Six Crimson Cranes
Tiktok made me buy it!
by Elizabeth Lim
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Pub Date 8 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 8 Jul 2021
A princess in exile. Six enchanted cranes. An unspeakable curse.
A beautiful and immersive YA fantasy retelling of the Grimm brothers' The Six Swans fairytale, set in an East-Asian inspired world, by the author of Spin the Dawn.
'A dazzling fairy tale full of breathtaking storytelling' Stephanie Garber, Sunday Times bestselling author of Caraval
Shiori'anma, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs in her veins. And on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and uncovers a dark conspiracy to seize the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in a paper bird, a mercurial dragon, and the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she's been taught all her life to contain - no matter what it costs.
Praise for Six Crimson Cranes
'An unputdownable, sweeping fairytale that thrills as much as it delights' Kerri Maniscalco, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Kingdom of the Wicked
'This book is magic!' Kristin Cashore, New York Times bestselling author of Graceling
'A stunning remake of a fairytale' Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
'This is a gem for all lovers of whimsical fantasy!' Natasha Ngan, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Paper and Fire
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 271 members
I really enjoyed this book, I’ve been meaning to read Six Crimson Cranes for a while and I’m glad I finally got round to it!
Shiori is a spoilt, rather immature and impulsive princess who, alongside her 6 brothers, is cursed by her Stepmother Raikama. Her brothers are turned into 6 cranes and she has a walnut bowl fixed to her head hiding her identity and is banished, if she speaks one word, one brother will die. What follows next is Shiori’s journey to finding her brothers and breaking her Stepmothers’s curse.
What I particularly enjoyed about this book was the character development. Shiori is frustrating at the start of this book, she is impulsive and gets in trouble and doesn’t really think about the consequences on her or others. Throughout the book though she is humbled, she is no longer treated like a princess, in fact she is called a demon by many people who worry what the bowl is hiding in her eyes. She must work, hard manual labour, she has no privilege, no admirers lost in her looks and status, she is just ‘Lina’ and you see her grow into an inspiring, brave woman on the page.
I also loved how the romance was handled, it’s a slow burner and it’s incredibly charming. A lot of romance puts me off in YA because it’s more lust than anything and it becomes the no.1 priority in the story. In this, Shiori meets Takkan, he can only see half her face and she doesn’t focus on his looks either. It’s refreshing to see a book not so focused on looks, Takkan’s kindness is written as his sexiest quality, he doesn’t brood or smirk (rare qualities in YA), he writes stories and sings and wishes for love. It’s a respectful, sweet take when I’m pretty bored of the usual instant gratification and I really enjoyed their moments together, and while Shiori clearly cares for him, the plot doesn’t change to become their romance.
In fact family is an equal, if not greater, love story in this book. Shiori’s love for her brothers, and their love for her, as well as a complex relationship with Raikamaa, make this book multi layered. And even though technically Shiori can’t speak, she speaks through her paper bird Kiki who I love with all my heart.
I enjoyed the world building, the pacing is pretty good in that this isn’t a big book but a lot happens, and I’m assuming there is a sequel in the works?
A few minor things, I didn’t really understand how the bowl worked. The bowl covers Shiori’s eyes but through magic she can see through it. But in a world where magic is considered rare, people don’t seem surprised that she can see. Also I could never picture the bowl curse in my head and how it fit, for example there are times when she’s instructed to cover it with a scarf to not draw attention but it’d literally covering her eyes ...
Also the dragon addition. I got the sense that this is setting up for another book but Seryu just didn’t add anything to the book or the plot really but took up quite a bit of pages. Raikama was, for me, the most interesting character and I would have loved more of her. That’s minor criticism though, like I said, I get dragons will play a bigger role in the next instalment and it’s better to have them introduced here.
Thank you NetGalley for the copy to review, I really enjoyed the adventure
Even before reading Elizabeth Lim's previous duology, The blood of stars, I was immediately intrigued by her new release, Six crimson cranes.
The covers are something wonderful, I'm talking about both versions, but I'm not here to review the covers.
Shiori'anma has a secret, forbidden magic flows through her. It's something she's always managed to keep hidden, until the day of her engagement ceremony, Shiori loses control of her power.
This mistake of hers will cost her dearly, so much so that her stepmother, a sorceress in her own right, banishes the young princess and turns her brothers into cranes.
On top of that though, the stepmother forced Shiori not to talk to anyone about what happened, otherwise one of her brothers will die.
Well, from here it is very clear that, Six crimson cranes is a retelling based on the famous fairytale of The six swans by the Grimm brothers, in a very modern key.
I didn't know what to expect from this novel, but reading around a bit, expectations were very high and I'm honest, once I read it I wasn't disappointed at all.
I'm usually one to devour books, but I enjoyed Six Crimson Cranes page by page, taking my time and digesting the story.
Poetic, bewitching and engaging writing, a touching and heartbreaking story of Shiori and her siblings.
The pages of this book filled my heart with sadness for what happens to the young princess, strength for her will to want to work things out and have the place in the world that she deserves, and joy for the incredible love that binds Shiori to her brothers.
Shiori, penniless, voiceless and alone searches for her brothers and discovers a conspiracy to take over the throne.
Only she will be able to put the kingdom back on track, but to do so she will have to rely only on a paper bird, a shape-shifting dragon, and the person she was supposed to marry.
She will have to embrace what she had always given up, which is magic.
Six Crimson Cranes is an extraordinarily wonderful book, honey for the soul, a story that fills your heart but empties it at the same time.
I can't wait to read the second book in the series and I can't wait to get my paperback in my hands.
“My stepmother had broken me. She'd cast me away from my brothers, my family, my home. Even from myself.”
Ever since watching early 2000s Barbie movies reading Juliet Marillier's spellbinding books I've had a soft spot for retellings and I'm happy to say that Six Crimson Cranes makes for a truly wonderful take on “The Brothers Who Were Turned into Birds” type of tales (which include the six swans, the wild swans, and even marillier's daughter of the forest). Fans of Ghibli and even Disney should definitely consider picking this up as Six Crimson Cranes is a truly magical novel.
“We were seven, and seven was a number of strength. An uneven number that could not fold unto itself, large enough to withstand many threats, yet small enough to stay devoted.”
In Six Crimson Cranes Limm transports her readers to the Chinese and Japanese inspired kingdom of Kiata. Here Princess Shiori, the only daughter of Emperor Hanariho, is not looking forward to getting married to the son of Lord Bushian, someone Shiori considers to be a barbarian. In spite of her sheltered upbringing, Shiori's adventurous streak (read: foolhardiness) often lands her in trouble. Thankfully for her, she has six brothers who dote on her (even if they do enjoy teasing her now and again) and are more than happy to watch out for her.
On the day of her betrothal ceremony, she uses magic—which is, you guessed it, forbidden in this kingdom—to cheer herself up. And then her magical friend lands her into the palace's Sacred Lake. Luckily, Shiori is saved by Seryuu, a dragon prince (okay, this whole dynamic gave me some strong spirited away vibes) who offers to help her with her magic. Shiori's lake mishap raises her stepmother's suspicions. And it turns out that mysterious & aloof Raikama also dabbles with magic. When Shiori witnesses Raikama getting up to no good she runs to her brothers to warn them about their stepmother's true identity. Alas, the siblings don't stand a chance against Raikama who uses her dark magic to curse them. Shiori's six brothers are transformed into cranes. Shiori too is cursed: no one will be able to recognise her and if she were to utter a single word one of her brothers will die. Voiceless and alone, Shiori travels the lands hoping to find her brothers and a way to break the curse.
“Ironic, wasn't it, that I—a girl who always wanted to make her own choice—now for nothing more than to surrender to fate?”
What follows is a compelling tale of resilience. Lim has spun a truly enchanting fairy tale one that feels at once familiar and unique. While her story implements quite a lot of archetypes (the protagonist on a quest, a curse, a magical companion who offers wise words of advice, hidden identities, evil stepmothers) she also subverts quite a few of them. Lim's storytelling is so engaging that even if I predicted most, if not all, of the twists and revelations that occur along the way, well, it didn't lessen my enjoyment of her story. In fact, I actually found myself looking forward to Shiori figuring things out for herself. Shiori is a truly lovable heroine. To start she's a bit of a hothead and until her curse, she was leading a rather cushy lifestyle (okay, the arranged marriage wasn't great but it was also very much the norm in this kingdom). After the curse, Shiori endures quite a lot of hardships. Her love for her brothers and her desire to set them free sees her overcoming the many trials that come her way, and by the end of the narrative, Shiori has undergone quite the character development.
I loved the setting, the magic, Shiori's voice, her bond with her brothers, the folktales and myths Lim incorporated within her story.
“I would not have you be alone, […], not in your joys or your sorrows. I would wish your strand knotted to mine, always.”
Six Crimson Cranes is a truly delightful and dazzling novel. Not only is Lim a fantastic storyteller but I felt really invested in Shiori and her brothers. There is a hint of romance which added a sweet note to the overall narrative (i am just praying it won't turn into a love triangle...) but the story's focus remains very much on Shiori's quest.
Marillier herself described this novel as a “gorgeous” take on an old fairy tale, and “a must-read for lovers of folkloric fantasy”...and well, she's spot on.
Genre: Retelling / YA / Asian Literature / Fairy-tale
My rating: 4,5 / 5
I’ve read previous books by Elizabeth Lim, I liked them, but they didn’t leave me with a wish of wanting to read more. With this book, it somehow found that special spot in my soul. If you’ve done some research on this book, you will know that author was inspired by H.C.Andersen fairytales and an old Soviet Union movie: “Wild Swans” which was released in 1963 and is also a retelling of H.C.Andersen fairytale. Growing up on both of these stories, I was rather sceptic about quality of this retelling, but author really impressed me.
My favourite part in this retelling, is the paper crane story, well known in Japan. Sadako Sasaki, became a victim of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing, because of the radiation she got exposed to, she suffered from Leukaemia. Whilst in the hospital, she’s been told a story, “If you fold one thousand paper cranes, one of your wishes will come true”. Girl died before folding them all. After her death in Hiroshima was build a memorial and up until this day, people bring paper cranes to Sadako. I felt important to share this story, since I first heard about from my grandmother, and it was absolutely beautiful that author has used this legend about folding thousand paper birds in this book.
It’s a beautiful fairy-tale-like read. World of magic, beautiful characters (author was really detailed in describing looks), enchanting places, traditions, mythology, dragons, magical objects. Despite of many things and events being predictable, it just gives that vibe, the one full of magic.
My favourite character in this book was Seryu, sea dragon with green hair and ruby eyes. He brought sense of something new and fresh in this retelling. I guess the second book will be mainly about Dragons, that makes me extremely excited and curious, as I genuinely have no idea what to expect, since author is full of surprises! Especially since book two is taking us to the Undersea. 🙂
Main character Shiori, is a strong-willed girl. But what I didn’t enjoy in this book was repetitiveness. So many times, author mentioned that Shiori is able to cook only one dish, hates to embroider etc. I also wished that Shiories magic was explained more, we got some explanation towards the end, just not enough. I hope that she will use more of it in the book two.
And the star of this book, Kiki, the paper bird, which Shiori enchanted and made her alive! It was kind of childish, but really adorable. Something new for sure.
Despite this story being like a throwback into my childhood, I believe that many people will love it. It’s heart-warming, naïve, but endearing tale. Just what is needed in these weird and unhappy times.
Thank you Hodder & Stoughton for provided copy in exchange for my honest review.
A perfectly woven tale of adventure, identity, and culture. I found myself rereading passages as the prose was so beautiful it needed to be appreciated twice.
Six Crimson Cranes was every bit as magical as Spin the Dawn (which I loved) - and set in the same world but in a different country and earlier. Our heroine is Shiori, princess of Kiata. When we first meet her, she is a little spoiled, very impetuous, and reluctant to face the fact that she and her six elder brothers are growing up and can't spend their time together in childish pursuits forever. To the point where she runs away from her own betrothal ceremony. Shiori's stepmother discovers that she has forbidden magic and places Shiori and her brothers under a curse. Her brothers are turned into cranes, and Shiori is left with a wooden bowl on her head to block her magic and hide her face. If she makes any sound at all, one of her brothers will die.
I wasn't sure what to expect from this story beyond the setup, but the plot flows naturally and I never felt bored or like events were happening just to fill plot space. I love when a story is clearly well crafted and plot points fit together in hindsight. Even one reveal that didn't seem to be signposted still didn't feel like it had come completely out of nowhere, as is so often the case. And Elizabeth Lim's writing is as beautiful and easy to read as ever.
A magical, fairy tale like plot, characters you'll want to root for and enough sumptuous food descriptions to make you hungry - what's not to love?
Six Crimson Cranes, Elizabeth Lim
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Genre: Sci-fi and Fantasy, teens and YA.
Well, re-tellings are a bit hit and miss for me, some I've adored and others...well, lets just say I didn't. This story though, based on the old Grimms fairy tale, pulled at me. I adored Grimms as a kid, any fairy stories but especially those, and I'd read them over and over.( Mum used to say “Jeannie, you're too old for fairy tales.” I'd have been maybe 9 or 10....) I'm much, much older now – frankly, you're Never too old for fairy tales ;-)
I remember this one so well, the poor sister spinning and knitting sweaters out of nettles...
Elizabeth makes the sister a princess, and the brothers princes. Sets them in a beautiful Eastern setting, with woods that stretch for miles, huge snow covered mountains, harsh dusty roads. There's a very pronounced master/servant divide that works so well for the story.
The closeness of Shiori and her brothers grows, she's always been loyal to them, loves them, but they've grown apart over the years. Now though, forced into each others company, depending on each other to break the curse, they grow back as one unit.
I loved this book, loved the addition of dragons, loved the fantasy elements that were still true to the original story but changed to fit this new one. I enjoyed the way Eastern beliefs and myths were woven into an essentially European fairy tale. It all added to that overall roundness of the story, made it feel believable.
I really liked seeing the day to day life, the little things like Shiori struggling to work for the lady she tried to steal the boat from. There were some great characters, harsh ones, kind ones, and of course my favourite, the cruel but clever, wicked ones.
Shiori grew so much in this book, from a sweet but selfish princess, into a much more rounded and understanding character. I enjoyed the gentle romance that grew towards the end, loved the way poor Shiori and her brothers seemed to take one step forward and two back. Those setbacks all added to the story, pushed her and her brothers into devising even more ways to try to break the curse. Kiki though, Kiki really was the star for me. I loved her, and can't wait to see where Elizabeth takes her and Shiori on the next adventure.
This story is complete but...there are seeds sown for a follow-up that I'd love to read.
Stars: Five, a fun read for all ages, not just teens and YA.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this arc! Thank you So so much!!! This was AMAZING!!!
I’m pre-ordering a copy of this book as soon as I finish writing this review, that’s how much I loved this story.
I love retellings and pretty much anything with fairy tale vibes, so this was right up my alley and it didn’t disappoint. Six Crimson Cranes is a beautifully crafted story about magic, family bonds, love and embracing who you are.
We follow 16 year-old Shiori, the youngest of 7 siblings and only daughter of the Emperor of Kiata. The story starts the day of her betrothal ceremony, something she’d want to avoid at any cost (she’s somewhat of an entitled little brat at this point). Something else she’d want to avoid at all costs? Someone finding out she can wield magic.
Mix those two things together and she ends up jumping into a lake and almost drowning instead of meeting her betrothed. And who saves her? None other than a dragon (yes, there are drgons in this book, it just keeps getting better, I know). Of course, no one believes her, and she’s left to embroider a tapestry as an apology to her betrothed under her stepmother’s watch.
In between sewing, Shiori goes back to her signature mischief, running off to meet with Seryu (the aforementioned dragon) and basically sticking her nose where she should not. That’s how she discovers her stepmother is not who she seems to be. However, when she runs to her brothers to tell them all about their stepmother’ dark magic, they are turned into cranes and the young princess is banished to the farthest reaches of Kiata with a curse by which one of her brothers will die for every word she utters. Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne and finds some unexpected allies.
The only critique I can give is that I felt like the pace of the first 30-40% was a little too fast. Everything that happened had an immediate solution, obviously not the whole curse thing, but the small things. For example, Shiori’s alone with no money and no roof over her head but only a couple pages later she already has a job and somewhere to sleep. It was good because it avoided the whole dragging at the beginning that many books suffer, but it was a little too fast for my liking.
Other than that, it was great. The world-building was fantastic, the fairytale vibes where there and, most importantly, I felt for the characters. I have a soft spot for Kiki; I absolutely loved Megari, I want to claim her as my best friend; and Takkan… As much as he was the cliché, perfect book boyfriend who will go to the ends of the world for our girl and die a thousand times over just to see her smile *eyeroll*, I didn’t care because he told the best stories and I want to marry him. What else do you want in life other than a boyfriend who tells you stories?
Also, have you seen this gorgeous cover? I thought the US cover was amazing, but this UK edition? Absolutely flawless.
I can’t wait to read the sequel and find out what mischief Seryu will be up to (is someone else sensing a love triangle in the making or is it just me?)
A huge thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the e-ARC in exchange of an honest and voluntary review.
I enjoyed Elizabeth Lim's prose from Spin the Dawn and I'm super excited for this one!!
I will update the review with a link to our blog closer to publication date.
I'd like to thank the publisher and netgalley for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
What a beautiful and wonderful story! The writing is so delicate and powerful that I just couldn’t stop reading! I love re-telling of fairytales and how different authors make them their own and this did not disappoint.
The story follows Shiori, the only daughter of the Emperor as she tries to hide her forbidden magic. Shiori is betrothed to a distant prince who she doesn’t like and she tries her best not to marry him. On the day of her betrothal ceremony things go disastrously wrong and the ceremony is abandoned. Shiori’s happiness is short lived as her step mother makes her say sorry by making a tapestry for her former betrothed, but Shiori uses magic and her step mother starts to get suspicious.
One day Shiori decides to follow her stepmother where a scuffle ensues and Shiori and her brothers are cursed by their step mother - Shiori is sent far far away from the castle and told if she utters a word she will kill her brothers. Her six brothers have been turned into cranes and cannot find Shiori anywhere in the kingdom.
Shiori has to learn to survive on her own and try to get back to her brothers to break the curse. It takes her all over the kingdom, where she meets her former betrothed who helps where he can.
The book is full of adventure, magic and resilience and I would highly recommend to anyone who enjoys reading!
*Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for providing me an eARC of this book, all opinions are my own*
I have heard so many good things about the author's books and they have been on my TBR for very long, so when I saw 'Six Crimson Cranes' I thought that this is the perfect opportunity to dive in Lim's work!
My actual rating 4.5 ⭐
plot- ''We follow Shiori the princess of Kiata on her journey to break her and her brothers' curse that her evil stepmother put them into, with Kiki, a small paper crane as her only companion. Things are very difficult as she must not speak to anyone because of every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.'' I found the plot very captivating and so quick paced, with every chapter making me want more. The story was very easy to follow, even though it was moving quickly (in a good way) and I was able to enjoy it at the same time! However, in the middle I feel like the pace stopped and nothing happened for around 100 pages which I then thought was boring..
characters- our main character Shiori was very relatable to me and she really had the wits, ready to do everything to save her brothers without giving up. Kiki the little paper crane aka her best friend was really one of my favourite side characters that added lots of fun in the story. Seryu, the dragon boy also was interesting and to be honest I wanted to see a lot more of him than we did (hopefully in the second book). Takkan was one of those 'sweethearts' characters that are really fun but he wasn't my favourite.. There were also other side characters that I found engaging reading about but I will not get in details..
romance- okay I'm not gonna lie, romance is not the main focus of the novel BUT it confused me a lot! I firstly thought that (MINOR SPOILER?) Seryu was the love interest as there were hints of romance between him and then main character but then it was obvious that the romance was more into Takkan's side? I had gotten used to Seryu being the love interest and all the sudden romance with Takkan kinda disappointed me cause i wasn't a big fan of it but I actually ended up liking it!! Also I've read a few reviews where people said that they are sensing a love triangle ahead on the sequel which I hope it doesn't happen because i HATE love triangles. So yeah, but again romance is not the main focus, but Shiori's quest is!
Coming to the end of this review I really enjoyed this a lot and I'm looking so forward on what is going to happen in the sequel but the only reason I'm not giving this full stars is because of the sudden quick beginning and then that stop in the middle that nothing was happening but I feel it was more like a romance build up? That I didn't like and found boring.. However, this book is still on my mind and I find myself randomly thinking about it at times so please go give it a read, you are not going to be disappointed!!!
“A princess in exile. Six enchanted cranes. An unspeakable curse.”
After losing control of the forbidden magic she has always kept hidden and inadvertently ruining her betrothal ceremony, Shiori’anma the only Princess Of Kiata thinks she’s in luck.But postponing the wedding she didn’t ask for is the least of her problems,for her actions have drawn the attention of her stepmother, Raikama.
A powerful Sorceress, Raikama curses the princess and her six brothers, turning them into Cranes and warning Shiori never to speak a word of it to anyone—for every word she speaks, one of her brothers will die.
Voiceless, destitute and alone.Shiori searches for her brothers and uncovers a dark plot to seize the throne. In order to save her brothers and their kingdom she must put her trust in an enchanted paper bird, a mercurial dragon and the boy she was formerly betrothed to. Now she must embrace the magic she’s been taught to conceal— no matter the cost.
I absolutely loved this, it’s so utterly enchanting and beautifully written. It’s an East Asian YA fantasy retelling of The Six Swans and like Elizabeth Lim’s Blood of Stars duology, it’s captivatingly spellbinding.
Lim is such an incredible storyteller and her writing style is utterly breathtaking, it has such a beautifully fairytale-esque vibe,which I’m obsessed with. The world building was phenomenal and the setting, beautifully descriptive-from the Palace (it’s courtly rituals and celebrations) to the land beyond,it was truly immersive.
Shiori was a really relatable protagonist and her resilience was remarkable, I can honestly say it was very easy to empathise, especially after all she endures. The character development in Shiori from self-centred to selfless was really well written and enjoyable.
I also really liked Takkan (Shiori’s former fiancé), Kiki (Shiori’s paper crane) and Seryu (the mercurial dragon prince). I cannot wait for the sequel and after that emotionally charged,action-packed ending,I’m hoping we get to see more of Seryu and explore more of the world (and the dragons.)
Overall this was a wonderfully addictive fairytale inspired fantasy that I literally couldn’t put down. If you love YA Fantasy, Fairytale retellings and magic or are fans of Spin the Dawn and Unravel The Dusk then I urge you to read this— it’s simply spectacular!
Also, a huge thank you to Hodder&Stoughton and NetGalley for the ARC.
This book felt both nostalgic and refreshing to me and even when I was only halfway through, I already found myself wanting to reread it
full review to come!
This was a beautifully written book that was poetic and enchanting. I loved how this narrative can be seen as a prequel legend to Spin the Dawn as it features characters from that book and engages with the myths and legends told to Maia.
I loved the character development and the relationships that were built. Nothing was rushed or forced and there was a harmony amongst all of the relationships whether family, friendship, enemy or love.
I cannot fault this book.
"Six Crimson Cranes" is just spectacular. I dived into this novel and didn't come up for air until I finished it. It's that good.
The writing is fantastic with gorgeous prose that enscares the reader from page 1.. Really, the only criticism I have at all is that there are a little too many exclamation points that interrupt the flow of the storytelling for me, but this is a really minor and very subjective issue. The world Lim paints with her words is lush and detailed, steeped in mythology and rich in fairytale-esque character. The plot is fast-paced and never boring yet still allows for quiet moments dedicated to the characters themselves. I read this novel in one day because I was so enchanted by it, so invested in everything that was happening.
Out protagonist, princess Shiori, is complex and flawed with a genuinely good heart. She is utterly loveable, and while she does fill the usual YA Chosen One trope quota for this new series, she does so in an intriguing and really interesting way. I adore her, and I adore her brothers. They don't get as much "screen time" as her, but Lim still manages to give them distinct personalities and make them come alive so much that you cannot but WANT Shiori to succeed in saving them. And the love interest? Absolutely dreamy. The romance is never at the forefront of the novel but I still felt it so deeply. Really, all the minor characters are fantastic - the only ones that I felt would have needed to be more fleshed out were the villains of the story, especially the main one. But hey, that's what sequels are for, right?
The ending sets up this sequel perfectly. I'm already aching to read on. A wonderful, stunningly written fairytale that I will definitely remember.
This book was absolutely stunning. I had high expectations as i loved Elizabeth Lim's spin the dawn duology. This book went far beyond what i expected and i enjoyed every page of it!
This book moved at a nice steady pace and i found myself hooked from the begining. The ending was just everything!!
The writing in this book was so magical. The way Lim manages to incorporate mythology and fairytales into her books is incredible. The magic of the world was easy to understand and i didnt feel like i was getting lots of info dumped on me.
Im looking forward to being able to dicuss this truely wonderful book with my friends once they read it.
Firstly a huge, huge thank you to both NetGalley and Hodder Books for providing me with the e-ARC of Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim in exchange for my honest and unbiased reviews. I had heard so many good things about Elizabeth Lim’s work that I did go into this read with high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed, Six Crimson Cranes takes the original fairytale and totally pushes the boundaries to create a beautiful, lyrical and totally engaging adventure!
Shiori, the main protagonist is the youngest and only daughter of seven royal siblings, she is very much her father’s favourite but, must hide her deepest secret from him and all in the royal kingdom, because she can do magic, which is totally forbidden.
Shiori and her brothers live what appears to be an idyllic, but traditional royal life, the only sadness in their lives to date is the loss of their mother, and their father’s remarriage to their step-mother Raikama. However, this idyllic life is disrupted on the day of Shiori’s betrothal when Shiori meets a dragon. From this point onwards Shiori’s life will never be the same and soon after Shiori and her brothers are cursed by her step-mother; Shiori’s curse prevents her from speaking, if she does she will kill one of her brothers, leaving her unable to tell people who she is or what has happened and her brothers are turned into cranes!
Shiori finds herself with no choice but to journey to find her brothers and discover a cure for their step-mother’s curse. This journey takes Shiori far beyond her previous physical limitations of the palace and introduces her to a world, people (friends and foe,) and experiences that she’d never previously imagined.
I would love to talk more about the content and the story, but this would only ruin it for anyone who has not been lucky enough to read this beautiful story yet. Lim delivers a beautifully structured world that initially focuses on introducing Shiori, Shiori’s world and magic and events that lead up to the moment her world changes, which provides a clear foundation for the tumultuous events that follow on from there. The world of Six Crimson Cranes is beautiful, but you can feel the shadows at the edges and I absolutely loved how this book weaved mythology, fairy-tales and folklore into the story and the world itself.
Whilst my review concentrates on the characterisation of Shiori, there are other key characters in the story, Lim doesn’t skimp or fail these characters, they are written beautifully and I could see them in my head as I read the book. In fact this book delivers on description, worldbuilding, pace, quality and emotion and I for one absolutely loved the reveals as the book progressed. Trust me, you will be surprised by the ending, but you won’t feel that anything has been included for pure shock factor, and I am definitely hooked and already excited for the next book!
And I hardly mentioned DRAGONS!!! Seriously, there are DRAGONS!
Thank you NetGalley for this eARC in exchange for an honest review
Wow. This was absolutely stunning. A gorgeous prose writing style, incredible world building and an overall really enchanting and captivating book. Addictive to read and a real page turner. I absolutely adored the characters too!
I will definitely be purchasing a physical copy and telling everyone I know to do the same!
A retelling of the fairytale of Six Swans. However, this verison is set in China. Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but it soon catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.
Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry.
This is a beautifully written retelling. Shiori comes on such a journey, from being a spoiled princess, to being a resourceful, independent and courageous young woman.
I loved the setting of this story, Lim paints a beautiful picture in the readers mind of the landscape and surroundings. Sprinkled woth some chinese culture too. Just so lovely! Can't wait to read the next one to find out what happens next!
Elizabeth Lim’s writing had me completely vowed when I first read her previous duology, so I went into Six Crimson Cranes with a lot of expectations. And oh boy, this book met them all. I finished this book quite quickly too (started at midnight, stopped to sleep around 2AM and then finished it by 5PM). The story feels truly wonderful and enchanting. It feels like you’re taking a step into the world of a beautiful fairy tale.
The world building in this book is so gorgeous and the way things are described make you feel like you’re seeing things in front of you as they happen. This certainly helped me in reading through it quickly. The story might seem somewhat predictable, but Lim’s writing makes reading it so enjoyable.
Shiori, at the start of the book, is quite a reckless girl, but over the course of the story, we see her go through a lot and become a different person. Her character development is honestly so great and I can’t wait to see what happens to her in the next week. As for the love interest, Takkan has now become my newest fictional boyfriend. Shiori, having not met him, had described him as being a lord from the dark and barbaric north, and I honestly thought, like her, he would be some sort of gruff figure. But turns out that wasn’t the case. Takkan turned out to be a really nice guy and treated Shiori kindly even when he didn’t know who she was. At this point, after reading the book, I really love this guy.
I did feel like a love triangle was being hinted at, especially with how Shiori interacted with Seryu (the dragon prince who first appears when Shiori jumps into a lake to look for her special paper crane), but the climax and the end of the book took that thought away.
I 1000% recommend this book and if you haven’t pre ordered it, do it already because you’re gonna love it!
Six Crimson Cranes is my first Elizabeth Lim book, though she’s been recommended to me before. I really loved it. It’s a retelling of the fairy tale, The Wild Swans, and as retellings go, it’s absolutely wonderful. Elizabeth Lim has such a light touch with her storytelling, and this feels like a book that was a joy to write.
The plot is a relatively simple one, or rather, it appears simple on the surface. As you keep reading, there are more and more layers to what’s going on. At first it seemed like difficult but, ultimately, straightforward quest, and I was good with that because I was enjoying the way the story was told. But there’s a lovely twist, and I can’t honestly say that it came out of the blue, it was seeded throughout, but I kept on telling myself that I’d just be disappointed if I kep expecting it. And instead I was happily surprised! I’m also super excited for the sequel because, again, parts of it have clearly been seeded through this book, and Elizabeth Lim is clearly an enormously skilled plotter.
I also loved the characters. From the shadowy figure of the man Shiori is supposed to marry, through to the wicked stepmother whom she used to love, and to Shiori herself, they were interesting and fun. Shiori herself is delightful and has such excellent character development. She starts off as this very young, quite immature girl, and the curse her stepmother inflicts upon her forces her to grow and change. Also Takkan is a precious sweet boy and I love him.
Elizabeth Lim’s writing is just so… it’s hard to describe what I mean. There’s a sureness and confidence to it that makes you want to let go of wondering what’s about to happen and just read. And her imagery is wonderful! The image of Shiori wandering throughout the lands with this bowl on her head is is incredibly striking and memorable, and so is the way people treat her because of it. All the way through, I felt as though I could really feel what the places being described were like, and as a person with a very flimsy sense of place, this was so nice.
This was the kind of book I finished and thought, oh, that was really nice, but since finishing it a couple of weeks ago, it keeps sneaking back into my mind and all my thoughts associated with it are just really happy and positive. I’d recommend it to anyone who loves fairy tale retellings or just incredibly beautiful and easy to read magical stories.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC!
Six Crimson Cranes is an Asian inspired Fantasy based on one of my all-time favourite tales The Six Swans.
I first encountered The Six Swans when reading Grimm’s Fairytales a good few years ago and it’s been one of those stories that really stuck in my mind ever since. Because of that this book really stood out to me as soon as I heard about it. Spin the Dawn has been one of my most anticipated reads for a while, and I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of the new edition alongside this. But I couldn’t help but read this one first, I instantly felt really drawn to it.
I though Elizabeth Lim adapted Six Swans really well, you can see how it inspired her book, but she really took the story in her own direction, and completely transformed it into a fantasy unlike anything I have read before. If I tried to classify this book I would say it’s a ‘fairytale fantasy’, and it reminded me of what I used to love so much about those tales when I was growing up.
I loved that Elizabeth wove snippets of other tales throughout this book too, it was a fun experience to spot them all, they were like small easter eggs for fans of lesser known fairytales like myself. I was excited to spot a reference to The Princess Who Never Smiled at one point in the book, another one of my favourite tales (whether this was intended or not I don’t know though!)
The characters in Six Crimson Cranes are believable, I absolutely loved Shiori’s six brothers and Takkan, her betrothed. But most importantly I loved Shiori herself. She is a fantastic main character, she’s unbelievably strong, and cares a lot about those she loves. She’s a role-model in the most perfect sense, because she makes mistakes, and doesn’t try to avoid them or ignore them. Instead she faces them head-on and uses them to make herself a better person. This is a journey of self-discovery as much as it’s a tale of magic and betrayal.
But it wasn’t just the characters that made this story, it was the plot too. The twists were shocking and the stakes were high. I was thrown completely off-guard with the direction the story took in the second half of the book, which I loved. Elizabeth Lim’s world is beautiful too, I loved all the references to Asian food and culture and her writing is just impeccable. I could smell, taste and feel everything through her writing, which did make me very hungry when it came to the food.
And sorry… can we just talk about that cover? If I wasn’t drawn in by the synopsis I’d have probably be guilty of wanting to read this book for that cover alone!! IT’S STUNNING.
This is an incredible book and one of my favourite reads this year! It’s a tale of magic and curses, family and kindness, relationships and mistakes. It’s nail biting stuff, with high stakes, and shocking twists, but there’s some really heartfelt and tender moments too.
The sequel is going straight in my basket as soon as it’s available for pre-order!
Last year I reread spin the dawn and unravel the dusk and they still belong to my all time favorite books. So when I heard Elizabeth was writing a new book I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. Six Crimson Cranes is once again a fairytale retelling and this time it was a somewhat lesser known fairy tale namely six swans. The story of Six Crimson Cranes is set in an East – Asian inspired world and the UK cover is absolutely stunning and very fitting.
After a month coping with a big reading slump and not finding a book to get me out of it, I was beginning to lose hope. While waiting in the waiting room for my doctor’s appointment I decided to start reading Six Crimson Cranes, because I loved Elizabeth’s other two books so it would hopefully get me out of my reading slump. When the doctor called I was actually annoyed because I didn’t want to stop reading. Six Crimson Cranes immediately drew me in from the start and I couldn’t put the book down. I even finished it in under 24 hours and can’t wait for the second book in this new duology!
Elizabeth has a way of writing which is so easy and pleasantly to read. In my opinion it’s one of the best writing styles. If you enjoyed Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk, then Six Crimson Cranes should definitely be added to your TBR-pile.
Shiori is supposed to be this spoiled, immature and impulsive princess, but I couldn’t resist falling in love with her. And I enjoyed seeing her character develop throughout the story. She goes from being a princess to being called a demon(worshipper) and having to work hard to survive. In the beginning she is struggling against her arranged marriage, but before she can meet her betrothed she is cursed. Without her voice she can’t tell people who she really is and when a woman takes her in and calls her Lina it’s the name she will go by until she can break the curse. As Lina she meets her betrothed Takkan and slowly comes to the realization that her prejudices against her betrothed aren’t true.
What I love about Takken is that his outside appearance is written as his sexiest quality. Elizabeth focusses on Takkens personality. And I really enjoyed the moments between Shiori and Takken. The story also isn’t resolved around them finding love. Family and Family love plays the bigger role in this story. We can clearly see Shiori’s love for her brothers, as well as her complex relationship with her stepmother Raikamaa. Even though her stepmother cursed her, she still tries to see the good in her and that’s why I really loved the ending of the book. And I think it was also rather emotionel. One of my favorite characters inside the book was Kiki, which was a paper bird Shiori had folded. And her personality was great and since she came alive with Shiori’s magic they could talk mind to mind.
There are some minor details in the book which I would love to know more about on how Elizabeth visioned it. For example Shiori is cursed and wears a wooden bowl on her head. It is described in the book as covering her eyes, but thanks to her magic she can see through the bowl. But her magic is gone thanks to the curse and it also seems that anyone assumes that she can just see fine. They even tell her to cover up her bowl. As I said I would love to hear from Elizabeth how she visioned that part so I could understand it more.
But I don’t think it will surprise you when I tell you I rated this book ★★★★★ 5 stars!
This book is just amazing! Believe me! And I’m referring to everything. That stunning cover, the characters, the setting, the world building, these descriptions!
The book is a fairytale retelling about a princess that realises she has magic and find herself in position to leave for a quest to save her brothers. Through the unfolding of the story we see the main character grow and change. We see the family and siblings love and how strong the bond is. We follow the heroine in her quest and live her adventures.
I came across Lim’s books this year and have read so far The Blood of Stars books and this one. I love the way she writes! I’m always losing myself in her stories and love the characters. Her strong, independent female characters are always an inspiration!
Loved this! My favourite read of 2021 so far. From its gorgeous cover to its strong female protagonist, I enjoyed every bit of it. I can't wait for the second book!
This magical fairytale retelling captured me from the very first chapter. The East-Asian inspired historical setting is immensely fascinating. The Emperor's palace, the food, the dressing all are remarkably detailed.
I loved Shiori, the female protagonist. She is strong, bold, and witty. Her character development is very well done. She is my favourite character in the story. Another character I loved is Takkan. He is simply charming. Seryu is also an interesting character but I wanted to see more of him. His story is less explored. I hope to see more of him in the second book.
This book is a gem for fantasy lovers. Forbidden magic, dragons, paper birds, big plot twists, enchanters, this book has it all! And, of course, Six Crimson Cranes.
Thank you Netgalley and Hodder Stoughton for the arc.
I love stories set in East Asia and Ireland, so when a book combines the two - it will be an instant win. It did not disappoint! I've loved every word of this beautiful tale inspired by an old Irish legend set in a fantastical East Asian land. I felt transported into the story and really didn't want it to finish. Beautiful!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for the early copy!
This was a beautiful read, full of wonderful characters and a compelling story.
I absolutely loved this book - it was fast paced, the characters grabbed my attention and the world building was perfection.
I am always a fan of fairytale and fable re-tellings, but this one has certainly taken it to another level. The wonderful Asian setting, Shiori and her magic, Kiki, it was all so amazing.
I have not read the Spin the Dawn series, but they are next on my TBR now.
Cannot wait to have a beautiful special edition of Six Crimson Cranes from Fairyloot in July!
I am going to start with the cover art, either the UK version (above) by Kelly @_afterblossom_ or the US cover by Tran Nguyen (@mynameistran) both of which are absolutely stunning and would make me buy the books even if I hadn't read them! Please make sure to look and wonder at both!
There is something about Elizabeth Lim's writing that just absolutely clicks with me and I get utterly engulfed in her stories.
Set in the same world as the 'Spin the Dawn' and 'Unravel the Dusk' books but a different land gives the story room to grow and also gives Lim a chance to do more world-building. When she writes I find I am able to see clearly in my imagination what it is she is describing which is very often not the case.
Shiori starts off as a spoilt princess, fighting her destiny and the arranged marriage trope only to meet a dragon, get cursed and start an entirely new path but one that was written long ago. I loved watching Shiori's character develop throughout the book, you could see how her motivations changed as well as a growing wisdom within her. Not to mention that she doesn't want the men to save her, she wants to sort everything out herself and that's a kind of stubborn I can agree with!
It is a YA Fantasy so it is fairly light/cute reading as opposed to some popular Fantasy series but sometimes you need something ..more innocent in your life!
Lets put it this way, Elizabeth Lim is now an auto-read for me and I will be buying these books when I have the chance!
Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder Stoughton for a complimentary ARC of this book.
2021 truly has been the year of me falling in love with the writing of Elizabeth Lim.
This is my second book from this author and not a single moment in her works ever disappoint, Six Crimson Cranes being my latest escape into her work. Based on The Wild Swans fairytale, Lim breathes new life into the story with wonderfully written characters, touching scenes and the crafting of beautiful scenery that brings every moment of this story to life.
Shiori is a wonderful character, resilient, tough but also human, she's so well written and constructed throughout this story and her relationships with the other characters are done so well, [particularly with Takken and their blooming relationship throughout the book.] I really appreciate how many characters there are but none of them feel like they are the same people, and that makes for excellent reading.
The plot is brilliant, I'm sat here writing this review while the story is fresh at 2:30 in the morning as I couldn't control my reading habit when it comes to this book. Twisting and turning until the end of the story, I loved it and each plot point is well wrapped up in this book and leaves you wanting to know what happens next in this series - I can't wait to know where this story is going, I am long haul for these books.
As I said beautiful scenery crafted beautifully (I really want to see the Rabbit Ear Mountains!) and fantastic writing that creates a whole new world to fall head first into, I loved this book and I can't wait for more people to read this, I need to discuss this series at length with someone as soon as possible.
I love a good fairy tale retelling. I think Shannon Hale was the first I read, but there have been plenty of others. It never ceases to amaze me, the depth and the different stories authors can dig out of a (fairly basic, let's be honest) fairy tale. This one sits beautifully in that group.
Shiori is the only daughter, youngest child, of the emperor of a vaguely Asian-ish country. As the daughter, and the youngest, she's been coddled and indulged for most of her life, but now her betrothal is upon her, and she's also trying to hide her forbidden magic. Princess or not, if her father finds out he will have no choice but to banish her. Attempting to hide it (and to avoid her betrothal, let's be honest) she finds herself abruptly in the company of a dragon. Although he does nothing but be vaguely condescending in her general direction, the interaction catches the attention of Shiori's nameless stepmother, and she casts her spells. Left with no one to rely on, voiceless and helpless, Shiori will have to learn to harness her own strength and magic to save herself, her brothers, and her realm from evil powers.
In case, like me, you didn't realise; this is the first of a series, at least two books. Don't expect things to wrap up at the end; one problem is solved, but there's plenty more to worry about.
Now, the real review.
I adore the tone of this book. Elizabeth has captured the *feel* of the very best fairytales while crafting something entirely new. Western audiences will probably be most familiar with the base story as The Raven Brothers, but there are variations all over the world, with the brothers variously numbering two, six or even twelve. (This is so that, with the princess, they are three, seven or thirteen, important and powerful numbers.) In this version, as you can guess from the title, they are six and turned into cranes. Six is a good number; they each have a little space to develop a personality, without being so many that they blur together. There are elements of other fairy tales in here too, all mixed together to create something wonderful.
The only (very slight) complaint I have is that the huge revelations near the end all came very quickly, crowded together, and I had trouble following them; I had to read back a couple of times to make sure I had everything right. I'm sure other readers will follow it without a problem, but for me it was a bit much all at once.
However, that was just one tiny thing that in no way detracted from my enjoyment of this beautiful, magical tale. I can't wait to read the next part (and maybe part three? I don't know how long this series is going to be.) I'm excited to see if Elizabeth is going to wind in even more fairytales - there's plenty of scope for more elements to show up!
A fantastic, beautiful read. If you enjoy fantasy or folktales, this is the book for you.
Oh how I loved this book - Six Crimson Cranes is an asian-inspired re-imagining of the Six Swans tale. And it WILL surprise you ! This is my first book by Elizabeth Lim (her first series is now very high on my TBR), and I was impressed by her storytelling: two chapters in, and I was already emotionally invested in the story. Not only because of the world building (which was incredible), but also because of the characters: profound and multidimensional, with interesting arcs - I couldn't help but love them all. Not to mention, the plot twists that made me gasp out loud…
I definitely recommend this one if you're looking for a gripping, enchanting fantasy to read. A 2021 favorite for me !
There are some books that you know are going to be a 5 star read from the moment you read the title. Six Crimson Cranes was one of those books.
I wasn’t wrong.
I was already familiar with Elizabeth Lim since I read and adored her The Blood of Stars duology (Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk), so obviously when she announced she was going to publish a new book, I was very excited. My curiosity only grew the more she posted things about it, especially the beautiful artworks that are currently up as a preorder prize. I’m so happy that the book lived up to my expectations—if not surpassed them even. It was simply perfect, perhaps even more so than Spin the Dawn.
My favorite aspect of the story was the sibling bond between Shiori and her brothers. There’s something in the way Elizabeth Lim writes these sort of relationships that warms my heart. The love Shiori and her brothers feel for one another is beautiful and unconditional. I can’t help but compare it to the bond between my siblings and me. For some reason I can count on one hand the sibling relationships I truly love in YA, and Elizabeth Lim now counts two series in that list.
Another element I loved was the romance. Arranged marriage? Yes, please! What made this special was the way Takkan and Shiori grew closer without him truly knowing who she was. They became friends, and that friendship bloomed into something more. Although I must say that the ending does leave me wondering…I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anyone.
Speaking of the ending, I was truly surprised by how things wrapped up and I’m excited for the sequel! I also recognized a name from Spin the Dawn, which has me wondering if in the next book we’ll see another name pop up. [smirks] By all means, this doesn’t mean you have to have read the other series in order to read this one. Besides being set in the same universe, the two stories are distinct from one another.
Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for allowing me to read an eARC! Opinions are my own.
Elizabeth Lim’s writing is lyrically beautiful and the world within these pages is nothing but magic. I easily fell in love with the world and our main character Shiori from the very first page.
If you love fairytales, magical quests and strong family connection then you’ll no doubt fall in love with Six Crimson Cranes.
Six Crimson Cranes was another series by Elizabeth Lim who wrote the Spin of the Dawn duology. I really like Lim's writing style but Unravel the Dusk left me unsatisfied but picking up Six Crimson Cranes gave me hope to give another try for Elizabeth Lim's stories.
Six Crimson Cranes is an astounding and heart-warming story. The premise itself caught me and made me want more of the story. I can't say enough how good the book is.
You would want more of the characters especially Shiori and her brothers. What made this book so good was the unpredictable plot.
I can't wait for the next sequel!
Where do I start?
In a kingdom which has banned magic and banished all demons to the Holy Mountains, Princess Shiori must hide her magical blood from those around her, in particular her six brothers, her mysterious stepmother and her father, the Emperor.
However, when a combination of magic and stubbornness derails Shiori’s betrothal ceremony the princess discovers that she is not the only family member hiding their gift. After spying on her stepmother, Shiori is convinced that her father’s wife is a demon and turns to her brothers…with disastrous consequences.
With her six brothers transformed into cranes, Shiori is alone, cast far away from the palace and forced to remain mute: for every word she utters, one brother will die! She is also unrecognisable, her magic is locked and she cannot reveal her past to anyone. Powerless, abandoned and mute- can Shiori save her six older brothers and return home to defeat her stepmother?
Shiori herself is an amazing protagonist. She is young, impulsive, stubborn but also has the biggest heart. Her love for her brothers (and food) is integral to her personality and the comfort she takes in the memories of her mother is beautiful.
Initially, Shiori’s life may appear to be a fairytale with extravagant robes and magnificent palaces. Maybe that is why Lim creates a fairytale-worthy curse? With a lost voice, a lost pink slipper and a city put to sleep, Elizabeth Lim certainly showcases some of the magic we saw in her Disney Twisted Tale novels.
Shiori’s journey to save her brothers is one of tremendous bravery and courage and it is along this path that the princess truly discovers her inner strength. She also matures immensely (it’s probably inevitable when your stepmother curses you) but Shiori experiences the hardships of the world around her, learns who to trust and realises that sometimes poison (or a curse) can be a “medicine in disguise”.
The supporting cast within Six Crimson Cranes are also incredible. Seryu the dragon prince with his ruby eyes and green hair clearly cares for Shiori. Will he try to sway her affections in book two? He will have to compete with Takkan, the loyal, picture-perfect prince who protected Shiori when no-one else did, long before he knew her true identity.
Shiori’s stepmother, Raikama, was possibly the most complex character. Despite only being present at the beginning and end of the novel, she spends 90% of the book as a villain – and the reader is fully on board with this! However, Lim’s ingenious use of Shiori’s faint memories help her piece together an unfathomable puzzle: why would Raikama curse the siblings instead of killing them? Is this linked to her stepmother’s magic and her mysterious past?
The world building in Six Crimson Cranes is magical. Without breaking the flow of the novel Lim perfectly creates the kingdom of Kiata in our minds, from the manicured grounds of the palace during the Summer Festival, with kites bobbing against azure skies, to the bleak but beautiful Iro, overlooked by Rabbit mountain, glittering in the light of the silver moon. Elizabeth Lim truly transports her readers to these beautiful but dangerous landscapes.
Six Crimson Cranes is a book which surpassed all my expectations. The world building is as magical as its fairy-tale undertones and the characters already feel like old friends. I don’t think I can wait another year for the sequel!
Thank you so so much to Netgalley for providing this amazing opportunity! I received a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review…and now I’m off to pre-order the real thing!
Elizabeth Lim is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors! I loved her first duology blood of the stars, and six crimson cranes keeps up with the tale like storytelling.
Shiori, is the princess of Kiata, with a secret talent for magic, which is forbidden in her kingdom, and with six prince brothers. In the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori, which is not really happy with the betrothal, end up in the sacred lake and meets a dragon. Shiori develops a friendship with the Dragon prince, and begins to train her forbidden magic. But soon things turn for the worst, and Shiori finds out that her stepmother, Raikama is also a sorcerer, and she curses her and her brothers! And so begins Shiori adventure to break the curse and save herself, her brothers and the Kingdom.
I loved the world, but it was the same as the duology so I already knew, it was interesting to see some connections, and am super interested to see further more. Loved the Characters, also loved Takkan (he appears latter in the story). The Plot twists were pretty good, and interested to see where the second one will take us!
I can proudly declare I’ve found one of my favourite reads of 2021, if not my absolute favourite! I adored this book and cannot sing its praises highly enough.
Six Crimson Cranes is a full bodied tale with an enchanting mystery, lovable characters, multiple antagonists and truly wonderful world building. I was completely swept up and away until the very end, and even then, the temptation to start all over again was remarkable.
The world building was flawless and incredibly immersive. From dragons and demons, to curses and sorcery, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to discover more and seize the feeling of magic-made-real that this tale evoked. Lim weaves everything in such vivid and lyrical yet comforting prose, which I found similar to Laini Taylor’s style. I truly felt like I journeyed across the land of Kiata to each provenance ventured. It was such a joy to envision wintry landscapes, beautiful gardens, and the lively celebrations and finery worn, then a furious dragon giving chase across the sea. All of this coupled with the burning questions of how Shiori and her brothers were going to break their curses, and what their stepmother was up to, made this unputdownable.
The characters were fun and so easy to love, and equally so, teeth grindingly loathsome where appropriate. We essentially follow Shiori’s fall from grace, where she’s the only girl of her siblings, and subsequently the only princess, and as a result, had a privileged and beloved upbringing. This turns on its head when people no longer know who she is and she has to survive like anyone else. It was rough to see her brought so low, at times it felt too much by how grim it all felt, but Lim pulled it back before it became too off putting. I loved that Shiori never entirely surrendered her gentle nature and kindness in spite of everything she faced.
Alongside Shiori, we have her sidekick, Kiki, an enchanted paperbird, who was supportive, humorous and courageous. Gosh how I loved Kiki.
Then there’s Seryu, a charmingly cheeky water dragon. His character so reminded me of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy but more energetic. I was actually a little disappointed by how small of an appearance he made as he was so interesting, but it’s clear he’s going to play a larger role in future sequels. On the point of little appearance, this was the same for Shiori’s brothers, as they spend the majority of the book separated from Shiori as cranes.
The romance! Six Crimson Cranes has a friends to budding romance set up, that was so sweet and pure, I’ll be distraught if Shiori and Takkan aren’t together and married by the sequel’s end.
Oh my gosh how badly do I want the sequel now! The book ends with enough questions answered to leave you satisfied, all the while laying the foundation of the next chapter in this world. In other words, there aren’t any large unresolved questions, but there’s enough crumbs to make you curious for more.
All in all Six Crimson Cranes was charming and unadulterated escapism that provided much appreciated respite from the wider world, partly from the wondrous world illustrated and partly from how delightful Lim’s writing was. It’s took a piece of my heart as one of the best YA fantasies of its kind. I’ll happily reread this again and genuinely can’t wait for others to experience this beauty of a book. I have a feeling people who enjoyed Raya and the Last Dragon will enjoy this too. I’ve preordered my signed copy!
Thank you kindly to Hodder & Stoughton for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for this honest review.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a free E-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I've heard amazing things about Lim's writing, despite never having never read any of Lim's work before, I was so excited to sink my teeth into Six Crimson Crane. And I can tell you now, I for sure wasn't disappointed! I'm still reeling from this book, so this review may be slightly incoherent.
Spoilt Princess Shiori'anma has magic, but she's always been told that magic is dangerous. When Shiori discovers her stepmother dark secret, her stepmother curses her to never speak again, for every sound that Shiori makes one of her six brothers will die. Oh, and the cherry on top? Her brothers also got cursed and were turned into cranes. Shiori, now cursed and magicless, is forced to find a way to break her and her brother's curse.
Six Crimson Cranes is a stunning East-Asian inspired fairytale, and it sure does feel like Lim has woven magic into each sentence, pulling the reader into this beautiful, whimsical world. The story is well-paced with fantastic twists and turns, and all the characters are so wonderfully woven into the story. The character development of Shiori'anma is *chefs kiss* and the slow-burn romance between her and our cinnamon roll love interest 😭😭😭 Takkan has my heart, truly.
If you like;
- East Asian inspired settings
- Fairytale Magic ✨
- Cinnamon Roll love interest 🥺
- Slow burn romance 🔥
- A Sassy paper crane sidekick
- Fun family relationships!
- Food descriptions that'll leave you yearning for a recipe book
- A cliffhanger of an ending
this will be the perfect read for you.
5/5 Stars for this gorgeous book
P.S. I would like the second book now pretty please 💖
Update: P.P.S. I saw another review saying that this would be good for fans of Disney and Ghibli, like yeah 100% hard agree on that one.
Favourite. This book has worked its way up onto one of my favourites of the year. A mind-blowing fairytale that will swoop you into its magical world on origami wings.
THIS IS A GOOD FUCKING BOOK AND YOU SHOULD READ IT.
I’ve sat here for about an hour trying to figure out how to put my love for this book into words and I think that smashes it tbh. It’s rare that I devour such a long book in a few days and if you chose to dip your toes into this magical world, this is what you’re in for:
✨ A re-telling of a Grimms fairy tale
✨ One princess hell-bent on avoiding being married off to some brute in the north
✨ One corrupt stepmother (obvs) that banishes her and her six brothers away from their home
✨ One exquisite story about them finding each other again
Shiori is 16 and much like any 16-year-olds who happen to be the youngest of 7 siblings, she’s a fan of breaking the rules and causing chaos – princess or not. We’d absolutely be pals.
Shiori also happens to be the only daughter of the Emperor of Kiata and is very much used as a bargaining chip to build alliances with other cities. We swoop into her world on the day of her betrothal ceremony and between the option of her entire kingdom finding out she can wield magic via a fluttering origami bird (heeeyy Kiki, you cutie) or running, Shiori chooses to jump into the lake. Perfectly natural reaction if you ask me.
After being rescued from drowning by a dragon called Seryu, she’s in the dog house with her dad. Relationships are ruined, alliances are in tatters and reputations have been shat on. The punishment? Embroider a giant-ass tapestry by hand under the watchful eye of her stepmother who catches every little mishap.
Not content with learning her lesson, Shiori’s curiosity gets her in trouble again except this time it’s a little more serious and in the form of a corrupt, dark magic-wielding stepmother. Scrambling to tell her brothers, Evil Stepmother quickly throws two pretty mean curses across all seven of them. For her beloved brothers, they’re turned in cranes. For Shiori, she cast away from her home, with a warning to never utter a word to anyone – every time she speaks, one of her much loved brothers will die.
Exiled from her home, without a coin to her name and an origami bird as her only pal, Shiori needs to find her way home and break the curse that looms over them.
This is a fast book. Everything comes at you within the first 100 pages and it can absolutely be overwhelming BUT holy shit am I here for that. Throw everything you can at me, keep me wanting more and I’ll absolutely be your biggest advocate.
The world-building is captivating, the characters will warm you to the core (even the shite ones) and I’m so unbelievably excited to see what happens to this magical little nugget. Honestly do yourself a favour and read it. My ramblings do not do it justice.
“Find the light that makes your lantern shine. Hold on to it, even when the dark surrounds you. Not even the strongest wind will blow out the flame.”
After recently reading and enjoying Elizabeth Lim's Blood of Stars duology of course I was adding this one to my TBR and just look at that cover too .. blooming gorgeous!!
I throughly enjoyed this one, even more so than the duo mentioned above! Elizabeth Lim's writing is just so beautiful and lyrical .. the world she has created so enchanting .. every book I pick up sucks me in immediately.
Six crimson cranes felt like I was reading a fairytale and just put me in the best mood whilst reading it .. full of magic, curses, folklore, legends, story tales, mythological creatures, lovable characters and heartwarming themes!
I also once again enjoyed the cute romance!! Honestly, this book is just like watching a cute disney film!
A magical and enchanting YA fantasy read! Highly recommend.
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for an eARC of this one through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
SIX CRIMSON CRANES was undoubtedly one of my most anticipated reads of 2021, and now it’s one of my favorites of the year. I love retellings, especially those of stories I’m not well-versed in, as is the case of the Grimm brother’s The Six Swans. Add the East-Asian inspired setting and Elizabeth Lim’s writing, which I’ve come to love since reading her Blood of Stars duology a few years back, and you have a winner.
Lim’s magical storytelling is like the heartwarming feeling you get watching a timeless Disney movie while wrapped up in a cozy blanket, sweeping me away into this magical story and enrapturing me with its characters. Shiori was a delightful protagonist to follow. Her quirky personality and big heart made her fun and relatable. I especially loved her curiosity and her unflinching loyalty and love for her brothers, which is something that hit home given my very close relationship to my own siblings.
As delightful as Shiori was, this adventure wouldn’t have been as entertaining without an incredible cast of supporting characters. From our villain, Raikama, to the brothers, to Shiori’s friends, every character had something to add to the story. I never thought I’d someday add a paper crane to my list of favorite sidekicks, but now my sassy Kiki exists and it’s inevitable to fall in love with her. I did, however, expect to fall in love with the love interest. Knowing how well Elizabeth Lim wove the relationship with Edan and Maia in Spin the Dawn, I was ready to ship. And I did. Twice. That’s about as much as I will say because I don’t want to spoil, but I just love how obsessed I am with everyone in this book.
The story’s pacing was very balanced, with a good blend of heart-stopping adventure and tender sweetness. It had some slower moments in the middle, but they added context to the world, layered new characters we met along the way and fleshed out pre-existing relationships we saw in the first part of the book. Exciting discoveries and twists were peppered throughout the entire novel, including a little cross-over that will surely make fans of Lim’s previous works very intrigued. I definitely am, and I cannot wait to see what else is in store for this delightful story after that ending!
Thank you so much to the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, for sending me an e-ARC through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim is one of my anticipated release of the year and it did not disappoint.
TW/CW: physical abuse, kidnapping
What can you expect :
* A lush retelling of The Six Swans fairytale
* East Asian rep on point
* Shiori – the female protagonist who is spoilt, judgmental (basically a flawed princess) but has an amazing character arc
* Forbidden magic
* A kickass side character who has no filter
* Sibling bond that forms the basis of the story
* Twists from the original fairytale that make the story so much more better
* Monsters and snakes lurking around
* And did I say, dragons?
*not summarizing the plot here *
Incase you are not convinced yet, If you have already read Spin the Dawn duology (I haven’t) I’m told there are recurring characters from there in this book, so a lot of Easter eggs to look out for..
If you are looking for a change from reading about faes and or fantasy royal families based on the west, or want to read something oriental AND YA, this book is for you.
Slight spoiler : There’s a curse in the book and I was acting up like I was the one inflicted with it and didn’t utter a word for hours while finishing the book. But truth be told, one part of the curse made no sense to me, as to whether the bowl on the head can allow others from seeing Shiori’s eyes, whether she can see them or not.
Elizabeth Lim surely has a way with words and I’m pissed at myself for not yet picking up her debut duology. I’m really really looking forward to this sequel. I want more of a certain Dragon in book two !
Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an eARC!!
￼Rating: 5 out of 5.
Do watch out for this amazing book that releases on July 8th 2021!!!
There is no question about Elizabeth Lim being a master of retellings and Six Crimson Cranes only proves it further.
Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved H. C. Andersen’s The Wild Swans fairy tale about a princess who rescues her 11 brothers from the curse which turns them into swans every day from dusk till dawn. So, it’s an understatement to say that I was thrilled when I first heard that Elizabeth Lim was working on a story with a similar plot. There are a lot of different folk tales which tells a similar story about a young girl who’s brothers are turned into birds, the Grimm brother’s The Six Swans being one of the most recognized ones. However, I had yet to come across a young adult version of the story, or one set in an East-Asian inspired world for that matter, until I got my hands on Six Crimson Cranes.
Once again Elizabeth Lim has managed to write an absolutely remarkable book which completely encompasses everything I loved about the story as young, while at the same time bringing the story back in a completely new rendition. There’s action, a strong female mc, magic, evil forces and a terrific romance sub-plot, all told in the illustrative, vivid and poetical way of an old folk tale - without ever feeling outdated.
It was nothing but pure joy to read Six Crimson Cranes and I loved every single minute of it. Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lim's The Blood of Stars duology, I must say that I found Six Crimson Cranes to be even better and I’m already looking forward to see what more books Elizabeth Lim has in mind for the future.
If you haven't added Six Crimson Cranes to your tbr-list yet - now is the time to do it because trust me, this is a book you 'll want to read!
***I received an ARC of Six Crimson Cranes through NetGalley (thank you Hodder&Stoughton) in exchange for an honest review.***
Six Crimson Cranes is a magical story from start to finish. The execution was perfect from the moment we meet Shiori to the very last page. Lim has built a world that feels like a true fairytale and the East Asian mythology that's weaved into this story is nothing short of breathtaking.
Princess Shiori of Kiata has magic in a kingdom where magic is forbidden. One day she makes the mistake of snooping on her stepmother Raikama, who has many secrets of her own, including the fact that she has magic of her own. Raikama curses and banishes Shiori as well as turning her brothers into cranes. Shiori embarks on a quest to undo the curse, get back to her kingdom, and get to the bottom of Raikama's motives. The hurdles that Shiori faces along the way makes this story absolutely unputdownable.
Some YA fantasy books suffer from lag in the middle of the story with not much happening until the very end, however, you do not have to dread that here! It was packed with action and twists all the way through. You can expect dragons and an epic quest! It also has some of my favourite tropes including an arranged marriage. There is also a ridiculously sweet romance that had no business stealing my heart so unexpectedly! The love interest is incorporated into the story in such a flawless way that it felt organic and I loved watching the romance blossom. I wish all romance storylines could be executed this well.
One of my favourite characters from the book was Shiori's enchanted paper bird Kiki, who is her cheerleader throughout. This paper bird was so funny and a scene-stealer at times. The family dynamics between Shiori and her brothers was also everything that I could want! I loved getting to know each brother and following how the siblings become closer over the course of the story.
Another aspect of the book I loved was how amazingly it describes food. This is a recurring theme throughout the book and it made me so hungry. It really added to the immersive feel of the book and I was lost in the taste of Asian food through the pages.
Six Crimson Cranes is now one of my favorite YA fantasies of all time. If you want a YA fantasy story that is a fairytale retelling but feels so unique and unlike anything you've ever read before then you NEED this book. I also have no doubt that the sequel will be another wild adventure because of where this book leaves off. I will also not shut up about this book until all my bookish friends have read it!
This was beautiful in all sense of the word. Full of vivid colours, rich in culture and bursting with magic, it really lived up to my expectations.
Shiori, the only princess and youngest of her 6 siblings, was a resilient and brilliant protagonist to follow and the family dynamic was explored wonderfully. The romance was very sweet and Shiori's friendship with her paper crane was full of love and fun.
The plot was beautifully (I'm running out of words with as much impact as this) woven with quests, secrets, adventures, betrayals and plenty of high stake situations.
It spanned even further than its lore and magic (which were 10/10 already) to explore motherhood, family, faith, perseverance and love. Truely a book that I will be reccomending for a long time.
Thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an advanced reader copy.
My thanks to Hodder and Stoughton and NetGalley for a review copy of this book.
Six Crimson Cranes is a retelling of the Wild Swans fairy tale but set in (fantasy) East Asia and with its own spin. The first of (I think) a duology, it takes us to the kingdom of Kiata where the Emperor has six sons and a daughter, our ‘heroine’ Shiori. The children’s mother, beloved by the Emperor is dead, and the Emperor is now married to the beautiful, yet cold Raikama, who has snakes for pets. Magic is abhorred in the kingdom and anyone discovered to possess it is exiled or perhaps executed.
As our story opens, Shiori is headed to her betrothal ceremony, something she is dreading for her chosen husband is from the north, where she believes only barbarians reside. She is deeply attached to her brothers and wishes (not unreasonably for she is little more than a child) life would remain unchanged. But Shiori herself has magic in her and as she is walking towards the hall for the ceremony, a paper (origami) bird, Kiki, she has breathed life into suddenly escapes. Terrified of her powers being discovered, she runs after it and ends up jumping into a lake. As a consequence, her engagement is postponed (to her relief) and she meets a strange boy (in fact, a dragon) who begins to teach her magic.
But Shiori isn’t the only one in Kiata to possess magic; it seems her stepmother, Raikama, too, is a sorceress and before she knows it Shiori’s brothers are turned into swans and Shiori herself is cursed so that she cannot be recognised by anyone, nor make herself known, and worse, with each sound she utters, one of her brothers will die. Alone, far away from home, separated from her brothers, she must search for them and also a way to break the curse. This will take her to places she’s never been before, make her face hardships she has never even imagined, and test her character in many ways. Does she reunite with her brothers? Can the curse be broken?
This was an interesting and very readable version of the Wild Swans story. While the basic idea of a princess whose brothers are turned into swans (here Cranes) and must be turned back is the same, the author has given it her own spin, added various twists and turns (including the ending), and blended in folklore and legends from the east. I loved the fairy tale feel and elements that the author manages to retain throughout the story with the many adventures Shiori has and the places she ends up in—the tropes may not be new but the story was so well told, that I enjoyed reading every bit of it. There is also a romance sub-thread in the story, and I quite liked the way the author built that up as well.
Among the characters, Shori herself was most interesting (and of course as the tale is told in her voice, we get to know her best). Shiori when the story starts off is very reckless, perhaps a little arrogant, certainly a little childish and also somewhat self-centred, but as troubles begin to come her way and she has to face many dangers and tests of character, she grows into a different and far better person—this was an element I liked very much; the growth she shows makes one like her and root for her all the more. In the process she has to question her assumptions, and ends up understanding others a little better than she did or perhaps even attempted to).
The dragon boy/prince Seryu was also a very intriguing character, and though we didn’t see very much of him, I think we will in the next book. Takkan, even if his role is more a supporting one was also an interesting character for me. I loved the paper bird Kiki very much as well—she might have been created by Shiori, but she has a personality of her own. While Shiori’s brothers were well drawn out as characters (their distinct personalities), I felt we didn’t get to know them too well.
Besides Shiori, Raikama too, the ‘evil’ stepmother is a very interesting character, and with many shades and complexities to her. While initially one might be tempted to view her as the archetypical stepmother, with Shiori one begins to wonder about her—were she came from, what made her as she was, what made her act as she did? And some of the answers when they come are indeed eye-opening and moving.
This was a well-told tale, with interesting and likeable characters and an interesting plot, and kept me engaged all through. 4.5 stars.
Looking forward to the sequel!
Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review!
This is hands down one of the best books I have EVER read.
I have been intending to read Elizabeth Lim's writing for a while and when I saw I had the chance to read an advanced copy of it I was ecstatic.
This book blew all my expectations right out of the water. It was so good I am left speechless (pun intended). I was hooked from the first page, the way the author tells the story is enthralling, you find yourself under a spell and turning the pages like a maniac. Many times I found myself holding my breath - and my voice during high-stakes moments as I felt like I was the one in the story, that I was Shiori, cursed to not be able to speak or else one of her brothers die.
The tension and the angst in this book was so goddamn high, so torturous and SO good, This book delivers on every front. The slow-burn romance is to die for. The plot is beyond intriguing and the plot twists JAWDROPPING. The story goes in an entirely different direction than I imagined and every twist and turn leaves you shocked and wanting more. I dreaded the end both because I didnt want this beautifully spun tale to end and because I knew it was going to break my heart. And I was right, the ending was emotion inducing, so much so that I found myself crying for a good part of it.
I am seriously recommending this book to EVERYONE. And huge congratulations to the author for writing such a masterpiece.
Elizabeth Lim has crafted yet another excellent fairytale with “Six Crimson Cranes”.
We follow Shiori, the princess of Kiata, who accidentally loses control of the forbidden magic that runs through her veins. At first it seems like luck, because it delays her arranged marriage, but her magic catches the attention of her stepmother, a sorceress in her own right. Her stepmother banishes Shiori, turns her six brother’s into cranes, and curses Shiori; for each spoken word, one of her brothers will die.
Shiori sets out in order to find her brothers and reverse their curse, with the help of a paper crane, a cheeky dragon and some unlikely allies she meets along the way.
This book really reminded me of the fairytales of the Brother’s Grimm and Andersen I used to read as a child. Elizabeth Lim really manages to capture their essence, and I loved to discover all the fairytale references throughout the story. “Six Crimson Cranes” is atmospheric in its own right, and though the story follows the same beats as these classic fairy tales, it really managed to have its own curiousness and uniqueness.
The plot was easy to follow and I breezed through the book. It featured the author’s telltale immersive writing which really cemented the vibrant feeling of the book. I would have liked a little more world-building, as I often had difficulties with visualising the landscape or scenery Shiori travelled in. However, Lim went all-in on the food descriptions and I was left hungry while reading them.
The characters were endearing and I really appreciated how much Shiori’s voice felt like that of an actual teenager. She starts off as a spoilt, immature and headstrong princess, but she has a lot of heart and I really liked seeing her grow throughout the hardships on her journey.
I also enjoyed her love interest, Takkan, who reminded me a little of Peeta Mellark. Their romance was a very sweet, heart-warming slow-burn which is like a breath of fresh air in the current YA scene.
Also a special shout-out to Kiki, who might be the most adorable sidekick ever.
This book has a complete arc, but it still had a nice cliffhanger setting up for the sequel without it being unsatisfying.
All in all, a beautiful fairytale with lots of magic, mythology, shape-shifting dragons about the bonds of family. Honestly an enjoyable read for these weird times. 4,5 paper stars.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for sending me this arc in exchange for an honest review!
Thank you Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
For the first few chapters, I thought I would struggle with this book as it had a bit of a slow start then a bit of action and then it was slow again. However, I am so happy that I kept with it as I ended up captivated by Shiori and her adventure.
I enjoyed The Blood of Stars duology but this felt a little more special, I just can't quite put my finger on it at the moment. so much so that I have just ordered the Hardback copy.
Definitely worth a read.
This is a high fantasy retelling of The Six Sean's by the Brother's Grimm and boy was good.
Filled with magic and curses, demons and priestesses. I was entrapped within this book from the first page. The adventure that takes place and the incredible bond between siblings was unforgettable.
The romance, oh let me tell you about the romance between the princess and the 3rd lord. She hates the idea of the marriage (the concept not him) but along her journey, Shiori falls in love with the man that she discovers who is willing to stand by her side and face the music. It is so sweet and slow burning. I loved the way it was written.
This can be read without reading the blood of stars duology but I do recommend reading the duology first as it introduces you to the world building (which is the same) and the concepts of magic and demons. Highly highly recommend this book.
Thank you publishers and netgalley for the chance to read this arc!
Six Crimson Cranes is one of my most anticipated release of 2021! Eventhough I haven't finished reading the Spin The Dawn duology yet I had high hopes for this one! And that cover is just gorgeous!!
This story follows Shiori who is the only princess of Kiata! She has 6 brothers who love her so much and whom she loves so much! But Shiori has a secret! She is an enchantress and Magic is banished in Kiata!
Raikama who is Shiori's evil stepmother curses her and sent her far away from her kingdom and cursed her brothers into cranes!
Now this story is a fairytale retelling of Six Swans! I just loved the idea of this story so so much! The storyline was really balanced like in the beginning it was a bit fast paced then in the middle it was a bit slow to build all the stories and world and then there was some twists and turns in the end which made this book really well balanced and not boring!
I really loved the bond between Shiori and her brothers and how they sticked together in their best and worst times and how they overcame every obstacle! Also I loved the little romance part in the story! It was not full on romance but a cute small part which was really fun and cute to read! And also got one of my favourite sidekicks KIKI from this one! I didn't think a paperbird will hold a place in my heart this much! She was full of sass! Just love her! Also can't write this review without mentioning about the dragons!
The world building and the story was amazing and the plot too was really great and the ending cliffhanger and many revelations left me shocked!
Overall if you're looking for a book which is fairy tale retelling filled with curses,magic, adventure,cute romance, siblings bond,dragons,Paperbirds and of course lots mentions of food then this one is definitely for you!
*Thank you so much to Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for giving me an E-Arc to give my honest review*
You guys aren't ready for this one...
After being disappointed with Spin the Dawn, I was hesitant to read this, but the synopsis sounded too good to pass by! I loved this book so damn much! ^^
Shiori is introduced as an unlikeable character, but as the story progresses, you really start to love her. She is a troublemaker and always speaks her mind, not caring about the consequences, and I enjoyed how she changes after being cursed. Everytime I read about the bowl on her head I burst out laughing- I still don't understand how people didn't find it weird that it covered her eyes but she could still see, but oh well >.< Shiori's heart softens and as she journeys to break this curse, and discovers more about herself along the way. Her relationships were so great to read- her friendship with Megari, Pao and her brothers was so heartwarming. Plus her swooning romance with Takkan- it was just the perfect amount! I loved Seryu too, his introduction was so cute but sadly he wasn't very present in the book. It was one of those characters that are introduced and appear a few times, but after that ending, I think he'll be playing a much bigger role in book 2!
I didn't think YA fantasy could give me something new and original, but wow did the plot deliver! The magic system, the dynamics of the curse? It was so much fun to read about. The lore and stories played such a central role to the plot, and overall I can't praise it enough. The plot twists had me screeching and gasping, honestly they were so unexpected! I don't usually like retellings, but I read this as a separate story and I enjoyed it so much. The pacing was so on point, I couldn't believe how quickly I devoured this masterpiece. I have a feeling this is going to be making noise in the book community for a very long time (and rightly so!)
There's nothing new to say! Elizabeth Lim's writing is lyrical and so easy to read. I was immersed in this world whenever I picked it up, and she writes action scenes so well! Loved it!! There was a little of everything, romance, action, lore, mystery and perfect dashes of suspense. I have to say I was hoping it wouldn't be too romance heavy like Spin the Dawn, and I was so glad the romance wasn't central to the story! I desperately need book 2 ASAP...
Overall, what a beautiful story. I can see myself rereading this soon. I wasn't bored for even a second and this was the first book I read on my Kindle! <3
Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder&Stoughton for an arc! I'm so happy to have read one of my most anticipated read so early x
This is rich and beautiful tale with lyrical prose and a flawed but very likeable heroine.
The story was so absorbing, I found myself losing track of time very easily whilst reading it.
The plot manages to keep you interested and excited all the way through and ends in an unexpected but delightful way.
I was particularly happy about how the stepmother is portrayed by the end and how nothing is as it seems.
I have nothing remotely critical to say about the story and hope there is a sequel as suggested by the ending!
Elizabeth Lim is without a doubt one of my favourite authors ever. Her previous weaver duology was so amazing and magical and Six Crimson Cranes is no different. The storyline is teased in Unravel the Dusk and I was so excited about it, I was not disappointed!
Pick up this book as soon as you can, you won't regret it.
A big thank you to Netgalley for providing an advanced copy of Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim in return for an honest review.
Six Crimson Cranes is an East Asian inspired retelling of The Six Swans fairy tale that was written by the Brothers Grimm. The author added a new twist to the retelling by incorporating various mythical creatures and variations on existing Asian myths and legends.
The story follows a princess who is the youngest of seven children. She is also the only daughter, which leads to her being her father's favourite child. Princess Shiori is betrothed to a Lord's son who she is convinced is boring and who will be terrible to live with. But she also has a secret. She has the potential for magic, and magic has been banned in her country for quite a long time. One day her magic makes her slip up and her stepmother notices. What Shiori does not know is that her stepmother also has magic, and that she will do anything to stop Shiori from using magic again. This leads to Shiori being cursed and her brothers to be turned into cranes. She is told that for every word she speaks one of her brothers would die. On her quest to be reunited with her brothers and her father, Shiori comes across more pieces of a puzzle to overthrow her father's kingdom, and makes some unlikely friendships along the way.
I have read Elizabeth Lim's previous series and I loved it. My hopes were very high for this book, and I am happy to say that I was not disappointed at all. The first hundred to two hundred pages set up the story to what you would expect, and the second half is completely unexpected and devoted to character growth and the solving of the problem at hand. This made me read well into the early morning to find out how it ends. And the ending is unexpected and leaves ample questions to be answered in a follow up book.
I cannot wait for this to be available in our stores and to open new readers to the wonderful world that Elizabeth Lim has created!
Six Crimson Cranes is an enchanting, beautifully written retelling filled with fairytale magic. It was not so obvious as to where the plot was going - filled with so many twists and turns, and I loved trying to constantly guess where things were going. I was hooked from start to finish.
Shiori is a very strong main character, and becomes easily likeable as you watch her journey unfold and character develop. I also loved Shiori’s relationships with the other characters in the book, especially her brothers. The familial relationships were actually one of my favourite parts of the book, I found that there was a lot of emotional depth and I felt moved at several points (the ending did in fact make me cry a little). I am also deeply in love with Takkan (the love interest), he is SO sweet and their slow burn romance was worked so beautifully into the story.
I can’t wait for the sequel to come out and will definitely be rereading this book several times before then, six crimson cranes becoming one of my favourite 2021 reads.
This book really did have it all, and I would recommend to anyone looking for a fast paced, fascinating fantasy with a focus on family relationships, curses, dragons, arranged marriage trope, slow burn and lots of magic <3
I'll never tire of fairy tale re-tellings. Ever.
And Elizabeth Lim knows how to write them.
To be honest, whether you are familiar with the fairy tale that inspired Six Crimson Cranes or not isn't all that important because this story manages to stand very much on its own.
Princess Shiori lives in a kingdom where magic is forbidden. Problem is, magic runs through her veins. Trying to hide from her betrothed, she falls into the pond and encounters a dragon. Of course, most dismiss it as her way of acting out, her way of trying to get out of the arranged marriage to a prince she considers to be a 'barbarian' (tiny spoiler, he's not).
Thing is, Shiori isn't all that likeable and nice, at the beginning of the story. And that is very much okay because she's pretty much a spoiled kid that needs to grow up. And when she accidentally finds out her stepmother is hiding one hell of a secret that gets her and her brothers cursed, she's in for one interesting journey and self-growth.
I have to admit, the pacing wasn't the best - I think that would be my only complaint. It also felt like, at times, there was just telling, then suddenly we had some showing, as well. But I really did enjoy Shiori's arc and development and the moments spent with Takkan, and the entire fairy tale feel to it. The ending wasn't the cliffhanger to end all cliffhangers, but I'm still very much looking forward to reading the second book and hoping some things I fear won't happen.
If you know me and read the book, you'll know what I mean. 'Tis my most hated trope.
So, magic and curses and enemies to lovers and dragons. If you're a fan of any one of these, do add this book to your TBR/read it!
I voluntarily agreed to read an early copy via Netgalley and my rating is 4.5 - 5 stars.
Let me begin by asking this question: what is your comfort book?
That question is one of the many I have seen a lot ever since I joined the book community back in 2018. I have fun seeing all the answers and the reasons why people chose a particular book to be their comfort book. I didn’t particularly know what comfort book meant; all I gathered is that a comfort book is the one that you’d come back to over and over when you need to feel safe and content. I hadn’t found my comfort book then but I have now and let me gush about it in this review.
Six Crimson Cranes is another astounding work by Elizabeth Lim, a fantasy reimagining of The Wild Swans woven with East Asian folklore. We follow the journey of Princess Shiori. Being the youngest of seven and the only princess of the realm, her life has been set when she was betrothed to a lord of the third rank from a faraway land. Determined to escape her doomed fate, Shiori folded paper cranes so the gods might hear her desperate pleas for an escape.
Her wish became true when on the day of her betrothed ceremony with Lord Bushian’s son, she dived into the Sacred Lake and saw a dragon. That event is the starting point for Shiori’s life to turned upside-down. Not only she met a dragon that no one had seen in centuries, but Shiori also discovered that her stepmother—Raikama—has magic and seemed to plan to rule Kiata.
But revealing her stepmother’s secret was no easy deal because when Shiori was about to tell the world, she and her brothers were cursed by Raikama. Stripped from her title and having her magic locked, Shori has to find a way to save her kingdom and her family from Raikama. Little did she know, there is a bigger danger looming over Kiata.
Having enjoyed the Spin the Dawn duology, I had no doubt Six Crimson Cranes would steal my heart as well. Aside from the blurb, another reason why I requested an e-ARC is the cover. Illustrated by the talented Tran Nguyen, who could say no to such beauty? When I got my hands on the e-ARC, it was like a dream come true because it is one of my anticipated releases in July 2021. All of my excitement was met with a beautiful story that exceeds any expectations I had.
One of the things, why I enjoyed Lim’s works so much, is because her writing captivated me with its choice of words and managed to craft a vibrant fantasy world that is both enchanting and unique. Combined that talent with lively, unforgettable characters and you get a story that left a deep and strong impression.
The Wild Swans is the core of the tale but I couldn’t imagine this book would be as memorable as it is now if it didn’t draw from East Asian folklore as well. The intertwining of western and east fairy tales only enhances the world-building and added endless possibilities for this fantasy duology to grow.
In Spin the Dawn duology, I found myself not attached to the characters. It felt like there is still distance because I couldn’t fully connect with them. That’s not the case with Six Crimson Cranes. Through her struggles and thoughts, every page brought me closer to Shiori. Started as a naive and spoiled princess, she grew into a hard-working, strong, dependable, and caring young lady. I couldn’t be prouder of her!
Aside from Shiori, other characters were also showing notable growth and potential that makes me excited to meet them again in the sequel. I was particularly taken by Kiki. As a paper bird made from Shiori’s magic, Kiki’s comforting presence and hilarious quips managed to capture my heart. And because I don’t want to get on the Dragon King’s favorite grandson's bad side (also because he’s awesome, but don’t tell him that or he’ll brag about it nonstop), Seryu’s wit and charm is one of the highlights of this book.
Another highlight of Six Crimson Cranes and the reason why I’m so taken by this book is the strong family bond. Shiori and her six brothers’ journey as siblings warmed my heart. They bickered and fought but through the struggles, their love for each other grew. In the end, it seems like nothing could separate them, they became tighter more than ever.
These days, it’s rare to find romance in YA fantasy books that are pure but still have the perfect amount of yearning. Six Crimson Cranes captured the enemies-to-friends-to-lovers trope perfectly. Shiori and Takkan’s slow-burn relationship never failed to tugged my heart and brighten up my day. And I’d like to take a moment to appreciate Takkan for being one of the gentlest, kindest, and softest love interests ever. We deserve more male characters like him in YA fantasy.
Overall, I’m in love with Six Crimson Cranes. This has officially become my comfort read that I’d come back to time and again, and still enjoying it every time. Its otherworldly story combined with epic world-building and lovable characters, it felt like I was reading a fairy tale. I bawl my eyes out at the painful yet beautiful ending. Thankfully, there was no cliffhanger to worry about even though it is the first installment in a duology. Cannot wait for the sequel!
I recommend this book for those who are looking for a similar read to Spin the Dawn, The Wrath, and the Dawn, and Flame in the Mist. This is a perfect book to dive into when you want to escape reality and be enthralled by the magical tale. Please note that Six Crimson Cranes is a young adult book so do not expect any explicit or extreme violent scenes.
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, is cursed by her stepmother Raikama, along with her six brothers. Banished from their lands, Shiori's brothers by day turn to six cranes, while Shiori has to wear a bowl on her head and not speak a word or her brothers will die. She embarks on the adventure of searching for her brothers and breaking the curse.
What I loved....EVERYTHING.
- Thank heavens that none of the characters were stupid or annoying. From the main characters to the side ones, the writer did such a great job of giving everyone their own personality. Kiki, the paper bird, obviously takes the Throne! Takkan as well!
- The love story here is absolutely adorable.
- I loved the setting the writer created, through telling myths and stories of their world, through the Winter & Summer festivals, the clothing, the food...
- The pacing was fantastic, there wasn't a single boring minute and everything flowed smoothly.
- It wasn't predictable and I really look forward to reading the second book in this series. I was satisfied with the conclusion, but tickled to know where the story will go.
- Since this is a retelling, it had this fairy tale quality that I really enjoyed.
If you love fairy tale retellings, you'd really love this one. It was magical.
This is a charming fairy tale retelling which I found utterly captivating. Forbidden magic (yes please), underwater mischievous dragons, enchanted animal companions, a wicked stepmother, curses, legends, conspiracies, betrayals - this story was packed full yet never felt rushed. The writing style and storytelling is top notch.
From the very first paragraph I was hooked, and by the second page I was already invested in Shiori's relationship with her brother Hasho - not many books can do this so quickly.
I though all the characters were brilliant and unique. The wicked stepmother Raikama is so morally grey and it was intriguing not knowing her motives. Takkan is a wonderful male character; sincere, kind, thoughtful - a great role model to have as a main part of this story.
Shiori is the main character and the story is told in first person from her point of view. I loved her - her character growth was quite remarkable, yet it all felt natural and believable (magic fairy tale aside) and I literally did not want to put this book down - every page I had to know what happened next to her. I even found myself dreaming about this book!
One of my favourite aspects of this story was the strong sibling bond between Shiori and her brothers - it was really refreshing to see a story centred on sibling love and I appreciated how genuine they were- from their bickering, to their patience and their ferocious desire to look out for one another.
I also thoroughly enjoyed all the exquisite food references -'rabbit shaped cookies filled with sweet red beans, skewers of rice cake stuffed with fresh peaches or melon paste, sugar candies shaped into tigers and bears' -Shiori is always hungry, which I can definitely relate to!! It made this world all the more seductive to me.
I adored this book. If you love strong female characters, beautiful world building, soft magic, slow burn romance, adventure, enchanting animal companions and heartfelt relationships then I really cannot recommend this book enough!
*Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review*
A beautiful, gripping, immersive retelling of The Grimm Brothers’ ‘The Six Swans’. Dragons, princes and princesses, snakes, a stepmother with her own forbidden powers and a story full of twists.
I have never read anything by Elizabeth Lim but the minute I finished this book I went straight to order her Blood of Stars duology!!
This book was a magical but powerful fairytale. It was fast-paced and had so many things to love, from its setting to its plot to its characters.
Shiori’anma is a princess of Kiata has magical powers that she fears others will discover. One day she meets a shape-shifting dragon who helps her to harness her power. When she sees something she isn’t meant to her, stepmother (also a powerful enchantress) banishes her and turns her six prince brothers into cranes. She cannot be recognised and she cannot utter a sound or her brothers will die.
There are multiple forces working against Shiori and against each other and she must fight to return to her brothers and break the curse with the help of her paper crane, which she has bought to life, a dragon boy and the man whose betrothal she never wanted.
If you think you are enjoying the first half of this book JUST WAIT for the huge twist in the latter! I never saw it coming and adored the direction that the plot went in. The world building was incredible and I fell in love with the fairytale feeling from beginning to end.
The characters definitely made this story. Especially Shiori, her story of self discovery and character development was so empowering and I can’t wait to see more of her and Takkan.
The twists just kept coming towards the end and nothing is quite what it seems. The end was beautiful and I think it’s a great set-up for book two.
I don’t know quite how I will be able to wait for the second instalment of the duology! Definitely one of my favourite fantasy books this year!
Before starting review just let me tell you all that I am very thankful for getting to read this amazing book in advance.
The story was so great and I couldn't stop reading it. And the ending was just so good.
The character development was done well. And they way myths and the story was woven together was just so awesome!
Wow… WOW! Elizabeth is now my favorite author. I just started reading her books this year and I’m already in love with her writing and the stories she is able to create. In this new series you will find. A beautiful story that gives a nice fairytale vibes, family, hope… there’s also romance that will warm you heart. Is one of my favorite books of the year. Can’t wait for the next one!
While I am hoping that anyone who read Elizabeth Lim's gorgeous The Blood of Stars duology has had this one on their radar for a while, here's me throwing my two cents in. Actually, for a book this lovely, I'm willing to totally up the denomination.
I am, I will freely admit, a complete sucker for a fairy tale or mythic adaptation. Seriously, bring it on. I want all of the queer, black cinderellas. I want the great heroes of Hindu mythology reincarnated as Indian-American tween girls. And I absolutely want a gorgeous Japanese reimagining of Hans Christian Anderson's The Wild Swans.
(Totally hit me up for those first two "completely random examples" btw).
In Lim's Six Crimson Cranes, Shiori is the seventh child and only beloved daughter of the Emperor who would rather spend her time with her six elder brothers than having to sit sewing with her mysterious and nameless step-mother. Oh, and would rather do absolutely anything than finally meet her betrothed. She "might" in fact be a little spoiled and a lot headstrong, but really what trouble can that actually cause? Unfortunately one day "absolutely anything" turns into falling into a pond, meeting an actual dragon, discovering her own magical abilities, standing up her husband to be at their betrothal ceremony (It was the ponds fault!), spying on said mysterious and nameless stepmother, triggering a terrible curse that transforms her beloved brothers into cranes, and being sucked into an adventure that is completely unsuitable for spoiled princesses. So, a LOT of trouble.
It looks like it's time for Shiori to grow up, figure out how to break the curse, and save the day.
To anyone who is familiar with the fairy tale (which I have discovered is known and catagorised as Aarne-Thompson-Uther index type 451 which is something that I didn't know that I needed to know) the general narrative isn't going to hold too many surprises. Although what deviations there are turn out to be absolutely delightful. Where Lim's version really shines is in the details. The subtleties of her own Japanese heritage and knowledge of Japanese history, ideologies, and storytelling permeate the book. Things as simple as a daydream about food, or as complex as the interactions between gods, demons, and other immortals.
Best of all, this is not a one off. While it doesn't end on a dramatic (or thank goodness traumatic) cliffhanger, there are clear plot points that require further adventures, and an epilogue that should bring glee to the hearts of fans everywhere.
No extreme violence, no trigger or content warnings, just a lovely, lovely story well worth spending time with.
I picked up Elizabeth Lim’s Six Crimson Cranes simply because it was billed as a “fantasy retelling of the Grimm brothers' The Six Swans fairytale, set in an East-Asian inspired world”. And although I was unfamiliar with the author, as soon as I started reading, I was swept away. There is a beautiful and lyrical quality to her writing style that I instantly resonated with, and the inclusion of a dragon in the opening pages had me entranced.
Six Crimson Cranes actually takes a variety of fairytales and folk mythologies — both Western and Eastern — and weaves them together in a very readable and fast-paced story, seen from the perspective of Princess Shiori. The youngest of seven, and the only daughter of the Emperor, the high-spirited and rebellious Shiori faces an arranged marriage to the third son of a low-ranking lord, until she bails on her betrothal ceremony — an act which lands her in the Sacred Lake and brings her face-to face with dragon prince Seryu, who recognises the magic in her and offers to teach her how to use it. This incident raises her stepmother’s suspicions, however, as magic has been wiped out in this kingdom and is thought to be the work of demons.
Whilst folding paper cranes, Shiori brings one to life and we are introduced to her best friend, confidant, and voice of reason, Kiki. Sadly, this is proof to Raikama (the stepmother) that Shiori has magic, and she curses all of the children — the six brothers are transformed into cranes, and Shiori is forced to wear a walnut bowl on her head, masking her identity. Worse still, if Shiori dares speak one word, a brother will die.
Cast out from her home, and separated from her brothers, Shiori must find a way to break the curse and return home — all whilst mute, unrecognisable, and in a strange land. There is also the threat of invasion from neighbouring kingdoms which adds tension in the background.
Shiori, however, is not alone: she can communicate telepathically with Kiki, who can communicate with other animals, a talent that comes in handy when travelling and searching for Shiori’s brothers. As a narrator, Shiori initially comes across as spoilt and selfish, but these vices soon disappear as her predicament deepens. Under the name of Lina, she initially takes on the job of cook at an inn, which offers her opportunities to widen her perspectives and build up some physical strength. When she crosses paths with a sentinel (a knight), she sees an opportunity to escape the inn and make her way back home.
Once set upon her path, Shiori first attempts to locate her brothers, who, as cranes, are also searching for her, whilst also searching for a way to break the curse. She is helped and hindered by a variety of characters, some of whom have very shadowy motivations, and she makes some poor choices which raise the stakes even more. The pacing was fast and brilliant, and I really felt for Shiori. I fell head over heels for Kiki. I loved Takkan’s quiet strength and Megari’s bubbly nature. I liked how, through various trials and tribulations, Shiori grew in resilience and strength, and also matured into a well-rounded young woman.
I confess: I didn’t see the twist coming. I suspected, but then a number of events caused me to discard my suspicions — so when the twist came I was pleasantly surprised and heartbroken. There were several characters who I pegged as antagonists immediately, and it was interesting to see how their arcs played out in the larger plot. I loved the inclusion of the dragons and starstroke nettles, and the sacrifices Shiori makes on her journey.
The only thing I would have liked to see was more about the brothers. One or two are more memorable as they’re fleshed out more so than the others, but the rest are largely forgettable. I would have loved a touch more characterisation for them, but, even so, I had my heart in my throat the entire time as I worried about the likelihood of their longevity. Also, I did love how each of the children was named after a star; it added some extra magic.
For some reason, I didn’t realise that this is the first part of a duology, so when I was approaching the end I wasn’t sure how it would all be resolved with only a small percentage left in the ebook … But apparently yes, it’s the first part of a duology and I can’t wait for the next instalment. I fell in love with these characters and this world and its magics so deeply and quickly that I am excited to know there’s more coming from this story.
This is a magical read which really transports you to another world with its court intrigues, forbidden magic, slow-burn romance, familial love and loyalty, and the power of resilience and friendships. Immensely readable, unforgettable, and highly recommended.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Hodder & Stoughton, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I have yet to read Elizabeth Lims other books that she has written but when I heard about this I knew I had to read it, and I'm so glad I did. The writing was so amazing. I love Shuri and her relationship with her brothers and kiki. I also like that this story give me an insight into asain folklore. I couldn't put the book down because I found the book to be intriguing to read about. I love the plot of the book which isn't something that I have read about previously in another book which is amazing because of how unique Six Crimson Cranes is. I loved the character development of Shuri throughout the book and the plot twist that was near the end of the book was amazing. I read this book all in one day and I loved it and can't wait for the second book to come out.
I have yet to read the Blood of Stars duology, however reading Six Crimson Cranes has me wanting to read them even more.
Six Crimson Cranes follow Shiori who is the princess of Kiata who is trying to save her brothers and the kingdom. I loved the world building and enjoyed following Shiori throughout.
The characters were all interesting and loved the pacing of meeting new characters. Shiori is such a strong character and loved her interactions with all the people she met. Her relationship with her brothers Hosho, Reiji, Yotan, Wandei, Benkai and Anadahai were all unique and different which was a joy to see.
I loved meeting her fiancé as well as Sergu and liked how these relationships changed. I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.
I loved diving back into the world of The Blood of Stars Duology.
Six Crimson Cranes is set before The Blood of Stars duology but you don’t have to read the other books to understand the story.
Six Crimson Cranes follow Shiori who is the princess of Kiata who is trying to save her brothers and the kingdom. I loved the world building and enjoyed following Shiori throughout.
The characters were all interesting and loved the pacing of meeting new characters. Shiori is such a strong character and loved her interactions with all the people she met. Her relationship with her brothers Hosho, Reiji, Yotan, Wandei, Benkai and Anadahai were all unique and different which was a joy to see.
I loved meeting her fiancé as well as Sergu and liked how these relationships changed.
I throughly enjoyed Six Crimson Cranes and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book.
Six Crimson Cranes is the first instalment in a new young adult fantasy series and is part thrilling adventure, part coming of age tale. Shiori’anma, the only princess in the kingdom of Kiata, has a secret. The youngest of six children fathered by Emperor Hanariho, she has forbidden magic surging through her veins. Normally she conceals her abilities well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. She is 16 years old, about to turn 17, and has been promised to wed warlord’s son Bushi’an Takkan to strengthen alliances with the North. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother. Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.
This is a captivating, absorbing fantasy retelling of the folktale The Wild Swans and a story packed with rich imagery and luscious descriptions from cover to cover. It features spellbinding and dangerous magic, wicked curses, sibling dynamics and a cunning conspiracy to clinch the throne; a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama's betrayal. It's an evocative and richly imagined world in which Lim seamlessly weaves together elements of Western fairy tales and East Asian folklore. Vibrant and fast-paced, it explores the complicated family situation for Princess Shiori who is a gutsy and endearing protagonist you can't help but get behind when she is squaring up to the might of what is effectively her evil stepmother. The romance aspect of the story is pitch-perfect adding to the whole bewitching, magical adventure, and there are more than a few strategically placed twists to top it all off in style. Highly recommended.
In Kiata, people with magic are exiled. This is a problem for Shiori, Kiata's only princess, who discovers she has magic when a paper bird can suddenly fly. When Shiori sees something she shouldn't have in her father's palace, she and her six brothers are cursed and banished. Her brothers turn into cranes, and people no longer recognize Shiori. Even worse, every word she speaks will kill one of her brothers. Vowing to not make another sound, Shiori must find her way back to her father to warn him of the danger lurking nearby.
This was an engrossing story and I enjoyed every minute of it! The very first scene instantly reminded me of Spirited Away, one of my favourite Studio Ghibli movies, and I'm happy to say the rest of the book was just as good.
I really loved the characters. Shiori is a great heroine to follow, because she's pro-active and can't stand being on the sidelines. Recklessly impulsive but also brave, loyal, and determined to save her family, she lures readers into a whirlwind of a plot. And it's not just her; despite there being 6 brothers, they all have distinct personalities and different relationships with Shiori. Raikama is fascinating and I enjoyed trying to figure out the motivation behind her actions. Even Kiki, a paper bird, was a delightful character. This, too, reminded me of Studio Ghibli, because her voice resembles Jiji's from Kiki's Delivery Service. And of course, Takkan, the love interest, although there is so much more to him than that. There's a lot of depth to him as a character, and I liked how we got to see both the gentle side and the side that shows he will be a firm ruler someday.
Speaking of the romance, if you're looking for a combination of arranged marriage and slow burn, look no further. I loved the development of the relationship between Shiori and Takkan. It was sweet and heart-warming and very fulfilling, and I can't wait to see where this goes in the 2nd book. I did detect a whiff of a potential love triangle, but I really hope that's not the case, because I am hardcore rooting for these two.
The pacing is really good too. There are no boring moments, and everything feels purposeful. I loved the reveals and plot twists, loved the world the story is set in, the fairytale vibes, the writing. This is exactly the kind of YA fantasy I like, and I can't wait for the next book.
I loved everything about this, including but not limited to:
- the Eastern culture and mythology
- the precious family bonds
- the magic system and worldbuilding
- all the freaking feels on this emotional rollercoaster
- our kickass and brave heroine Shiori
- a very slow burn and believable romance
- that gorgeous cover
- the beautiful storytelling and flow of the story
- the excellent villains and unpredictable storyline
This wonderful book was released yesterday.
If you weren't planning on picking this up, you don't know what you're missing!
Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim is an Asian retelling of a fairy-tale about princes who are cursed by their evil stepmother into swans. Their sister has to knit nettle shirts for her brothers to free them while unable to speak. There are several variations of the fairy-tale, but Lim follows the main story fairly faithfully.
Shiori is the youngest child and only daughter of an emperor, with six brothers and a mysterious stepmother. She’s arranged to marry a son of a Northern lord, but she’d rather learn magic with a dragon who’s saved her life by giving her a piece of his essence. But magic is forbidden in the empire and pursuing it puts her at odds with her stepmother, who curses her brothers into cranes and her into wandering the empire with a wooden bowl covering her face. No one recognises her and she’s unable to utter a word, as every sound she makes will kill one of her brothers.
Feared and hated as a demon, she sets out to find her brothers and perform the task that will set them free, knitting a net of demon nettles to capture their stepmother. By chance—or fate, as many of the plot twists rely on it—she ends up in the castle of her betrothed as a lowly kitchen maid. Evil forces are afoot there too, and Shiori finds herself tangled in them. But she perseveres in her impossible task, until everything is in place for her to face her stepmother again.
This was a wonderful retelling of the old story. The setting worked perfectly, and Asian myths and culture added depth and richness to the fairy-tale. Since the story was familiar to me, the beginning of the book felt too long, as it took a while before the curse happened. But once it did, the story progressed in a good pace. The additional plot of the empire under siege worked well too.
The book ended up being more than a retelling. I expected a black and white moral, but little by little shades of grey began to emerge, making the familiar story new. Things weren’t as they seemed and the curse wasn’t what it appeared either.
Shiori was a great character. Rather annoying at first as a selfish princess, but once cursed, she grew up and managed to do what needed doing. I especially liked that she wasn’t cursed to be mute but she had to remain so by the strength of her will. Her brothers remained distant, but since they didn’t have a proper role in the story, it didn’t matter. Takkan, Shiori’s fiancé, was likeable, and the blooming of her friendship with him worked well. Only the dragon boy seemed an odd addition, as he didn’t really fit in beyond teaching Shiori magic.
The story had a satisfying ending, but it wasn’t at all what I expected—and a good thing too. The ending also set the next book, so Shiori’s story isn’t over yet. I’m looking forward to reading it.
I loved every moment of this book. The fantasy, the family bond, the brother-sister relationship, the action (and the a good bit of it). Even the romance, subtle as it was it's perfect. I had my doubts about the villain but I loved the way everything happened. I highly recommend if you want something atmospheric, dreamy with awesome kick-ass characters.
I LOVED this book. It's been a while since I read a fantasy and to that a young adult. In the first 30 pages it didn't pick me up too much but then it suddenly picks up in speed extremely and so much is happening. The first twists I saw coming but it was still enjoyable and also to the end the story got so twisted, I want to meet the person who sees such stuff coming. This book also made me feel many different feelings (especially anger and sorrow for our main character). Also the portrait of loveinterest is lovely, it's light and I love that so far the love interests aren't any toxic ones.
Let's come to the part how the author worked with Japanese elements in this story. We have for example the story of the 1000 cranes you fold to get a wish granted. As a person who once did this it made me feel insorbed. Also The winterfestival with the description of snowfigures reminded me very much of Snowfestival (yukimatsuri) in Sapporo. And the way fate is connected by red strings is also a trope that often appears especially in Japanese romance. The pictures drawn of the cranes, the foods and the overall country gave me an Asian vibe. In this case I would want to say that I do not want to pinpoint all that only on Japan as Japan has incorporated many traditions from China into their own culture and would therefore say it has an Asian vibe.
The interactions with other tales that are in this story made me feel kinda remembered on my childhood as as a german I grew up with grimm's tales and similar stories.
In combination with this story being a tale with tales in itself every different tale overtook a special part to tell you about the story. And it's magical.
Also last I want to mention I couldn't put this book down because so much was happening, the pace is so qucik and it still works perfectly. I was really overwhelmed after finishing it and I needed to kinda process what all happened in this book and especially in the last 100 pages.
My best book of 2021 so far, and already preordered a proper signed copy.
First things first, when I was reading Unravel the Dusk and started to see Edan mentioning Shiori… I was already excited. I love how these two duologies are connected. It makes Six Crimson Cranes read a little like a prequel in a sense and considering I adored The Blood of Stars, I found that perfect. (Top tip, if you’ve yet to read that duology I recommend buying it alongside Six Crimson Cranes to fill the wait time before the second in the SCC duology!)
Anyhow, moving onto Six Crimson Cranes (which is simultaneously a perfect side story and can stand on its own to great effect), we’re introduced to Shiori straight away as a Princess who wants to evade her betrothal, to the extent where she’s ended up on a lake and come face-to-face with a dragon. In the story, dragons are similar to demons in that they can change their form to humans, but for the most part they’re water-bound creatures. There’s an indication that they will be far more important to the next part of the duology, but their introduction into the world was very intriguing and they were still an important part of the story, even if they weren’t prominent in terms of appearance throughout.
“Find the light that makes your lantern shine.”
Shiori is a Princess with a secret, she has magic. Unlike in Alandi (The Blood of Stars land), magic is forbidden in Kiata and so she hides it as well as she can. She doesn’t understand why she can do things, and at the beginning the only real example is the creation of what becomes one of the most adorable characters ever – Kiki. Kiki is a crane but a paper crane who Shiori has somehow given life to. She can communicate with Shiori and she is the sassiest little thing! The story is full of their her little remarks but she also does her utmost to protect Shiori throughout, whilst the Princess counts her as her best friend. She’s a super cute little addition and it really shows how magic isn’t always evil.
Her stepmother Raikama, the Nameless Queen, though… she’s a little more dangerous with her magic. Through Shiori’s friendship with the dragon (who tries teaching her magic) she finds out her stepmother gives off a sense of magic and goes to investigate. Honestly, the biggest telltale sign to all should have been Raikama’s affinity for having a garden filled to the brim with all types of snakes (although I’d love one of those of my own) but alas when Shiori sees proof her stepmother is filled with apparent rage. The Princess tries to tell her six brothers and that leads to the curse upon them. Her brothers are turned into the cranes and she’s told that one brother will die for each word spoken, as both her and her brothers are sent to faraway, separate lands. Oh, and no one can recognise any of the royal children either.
Fear is just a game… you win by playing.
If you’ve read my review for Spin the Dawn, you’ll know my favourite part was the budding relationship between Maia and Edan… Six Crimson Cranes has less emphasis overall on the romance side but it is still SO swoon-worthy. Essentially, his name is Takkan. He’s a brave, sweet cinnamon roll who writes stories and poetry and creates art.
There’s a return back to family doing everything they can in their power for loved ones. And from start-to-finish that’s basically the main plot. Shiori does all she can to get her brothers back to their human forms, even though it puts her in incredible danger throughout. Vice versa, her brothers do the same for her – risking being hunted in their crane forms day after day. The character development for them all is clear to see as they go from being pampered to fighting for their survival, it forces them to all grow up quickly.
My curse was easy compared to theirs, and I would gladly take on any burden if it gave them relief.
We also have one character who you’ll recognise from The Blood of Stars… and I spotted them from the first mention. In a sense, it kind of gives a little away but they were a fantastic character in the first duology so I’m excited to see more of their story!
Six Crimson Cranes is filled with songs also, with Shiori regularly singing them in her head to help herself feel better. It’s a beautiful addition and makes a remarkable amount of sense to the story.
And that ending… I cried so much. I cried because it was beautiful and simultaneously because I didn’t want it to end.
“Kites are meant to fly, some higher than others.”
I'll be updating with a link when the blog review is live tomorrow!
I’ve been a fan of The Seven Ravens/The Six Swans fairy tale. I've always loved the bravery of the main protagonist and the bond with her brothers. Well, this book gave me that too, and more.
Shiori is a likeable (at least as the story progresses) heroine who has to overcome herself to save her six brothers. She has magic in her veins, ends up cursed not to utter a single word, otherwise her brothers will die one by one, and finds herself banished from the royal city. She is alone, voiceless, with a walnut bowl fixed to her, and in the part of the country where she never wanted to go.... up in the north, close to her betrothed's home. She needs to take care of herself, find her brothers and a way how to break the unspeakable cursed and save her brothers from turning into cranes each sundown. I loved her journey, by which I mean the characters' development. In the beginning, you are introduced to a rather spoiled and very impulsive princess who has everything she can imagine. As she has to overcome hardships of the curse and life as nobody, that is a mute girl with a weird bowl about whom other people say that she consorts with demons and who has to do hard manual labor, she matures. She starts to think about her actions and consequences of them. In the end, you really see her grow into an inspiring young woman. She is no longer a reckless princess.
I also loved the romantic plot of the story. I really enjoyed their moments together, When Shiori meets Takkan, he cannot see her face properly, he cannot even look her in the eyes because of the bowl, and she does not even know that it's the man she secretly wishes dead because she hates the idea of marrying some northern barbarian. She is hell-bent on avoiding this marriage. Takkan really grew on me. He is kind, loves telling stories and singing and wants to find love and happiness. He is VERY sweet. Plus, he has an amazing younger sister who was a breath of fresh air. She is funny and very mischievous, I would say. Her love for persimmons and persimmon cakes made me want to try this fruit in the future (yeah, there is a lot of food in the story). I felt really invested in Shiori, her brothers, Takkan and his sister.
Importantly, let me tell you how much I loved how the author dealt with the fact that Shiori cannot speak for most of the book. She communicated with her origami bird Kiki, which Shiori enchanted and made her alive at the start of the story. I loved Kiki very much. It is fairy-tale like, whimsical, adorable and fun aspect of the story. Talking about romance and Shiori´s silence, it is important to mention that Takkan understood Shiori even without words :-). It is even mentioned by another characters who does not understand how Takkan knows what Shiori wants to say. Plus, Shiori clearly started to care for Takkan, and I think she did not have to tell him for him to know, I think her actions spoke for her. I feel like it made their connection even deeper.
And let's not forget the shape-shifting water dragons. Seryuu, a dragon prince with green hair and ruby eyes., was a great addition to the story. He brought a fresh into this retelling as well as Kiki. I am excited to learn more about this version of dragons in the future since I think the second book will center around them, taking us to the Undersea. I can't wait to explore the new underwater setting and meet the Dragon King and his court.
The only thing that was kind of confusing was the bowl curse. The bowl cover's Shiori´s eyes, nevertheless, she can see through it and nobody questions that. Nobody express concerns how can she see her surroundings. Well, there is magic in this world, but it is still rare, so I would expect some more explanation. Especially since Shiori at least once covers her head and hence the bowl with a scarf not to attract attention.
Overall, it was really unputdownable and well thought fairy tale retelling. It's heartwarming and I really recommend you to read it. You do not have to know the original story to fully enjoy this gem. If you don't, It's going to be more unpredictable for you and if you do, you can be pleasantly surprised of the author's take on it. I can't wait to read the second book in the series.
Thank you Hodder & Stoughton and Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest review.
“Find the light that makes your lantern shine. Hold on to it, even when the dark surrounds you. Not even the strongest wind will blow out the flame.”
First of all, I don't know where to quite start this review. I'm so in love with the world and characters. So in awe of the magic Elizabeth has weaved. This is my first book by this author and you bet it won't be my last. This duology is a retelling of the "The Wild Swans" mixed with Chinese folklore. The world building is so amazing and whimsical. The imagery it creates in your mind is absolutely stunning.
The characters, whether they are bad or good, are shrouded in mystery and intrigues. Fully fleshed out and amazing. Shiori, our FMC, is a princess with a secret. Something that gets her and her brother into a lot of troubles and also exile. Her journey of searching for answers and accepting her own self was great.
I want to rave about the plot and world building but I truly don't think I can make you understand what I felt while reading it. The narration is intriguing but at the same time soothing, if that makes sense. It's so elegant and effortless. I have already pre-ordered it and can't wait to read the second book. There's not a single aspect or line I would change in it. If you love mythical creatures, YA and fantasy then please read this!
NOTES I MADE WHILE READING IT-
1. Seryu is such an enigma. *Goes to watch the character cards* Oh he's so stunning in his form😍 I want more of him
2. Megari "Keep to yourself and drink tea" Bushi àn is such a Queen. I'll fight demons for her and Kiki.
3. I hope the river swallows Zairene & Hasege. Bitch, how dare you insult my Shiori!
4. Set an alarm 30 mins before the INTL pre-order swag form opens up(I did manage to put mine within 3 minutes of the form opening, YAY)
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