Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes #1) by Elizabeth Lim
Release Date: July 8, 2021
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.
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!
5 Falling Books
Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for providing a digital Netgalley ARC