Being a huge fan of Elizabeth Lim, I have been excited for Six Crimson Cranes when it was just untitled on Goodreads. Then I found out it was a “Wild Swans” retelling and I lost all the cool I had. The “Wild Swans” is one of my favorite stories growing up and Lim does it SO MUCH justice! Keep reading this book review for all my screaming.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Reading Six Crimson Cranes felt atmospheric, expansive, and lyrical all at once. Lim manages to not only interweave the elements of the “Wild Swans” into the story seamlessly, but also other stories as well! I was entirely captivated by the magic, family, and dedication of Shiori. While it’s a story of embracing ourselves and the bravery and love of Shiori, it’s also about family and protection. About surpassing everything we ever thought we were capable of, to become something else entirely. Six Crimson Cranes is full of secrets, quests with dragons, and thrilling adventures.
My nostalgic heart loved witnessing the original elements of the story in Six Crimson Cranes as well as Lim incorporates new stories and angles. One of my favorite elements was how Lim examines motherhood and family. Lim goes deeper into the relationships not only with Shiori and her brothers, but also with Shiroi and her stepmother. I can’t talk extensively about what I loved – because spoilers – but Lim truly brings another level to this retelling. At the same time, there’s a fabulous romance which had me swooning.
Six Crimson Cranes truly delivers romance, adventures and epic quests, and stories of family. If any of these elements appeal to you, then you have to read it! Shiori is such a fabulous and compelling heroine as she does not hesitate to save the ones she loves. Her generosity of spirit, loyalty, and also playfulness makes her a fantastic heroine. Six Crimson Cranes emphasizes the importance of both stories and perspective and I am so excited for more!
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