Summary: Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but 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.
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.
Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. 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. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
I absolutely judged this book by the cover (both US and UK), they’re both stunning but after reading the premise it became one of my anticipated releases. I love retellings and Elizabeth Lim has spun an enchanting fairytale that easily grips you with it’s simplistic writing and story.
Six Crimson Cranes follows Shiori, a princess with forbidden magic, who along with her six brothers are cursed by their step-mother, causing them to become cranes and preventing Shiori from speaking. And so starts her adventure as she sets off to break the curse.
My favourite aspect has to be the writing. Lim uses effortless and mesmerising prose throughout to create vivid settings and an engaging character traits. I was immersed into the chapters, moving through the pages quickly as the story moved forward and could clearly envision the landscapes, forests or palaces like I was transported there myself. Adding East Asian folklore, magic, and action to the exquisite writing it felt like I was reading a fairytale.
Shiori was a delightful protagonist—curious, headstrong, reckless at times but determined. The first person narrative made Shiori’s character all the more interesting to follow because we’re given direct insight into her thoughts, struggles and internal monologues. Her character arc was really strong as she went from a privileged princess to a girl who strived to survive and save her brothers.
❛Find the light that makes your lantern shine.❜
Family relationships were a great addition to the story. Her bond between Shiori and her brothers was heartwarming. Despite the rivalry and misunderstanding they come together to form a great support system. I always looked forward to their interactions. And her friendship with Kiki was so adorable!
While the romance was not the main focus in the book, we get the arranged marriage trope with a swoony and slow burn romance. The friends-to-unknowns-to-lovers build-up was so lovely and pure to read about.
The plot is fast paced, packed with action. I was quickly invested in Shiori’s journey, in a state of anticipation as the events unfolded. The writing made it easy to breeze through the book. I loved to see Shiori make progress and face her mistakes. The magic system and worldbuilding never felt like info dumps, but were brought to attention as and when the scenes required them to, which is another reason I enjoyed reading it so much.
Six Crimson Cranes is a promising and refreshing YA fantasy, best for readers looking for a book with fairytale vibes, fast paced action, magical adventure and delightful bonds. I’m so excited for whatever awaits me in the sequel!
Thank you Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC!