Title: Six Crimson Cranes
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Series: Six Crimson Crane
Release Date: 8/7/2021
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 45
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Hodderscape ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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.
This was such a fun read. It has a real fairytale quality to the plot. It takes a fantastic and twisty journey. I really loved all the references to the various fairytales through out the book too. There are nods to the familiar western tales of Cinderella, Rapunzel as well the Japanese tale of the Wooden bowl.
The world building is as gorgeous as the cover, detailed and enticing, drawing you into the world and the story. we get to travel a lot and experience snow covered mountains, deep forests, volcanos presided over by dragons, small fishing villages and lavish palaces. They all have such a rich textures to them that you can imagine them with such detail. The descriptions of the food are also amazing. You will find yourself craving sticky rice balls, rich soups and persimmons by the end.
Shiori is such an interesting character, determined and brave, she acknowledges her faults and really isn’t afraid of hard work. With all the awful things that happen to her over the course of this book she doesn’t whine, she lets herself feel the despair before charging on with the task. I love the dynamic of her and her brothers. There is a real feel of them being siblings, the sibling love and connection is there but they are also adults with their own lives so there is a shifting in the attention they pay each other that feels really real and natural even when they are cranes.
I also really adored Takkan. The arranged marriage trope can be fun when it is played off like this. We really get to know him right from his first appearance and I really loved how Shiori reacted to that. How her respect for him and friendship with him grew through out the book. I really loved his intelligence and his romantic soul. He was a sweetheart.
I really liked all the twists and turns to this plot, it was really interesting how they all started to weave together and I am really looking forward to book two!