommend it until my voice is hoarse. Thank you, Kay L. Moody, for sharing this world with us.
103 reviews
June 24, 2022
I don't know... I was bored while listening.

It felt like a lot of plot points were unnecessary, wrapped up far too easily, or contrived.

Honestly, I was a bit over this series by the third book, but I gave it a chance. It was an overall fine conclusion for the characters.
1,604 reviews1 follower
September 10, 2021
Last in this series - quite good but too much repetition.

This novel completes the "Fae of Bitter Thorn " series, admittedly aimed at a YA readership so any criticism that I may have is because i read it as an adult. It tells of Elora's final conflict with High Queen Alessandra and Ansel. There are a lot of supporting cast to help her out, although there are many setbacks along the way. As one would expect with a final volume, there's happy endings all round and resolution for most of the characters which are well-developed. The plot moves along well and generally the novel works well. However there's a lot of repetition: much huffing, tears in eyes, tightening of jaws, evidence of despair etc.. - which is a bit tedious in the end. The YA readership will no doubt find this more worthy than me and it's a fitting end to the series. I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jessica Williams.
127 reviews9 followers
September 14, 2021
Wow what an intense ride ….. I don’t think I’ve ever wanted someone to get stabbed more than the villains in this story. There were quite a few pages that had me holding my breath. I love Elora and her growth through the pages has been so good. The ending, well I have to say it was fulfilling in every way. The author wrapped everything up so well and in such a way that I couldn’t hope for anything more. This is magical and fantastic and will give you all the feels.
Profile Image for Michelle.
213 reviews42 followers
November 1, 2021
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I'm a binge reader, and I read the first 3 books a few months ago. I was worried that I would have some difficulty getting into this one; at the same time I wanted to know how the story ended. Turns out I didn't have to worry after all. Once I started reading, all the details kept coming to me, and before I knew it I was sucked in completely.

I liked the character development that happened over time, and I was happy with how far Elora had come. She finally found out about her magic and her rightful place in Faerie. I also liked the way she worked through her trauma, and even though she was still affected by it, she didn't let it become an obstacle in her mission.

I loved Brannick even more in this book, especially when he admits that he wants to keep Elora safe, at the same time he does not want to smother her with his over protectiveness. The supporting characters were amazing, and did a great job in helping the story move forward. I had so much hate for the villains that I had the urge to murder them myself, so you can imagine how great the writing was to make me feel this way.

I did feel that the story dipped a little mid way, but it quickly picked up. The romance was limited but still great. The magical aspects were well explained and the book did not only rely on physical strength but also clever strategies that kept things interesting.

The final battle scene was fleshed out and action packed. I loved every bit of it, but what came after that was even more amazing. I'm definitely going to read more books by the author. I recommend it to all fantasy romance lovers who enjoy fast-paced books with adventure.
Profile Image for Polly.
39 reviews9 followers
December 31, 2021
I want to give this 5 stars.

I want to give this whole series in general 5 stars (much much more on all the things I LOVED about the series to follow).

But first I have to just point out that I have never in my life seen a series with such a sheer quantity of editing mistakes. Each book held more mistakes than the last. By book 4, they were countless. Which is a complete shame because Moody's ability to tell a story, paint a picture, completely engross you, and give you characters that you truly grow to adore deserves so much more than an editor that would do her SO DIRTY like that. So I have to give it 4 stars.

Now that that's out of the way, let's talk more.

And this might be more of a series review than a review for strictly this book.

This series is captivating, addicting, and downright awesome.

Yeah, sure, it's definitely one of those fae stories. Mortal girl with two sisters (it's always two sisters, isn't it?) come from some kind of broken mortal life. Fae heart-throb happens to be in the mortal world. Heart throb whisks MC mortal away to his magical Fae land with many courts.

But let me tell you. When you're reading this, you do not give one single eff about the main-stream-ness of all of that. Because you just want to know what happens next. You just want to read more. You'll wake up at 4am and read a few chapters just to know. You want to jump in the books and walk amongst the characters and learn more about them.

And, before you know it, you've finished all four books in a week.

Now, that's what I'm talking about. Eff. Yes.

I haven't felt like this about a series in quite some time. And I loved every second of the obsession.

Even with the typical "fae plot" in full swing, this story still manages to stand out and pave its own path. It has its own flair, vibe, and uniqueness. It has its own blood. Thank eff, am I right?

The pacing is perfect. I never felt like the story lagged, nor did I feel like a moment was rushed. It moved exactly as I thought it needed to. And, thats a big thing I look for when I am deciding if and how much I like a book.

The story telling was completely fluid. The writing style was great. More things that are super important to me.

The band of found family was perfect. I liked how each had different strengths and powers and personalities that each contributed to both the story and the group as a whole. There weren't really any members of the group that I strongly disliked. They each took turns being imperfect/getting on my nerves, and what not. But then they would quickly redeem themselves. In the end, I pretty much liked all of them. Which, in a way, having their flaws and temporary annoying habits made them more real and believable as well.

One thing I really really...REALLY hate in books is annoying siblings who constantly get in the way. Literally, in about 95% of books that I've read where the main character has siblings, those siblings are annoying AF. And, yes, Chloe and Grace were probably my least favorite characters in the book...who certainly at times WERE annoying and in the way. But I've seen worse. And I even found that they, too, redeemed themselves often. So they get a solid pass from me.

I liked the courts. I liked the character of each land and settings they all had and how they differed from each other.

I also liked the "faerie rules". A lot of them are well known (fae can't lie, etc) but I thought there were a few that stood out and made the experience different.

I liked the incorporation of the trophies and trinkets and how they held meaning.

I liked the slow burn romance and the speed of it.

And, most of all, I LOVED all the different kinds of fae - especially the brownies and the sprites. Extra emphasis on the brownies. Loved em.

Anyway, it's 1am and I haven't stayed up this late in months so I'm hoping when I wake up this will all be coherent. But in conclusion, I just really loved this series. I was hooked and will recommend it to everyone.
Profile Image for Morgan.
54 reviews21 followers
January 7, 2022
Thanks to BookSirens, I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

I had a pretty good idea where this was going to go when I finished the previous book in the series. That's not a slight against the book at all as this book, and the ones before it, are written very well. I just have this uncanny knack for sniffing out what's going to happen next - I do it with any sort of show, film, or book I read... Much to the annoyance of many of my friends. That being said, I was still quite pleased to see that things in this book were still fresh and surprising. Things don't always work to plan, so you have to plan again... and again.

Elora, as always, is stubborn and headstrong but for good reasons. She wants to protect the people she cares about, she wants to save the man she loves, she wants to right so many wrongs... It's still a lot for one person to do. Thankfully, Elora isn't so dumb that she'd try to do something on her own when she most certainly needs help to do it. She realises that she cannot do everything on her own and that, for me, marks a very good and strongly written character. While Elora does a great deal, putting herself at risk every time she does so, she doesn't get to do everything or help everyone. She does, however, provide the morale for those she cares about to help themselves. She is a catalyst rather than the acting hand, which I do quite like.

Elora isn't presented with just one problem, but a myriad of them, and she struggles to find ways to help everyone she so desperately wishes to save. But in all the time that she's spent in Faerie, she's made lots of friends who are willing to trust and work with her, and it's this close-knit group that really is the core of the tale. They all have their own hardships, but together they present a much stronger front than the one that Elora would have made on her own.

In the end, everything went as I had expected it to, though there were a few small questions that got lost in the sweeping clean up of the end of the story. Things that might get answered in the spin-off series, but it was something that should have probably been addressed in this book, since it was a thing that HAPPENED in this book - Ansel's mortals. I'm talking about Ansel's mortals... which... well isn't much of a spoiler at all.

A lot happened in this book, but I think that the action was broken up pretty well, and Elora didn't have to do EVERYTHING in order for the story to progress. She did only as much as was needed for her to do, nothing more than that. Many characters made great sacrifices, but nothing felt too forced or contrived. Everything felt fairly natural a decision for those characters.

Overall, I feel that this book, as well as the whole series, is quite enjoyable and worth a read. The characters grow and mature and develop as the story progresses, and that's really one of the most important things for me in any series.

If you're looking for a good adventure, with fantastic character growth, and is a fun and interesting romp through Faerie, I highly recommend this series.
Profile Image for Natalie Gasper.
41 reviews
October 11, 2021
This final chapter of Elora and Brannick's story held me from the first page. I ended up reading most of it in one sitting. Faster-paced than the last book, there are twists and turns at every point. Because of the genre, you know Elora and Brannick will win in the end, but there were times I started to doubt it was possible.

I liked that this book featured a more independent Elora. Much of the book is about her journey, whether it's trying to free an imprisoned Brannick, figure out her unpredictable magic, or stopping High Queen Alessandra from completely taking over Faerie.

Elora has turned into a strong and fierce heroine. I particularly liked that the author covers PTSD/living with trauma. The way Elora remembers and is sometimes almost controlled by her fear of what Ansel did to her is delightfully haunting, but watching her overcome it is such a fulfilling moment.

There were a few unexpected twists or surprises that I didn't see coming and yet completely enjoyed (like Brannick's connection to the creation magic). I also liked that there were some original uses of magic (like how Brannick can create tiny portals just for talking/eavesdropping).

One of the things that did bother me (not just in this book but sort of throughout the series as a whole) is that Queen Alessandra is very two-dimensional. We did learn a little bit about why she is the way she is at the very end, but at the point, it was too little too late. I would have liked to see this information come to light earlier to create a little sympathy for her. I love hating a good villain, but it's less fun if they appear evil just for the sake of it (like Queen Alessandra does until almost the very end).

There were also a couple of loose ends (like what happened with Ansel's mortals?) that weren't cleared up/answered to my satisfaction, but nothing that affected the overall experience of this series or book.

If you're a fan of romance, this book does have a little, though it's very PG (mostly some stolen kisses, a few of which get briefly passionate, but otherwise just longing and desire). What played a more important role, in a way, was the love between family (like with Vesper, Grace, Chloe, and Elora) and friends (there's a fun twist with this involving Lyren but I don't want to spoil anything).

Also, super grateful for the epilogue. Just enough closure to feel good about the time I've committed to this series but not so much info that further books couldn't happen (I'm sensing a possible Chloe and Quintus book or series).

Overall, I'd definitely recommend this series. I think readers of fantasy, fantasy/romance, or anyone who likes fae/Faerie stories will really enjoy this author.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Profile Image for Sam Everard.
227 reviews11 followers
September 13, 2021
"So you were not born for greatness. Who cares? Be great anyway."

The conclusion to the Fae of Bitter Thorn series was absolutely everything I'd hoped it would be. While there weren't any surprises along the way, the journey Elora took to claim her place in Faerie was a lovely story of awakening, inner-strength, persevering and finding one's true home.

"Fear could stab her and shock her, but she wouldn't allow it to keep her down."

Queen of Bitter Thorn - snuggled deep in the YA fantasy genre - doesn't serve up any steam. What it does well is the dance of attraction between Elora and Brannick, and their tentative hope for a future together beyond the struggle of their fight against the High Queen. There is sweetness, there is comfort, there is the strength found in family and partner alike as they battle to reclaim Faerie from the decay threatening its hold.

There were several moments that had me particularly on edge, eager to see how a character would traipse out of danger's hold. And the final showdown was spectacular... Considering we've been building toward that particular fight for so long, its execution had the right level of action, suspense and complication that kept me glued in anxious worry.

"It is amazing what I can accomplish when I refuse to accept defeat."

I have loved every book in this series. I've reread the first couple several times, and I can say with certainty that I'll be revisiting the world of Bitter Thorn yearly for the satisfying tale it serves.

For new readers, this is no standalone - the series must be read in order. My personal recommendation would be to read book one, then the prequel, and then continue on to the rest of the series. The surprise that unfolds in the prequel is that much more delicious if you've read through book one first.

Thank you so much to Kay L. Moody and Marten Press for the advanced readers' copy. My review has been left voluntarily, and I'd highly recommend this series as a whole.
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September 6, 2021
The worst thing we fear is fear itself.
“Yellow eyes.
A knife at the neck.
Chains that held her still.”

Memories like that can freeze a person into inaction. Fear can make people act in illogical ways, and the entire Faerie realm is infected by fear and depression that the High Queen created. Illogical, yes? Why would the Queen destroy her own subjects and realm with strong emotions?

The world-building is amazing. The fae are vulnerable to emotions, since they opened portals ages ago to our human realm just to access emotions. Elora, her sisters, and her friends battle throughout the book against depression and fear. Having at one time dealt with years of anxiety attacks and depression, I know for a fact that it can destroy one’s life. In this case, the emotions manifest as snow, as demirogs (briar bats?). The lack of emotions, though, takes its own toll: decay.

Sometimes during the story the characters described their plans too much before the action, but the plot is tight. There is a buildup of anxiety, fear, and yes, love until the final battle scene. If you are like me, you will feel the emotional drain afterwards as you let go of all that tension.

The character I really related to was Chloe. As a human, and a younger sister, she was remarkably resilient, graceful, and positive. Elora and Brannick might control the plot, but Chloe seems to control every moment of epiphany. I almost want to see her own epilogue.

One last thing: Brannick is the ultimate dream machine. While the romance was limited to kisses and touching and musing, his philosophy is: if you love them, let them go. If they love you back, they will return:
“But is it really support if I make you feel like you cannot do anything without me?” Contrast that with the Queen and the other evil lynchpin, Ansel, who force everyone? My flag waves for Brannick.
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