*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: Six Crimson Cranes
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Publication Date: July 6, 2021
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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. Penniless, 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.
This was my first exposure to Elizabeth Lim. A friend told me I’d love her, and I did. This book is a combo of amazing world-building, magic, fantasy, and a little bit of romance thrown in for fun. It’s full of dragons, demons, curses, deception, shifting loyalties, and so much more that’ll have you absolutely guessing at what’s going to come next. I haven’t read a YA this surprising and exciting in a while. It’s the first book in the duopoly, and I’m so excited to see where it goes from here. Where Shiori’s story leaves off hints at an epic adventure to come, as if this first book wasn’t adventure enough!
Shiori is a princess that I can get on board with. The youngest of 7 siblings, and the only daughter to boot, she has spent her life growing up with her brothers. It’s left her a strong, independent-minded, and adventure-oriented young woman, ready to tackle any challenge that comes her way, even when those challenges put the lives of those she loves in impending peril. There’s no one more suited to the task of saving the empire. With her magic just budding, she feels ill-equipped to face the darkness that threatens her world, but through her journey she discovers the vast depths of her own mental and physical strength. She has many traits that will certainly endear you to her.
I couldn’t help but love this book. It pulls on Asian mythology and is a strong opener to this duopoly. The romance is subtle and slow-burning, which has the reader questioning if it’s really going to happen, which is a nice change of pace for YA fiction. The main relationships are familial and we see a ton of Shiori’s interactions with her brothers. There is so much yet to be uncovered in this world and I’m excited to now wait for book number two.