On a book buying trip with my friend I finally decided to check out the hype on Elizabeth Lim’s books. They aren’t nearly talked about as much as the Sarah J Maas, Rowling, or Armentrout books, but they had come up on my social feeds quite a few times, and that seemed like a sign to at least look into them.
In Kiata, magic is forbidden, but that doesn’t stop it from existing, or working against the kingdom. Shiori has lived her life hiding her magic, and waiting for the moment her father, the King, would marry her off to one of their allies. In one moment of lost control, Shiori is freed of her impending marriage, but also her one secret as her stepmother sees all. Raikama, not only a stepmother, but a sorceress in hiding casts a curse on Shiori and her brothers, turning her brothers into cranes, and sentencing Shiori to a life of silence, or else her brothers die. Can Shiori reverse their spells and save her kingdom from those plotting to take it?
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
When I grabbed this book and even had read about half of it I sincerely thought this was a stand alone, which it isn’t. That though ends up being a good thing since I finished this and realized one book wouldn’t do this story, cast of characters, or world justice. I’ve been behind on writing reviews this fall, but while some books are a bit hazy in my memory this one left an amazing mark on me.
When we start Six Crimson Cranes there are some parts of the plot and synopsis that appear a bit cliche at first glance, but Lim does a great job setting up the characters first and foremost for us. There are six brothers, and even though we have a relatively short introduction period before all goes wrong you still get a good sense for their individual personalities and who Shiori depends on most. Shiori in particular is a well written character that you both connect with, but see some of her flaws as we move through the story. She makes mistakes, and unfortunately her big one ends up setting a lot of things in motion including her stepmother. If the relationship between her brothers is important, then her relationship with Raikama is an integral part of the story. I like that Lim makes this nearly feel like the Cinderella stepmother scenario, but draws a hard line, consistently alluding to a time when the two had been close. We don’t know what happened, but there is a clear message that Raikama is hiding a lot.
The mystery in every part of this book is one thing that kept me glued this book. There is so much Shiori, and even her brothers don’t/didn’t know since they had been relatively sheltered in the palace. Starting with the main mystery of the curse placed on them, the unknowns of magic, her world, and all the people who occupy that world Shiori is constantly reworking her view of the world. It’s close to the adventure we get out of fantasy series with her setting off to discover the answer to her problems, except she is quickly shown how much she doesn’t know, and forced to adapt each time.
For what seems to be a setup for a duology the world of Six Crimson Cranes is well built. It reveals quite a bit without dumping information or lingering too long on detail, which YA Fantasy books are known for, but this story doesn’t ever seem to make it feel like you are lacking information either. The magic is still mysterious in this world, but it feels like a choice rather than left out. All in all, I really loved the journey we go on with Shiori, and look forward to seeing her next adventure in book two!