TITLE: Six Crimson Cranes
SERIES: Six Crimson Cranes #1
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Lim
PAGE COUNT: 464 pages
PUBLICATION DATE: 6 July 2021
GENRE: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Romance
SYNOPSIS: 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. 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.
I discovered Elizabeth Lim’s books in last year and absolutely loved her writing in Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk. So, when I saw that she was releasing a new novel, I just knew I had to get to it as soon as possible.
Six Crimson Cranes is about a strong-willed princess who would do just about anything instead of being tied to the boy she was bound to marry. After discovering that her stepmother is not who she seems to be, she and her brothers are put under a curse. While Shiori is cursed to be voiceless and forgotten by everyone, her brothers are cursed to turn into cranes.
With determination, and hatred for her stepmother in her heart, Shiori is driven to find a way to break the curse put on her brothers and herself, no matter the mountains she needs to climb or the amount of blood that needs to be shed. However, she soon realises that nothing is as it seems and that certain people are different than how she believed them to be.
To be honest, it took me a while to get into the story but that does not mean I did not enjoy it. I always love the author’s writing because she has such a vivid and magical way of creating images in the reader’s mind. Whenever I read her books, I feel as if I am there with the characters, in their world of woven magic, dragons and demons.
I loved all the characters, especially Shiori, who is such an inspirational character. She does not yield to others, no matter what the world throws her way and I loved her relationship with Takkan. I think the way the author wrote their story is so different from other characters’ relationships and, to me, it felt like a breath of fresh air.
However, I think my favourite character might just be Raikama. I loved the Nameless Queen and wish more characters like her can be written. She reminds readers that people are never only good or only bad. Characters are often portrayed as the hero or the villain but it is morally grey characters such as Raikama that make a story feel more real and natural.
The near-ending had me crying and it broke my heart but I am so very excited for the next book to be released. I just know that it will be an epic conclusion to such a fantastic fantasy.
“Find the light that makes your lantern shine,” she used to say. “Hold on to it, even when the dark surrounds you. Not even the strongest wind will blow out the flame.”
Pain doesn’t get easier. You just have to get stronger.
Fear is just a game, Shiori, I reminded myself. You win by playing.
“Food feeds the belly, thoughts feed the mind, but love is what feeds the heart.”
“You are my daughter, not of my blood, but of my heart.”
“Learn from my mistakes, […] and learn from my joys. Surround yourself with those who’ll love you always, through your mistakes and your faults. Make a family that will find you more beautiful every day, even when your hair is white with age. Be the light that makes someone’s lantern shine.”
“If fate is a bunch of strings, then I’ll carry scissors. My choices are my own. I’ll make them as I please.”
“I would tell you stories from dawn to dusk if it meant filling your eyes with happiness.”
“I would not have you be alone, Lina, not in your joys or your sorrows. I would wish your strand knotted to mine, always.”
“To this day, cranes carry the strands of our fate. They say that each time two people’s paths cross, so do their strands. When they become important to one another or make a promise to one another, a knot is tied, connecting them.”
“Let’s play a game,” I shouted, echoing his earlier words. “You let go before I kill you.”
Now I saw in his eyes the richness of summer soil. His nose looked endearingly ruddy from being in the cold, and his voice was like a favorite song I never tired of hearing. Funny how he’d stolen his way into my heart when I’d been the thief the day we met.
I took in the smudges of ink and charcoal on his rolled sleeves, the windswept hair neatly gathered at his nape, his dark eyes, somehow brighter every time I saw them. Kiki was right, he wasn’t so much the barbarian I’d pictured.
Elizabeth Lim grew up on a hearty staple of fairy tales, myths, and songs. Her passion for storytelling began around age 10, when she started writing fanfics for Sailor Moon, Sweet Valley, and Star Wars, and posted them online to discover, “Wow, people actually read my stuff. And that’s kinda cool!” But after one of her teachers told her she had “too much voice” in her essays, Elizabeth took a break from creative writing to focus on not flunking English.
Over the years, Elizabeth became a film and video game composer, and even went so far as to get a doctorate in music composition. But she always missed writing, and turned to penning stories when she needed a breather from grad school. One day, she decided to write and finish a novel — for kicks, at first, then things became serious — and she hasn’t looked back since.
Elizabeth loves classic film scores, books with a good romance, food (she currently has a soft spot for arepas and Ethiopian food), the color turquoise, overcast skies, English muffins, cycling, and baking. She lives in New York City with her husband.
Keep reading, stay safe and never stop telling stories.