NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A princess in exile, a shapeshifting dragon, six enchanted cranes, and an unspeakable curse... Drawing from fairy tales and East Asian folklore, this original fantasy from the author of Spin the Dawn is perfect for fans of Shadow and Bone.
"A dazzling fairytale full of breathtaking storytelling." --Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval
Shiori'anma, 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.
A sorceress in her own right, Raikama banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes. She warns 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 forswear--no matter what the cost.
Weaving together elements of The Wild Swans, Cinderella, the legend of Chang E, and the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Elizabeth Lim has crafted a fantasy like no other, and one that will stay with readers long after they've turned the last page.
"A stunning remake of a fairytale. Six Crimson Cranes is the perfect blend of whimsy and ferociousness, with twists and turns that will tug at your heartstrings." —Chloe Gong, New York Times bestselling author of These Violent Delights
"Fast-paced excitement is balanced with a satisfyingly intricate plot that weaves in elements from Western fairy tales and East Asian folklore." —SLJ, starred review
“A richly imagined landscape . . . vibrant, fast-paced.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
As the emperor of Kiata's only daughter and the youngest of six, Princess Shiori'anma, 16, is promised to wed warlord's son Bushi'an Takkan to strengthen alliances with the North. But on the day of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori follows her escaped paper bird Kiki crafted from her own forbidden magic into the Sacred Lake. A breath from drowning, she comes face-to-face with a small dragon whose species has remained un-observed for centuries. The shape-shifting entity soon reveals himself to be arrogant 17-year-old dragon prince Seryu, who offers her magic lessons before leaving for his grandfather's palace. Shiori's luck takes a turn for the worse when she witnesses her cold, opalescent-eyed stepmother Raikama's true demonic form. Cursed to be voiceless, magicless, and unrecognizable by Raikama, strong-willed Shiori faces impossible odds: she must defeat her stepmother, restore her brothers from their own cursed crimson-crowned crane form, and save her country from impending war due to Kiata's now ostensibly heirless throne. Accessible dialogue and compassionately rendered family dynamics cohere in a nuanced, compelling cast. Seamlessly intertwining western and East Asian folklore, Lim (the Blood of Stars duology) embroiders a richly imagined landscape in this vibrant, fast-paced duology starter. Ages 12 up.
Felt like I was reading a classic
I picked it up one evening hoping to stop in a few hours and the next time I look at the time it’s 5am the next day. I’ve never read anything so original land creative. Wow.
If there were half stars it’d be 4.5. From start to finish, the tale is filled with adventure, intrigue, mysticism, and magic! I love the tone and setting of the story and all of its Asian influence. It’s an easy to read type of storytelling, with great character build up, imagery that dips into a bit of mythology and lore. The little ironic details, the character growth and relationship developments of the slightly spoiled princess and the major plot twist keeps you thoroughly engaged.
Th only reason there was some deduction in the review is for me there was a bit of a slow start before the storyline fully sucked me in and it took a bit of effort before Shiroi’s character actually grew on me. But otherwise the book had great supporting characters and was very well written! Takkan is probably every fairytales Prince Charming and the absolute sweetest! Kiki, Shiori’anma’s magical little side kick is full of wit and sass! And Seryu! It always seems like there’s so much hiding under his surface! I wish there was a bit more of him throughout the book but overall, this was a great story with exceptional characters!
This was my first read by this author and I enjoyed it very much. I will definitely be taking a look at her other series and cannot wait for the sequel revealing Shiori’anma’s adventures with Seryu in the realm of dragons!
Couldn’t put the book down
This had everything I didn’t know I needed and wanted in a book. The world building and lovable characters with flaws and growth, chefs kiss.