I was so intrigued to see how Elizabeth Lim’s next book would be for me (I liked Spin the Dawn but it fell a bit flat after the halfway point for me). Six Crimson Cranes started slowly and I was a little unsure of whether I would like it, but I was definitely judging too soon because the last third was absolutely stunning (just as stunning as the gorgeous cover). I really enjoy being surprised like this, so thanks Elizabeth Lim for ending on such a high note.
Star rating: 4 stars
Shiroi is the youngest child of the King of Kiata, and his only daughter. She’s the most troublesome despite having six older brothers, always adventurous and lamenting her brothers growing up and approaching marriage. Shiori herself is betrothed to a minor lord, something she resents greatly, and escaping her betrothal ceremony leads to her revealing her magic to her step-mother Raikama, who has dark sorcery herself. Not wanting to be discovered, Raikama curses Shiori and her brothers – Shiori’s face is half covered by a bowl and her brothers are transformed into cranes. From then on, every word Shiori speaks will kill one of her brothers.
So I really enjoyed Shiori’s youthful energy – she’s a fun and food loving Princess who actually acts her age. Her journey was also quite grand, riches to rags which led to her growing a lot as a person. I did find the first part of the story went a little fast for me and there were missed opportunities to show Shiori’s growth in person, but know that this was done in order to progress the story quickly. The other characters were also great, in particular Lord Takkan, Shiori’s betrothed. The two learn to like each other despite Shiroi’s resentment of their betrothal, even though Takkan doesn’t know who she is.
As this is a retelling I know that it can’t really be solved, but Shiori’s six brothers don’t really have enough depth to be completely distinguishable. I liked that Elizabeth gave a few of them a little more page time so we got to know them and their relationship with Shiori better. I think my absolute favourite character in this story though is Raikama, and I’m not going to tell you all why. I also really loved the introduction of dragons, but think these will feature a lot more in the next book (I was waiting for them to have a bigger role and looks like I’ll have to wait longer!)
As I said at the beginning, the final third really saved it for me as it brought back in the magic, the challenges and the setting up of the next book. It’s super chaotic but I loved it so much. Hopefully Elizabeth Lim can build on that momentum, and explore these dragons she has created even more in the next book! (Also it’s kinda love triangle like between Takkan and Seryu…I wonder where this will take us!). Have you read Six Crimson Cranes yet? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!