ARC Review: Castle of Bitter Thorn by Kay L. Moody

About the Book:

Title: Castle of Bitter Thorn

Author: Kay L. Moody

Series: The Fae of Bitter Thorn – Book 2

Page Length: 350

Publication Date: Jan. 19, 2021

Publisher: Marten Press

Synopsis: Faerie bargains are not easily broken.

Elora has decided to stay in Faerie to help Prince Brannick become High King. With the element of surprise on their side, they only have to hide their sword training lessons until the last phase of testing.

But Brannick is ruled by a bargain that could ruin everything. Queen Alessandra is beginning to remember her history with the prince. With one word, she could force him to lose the testing and give up his freedom forever.

With a growing reputation, Elora’s anonymity in Faerie is shrinking fast. Her sisters are safe in the mortal realm, but she is desperate to help Brannick win the throne.

If he doesn’t, any number of fae could capture Elora. Or even worse… her sisters.

LINKS:     Goodreads    |      Amazon     

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My Review:

Castle of Bitter Thorn is an entertaining sequel to Court of Bitter Thorn. It picks up where the first book left off and follows Elora as she tries to help Brannick win the crown and break the curse that binds him.

Elora is a great protagonist. Richly layered and dynamic, Elora is a series of contradictions. She is brave yet vulnerable, confident and unsure, grief-stricken yet hopeful. I love how richly developed her character is and that she shows such a wide variety of emotions.

Elora, who has longed for adventure, finally begins to understand the nature of her wanderlust, which is fascinating. This was a surprising and unanticipated revelation that connects Elora to other characters in the Faerie world. These experiences and connections are new and unexpected, and her myriad of emotions reflects her struggle as she learns to navigate the complex world of the Faerie.

On top of dealing with that, Elora desperately misses and wants to protect her sisters. She also mourns the loss of her beloved parents. The grief is overwhelming at times, and Elora struggles to manage her feelings while also traversing the Faerie world.

Brannick also continues to intrigue me. He is aloof and mysterious, a man with a solitary disposition that struggles to trust. Who can blame him? Bound to a manipulative and cruel, power-hungry woman, Brannick has no control over his life. This book really highlights just how much power the Queen has over Brannick, and it’s heart-breaking. It definitely explains his attitude and outlook on life more, as well as his grim determination to gain the throne. I love his dark and brooding persona and am hopeful that we’ll see more glimpses of Brannick with his guard down in future books.

I’m interested in learning more about some of the other elusive and mysterious characters as well and am hopeful that we’ll find out more about them too. Sprites, mermaids, dryads, and other fairies all have fascinating stories, and the sub-plots involving these characters are as intriguing as the main plot. What I like is that you never know who is truly good and who has untrustworthy motives. There are so many shades of grey in this world, and I can’t wait to learn who really has Brannick and Elora’s best interests at heart.

The romance definitely picks up in this story, especially in comparison to the first book. Elora and Brannick resist their feelings for a variety of reasons, but it proves impossible. Because of the curse, Elora and Brannick cannot touch, and this lack of physical connection builds the romantic tension immensely. I enjoyed their forbidden love story and am hoping that they can find a way to be together, even though the curse on Brannick prohibits it.

Another aspect of Moody’s stories that I always enjoy is the abundance of unexpected twists and turns. Though the story contains many traditional literary tropes like forbidden romance, completing three challenging tasks, and found families, there are many new and intriguing elements to keep you guessing. Political intrigue, nefarious characters, and dangerous plots make for a fun and suspenseful read. Plus, that shocking cliffhanger ending left me stunned!!!

Overall, I thought it was an entertaining read and a great addition to the series. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Thanks so much to the author and Marten Press for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

Elora. she is a well-developed and interesting protagonist, and I enjoyed her emotional journey.

The ending!! Holy shocking, Batman!!

The romance. It’s slow, it’s sweet, and I so need more!

Favorite Lines:

Just because you have the ability to lie does not mean you should use it.

When you want something new, sometimes it’s easy to forget what you already have.


If you haven’t read the first book in the series, I would recommend starting with that. This is not a standalone.

Want to learn more about the series? Check out my reviews below!

11 thoughts on “ARC Review: Castle of Bitter Thorn by Kay L. Moody

  1. Well, that’s another beautiful looking fae book added to my tbr!

    Thank you for the review, I love a good fantasy series! 🙂

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