I was captivated by Lim's fairy tale of a fantasy novel, particularly the vivid magical realism, Shiori's strength and abilities, and young looooove!
In this young adult novel, the first in a magical fairy tale duology from Elizabeth Lim, main protagonist Shiori is a princess trying desperately to hide the forbidden magic coursing through her veins.
But before her betrothal ceremony to the son of a distant royal, a stranger she's reluctant to marry, Shiori's power is dramatically revealed.
She is banished from her kingdom, her six brothers are turned into cranes, and Shiori is cursed to not speak a word--with each word she utters, one of her brothers will die.
I couldn't wait to find out how Lim would make this plot construct of a wordless main protagonist work in an engaging way, and with the help of a magical paper bird (its name is Kiki, and please just roll with this element, because it's actually amazing), Shiori's silence is made rich and intriguing.
Voiceless and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers--and discovers a dark, twisted conspiracy to take over the throne.
In order to save her kingdom, she'll need to rely on her instincts, her power, and her smarts--oh, and a shapeshifting dragon, plus the boy she was supposed to (unwillingly) marry.
Meanwhile there are odd creatures doling out questionable advice, a mysterious stepmother, a land struggling with the power and acceptance of magic, roots in East Asian folklore, and siblings who have grown apart--and whose enormous ordeal just might make them closer than ever.
The detailed magical realism is vivid and I was in for all of it, and I found the hints at young love absolutely irresistible. I can't wait for the second book.
Do you have any Bossy thoughts about this book?
Lim was a film and video game composer who always loved to write.
She's also the author of The Blood of Stars series and multiple Twisted Tales books. The Dragon's Pearl, the second and final book in the Six Crimson Cranes duology, is expected to be published in August 2022.