Happy book birthday to Elizabeth Lim and Six Crimson Cranes! I’m so excited to be part of this tour that I made TWO posts for it! This is the first half of my stop, which includes a short review. The second half is a letter to Shiori and includes a version of Channari’s song!
Many thanks to TBR and Beyond for not only giving me the chance to read one of my most anticipated releases this year, but also a chance to hype up this recent favorite! Check out other members of the blog tour using this link.
- Date of Publication: 6 July 2021
- Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers || Hodder & Stoughton
- Age Category: Young Adult
- Genre: Fantasy
- Cover Credits
- Art (US): Tran Nguyen
- Design (US): Alison Impey
- Lettering (US): Alix Northrup
- Art (UK): @afterblossom
- Book Links:
About the book
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.
On-page representation: Author of color, all Asian cast, worldbuilding and narrative inspired by Chinese and Japanese mythology and folktales
Trigger and content warnings: banishment, burns, abuse, mistreatment, kidnapping, confinement, near death experiences, discrimination against mute
Disclaimer: I received an eARC (electronic advanced review copy) from the publisher and TBR and Beyond Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book.
There’s something so magical about Lim’s writing style that draws you in and bewitches you to stay for hours in the world she has created. She weaves together the fantastical and the mundane so well that enchanted nettles seem ordinary and that humble radish-carrot soup seem magical. Through her lyrical prose, she takes us to the enchanted mountains and icy fortresses that we can’t help but fall in love with her everything and everyone in her world.
Quite fitting since the book itself is a retelling of several fairytales, primarily The Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen. Six Crimson Cranes includes many of the elements central to fairytales and folktales: an evil stepmother, a forced betrayal, an eccentric tutor, a hidden identity, a lost princess, and so much more. But I love how Lim breathes life into these classic archetypes and reimagining them in ways that are fresh and new, but still connected to literary traditions from which it borrows.
Moat importantly, it doesn’t coast through the usual saving grace of plot armor. Though it hinges on the usual curse breaking plot, it doesn’t feel like the characters are carried by plot armor from Point A to Point B. Everyone has agency or willpower to shape the story, and Shiori, in particular, shines in her way of rallying readers to cheer for her until the very last page. I can’t help but crying over every obstacle and sleepless night and cheering for every time she swoops in and saves herself.
Related post: An open letter to Shiori
In addition, Princess Shiori’s story is considered a legend in the The Blood of Stars duology, one told around a campfire and becomes the inspiration for the protagonist to continue fighting in their war. Although both stories are set in the same universe, not reading the previously published duology does not affect plot or understanding of events. It does make it a much more enjoyable experience since I love searching for Easter eggs, such as the fact that A’landi is known for its silk and embroidery–Maia, the protagonist of The Blood of Stars, is a tailor known for her skill in embroidering silk. Some key characters also make an appearance here and foreshadow conflicts in both Blood of Stars and the upcoming Six Crimson Cranes sequel.
Six Crimson Cranes is a fresh and breathtaking fairytale that will leave readers of all ages both enchanted under her melodic spell and fiercely rallied to be heroes of their own.
About the Author
Elizabeth Lim is the author of the critically-acclaimed and bestselling The Blood of Stars duology (Spin the Dawn and Unravel the Dusk), the New York Times bestseller So This is Love, and the USA Today bestseller Reflection. Forthcoming books include the Six Crimson Cranes duology, expected summer 2021 and summer 2022, respectively.
Elizabeth 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 she 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 graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in music and a secondary in East Asian Studies, and she completed her graduate degrees (MM, DMA) at The Juilliard School. She grew up in Northern California and Tokyo, Japan, and now resides in New York with her husband and two daughters.
That’s it for my stop! Again, please don’t forget to check out other amazing posts by my co-hosts using this link.
- Are you excited for this book? Scream with me in the comments!
- What’s your favorite book with a similar fairytale vibe?