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.
Amazon Link: Six Crimson Cranes
Author: Elizabeth Lim
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars
This book is absolutely gorgeous inside and out. If you saw this cover calling to you and hoped the book would be worth the prettiness, I promise that you won’t be disappointed!
I love the Twelve Wild Swans and this was a unique spin on the fairy tale. It also incorporated many aspects of folklore from Japan and China, maybe other Asian cultures. I recognized stories like the moon goddess, Chang’e, the seven lucky gods of Japan, and the 1000 Paper Cranes. The end result was a rich tapestry of magic and myth.
Shiori was a little selfish in the beginning as a spoiled princess, but she quickly adapted as the story got going and her life was turned upside-down. She learned to work hard to save her brothers and to reevaluate her opinions on people that she was quick to judge before. I also loved her friendship with her bird, Kiki. Since she couldn’t speak for most of the book, it helped that she had a companion who she could still share her thoughts with.
I didn’t realize it was the first book in a series until it ended abruptly with a cliffhanger. Now I have to wait several months until the next book comes out. I hope that there isn’t going to be a love triangle with the dragon Seryn, because I would prefer for Shiori to stay friends with him. Otherwise, I loved this book!
Highly recommended for fans of Asian-inspired fantasy and fairy tale retellings from around the world.
Here is the book in my reading journal: